ADHD News & Updates: Study Suggests Drug Ritalin Makes No Long-Term Difference for Kids with ADHD

Time for a New Approach?

Although Ritalin has been a mainstay in the day-to-day treatment of ADHD symptoms, much debate continues whether the drug provides long-term benefits for children.

“A new study suggests that long-term drug Ritalin makes no difference to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to Sydney Morning Herald,[1] a research team at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has found that ADHD children who are treated with Ritalin continue to struggle mentally and academically as they get older.

For three years, the research team has been following 212 children without ADHD and 178 children with ADHD. The aim of the study is to identify the factors that make a difference to the development of children with ADHD.

Adorable five year old African American Girl and mother having an argumentAccording to Ten Eyewitness News[2], the Children’s Attention Project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council has found that by the age of seven, children with ADHD show severe mental, social and academic differences compared with their peers. Preliminary findings suggest that these disparities persist three years after the start of the research.

Four times as many ADHD children aged 10 years old suffer from mental health problems such as oppositional disorder and anxiety. Children with ADHD are also well behind their peers in their reading and mathematical abilities. The study did not find differences in outcomes between girls and boys.

One of the chief investigators of the project, pediatrician Daryl Efron, said that all of the children with ADHD continued to be at risk of mental health and academic problems at 10 years old, just like when they were seven years old. At age 10, those children in the study under Ritalin medication for ADHD were not doing better than their peers not taking the medication. This suggests that Ritalin medication doesn’t improve the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD.

Dr. Efron cautioned that drugs like Ritalin can be very effective in reducing the day-to-day symptoms of ADHD, helping children to be calmer and more focused. However, the treatment options for ADHD haven’t progressed very much beyond treating day-to-day symptoms. Medical researchers need to find a better approach to ADHD in the future to make a real long-term difference.”[3]

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-evidence-ritalin-makes-a-difference-long-term-for-adhd-kids-20160311-gngmeb.html

[2] http://tenplay.com.au/news/national/march/study-reveals-the-truth-about-ritalin

[3] http://www.parentherald.com/articles/28101/20160314/adhd-news-updates-study-suggests-drug-ritalin-makes-difference-long.htm

 

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom, as she talks about a day in the life of an ADHD family…

Sometimes the combination of having an impulsive ADHD parent a super absent-minded ADHD teenager trying to navigate life together can lead to some pretty hilarious moments. I reflect on this as I sit here with grass in my hair and muddy knees calmly waiting to interview for a new position at work.Kate_SM

You see, it all started last night. We pulled into the driveway and my teenage son realized he forgot his only sneakers at the lacrosse field. (Surprise, surprise) It was 9:30 pm and I was interviewing for a new position in the morning. I wasn’t about to drive the 15 minutes it would take to go back to the field and look for them.

So, this morning, after he went to school in his sister’s flip flops, I decided I had just enough time to drive over and grab the sneakers.

Well, the lacrosse field has a 6 foot chain link fence around it and is locked up tight during the school day. (You see what’s coming, don’t you?) Being an impulsive – don’t think about consequences kind of girl, I kick off my heels and start climbing the fence. Mind you now, I’m dressed to impress in a skirt, blouse, nylons, etc… I immediately get stuck on a wire and rip my clothes. Do I stop, turn around and find someone to unlock the gate? Nope. I persevere and fling my somewhat-overweight-44-year-old body over the fence. Victory! I grab the sneakers, toss them over and begin to haul myself back to the other side. At the top of the fence, just as I have completed that awkward straddle move required (you all know the one) I see a park security guy leaning up against his truck watching the scene with an amused smile. I don’t even try to explain. I just hold my head up high, stumble over to my car, adjust my shredded nylons while pulling grass out of my hair, give him a little wave and drive away.

I wonder what stories he’s going to tell his coworkers at lunchtime today?

~Kate

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

How does impulsivity affect us throughout life? It can be life changing ranging from silliness to severe. Join Kate as she explains how her impulsivity and ADHD affected her choices in life.

This is some embarrassing stuff and I am cringing as I write, but I did some REALLY dumb things in my late teens/early twenties that determined the path my life would take. In recently accepting my ADHD and thinking back on this time in my life, I realize why I did some of the things I did. I wish I had known about my ADHD and used strategies to cope back then. I just kind of stumbled through everything in a fog, never really using focused, clear brain power.Kate_SM

On my college application, I checked the box that said “Native American” because I thought it meant I was a native of America. I am not Native American. I was hastily accepted even though my grades, attendance and behavior were horrible. I don’t know if classifying myself as a Native American had anything to do with my acceptance, but it makes it clear that I was living in an ADHD fog. I eventually got a phone call from someone at the college wondering how to make sure my cultural needs were met. (I still feel really guilty about this).

While in that college, I took classes based on what other people were signing up for. I rarely attended these classes and didn’t have any kind of plan or intention of why I was there. Once again, I’m living in an ADHD fog. One day my friends were all walking across campus to “declare a major”, so I followed them. They all declared education, so I did too. I’ve been teaching for 20 years now even though it was never my passion or intention.

As my own children begin to enter young adulthood and consider choices that will determine their life path, I see how much of a wreck I really was at their age and wonder what I could have done differently if I knew how to manage my ADHD. Would I be in a different place in life now if I had used one ounce of focused, clear brain power?

~Kate

ADHD and Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

Are you SAD during the Winter Months?

This month we have discussed how diet and exercise can affect your ADHD symptoms. There is another disorder highly associated with ADHD and that is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

“According to the National Mental Health Association, the most difficult months for SAD sufferers are January and February, and younger persons and women are at higher risk. Many SAD individuals also have ADHD.”[1]

“As seasons change, there is a shift in our ‘biological internal clocks’ or Circadian rhythm due partly because of changes in sunlight patterns,” says Andrea Rogers, Supervisor for Intensive Outpatient Programs in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai. “According to Rogers, melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is produced at increased levels in the dark winter months.” [2]

young woman in depression near the window

In the previous blog we discussed the different food groups and how they can help improve your ADHD symptoms. Below are nutrients that are mind and body boosters and can help with your ADHD/SAD symptoms.

Folate (Folic Acid, Vitamin B9)

Increased intake of folate is associated with a lower risk of depression.

Folate is especially important for pregnant women, but everyone needs folic acid for production of cells. It is especially important for healthy hair, skin, nails, eyes, liver and red blood cell production.

Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains have high amounts of folate, or folic acid.

Vitamin D

Rates of depression are higher in people with Vitamin D deficiency compared to people who have adequate levels of vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D is thought to play a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is depression that commonly starts in the fall, lasts through winter and subsides in the sunnier spring and summer months.

Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones, and the health of muscles and the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with heart disease and increased risk of heart attacks.

Most foods do not naturally have Vitamin D, but many are “Vitamin D fortified.” Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have the most naturally occurring Vitamin D. Other foods like milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals have Vitamin D added.

Our bodies also produce Vitamin D as a result of being in the sun. Five to thirty minutes of sun exposure twice a week generally produces enough Vitamin D, with lighter-skinned people requiring less time than those with darker skin. Time in the sun beyond the suggested amounts above requires use of sunscreen to prevent skin damage and reduce risk of skin cancer. Vitamin D supplements may be used in fall and winter months.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Some studies suggest that omega-3s may be helpful in the treatment of depression and seem to have a mood-stabilizing effect. Omega-3 essential fatty acids may also help boost the effectiveness of conventional antidepressants and help young people with ADHD.

Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be important in reducing inflammation, the primary cause of conditions like arthritis and asthma, and play a role in heart health by reducing triglycerides (blood fats). They may also reduce risk for certain kinds of cancer.

Oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies and sardines) are the most highly recommended sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and the American Heart Association suggests eating these types of fish at least twice a week. Omega-3s can also be found in walnuts, flax (or flaxseed oil), olive oil, fresh basil and dark green leafy vegetables.”[3]

Time just seems to slip away during the darkness of the winter months. Focus and attention along with organizational skills seem to falter as the days become shorter and the nights longer. You are not alone, Play Attention has written an eBook to help with Time Management: http://www.playattention.com/time_management

Let Play Attention help you improve focus and attention during these winter months! Go to: http://www.playattention.com/free-adhd-consult/ and schedule a FREE consult at a time that best meets your busy schedule. Or, call 800 788 6786. Play Attention not only offers customized, individualized programs – full support is included in the program.

 

[1] http://blog.samhsa.gov/2014/10/09/lets-talk-about-depression/#.Vqpd3E-PYQo

[2] http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Andrea-Rogers/274768305

[3] http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind

ADHD: Diet and Nutrition

Best Foods for Kids With ADHD

In our previous blog: ADHD and Food Additives, we discussed how certain types of diets may help to control ADHD symptoms and how sugar and gluten may worsen ADHD symptoms.

“Diet may play a significant role in managing symptoms in children with ADHD. Adding certain foods and nutrients that may boost brain function, eliminating foods that seem to worsen ADHD symptoms, and trying other diet and nutrition tips to improve your child’s diet may all help with ADHD.”[1]

Below, is a compilation of fruits, dairy, vegetables, protein, and food high in Omega 3, which may improve ADHD symptoms in children and adults as well.

FRUITS

“Apples are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Doctors have recommended that children with ADHD increase their intake of complex carbohydrates. Eating these types of foods right before bed has also been known to help children sleep better. An apple a day will keep your ADHD symptoms at bay. Much like apples, pears are a good source of complex carbohydrates. Similar to apples and other complex carbs, eating pears at night can help aid sleep. Much like oranges, apples and pears, kiwis are an incredible source of complex carbohydrates.

x-ray image of human head with vegetables for a brain.

Eating oranges or grapefruits – and drinking 100 percent pure orange juice – are both great ways to add more complex carbohydrates to your diet. These foods are known to help aid with sleep (falling asleep can be very difficult for kids with ADHD) and are a great source of Vitamin C as well.

DAIRY

Cheese is a great source of protein and protein. However, many who suffer from ADHD suffer with a cow’s milk allergy or intolerance, which can exacerbate  ADHD symptoms. If you suspect you or your child has an allergy to cow’s milk/dairy, try switching to goat cheese instead to improve concentration and improve how ADHD medication works.

VEGETABLES

Spinach is one of the most effective vegetables when it comes to controlling ADHD symptoms in children. Doctors often recommend leafy green vegetables and spinach is most definitely at the top of that list.

OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acids have been known to significantly decrease ADHD symptoms in many children. Tuna is a phenomenal source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Similar to tuna, nuts are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and Brazil nuts have been shown to have the most impact when managing ADHD symptoms but other types like almonds are a great alternative as well.

Eating salmon at least once a week will help alleviate some of the symptoms your child might be experiencing from ADHD. Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the healthiest fish you can eat. White fish is a great way to incorporate more Omega-3 fatty acids into you and your child’s diet. If you’re eating too much salmon (or simply looking for an alternative or addition to salmon) white fish is a great option.

PROTEIN

Eggs are also a great source of protein. Protein is essential in maintaining a balanced diet and controlling symptoms in children and adults with ADHD. Much like cheese, eggs will improve concentration and increase the time ADHD medications work. Beans, much like cheese and eggs, are a great source of protein as well.

Chicken boasts countless health benefits but the biggest nutritional factor when it comes to chicken is the amount of protein. Most kids love chicken and there are countless ways to incorporate it into your weekly meal planning. Adding protein to your meals will improve concentration and will increase the time ADHD medication works.

Lastly, we’d like to mention cereals. Whole grain cereal can be a very healthy breakfast option for kids suffering from ADHD but there are a few key things to remember. First, you’ll always want to choose multi-grain options. Instead of normal Cheerios, choose multigrain. Secondly, you’ll want to avoid cereals with artificial colors and artificial sweeteners. What does that mean? It simply means opt for kinds like Corn Flakes and Fiber 1 instead of Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms.

We need to stress this: Every person is different and will react to certain foods differently. Some people have allergic reactions to certain types of food (dairy etc.) which can trigger ADHD symptoms. It’s always best to talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to diet.”[2]

Play Attention realizes that all individuals with ADHD are different from one another and require different needs. Play Attention not only offers customized, individualized programs – full support is included in the program.

Call: 800 788 6786 for more information or attend one of our FREE upcoming Speed Webinars to learn more. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

 

[1] http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/diet-tips-for-kids.aspx

[2] http://www.activebeat.com/diet-nutrition/15-best-foods-for-children-with-adhd/

http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

www.playattention.com

 

 

 

 

ADHD and Food Additives

The List Just Gets Longer . . .

There is still much debate whether food additives such as dyes and preservatives used in processed foods can worsen ADHD symptoms. To further confuse the issue, sugar and gluten are also in the debate.  More foods are being added to the list daily.

Two of the primary pioneers in the area of food additives were Hertha Hafer author of (The Hidden Drug – Dietary Phosphate)[1] and Ben F. Feingold (Why Your Child is Hyperactive).[2]

Hafer had a son who was hyperactive: “Michael never knew what homework he had to do. He could not stay focused and lost track of a lesson after only a few minutes. He remembered and understood barely anything. At the end of each school day we telephoned neighbors to find out what his homework was and tried to teach him ourselves. It was a miracle that he learnt anything at all in primary school.

Couple having lunch at rustic gourmet restaurant

After much research, she confirmed her suspicions, it was something he was eating – the common element in the many foods which triggered Michael’s behavioral problems was phosphate, a versatile food additive which during the last fifty years has been added indiscriminately to many foods.”[3]

“Feingold, a pediatrician and allergist, introduced the hypothesis that some growing brains are sensitive to certain synthetic chemicals in food. He pioneered the Feingold Diet, which was used to help improve the symptoms of ADHD, among other complaints. The diet is based on Feingold’s theory that food additives—especially artificial food colorings—adversely affect the nervous systems of susceptible children.”[4]

There has also been debate as to whether sugar and other food elements such as gluten cause ADHD. The vote is still out, but many parents do see an improvement in their ADHD loved one with the exclusion of these ingredients.

Sugar – As the Villain for ADHD

“It’s a popular belief that sugar + kids = hyperactive behavior. Take a roomful of kids and give them sugary soft drinks, cake, or candy and they’ll go wild. Yet studies have not found a strong connection between sugar consumption and ADHD. Nevertheless, it still might be helpful for your ADHD child to cut back on sugar to be healthier and it may reduce some ADHD symptoms.

Sugar and the Brain

Recently, researchers at the University of Colorado revisited the question of a possible link between sugar and ADHD, and speculated that sugar consumption may play a role in altering dopamine brain-signaling. ADHD patients’ brains typically show evidence of these alterations in dopamine signaling. A recent Australian study examined the relationships among sleep, diet, and behavior in children with ADHD. Parents reported more sleep disturbances among children who ate more sugar, which suggests that diet might play a role in this aspect of ADHD. While intriguing, the results were not definitive.”[5]

Gluten-As the Villain in ADHD

“Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some oat products. It is also added to some foods, such as ice cream, as a thickening agent. In recent years, it’s made the news due to increased awareness of Celiac disease (sometimes called gluten intolerance), a relatively rare autoimmune disease, and gluten sensitivity, a condition in which people experience allergy symptoms after eating products containing gluten.

The Celiac/ADHD Hypothesis

What does this have to do with ADHD? According to an emerging theory, there is a possible link between Celiac disease and a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including ADHD. Proponents note that many people with undiagnosed Celiac disease also exhibit symptoms of ADHD. Furthermore, the symptoms of ADHD fade when these individuals begin a gluten-free diet.

ADHD is known to involve a disorder in the serotonin signaling system in the brain. Serotonin, like dopamine, is a brain chemical made from compounds obtained through the diet. Among these is tryptophan, a fundamental amino acid and an essential nutrient used to make serotonin. According to the Celiac/ADHD theory, people with Celiac disease do not absorb adequate tryptophan from the foods they eat, and so are unable to make enough serotonin. This results in ADHD symptoms.

While the relationship between Celiac disease and ADHD remains controversial, a recent study conducted by German researchers suggests that a gluten-free diet may dramatically improve symptoms of ADHD among children with undiagnosed gluten intolerance. Researchers examined the blood of 67 subjects with ADHD for antibodies to gluten. Finding these antibodies is the best way to diagnose Celiac disease. They found that Celiac disease is “markedly overrepresented” in this group, which at least suggests a link between the two conditions.

Going Gluten-Free

Although Celiac disease was once considered very rare, new information suggests that the number of people with gluten sensitivity, gluten allergies, and gluten intolerance is growing. The association between gluten and ADHD is still under investigation. Given the promising results of recent preliminary trials, however, it may be worthwhile to explore a gluten-free diet if you or your child has been diagnosed with ADHD.

Adopting a gluten-free diet requires avoiding all products containing gluten: breads, pasta, cakes, seasoned snack foods, soups and soup bases, malt vinegar, etc. The challenge is to get enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals for complete nutrition. Since many grain products are enriched with vitamins and minerals, eliminating these foods may reduce your intake of these important nutrients.

Grocery stores are now stocked with all types of gluten-free products (although not all are healthy), so going gluten-free can be less of a challenge. Still, the diet takes dedication and consistency to maintain. If you believe a gluten-free diet may be an option for you or your child, first speak with your doctor or a dietician.”[6]

Let Play Attention write you a recipe for improved focus and attention! Go to: http://www.playattention.com/free-adhd-consult/ and schedule a FREE consult at a time that best meets your busy schedule. Or, call 800 788 6786. Play Attention not only offers customized, individualized programs – full support is included in the program.

[1] http://www.phosadd.com/hertha/hertha.htm

[2] http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-diet#4

[3] http://www.phosadd.com/hertha/hertha.htm

[4] http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-diet#4

[5] http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-diet#3

[6] http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-diet#6

http://www.playattention.com/free-adhd-consult/

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Kate, a real ADHD mom, shares her positive spin on her ADHD.Kate_SM

So, as I sat down to write “Things I Hate about having ADHD”, I made the (impulsive) decision to honor the upcoming Valentine holiday and put a different spin on it… How about “Things I Love About Having ADHD”? I surprised myself when I started writing…It wasn’t too far of a stretch to take the negatives and pull the positives out. It made my day a little brighter! So here they are…Things I LOVE about having ADHD:

  1. I have the most amazing imagination! If I could only sit still and focus long enough to write or tell all the stories and ideas in my head! You’d be amazed!
  1. I laugh at myself every day. I find myself super funny and enjoy my own company.
  1. I don’t worry about long term consequences. I enjoy the moment.
  1. I’m super flexible. If something goes unexpectedly wrong, I am the master of “go with the flow”. You could just call me flow. My new nickname! Not like the Progressive ad lady Flo, but like…Agh…got off track…hold on…where was I?
  1. I never think “inside the box”. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know what the inside of the box looks like!
  2.  I’ve had many unexpected adventures due to impulsivity and an uncanny ability to act without thinking.
  1. I’m rarely bored. My one good friend (that I’ve been able to keep) always says I could amuse myself in a paper bag.
  1. I love that I can be spontaneous and take risks.
  1. I’m not bound by convention. There’s no “right” way to do something in my eyes.
  2. For my tenth thing that I love about having ADHD, it’s the feeling I get when I realize this crazy thing I deal with every day is not mine and mine alone. You’re all right there with me. You get it. I love that.

Sincerely,

“Flow”

 

Association Between Eating Behavior and ADHD Symptoms

It’s not just WHAT we eat, but HOW we eat…

In the upcoming series of blogs we will be discussing diet as it pertains to children and adults with ADHD.

In prelude to that topic, it is important to discuss the research conducted to ascertain the correlation between eating behavior and ADHD symptoms.

“One study included 471 preschool children from the Rhea mother-child cohort in Crete, Greece. The researchers found; There is some evidence that aberrant eating behaviors and obesity co-occur with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Regarding children’s food approach eating behaviors, we observed a positive association between food responsiveness and total ADHD index, as well as impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity subscale, separately.

Young lady having a late night binge of cookies and milk.

Similarly, there was a significant positive association between emotional overeating and ADHD symptoms. With regard to children’s food avoidant behaviors, food fussiness was found to be significantly associated with the impulsivity subscale. A dose-response association between the food approach behaviors and ADHD symptoms was also observed. Children on the medium and highest tertile of the food responsiveness subscale had increased scores on the ADHD total scale, as compared to those on the lowest tertile. As regards emotional overeating, children in the highest tertile of the scale had higher scores on ADHD total and hyperactivity.

Our findings provide evidence that food approach eating behaviors such as food responsiveness and emotional overeating are associated with the increased ADHD symptoms in preschool children. Future studies to better understand this overlap will enhance potential interventions.”[1]

Another study analyzed the disruptive patterns of eating behaviors and associated lifestyles in males with ADHD.

“The study population consisted of 100 boys aged 6–10 years diagnosed with mixed type ADHD by DSM-IV criteria and 100 aged-matched healthy male control subjects. Patterns of eating behaviors and associated lifestyles were scored by structured parental interviews using a nominal rating scale. The interview scores indicated statistically significant differences in patterned eating behaviors in subjects with ADHD in comparison to healthy controls.

The researchers concluded: Disruptive patterns of eating behaviors, metabolically unfavorable nutritional status, and diminished physical activities of male children diagnosed with ADHD are linked to compromised growth and development and appearance of metabolic diseases in adulthood.”[2]

These studies help confirm the correlation with binge eating in ADHD children and adult ADHD eating disorders.

“Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are substantially more likely to have an eating disorder similar to binge eating, new research shows.

Investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, found that children with ADHD were more than 12 times more likely to have loss of control eating syndrome than their counterparts without ADHD.”[3]

“ADHD symptoms related to hyperactivity such as impulsivity are sometimes present in patients with eating disorders, said researcher Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Ph.D. These disorders ‘are found mainly in patients with a more impulsive personality: people suffering bulimia, binge eating disorders and unspecific eating disorders.’

‘On the other hand, more restrictive anorexic patients and those with more ability to control themselves do not show these symptoms.’

ADHD symptoms are positively associated with impulsive personality traits and age. More impulsive and older patients have an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. Impulsivity is also associated with a greater severity of the disorder.”[4]

“For now, Dr Reinblatt said that, inasmuch as ‘most people who treat ADHD look for decreases in appetite with medication,’ it might be appropriate for clinicians to be mindful of loss of control eating and screen for binge eating.”[5]

With this information, parents as well as doctors, can watch for these symptoms and take the appropriate steps to create a healthy, nutritional diet for their ADHD child or loved one.

Learn how you can control impulsivity and improve focus, register for a FREE speed webinar at Play Attention. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26706046

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999164/

[3] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844339#vp_1

[4] http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/07/11/adult-eating-disorder-adhd-clinical-challenges/57068.html

[5] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844339#vp_2

http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

What Types of Exercises Are Best for Adult ADHD?

 

In our previous blog we discussed how exercise acts like a medication for ADHD. “When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which helps with attention and clear thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain.

The stimulant medicines that are often used to treat adults and children with ADHD work by increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain. So it makes sense that a workout can have many of the same effects as stimulant drugs. “WebMD[1]

So, what types of exercise are best for Adults with ADHD?

Dr. John Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the groundbreaking ADD-ADHD “Driven to Distraction” series. He states: “Regular exercise is a natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. Prolonged, strenuous workouts raise bloodstream levels of endorphins, the naturally occurring opiates that diminish pain while boosting feelings of well-being. Walking can be enough to boost levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates our sensations of reward, motivation, and attention.

Physical activities that involve coordination, and complex movements – such as martial arts, dance, and basketball – cause connections to form between neurons in the cerebellum. That’s the region of the brain that controls, among other things, our social interactions. It’s not going too far to say that exercising can, ultimately, help us make friends.” [2]

“Sports can be a challenge for people with ADHD symptoms for several reasons. ‘Novelty is a key factor in grabbing and holding the attention of someone with ADHD,’ said Richard Horowitz, EdD, a parenting and relationship coach in Flemington, N.J. and author of Peaceful Parenting: Parent Empowerment and Child Empowerment. Consider not only participating in a variety of sports to keep boredom away, but change up the time of day and the type of music listened to just to keep things interesting.

Young Woman and Man Practicing Martial Arts Outdoors

Also, give some thought to the type of physical activity. Aerobic exercises like running, elliptical machines, cycling, and so on increase the neurotransmitter levels, which is important. Calming exercises have their place as well. ‘There are calming exercises that slow the system and can have tremendous benefit,’ said Nancy Konigsberg, MA, an occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics in N.J. ‘For example, there are yoga programs designed to help calm adults with ADHD and allow them to focus better.’

Team sports such as baseball may be difficult for some people, but this can vary by individual. Also, people with ADHD symptoms should avoid sports with inherent danger such as extreme mountain biking and bungee jumping as they can get caught up in the rush of excitement and not realize possible hazards.” [3]

“If exercise fails to hold your attention, interval training is the perfect solution. Interval training alternates a short burst of high-intensity exercise with bouts of low-intensity activity, burning more fat in 20 minutes than longer workouts do. You can do interval training on a stationary bike, treadmill, or on a run. Warm up for five or 10 minutes. Then pedal, walk, or run as fast as you can, for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a minute or two of low-intensity activity. Speed up again, then lay back. Do five or six alternations in 20 minutes. Talk with your doctor, to make sure you can handle intense physical activity.”[4]

“Do you wish you could talk to someone who knows what you’re going through?

Simply call 800-788-6786, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts. Tell us what day and time will work best for you to take about 15 minutes that will change your life. Our team of specialists have over 20 years of personal and professional experience with attention challenges. We will discuss your needs and provide you with a solution that will work best for you.”[5]: http://www.playattention.com/free-adhd-consult/

You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars,[6] http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

New Webinar Schedule:

January 12th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

January 20th @ 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT

 

[1] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adult-adhd-and-exercise#1

[2] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/936.html

[3] http://www.everydayhealth.com/add-adhd/can-you-exercise-away-adhd-symptoms.aspx

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3630.html

[5] http://www.playattention.com/free-adhd-consult/

[6] http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

ADHD: The Importance of Exercise

Exercise the Body and the Mind…

After a holiday of festive eating and relaxing around the fire, many people make the resolution to lose weight and exercise.

Exercise is not only a great way to tone the body; exercise is also a great way to keep the brain in shape as well.

“When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which helps with attention and clear thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain.

The stimulant medicines that are often used to treat adult ADHD work by increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain. So it makes sense that a workout can have many of the same effects as stimulant drugs.

Fitness can have the following benefits for adults with ADHD:

  • Ease stress and anxiety.
  • Improve impulse control and reduce compulsive behavior.
  • Enhance working memory.
  • Improve executive function. That’s the set of skills needed to plan, organize, and remember details.
  • Increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. That’s a protein involved in learning and memory. It’s in short supply in people with ADHD.”[1]

Play Attention was developed to improve the executive functioning areas of the brain through the development of cognitive skill sets. To learn more, peruse our website and check out our cognitive games: http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/.[2]

Charming family spends time in the gym

“Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, stimulating the release of compounds that the brain just loves, including growth factors and a substance known as brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which promotes growth of new brain cells (neurons). These substances keep the brain operating at peak efficiency.”[3]

“Physical activity not only encourages new brain cells to be born, it also produces smart chemicals that helps them learn.”[4]

“What does this mean for people with ADD? It means that we must think of exercise as an essential component of treatment – something that makes it easier to sustain mental focus for extended periods of time. Would you skip a trip to your doctor just because you had a tight schedule? Of course not. You shouldn’t skip exercise either.

If your child has ADD, make sure his school doesn’t discipline him by keeping him inside during recess or forcing him to sit in detention. When your child misbehaves, his penalty should involve something that is both productive and physically active, like raking leaves or running errands.”[5]

You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/[6]At the webinar you will learn how Play Attention can help you exercise your brain!

Speed Webinar

[1] http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adult-adhd-and-exercise#1

[2] http://www.playattention.com/play-attention-cognitive-games/

[3] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/936.html

[4] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7972.html

[5] http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/936.html

[6] http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/