Posts Tagged ‘focus’
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.
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 ·
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
ADHD is common among both children and adults. There is a misconception that it is mostly little boys that have the ailment, but that’s because ADHD acts differently in children verses adults as well as males verses females.
Two to five million adults have been diagnosed with ADHD, with many more going undiagnosed. Another misconception is that all people with ADHD are hyperactive, and although these cases may stand out more because of the obvious disruption, there are many who are just as quiet but are still suffering inside.
If you’re one of the millions of adults with ADHD, your already familiar with the symptoms. Difficulty staying focus and organized, losing things easily, being impulsive and impatient are just a few of the symptoms. If you’re given variety, and not placed in a boring and mundane job, you’ll probably do well. The ability to change your environment and set your own schedule is also a plus.
By working with your symptoms instead of against them, you’ve got a great head start at being successful. In fact, people with ADHD have been known to do some pretty incredible things when given the chance. One of those is inventor Alexander Graham Bell. He’d be surprised to find how far his invention has gone.
Famous photographer Ansel Adams, composer Beethoven, and the inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci all had ADHD. So did Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. There is certainly no reason to be embarrassed by it; you’re in good company, and it’s obvious that it can spark some amazing creativity.
If you’d prefer to ease some of the more annoying symptoms naturally, rather than take synthetic medication, exercise can be the best alternative treatment there is.
Exercise can actually turn on your attention system and help you to sustain your focus and also lessens impulsivity. The chemicals that are released when you exercise helps to increase dopamine levels which helps the attention system’s ability to be regular and consistent. It also increases alertness and reduces the need for new stimuli.
Exercise not only keeps you physically fit, it empowers your mind and helps to defeat feelings of helplessness that can be associated with ADHD. Sports that require a lot of concentration and focus are especially beneficial, including rock climbing and mountain biking. Skating, white-water rafting and canoeing also help to strengthen your brain and encourage it to correct mistakes, though any exercise will be beneficial to creating a balance within you, without those negative side effects.
K.C. Dermody has been an avid runner, hiker, and yoga enthusiast for twenty years, and as a trained yoga instructor she taught a variety of students from senior citizens to competitive athletes. She enjoys combining her passion for sports, emotional and physical well-being with her love of writing.
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Like most entrepreneurs, I have a love/hate relationship with structure. But I have learned to use (and love) color coding to help me organize papers and information by client or general category. The idea of a having a central theme for all my various endeavors makes so much sense for taking my general goals to the next level of structure. What a great tool for prioritizing and staying on track!
Entrepreneurs With Adult ADHD Use Themes to Make Money!
Article by Stephanie Frank
“So what are your plans for next year?,” I asked an Adult ADHD student the other day. He looked down, sighed, looked back up and said “Well, I’m going to work on a book, finish my real estate education, keep attending your teleclasses, work on my marketing plan, and–”
I’d heard it a hundred thousand times, mostly from the creative, entrepreneurs and small business owners with Adult ADHD symptoms I work with on a regular basis.
“WAIT!” I interrupted. “How can you focus on so many things at one time? Multitasking without a common reason is NOT the answer.” “Oh, but I’m a really good multitasker!” he replied.
I took a deep breath. Sure–one of the strengths of people with Adult ADHD is that they are good at multitasking. But in this case…if he was such a great multitasker, then why wasn’t he achieving the level of success he wanted?
All successful people, including those with Adult ADHD symptoms, know this – FOCUS is the key to success. One thing at a time. One purpose at a time. Finish one and go on to the next. That kind of focus is almost impossible for someone with Adult ADHD, however.
Instead, we entrepreneurs with Adult ADHD work ourselves too hard and don’t give ourselves the time or effort it takes to really be successful. So many people with Adult ADHD get just to the TIP of success and then WHAM! – fall right down the mountain, exhausted, convinced that the principles of success somehow aren’t meant for them.
It’s not fair.
And it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re a creative person with Adult ADHD symptoms and have multiple irons in the fire, so to speak, multiple projects and things you’re working on–you can gain great momentum and success with those projects IF you follow one simple rule.
This works for people with or without Adult ADHD, by the way.
Here’s the secret–all of your projects and plans will work well ONLY if you have one overarching reason for doing them. You can do this in a big way by looking at all of your projects and considering “WHY” you do each of them.
For me, the practice of communication keeps me excited about talking with people, writing and networking. That’s a big reason why I do certain projects, and keeps me motivated to follow-through even though I have Adult ADHD.
Another method that I like to use is a theme-focused approach. People with Adult ADHD do well to have a theme for a year, for a month, a day and even for an hour. That keeps you focused on tasks that are congruent with the current theme.
For example, if your theme for the year is to increase your income by 50%, then all of your activities better have specific, money-making results. Place your theme word (or words) right there on your desk and look at it every day. If you ever get off track or wonder what to do next (classic ADHD symptom), look up at your theme and do what it says.
Simple, and VERY effective for entrepreneurs with Adult ADHD!
What will your theme be this year? Write it down right now and get going! And if you want to learn more about how to optimize your business model to work perfectly with Adult ADHD symptoms, see below!
WHAT DOSE OF FISH OIL IS RECOMMENDED DAILY FOR TREATMENT OF ADULT ADHD?
Adult ADHD best answer:
Ask the Dr. that recommended the fish oil.
2,000 milligrams for an adult, but they say they adjust the amounts depending on weight. Some experts recommend higher doses to get the full therapeutic effect, but there are risks. Fish oil is a blood thinner and can interfere with clotting and cause excessive bleeding, which can be dangerous. Doctors say anyone with a family history of a bleeding disorder should avoid it.
This is a viable option for many students, with ADHD or not, if only they knew about it. I’d love to see more of this type of training given to students from an early age to help them cope more effectively with the stress and anxiety of school.
I haven’t studied enough. I’m going to fail the test. My mom’s going to be mad. Maybe I’ll skip class.
Thoughts like these can quickly gallop out of control in kids’ minds, but what if there was a way they could clear them away? Enter the three-minute breathing meditation, which can be done anywhere, whether it’s on the bus or in a school hallway.
It’s one of the cornerstones of the increasingly popular practice of mindfulness, a blend of Buddhism-inspired calm and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Used as a therapy for adults for about 30 years, it’s now moving into the world of kids. Touted as a way to help children relax and focus their thoughts, mindfulness is being used in schools to help students function better – one study says it may even help their marks. Research already shows that mindfulness therapy has huge potential for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety.
For Toronto teen Caitlin Saracevic, the short meditative breaks help curb her ADHD, which makes her feel “constantly on the go mentally, with a thousand thoughts going on at once.”
The first-year university student uses mindfulness to reduce that brain traffic before exams, not that you would notice. “It would just look like I’m chilling, looking at my iPod,” she says. “It lets me not feel as overwhelmed.”
Experts say the key to this rests in the idea that thoughts and feelings – especially negative, anxious ones – aren’t necessarily reality and don’t have to be permanent.
Toronto child psychiatrist and mindfulness expert M. Lee Freedman says she puts it simply to her patients: “You don’t actually have to believe everything you think.”
She says one child looked at her after she said this and replied: “‘You know what? That was the first useful thing any therapist has said to me,’” she recalls. “You could see everything start to shift. His face started to change.”
Educators are buying into the buzz with programs popping up across the country. One of the most established, called MindUP, has been running in Vancouver schools for six years, and begins with kids as young as kindergarten-age.
Actress Goldie Hawn, author of a new book on mindfulness called 10 Mindful Minutes, is the program’s philanthropic patron; her foundation funded research that found mindfulness helped students achieve better reading scores, less absenteeism and a 63 per cent rise in optimism.
Through her book, Ms. Hawn aims to bring the mindfulness message to parents.
“By … learning to quiet our own minds and reduce the effects of stress, we’ll be more in control of our own emotions and reactions,” Ms. Hawn writes. “This will help us not only in our parenting but also in our personal relationships, in the workplace and in the world at large.”
While that may sound like nothing more than a new-age boast, experts who work in the field are especially optimistic about the benefits of recalibrating family dynamics. Dr. Freedman says she’s noticed that much of the benefit a child gets from talk therapy comes from the “idea that I’m really listening to them and not judging them. This notion of them feeling like, ‘She is very present here, I have her full attention.’”
As a mother of four, she remembers “the moment I discovered, my gosh, these children have more of my full attention that my own children.”
She is offering two new programs, one for parents of anxious children, starting next month and another more general “mindfulness for families,” which she describes as taking a preventative approach. It started this week.
“We live in a very stressed society,” she says. “There’s a lot of multitasking going on. Human beings are going into automatic pilot, which is the opposite of being mindful.”
This site seeks to be an overall resource for products, techniques and information regarding developing greater focus, whether that need comes from a neurobiological cause such as ADHD or merely the desire to maximize your potential. It is important that we also look at the susceptibilities we may have for misuse or abuse of the tools and techniques.
As the parent of a college-aged son who has struggled his whole life with ADHD, this report is very troubling. At 17, after years of medications, my son has chosen the non-drug route, refusing to “take a happy pill and live a fake life.” He struggles daily but is finding his own ways to cope and compensate. So I find the “I know it’s not real and will come back to bite me later but, hey, why not?” attitude particularly troublesome.
Rochester, N.Y.— As the pressure to succeed grows among college students, an alarming trend is also brewing on college campuses. More and more students are turning to ADHD drugs like Adderall to help them focus and stay up through the night.
When taken as a study aid, Adderall and drugs like it are called “smart pills”. According to a recent study by The Addiction Journal, one in four college students admit to taking ADHD pills to study.
Steve (name has been changed), a local college student says he also takes the pills to help get his schoolwork done.
“You’re a lot more focused. That’s the only way to describe it. You can just focus on that one thought and so it’s a lot harder to get distracted.”
People who take Adderall but don’t have ADHD can stay hyper-focused and can stay up for several hours and even for days.
“I took 60 milligrams in one night and I stayed up 72 hours working on one assignment, ” says Steve. “I ended up getting a really good grade on it.”
Sara Ormsby, an addiction therapist at Unity Health says she sees cases of Adderall abuse more often.
“I just think that more and more schools are setting higher and higher standards for their students and so I just think that people feel that there is a competitive vibe on campus,” says Ormsby. “They want to do well or have an expectation on them to do well.”
Steve agrees. Without Adderall he would get mostly B’s and maybe a few C’s but he says that’s not good enough.
“The difference between an A and a B can be huge,” says Steve. “Everything seems to be focused on GPA and so to get a good job, I need to get good grades.”
Ormsby finds that if a student wants Adderall bad enough, the drugs are easy to find and they’re relatively cheap. Each capsule can cost anywhere from $5 to $30.
“If it’s not a epidemic yet, it’s on its way to being that,” she says. “Adderall is so accessible. It’s prescribed very easily. ADD and ADHD are these hot button diagnoses that a lot of people have. I find that that most of my clients say that they get them from friends who are prescribed Adderall but just aren’t using them as prescribed and will have extra to give to other people.”
Steve says on his campus, he doesn’t have to look far to find these drugs.
“It’s everywhere,” he says. “If you ask five people chances are they know someone [who has Adderall]. If you ask ten people, chances are they can just give you some because he had a prescription.”
According to IMS Health, the number of Adderall prescriptions increased 68 percent from 2007 to 2010.
Dr. Ralph Manchester of University Health Services at University of Rochester says during midterms or finals time more students walk through his doors looking for Adderall prescriptions.
“Sometimes they’re coming in the day before finals start and they want something to go to the pharmacy with today,” says Dr. Manchester, “If they don’t already have an ADHD diagnosis it’s not something we’re going to be able to address in 24 hours.”
He also seen more students complaining of side effects caused by Adderall use.
“It’s very easy to get too much and every year in December and May around finals and we see a handful of students come in with rapid heartbeat, feeling lightheaded and generally feeling not well because they’ve taken too much of this kind of medication.”
He feels that students often underestimate the effects of prescription pills.
“I think in general there is a misunderstanding that if it’s a prescription drug that it can’t be as dangerous as an illegal drug.”
Some longterm effects of Adderall abuse include the possibility of stroke, heart attacks, depression and even psychosis.
Adderall is also an amphetamine and can have effects similar to cocaine and people who abuse the drug can form physical and psychological addiction. The more your body adjusts to Adderall, the more you’ll need to feel the effects—thus creating a higher risk of overdosing.
Dr. Manchester and Ormsby says it going to take a lot of education on the part of universities and parents to curb the trend of Adderall abuse.
“Parents are typically in tune with how their kids are behaving and what their overall attitude is,” says Ormsby. “If they start to see that their children are not calling them as much anymore or if they’re angry or aggressive and that’s not their normal behavior that may be an indicator that something’s off.”
Steve says he knows the danger he is putting himself in and feels that in the end, taking Adderall would leave him at a disadvantage in the future. He knows that there will come a time when he will have to live without Adderall.
“When I get into the real world I would be in deep water. Because I wouldn’t be able to manage my time [without Adderall] and you can’t just leave work until the weekend to do it like I do now when you have a 9 to 5 job everyday.”
Still for now, he depends on the pills. He says he needs to get A’s and anything less isn’t good enough.
“Why not… if you can just go to one of your friend and take a pill and improve your grades? Why not?”
At local universities like University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology, punishment for students caught buying or selling prescription pills can range from mandatory drug counseling programs to outright expulsion.
The aging process is often riddled with complaints of reduced focus and concentration. How can this be such a concern in the life of so many individuals? As an adult psychiatrist, I am given brain problems to solve. Sometimes it seems that the brain just gets overloaded with the demands of modern day life. Today there is little down time to have your brain in idle. However, being greatly distracted by the multiple requirements of 21st century life does not necessarily indicate that one has Adult Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD). The following is a commentary on the exponential growth of the ADD diagnosis.
First, Attention Deficit Disorder is a valid and recognizable problem in some adults. Most individuals with ADD have mild symptoms and do not need treatment. Mild symptoms are defined as distraction, inattention, and hyperactivity problems that are noticeable but do not impede daily life functioning. Adults are smart. They find external memory systems or external brains that work for them. Planners, cell phones and live calls, and post-it notes are survival tools for many. Do they have an illness that requires treatment? Probably not. Most adults easily compensate for their distraction problems by using their executive brain functioning. This ability of adults to compensate often requires clinicians to be highly skilled in order to diagnose an underlying ADD condition. The ADD may be the culprit behind their depression and anxiety problems.
When the distraction problem is at the next level of severity, the diagnosis is simplified. Here the individual’s attention span is obviously limited during conversation. Frequent distraction by environmental cues and an inability to sit still for any length of time are also reported. At this level of functioning, attention challenges impact upon the person’s daily world. Reports of hours spent finding misplaced items, lost ATM cards, bills going unpaid on time, tons of paper piles, and missed or late appointments all cause ongoing out of control problems.
Hearing such complaints, I have to assess whether the problem is acute or chronic. The individual history will determine the possibility of current stressful situations explaining the distraction. Acute life issues with family, money, and health can distract one from being totally focused. Yet some individuals have a long standing history of lack of attention. These adults have found techniques such as post-its and written lists for maintaining focus. It is hard to maintain attention if you have problems on your mind. Focus and concentration problems that develop suddenly and without a reason need to be checked out medically. Depression, diabetes, thyroid issues, and medication effects are conditions that can impact concentration.
Severe distraction and concentration problems are readily recognizable. Struggling throughout the day, missing project deadlines, getting speeding tickets for driving in zone, and spacing out most of the time make life challenging and overwhelming. The continued pain of living out of control often fuels a phone call to a health professional. Yet making the ADD diagnosis for an adult is often tricky. Why? People with ADD can hyper focus on things that are of interest and excel at them. The common myth is that an ADD individual cannot excel in life. Most forget that adults adapt to their situations. If you are disorganized, you may be unconsciously attracted to a spouse, receptionist, or business partner who is able to take care of the boring and uninteresting tasks. The ADD person is often the creative big picture person; the problem is in completing the boring details.
In summary, the Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis in adults is often missed. The condition can be masked by underlying problems with mood such as anxiety and depression. Current treatment options depend upon the severity of illness. Most often, patients respond by just obtaining a correct diagnosis which allows them to limit daily tasks and responsibilities.
By: Stephanie Durruthy