This just may be the solution those of us who struggle with sleep have been looking for!
I’ve been using binaural music off and on for about a year and, when I’m at my worst, it’s been the best aid I’ve found to falling asleep without resorting to drugs. But keeping the headphones on has been a challenge – the over the head ones are too bulking and uncomfortable while the earbuds don’t stay in. This looks like it will resolve that issue while also taking care of too much light in the room. Woo hoo!
NeuroDreamer: $90 pledge
Taking a moment to relax and get some rest is vital to everyday functioning in humans…someone needs to tell that to our brains. Coming down after a long day is hard for a lot of us, and if you prefer to solve this problem with technology, a new Kickstarter project may be worth checking out. The NeuroDreamer is a sleep mask that uses light and sound to mimic the brainwaves that occur when you’re falling asleep. The fading lights and ambient music coax the brain into turning off for the night (or for a few minutes) by enhancing the natural way our body calms down.
Constructed from cotton and memory foam, the mask is described as an “entrainment” device. According to the website, “entrainment” is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.”
Using light and sound, the mask creates brainwave frequencies that match the natural activity that happens in the brain when we are falling asleep. Binaural beats in the music and synchronized light are controlled through a microcontroller in the mask. Three buttons on one side of the mask control the type of music played, volume and brightness of the lights.
While the need for a good night’s sleep or just a few minutes of relaxation is universal, the NeuroDreamer is not. Anyone who is sensitive to flashing lights (strobe lights, cameras, etc.) should definitely avoid the mask because it may cause seizures. Check out its Kickstarter page, a pledge of $90 or more gets you a mask once production starts.
Credit: Mitch Altman
“I had read that meditation was actually another way of achieving the kind of ‘high’ that you might experience if you did drugs,” said Ms. Splain, who is now 63.
She heard about a class in meditation being offered near the school, decided to visit and was impressed with the students she met. “There wasn’t a lot of peace in the world in 1969, but these people seemed very much at peace,” she recalled. “I said, ‘This looks good to me.’ ”
Forty-three years, one retirement and a second career later, Ms. Splain, who lives in Massapequa, N.Y., and goes by the first name Surabhi, is still practicing. And like many other meditators, she says she believes that it has not only expanded the boundaries of her consciousness, but that it has also had beneficial effects on her brain.
The role that meditation plays in brain development has been the subject of several theories and a number of studies. One of them, conducted at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that long-term meditators like Ms. Splain had greater gyrification — a term that describes the folding of the cerebral cortex, the outermost part of the brain.
Published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal in February, the study is the latest effort from the U.C.L.A. lab to determine the extent to which meditation may affect neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to make physiological changes. Previous studies found that the brains of long-term meditators had increased amounts of so-called gray and white matter (the former is believed to be involved in processing information; the latter is thought of as the “wiring” of the brain’s communication system.)
It follows other studies examining possible links between meditation and physical benefits. In 2009, for example, a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting suggested that the mental relaxation produced by meditation has physiological benefits for people with established coronary artery disease.
The U.C.L.A. study, like previous ones, is inconclusive but intriguing. “You could argue that more folds mean more neurons,” said Dr. Eileen Luders, the recent study’s lead author, who practices meditation herself. “These are the processing units of the brain, and so having more might mean that you have greater cognitive capacities.”
The subjects — 28 men, 22 women — had a median age of 51 and had all been practicing meditation of various types for 20 years on average. The oldest subject was 71; the longest practitioner had been meditating regularly for 46 years.
Dr. Luders and her team used M.R.I. scans to measure the features of the subject’s brains and compare them to a control group of nonmeditators.
A striking finding of the study was that the degree of cortical gyrification appeared to increase as the number of years practicing meditation increased.
“We used to believe that when you were born, your brain would grow and reach a peak in the early 20s and then start shrinking,” Dr. Luders said. “It was thought there was nothing we could do to change that.” Her research suggests that there might be. As a meditator for four years, Dr. Luders understands the degree of mental discipline involved. “People ask, ‘What do you do? Just sit there with your eyes closed?’ It’s actually hard work, because you have to make a constant mental effort.”
Others caution that the results of these experiments do not necessarily mean that meditation conclusively caused the adaptations in the brain or that the increased folds meant improved cognitive performance for these older adults.
“I don’t think there’s enough evidence yet to say that,” said Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health. But she said that challenging the brain was often cited as a good way to maintain cognitive health as people age, and meditation is indeed such a challenge.
“This is an example of learning a new mental skill,” she said. And “it’s something that with practice people can get better at.” (She also noted that other studies had shown that meditation could be beneficial in pain relief).
In the 2009 study presented to the heart association, researchers followed about 200 high-risk patients for an average of five years. Among the 100 who meditated, there were 20 heart attacks, strokes and deaths; in the comparison group, there were 32. The meditators tended to remain free of disease longer and also reduced their systolic blood pressure. That study was conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, a research institute based at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. The institute’s director, Dr. Robert H. Schneider, suggested that the stress reduction produced by the meditation could cause changes in the brain that cut stress hormones like cortisol and damp the inflammatory processes associated with atherosclerosis.
Ms. Splain’s practice of meditation has, over the years, deepened into something far more than a way to flex her cognitive muscles. In 1970, she became a devotee of the Queens-based Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, a vegetarian and a marathon runner, and later worked for the United Nations. Now a devout Buddhist, she is planning a trip to Tibet next year for the culmination of an intense, seven-year course of spiritual enlightenment that involves mediating three hours a day.
In 2005, at age 57, she embarked on a rigorous graduate program in the interdisciplinary approach to schooling known as Waldorf education. Working full time and taking classes at night, she finished the program at Sunbridge Institute in Spring Valley, N.Y., in three years. She retired from her United Nations job in 2008 and teaches in the early childhood program at the Waldorf School of Garden City on Long Island. She credits the discipline developed through four decades of meditation for her ability to handle the intellectual workload of graduate school — and begin a second career at age 60.
“The mentor of our master’s program acknowledged the challenge of doing this while working full time,” she said. “But when I was able to hand in an 80-page thesis well ahead of the class, he attributed it to the fact that, quote, ‘She’s a meditator.’ ”
I have personally found that listening to any music through headphones helps me concentrate – and not just on the music I’m listening to but to the task I am doing at the time. Certain music seems to help more than others, of course, and binaural beats music is tops for getting me in the zone before I start a challenging task or a project that requires prolonged focus and concentration.
What if you could put on a pair of headphones that would help increase your focus and performance? And not just by playing Parliament Funkadelic really loud.
A Cambridge start-up called Axio is working on just such a device, leveraging an auditory phenomenon called binaural beats. Essentially, the theory is that playing two tones of different frequencies in each ear can have a beneficial effect on the listener’s brain waves.
Founder Arye Barnehama isn’t saying much about the product. But, he said, “focus is a huge problem, for athletes, programmers, students, and business executives.
“Our goal is to be a consumer health product. We’re looking at a couple different form factors, but one is a headset that would integrate with a smartphone and a PC.’’
The headset would include an EEG sensor to monitor brain activity. Similar to the Zeo sleep monitor, Axio would be able to chart the ups and downs of your concentration level over a day or a week.
The company has raised a seed round from local angel investors, including Bill Warner, and has won admission into Haxlr8r, a new accelerator program for start-ups working on hardware. The program runs for 15 weeks in Shenzhen, China, where it focuses on designing and testing a prototype, and then wraps up with investor presentations in Silicon Valley.
“Everyone knows those days when they felt amazing, whether it was on the golf course or in the library studying,’’ Barnehama says. “You don’t have them every day. But we believe we can use technology to make that possible.’’
Who wouldn’t love that? I’m eager to try it out, especially since it took me much longer than it should have to write this post.
PRLog (Press Release) – Jan 08, 2012 -
If you are new to meditating, to begin with find yourself a quiet spot where you are unlikely to be disturbed by the outside world. You don’t need to be sat on the floor cross-legged in the traditional meditation or yoga pose. A comfortable chair or stool is fine. It may be necessary, however to be sat upright with your line of site parallel to the ground, rather than being slouched or leaning back. This is to ensure your breathing is unrestricted and also to make sure you don’t get too relaxed that you fall asleep.
The key is to keep the focus on your breathing. Block out any other thoughts, for example any self-talk, as well as any other sounds, visions or feelings you may experience. Always keep the thought coming back to your breathing. As your relaxation increases, your natural brainwaves will oscillate at a lower frequency and will drop from beta into alpha.
For more info on binaural beats and to sample free mp3 downloads, check out http://www.binauralbeatsentertainment.com
Brainwave entrainment can lead to a more effective meditation. Now, try the same process, though listen to a binaural beats mp3 download that utilizes alpha waves. The entrainment process may allow you to access the meditative state quicker.
Binaural Beats alpha waves are utilized to produce a recording (usually in the form of an mp3) that, when played through stereo headphones, introduces two slightly different sound wave frequencies into each ear independently. Your brain will recognize the difference between the two frequencies. Binaural beats recordings are often enhanced by ambient, or relaxation music.
Alpha brainwaves occur when your predominant brainwaves have a frequency of around 7Hz – 13Hz. During periods of even deeper meditation or relaxation, your predominant brainwaves are around 4Hz – 7Hz.
Because the human brain can only perceive sound which is above a frequency of around 20Hz, the difference between the two sound frequencies that are played into each ear must have a difference of the frequency an individual wishes to entrain their brain waves towards. For example, in your left ear we may play a 200Hz tone and in your right 205Hz. Your brain will recognize the difference of 5Hz. There are currently many ongoing scientific studies on the subject that are continuing to verify scientific evidence for the use of binaural beats.
You can try listening to a binaural beats mp3, in order to enhance and improve your meditation. For further details, go to http://www.binauralbeatsentertainment.com/about.html
I may long for time and space away from work, family and the demands of our technologically hyper-connected world but find the idea of an extended period of total silence a bit unnerving, more than a day or two totally alone in silence terrifying! But this intrigues me as well. Could I do it? Would I really want to try?
Samir Heffley found something terrifying in a beautiful barn in the North Carolina mountains.
It was 1979, and Heffley, a newly trained clinical psychologist, picked up a book, where he read about a “silence and seclusion retreat.” Seven days of no contact with anyone else, centered on one simple meditation practice: being aware of your incoming and outgoing breaths. He thought it sounded cool. Why not try it? And what could be simpler than being alone?
In fact, nothing is more difficult, Heffley says..
Or more transformative.
The idea of willingly seeking out solitude and silence can seem scary — or even boring and pointless. Humans are social creatures that, by nature, crave connection and interactions with others.
Yet Boulder County boasts dozens upon dozens of meditation and solitude classes, retreats and offerings. The people who lead these believe the right amount of alone time is crucial in maintaining physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and balance — especially in this fast-paced world.
During Heffley’s first experience with scheduled solitude, he says his first few days were flooded with thoughts. But after a while, he says, the thoughts started to quiet down. Then the emotions poured out. Including fear. He felt like he was going to die. Because he wasn’t using any energy for anything else, he says he felt like he had almost turned himself inside out.
“I realized to avoid that fear, I have a life, in some ways,” says the Boulder County resident. “But once you go through that fear, once you can do that, something changes inside you. Once you’re able to really be alone with yourself, something changes fundamentally, in you and in your relationship to the whole world. Then, everything is different.”
And that is why he does it. He says it changed his whole understanding of who he thought he was.
“It’s very difficult to put words to, but it’s sort of like a sense that you’re coming home. Like things that didn’t fit or make sense started to fit and make sense inside myself, so that questions I had had for a long time somehow disappeared or made sense to me,” he says. “It’s very hard to face that, but it’s also very liberating. A sense of truth begins to arise when you feel connected to the truth of who you are, instead of a fake thing. That’s the payoff: More truth, more freedom and so many more possibilities in life.”
Today, Heffley is on the board of directors for the nonprofit Osho Meditation Center in Boulder. He has now done dozens of solitude retreats, most recently in July, in a cabin by himself for 10 days.
It’s not as scary anymore, he says, but it still continues to open different doors,
“It has led me to many things, to be able to meet myself in ever stranger, dark, beautiful but still very alone places,” he says.
Solitude doesn’t always look like a week alone in a remote barn. Sometimes, it’s s guided meditation class, or a simple mantra repeated with eyes closed on the RTD. Other people go on silent wilderness retreats; practice “moving meditation” in martial arts, tai chi or qigong; heighten awareness of something specific (like the breath); or simply set aside 10 minutes to take a bath alone each night. Some practice mindfulness in regular activities, such as shaving, gardening or drinking a cup of tea.
Johann Robbins, of Boulder, offers silent meditation wilderness retreats for groups of 15 to 20 people about five times a year. Sometimes they go hiking, camping or canoeing.
Ironically, solitude can be easier to pursue in a group than alone, Robbins says.
“If you’re with a group and everyone’s quiet, you get the same solitude, but the power of the group. The intention on being silent makes it easier to quiet your mind than even being alone,” he says.
And nature accentuates that even further, he says.
“Nature reflects back to us our inner nature, our pure inner nature,” he says. “It’s a powerful place to feel safe, at home, their own goodness, to feel our right place in life, without all of the striving and the stress, anxiety and fear and competition.”
In the most tangible way, research — although preliminary and still not quite understood — shows that meditation has measurable effects.
People who meditated about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had changes in gray-matter density in the parts of the brain associated with empathy, stress, memory and sense of self, according to Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging last year.
One 2009 study suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure for people with coronary heart disease, and other studies have found that meditators’ brains may have structural differences, longer attention spans and possibly more accurate and lasting memories. Psychology Today reports meditators can shift their brain waves to calmer areas of the brain.
The Mayo Clinic notes that meditation may even help improve conditions such as allergies, asthma, cancer, depression, pain, heart disease, substance abuse, sleep problems, binge eating, fatigue, high blood pressure and anxiety.
Below the surface, Mary Aitoshi Casey II, of Boulder, says silence — even a few minutes without texting while walking to the bus stop — can help reconnect us to our voice and inner wisdom.
Casey owns the Boulder Quest Center, which teaches conscious actions and reflection in its martial arts-based classes.
“That solitude taps you into your wisdom, and that’s what you put out into world instead of putting out reactions, and then my reactions control my experience, rather than me creating my experience on purpose,” Casey says.
Another irony: Rest is one of the best ways to improve your productivity, she says.
Every night, Casey sets aside time to take a silent bath alone. It’s simple. But she says that space to check in with herself sparks her creativity and dreams.
“Solitude. It’s your chance for yourself to talk to you. And you’re so worth that time,” she says.
This point isn’t happiness, says Wendy Zerin, of Boulder.
Zerin is a physician, as well as a teacher of insight meditation. She helped establish Kaiser Permanente’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and founded Dharma Docs, a collective of Buddhist physicians in the Denver-Boulder area.
“We have this idea that to slow down and get quiet, we necessarily should immediately access a place of pristine silence and a refuge from the business of our daily lives, and that isn’t typically what happens,” she says. “When we get quiet with ourselves, typically what we experience is all of the busyness. When we sit and get quiet, often it’s horrifying.”
The Buddhist tradition calls what happens “seeing the waterfall;” we become aware of the incessant cascade of thoughts, feelings, desires, images and cravings consuming us.
The point is, well, no point. To be able to be with whatever is the experience at that moment, without feeding it or pushing it away.
“The goal is not to sit down and experience any one particular mind-state. The goal is to receive what is, and cultivate the capacity to be with absolutely anything — and that’s where the freedom lies,” Zerin says.
And in that, solitude is a different kind of happiness, she says.
“It’s a happiness that comes with cultivating the ever-increasing capacity to be with life as it is,” Zerin says. “Whatever it is that life delivers up is somehow OK.”
Contact Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359 or email@example.com.
On the web
For more information about meditation, silent retreats or upcoming events, check out:
Insight Meditation Community of Colorado: insightcolorado.org
Osha Meditation Center: osholeela.org
Silent wilderness retreats: impermanentsangha.com
Boulder Quest Center: boulderquest.com
Article source: http://www.dailycamera.com/features/ci_19691727
New Haven, CT, United States (AHN) – These may definitely be the times that try our souls and test our patience. The ailing economy, the high unemployment rate, the housing market bust, endless phone calls, emails and the holidays are enough to have you stressed out and your mind jumping all over the place.
Scientists are now finding out that meditating may be the answer. Their findings in a new study suggest that it may be beneficial to train your brain on something as simple as your breath, as part of mindfulness meditation, to calm your mind and reduce your stress.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals just how meditation relates to the brain. It shows that people who are experienced meditators show less activity in the brain’s default mode network, when the brain is not engaged in thought.
The default mode network is associated with introspection and mind wandering. As a rule, drifting thoughts tend to focus on negative subjects, which in turn leads to more stress and more anxiety.
For the study, the researchers from Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic looked at experienced meditators and trained novices. Each volunteer was instructed to engage in three types of meditations: Concentration (attention to breath); love-kindness (wishing others well); and choiceless awareness (focus on whatever comes up). The scientists then looked at the subject’s brain activity during these meditations with MRIs.
Across all these type of mediation, the experienced meditators showed less activity in the default mode network than the novices.
The researchers cannot say from this study if meditating is helpful to the brain. But, when viewed in conjunction with other studies on the positive effects of mindfulness training for depression, substance abuse, anxiety and pain disorders, it appears to offer promise and hope.
Filed under National News ·
My Black Friday present to myself – Droid 3! This app is going to be the first to be installed on it when it arrives.
From iMobLife Inc.:
* Music Therapy for Sound Sleep (Full Version) with 8 music pieces and 12 ambient sounds is now available on Android Market! *https://market.android.com/details?id=imoblife.mtsoundsleep.deluxefeature=search_result
Music Therapy for Sound Sleep is an android music application based on the famous EEG to optimize human brains. For a necessary sound sleep, Low Speed Alpha Wave set in this app will comfort your mind, assisting you to fall asleep smoothly. Enrich Your Imagination with a Sound Mixer in the latest version! The latest version of Music Therapy for Sound Sleep provides a group of relaxing natural sounds for you to choose and mix, creating your own fantastic ocean scenes. These sounds help enrich your imagination thus to further relax in a pleasant surroundings with ocean waves and soothing rains. It is totally up to you to customize each track with one or several ambient sounds, with volume bars separated from the main piano melodies.
Totally different from the so-called
leisure music, subliminal music embeds Alpha Wave to various musical pieces by delicately setting the rhythm to a certain frequency, while stimulating imagination with certain sound effects. Listening to the music, our sub-consciousness is awakened. It is guiding us to a brand new discovery of our potentials, to relaxation, and to creativity.
Low Speed Alpha Wave has a frequency from 8Hz to 9Hz, which stimulates a state at which one is nearly asleep and cannot think clearly. To generate such a frequency in one’s mind, binaural beats are applied. For example, if the left ear is presented with a steady tone of 500Hz and the right ear a steady tone of 508Hz, these two tones combine in the brain. The difference, 8Hz, is perceived by the brain and is a very effective stimulus for brainwave entrainment.
- Tunes with Low Speed Alpha Wave
- Ambient Sound Mixer with a group of natural sounds
- Elegant interfaces and varied music themes-
- Elaborate descriptions-
- Increase sleep quality and relaxed state
- Airpush has been removed
- The bug that “the music ends after 15 minutes’ playing” fixed.
- When a phone call comes, both the music and sounds will pause until the call is ended.
- Other Minor improvements
- Content rating: Low Maturity
What’s new in this version:
- Airpush has been removed
- The bug that “the music ends after 15 minutes’ playing” fixed.
- When a phone call comes, both the music and sounds will pause until the call is ended.
- Other Minor improvements
Parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder often find that the hours and money spent on tutoring does not significantly improve their children’s grades. This is because tutoring and remedial programs do not address the root of the issue.
Learning is like constructing a building. It needs a solid foundation, followed by strong walls and a well made roof. When struggling students receive remedial help or tutoring, this only affects the roof. Sometimes it only affects the rooster weather vane! This is highly ineffective if the walls are crumbling or the foundation is cracking.
Students with ADD and ADHD need help solidifying their foundation and strengthening their walls. There are many specific skills found in these areas including focus, thinking speed as well as visual and auditory processing. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder need a plan that builds up these skills in order for them to be successful in school.
What Strengthens the Foundation and Walls?
Brain Training addresses the issues needed to create a strong foundation and wall structure. While training, children with ADD and ADHD practice movements to a consistent beat and their brains get a workout. This workout helps specific areas of the brain become more efficient. Once these areas are “well toned,” students feel the difference in their learning foundation. Learning and homework become easier. They see improvements in areas like focus, organization and self-control as well as in academics such as reading and math. Because the renovation of the foundation stabilizes the entire structure, all progress gained is permanent.
Most students with Attention Deficit Disorder train five days a week for four to six weeks. It works like a video game. Students use their personal computer and a hand or foot trigger. Each time they play, they work to improve their score. As their scores show more accuracy, the brain grows in efficiency.
When is Tutoring Beneficial for Students with ADD and ADHD?
Only after the skills in the foundation and walls are fortified with brain training can children with Attention Deficit Disorder benefit from tutoring. Once students with ADD and ADHD have the solid structure on which to work, tutoring serves as a temporary measure to revisit topics and catch the students up to grade level quickly. Then they can stay at grade level and learn with the class because the brain training has strengthened the specific brain skills that make learning easy.
THURSDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) — Adults who were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children have less gray matter in certain areas of their brains as adults than people who didn’t have ADHD in their youth, researchers say.
“The majority of individuals with ADHD improve in adulthood, but it was still somewhat disappointing to see that even with improvement, there continue to be challenges for those with ADHD,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Castellanos and his team also found a trend toward even more significant brain changes in people who continued to have ADHD symptoms as adults.
Results of the study are published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
ADHD is a common childhood disorder, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Symptoms include an inability to pay attention or focus, being easily distracted, becoming quickly bored, daydreaming a lot and hyperactive behavior.
Previous research has found reduced brain volume in children with ADHD, and those reductions are especially pronounced in areas of the brain that help regulate attention and emotion, according to background information in the study.
The current study included boys who had participated in an ongoing study that began in the 1970s. At that time, the study consisted of 207 white boys between the ages of 6 and 12 and 178 age-matched boys who didn’t have ADHD to serve as the control group.
Castellanos’s research included 59 of the study volunteers who’d had ADHD in their childhood and 80 who had not. Their average age was 41. Of the 59 with ADHD, 17 continued to have symptoms of ADHD as adults, according to the study.
The study volunteers underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) in 2002 and were interviewed about their current symptoms and medication use.
The researchers found that the outer layer of the brain (the cortex) was significantly thinner in people who’d had ADHD when they were young compared to those who hadn’t had the disorder. These changes were seen in people who continued to have ADHD symptoms and in those who didn’t. However, Castellanos said there was a consistent trend for those who still had symptoms to have an even thinner cortex.
The areas most affected by thinning are regions involved in “top-down control of attention and the regulation of attention,” said Castellanos. For example, he explained, the amount of attention you give a task is a complex calculation of what’s going on around you; how much noise there is; if something else is moving in the room and so forth. If you hear a loud noise, you’re at least momentarily distracted unless you can rationally explain the noise away, such as if you’re having construction done. If you can rationally explain the noise away, you can get back to work without further distraction. But, this process doesn’t work as well for people with ADHD.
“To me, these kinds of studies are exciting because they get to the real neurobiology of ADHD,” said Dr. Sara Hamel, a behavioral/developmental pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Hamel said some people still see ADHD as a weakness in personality or as caused by bad parenting, but this study and others like it show that “ADHD is a physiologic phenomenon and a real neurological deficit.”
Both experts said that it’s important for people to realize that ADHD can be a lifelong condition, and if symptoms persist into adulthood, they shouldn’t be ignored.
“It’s not your fault. It’s something different in the way you’re wired, and it’s probably inherited,” explained Hamel. She recommended both medications and behavioral therapy for people with ADHD.
Castellanos pointed out that almost all of the people in his study had taken stimulant medications for their ADHD, and yet the changes in the brain volume persisted into adulthood. That means that while medications can help control the symptoms of ADHD on a day to day basis, they’re not likely having any impact on the underlying cause of the disease.
To read more about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
Distraught, overwhelmed, filled with dread.
That’s how a second-year University of Windsor law student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder described her experience with the disorder as she flailed about in her post-secondary studies.
Unable to focus, procrastinating for weeks over projects and homework for tests, she would leave a mountain of work to the last minute.
Finally, feeling so stressed and overwhelmed, she sought medical help and was diagnosed with ADHD in her third year of undergraduate studies. Her situation has improved greatly since and she encourages others to seek help, she said.
“It’s so daunting,” she said of feeling so overwhelmed.
“You can’t even start thinking how you can overcome it,” the 23-year-old student from the Toronto area said. She wanted to speak anonymously because of concern her disorder may affect her future law career prospects.
She described her plight in class, saying she was falling behind, unable to cope and even begin school work and feeling her situation would never end.
Her experience proves especially timely with the approach of exams in December at the University of Windsor and universities elsewhere, say those involved with helping and treating people with ADHD.
The intense study period can prove especially difficult for students who may be away from home for the first time and removed from their support system.
But there’s much help available online and from the University of Windsor.
Dr. Corina Velehorschi, a Windsor psychiatrist and consultant with the University of Windsor’s student health services, said the university offers “wonderful” resources.
She added ADHD also has one of the highest success rates for treatment in medicine.
Heidi Bernhardt, national director and founder of the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada based near Toronto, said the organization offers “tons of resources.” They include 30 hours of video presentations with experts.
Bernhardt points to the centre’s website caddac.ca that offers facts, information, resources and strategies.
While many may associate ADHD with the young fidgety kid who can’t sit still, she said it can continue into the teens and through adulthood.
As a mother with three grown sons with ADHD who attended university, Bernhardt appreciates the situation for students with exams on the horizon.
Because ADHD can involve what Bernhardt calls the “executive functioning skills” such as organization, time management and problem solving, ADHD can affect students’ ability to complete assignments and meet deadlines.
Away from home, parents aren’t available to follow up on school work and make sure students get to class. Bernhardt said recent efforts to raise awareness about ADHD with university students may explain why they’re struggling.
“They may be overwhelmed. They don’t know what’s happening to them. And they’re told to just try harder,” she said.
But students may spin their wheels, fail and drop out, Bernhardt said. She hears from students and parents and their situations can be heartbreaking.
“Parents are in tears, parents are in denial. We are constantly trying to raise awareness.”
Bernhardt said it can be difficult for students to be their own best advocates. But they need to talk to student health and counseling services at university.
Diagnosis and treatment are much better in recent years, Bernhardt said.
For a long time, researchers missed girls because they didn’t see the hyperactivity so commonly associated with ADHD. “But you see a lot of anxiety and depression in girls later on,” Bernhardt said.
Velehorschi sees bright students who are failing, have low self-esteem, feel overwhelmed, stupid and unable to keep up.
“Their brain cannot make the bridge between knowledge and the execution of that knowledge,” Velehorschi said. “They lack the neurotransmitters in their brain between knowledge and execution.”
Exam time can be especially difficult. They have a hard time sitting still and may read a test question over and over, Velehorschi said. In turn, they may overcompensate, studying intensely two or three times longer.
They lack focus and don’t have an appreciation of time, so they procrastinate and get distracted. A project due in two weeks falls by the wayside as the student still thinks it can be completed in the last couple of weeks.
The University of Windsor law student said she lacked the basic study skills so many of her peers take for granted.
“They don’t know what they have to do,” Velehorschi said. And besides medicinal drugs, treatment also involves teaching them skills. At exam time, they may need a quiet environment, extra time and breaks.
Said the second-year law student: “I can’t imagine not being diagnosed and being here in university.”
Misconceptions and myths abound about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada
Here are some facts to dispel the myths:
- ADHD is a genuine neurobiological disorder that was clinically observed more than 100 years ago. All of the major medical associations and government health agencies recognize this fact because the scientific evidence is overwhelming.
- ADHD is under-diagnosed and under-treated.
- ADHD occurs in five to 12 per cent of school-age children worldwide.
- ADHD is the most common mental health disorder in children.
- Eighty percent maintain the diagnosis into adolescence.
- Sixty percent are still affected by core symptoms in adulthood.
- Research shows that ADHD is most likely inherited.
- New research shows that problems with executive functioning, such as organization and time management, greatly affect those with ADHD.
- ADHD is a problem with regulating attention not just inattention.
- Parenting styles do not cause ADHD.
- Diets and limiting food additives and sugar will not cure ADHD.
- Treatment for ADHD should always be multi-modal.
- Using medication for ADHD does not lead to future drug abuse and may decrease the chance that adolescents with ADHD self medicate.
- Children and adolescents with untreated ADHD are at a greater risk for:
* problems with learning, resulting in less academic success;
* dropping out of high school;
* poor self-esteem;
* substance abuse;
* increased parent-child conflict and stress;
* sustaining injuries and having accidents;
* more mental health issues as they grow up;
* problems with social skills and peer relationships and
* becoming a juvenile offender.
* Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada; caddac.ca