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News and Tips for Thriving with ADHD

ADHD and Relationships: Tackling the To-Do List as Couple

July 11th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

ADHD and relationshipsWhen ADHD is present in a relationship – whether that means one partner has ADHD or you both do – tackling the daily to-do list can be a challenge.

Many different dynamics can come into play here. For example, a non-ADHD partner might end up feeling like they’re tackling the brunt of the work, and they might start feeling resentful of this. On the other hand, the ADHD partner might not even realize what they’re doing right or wrong, or they might be feeling frustrated themselves that they can never seem to get it right.

Whatever happens in your household, the key here is to communicate and brainstorm a different way of handling things. If you or your partner is feeling frustrated or resentful, something needs to change. So, now’s the time to talk about it!

Here are some tips to consider when tackling that to-do list as a couple:

  • Pick your chores based on interest. Once you break it down, you might find out that one of you really doesn’t mind doing the laundry, while the other absolutely despises it. Or, if that doesn’t work, flip coins to make it even!
  • Use a whiteboard or create a visual list of things to do. Both partners can contribute to the list, and making it visual ensures that it won’t be forgotten. It can be incredibly frustrating (on both ends) when one partner asks the other to do something and then it gets forgotten – this is a great way to eliminate that potential barrier!
  • Check off items when completed. Self explanatory.
  • Avoid comments related to HOW things get done. In the grand scheme of things as long as the effort is made and something gets done, the process doesn’t really matter.
  • Express appreciation when your partner does something that helps both of you. This will make a huge difference with the tone of your relationship, but also in reinforcing the effort made when a partner goes above and beyond.

This list is by no means comprehensive – it’s simply intended to give you some ideas to get the ball rolling. Try some things out, see what works, and take it from there!

Are ADHD Medications Safe? A Video Response…

July 8th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Medication to treat ADHD, namely stimulant medication, has for a long time been subject to a huge amount of scrutiny. There are many fears and misunderstandings surrounding ADHD medication, and the question “are ADHD medications safe?” is an extremely common one.

In response to this question, our friends over at TotallyADD.com posted the video below. Check it out!

Testing for ADHD: Is it Anxiety or ADHD?

July 4th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

When testing for ADHD, it’s important to consider the role of anxiety in an individual’s life. Along with symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety are extremely common when focusing difficulties are in the picture.

ADHD anxietyWhat can vary, however, is the source of the anxiety. Is it ADHD that’s causing secondary symptoms of anxiety? Is it anxiety that’s causing focusing difficulties? Is it a fun combination of both?

If ADHD truly is in the picture, it makes sense that an individual could feel secondary symptoms of anxiety. When you have difficulty coping with symptoms of ADHD, it can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming. It can cause worry, rumination, avoidance, and more.

On the other end, anxiety on its own can lead to symptoms that look like ADHD, such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty staying on task, and restlessness. For example, if you’re paralyzed by anxiety, it can be extremely difficult to sit down and focus on what you need to do.

This is why it’s so important to seek out a professional who truly knows ADHD, what it looks like, and what it doesn’t look like.

debtAnecdotally, we often have people come through our doors who have been wrongly identified on either end. It’s an extremely frustrating experience having gone through sometimes years of treatment, only to realize that you haven’t been dealing with the root cause of your difficulties, such as symptoms of ADHD.

To be fair, it’s not a perfect science. Things are never black and white.

But, it’s certainly worth the effort seeking out the appropriate supports as a first step: a thorough medical assessment and a professional who truly knows their stuff.

ADHD in Canada – Building an environment where ADHD can thrive

July 1st, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

When you have ADHD, you not only have to manage the signs and symptoms that come with a diagnosis, but also people’s reactions to those very same symptoms.

This is why it’s so important for individuals with ADHD to advocate for themselves and establish a supportive environment with the help of the people in their lives – family, friends, teachers, coworkers, and more. This can make a huge difference in helping someone thrive – it can help an individual with ADHD accept their diagnosis, better manage their symptoms, and capitalize on their strengths.

Luckily for Canadians with ADHD, there are quite a few opportunities available that play a role in setting up that supportive environment. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s important to recognize how far we’ve come. So, to celebrate Canada Day, we highlight some facts about what it means to have ‘ADHD in Canada.’

Canada_flag

ADHD in Canada:

  • Almost every school board in Canada – except in Quebec and BC – has now acknowledged ADHD as a recognized learning disability, meaning students “have the right to equitable education opportunities and should not be barred from receiving additional support.”
    **Prior to December 2011, a diagnosis of ADHD alone did not qualify a student for an official “exceptional student” designation.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency allows individuals with ADHD to claim a disability tax credit. Claiming the disability amount will lower your taxes!
    **A qualified physician must complete the T2201.
  • Canada has a multi-disciplinary alliance of healthcare professionals called CADDRA (Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance) whose purpose is essentially to make our healthcare professionals more adept at diagnosing and treating ADHD. They provide practice guidelines, host an annual conference, and disseminate the newest research. **Australia recently purchased CADDRA’s Practice Guidelines for implementation down under!
  • Canada also has a national, non-profit organization called CADDAC (Centre for ADHD Awareness in Canada) whose purpose is to help Canadians access information and resources for ADHD. They also advocate for individuals and families, and provide bursaries for those who cannot afford support.
    **In 2010, CADDAC wrote a Provincial Report card for the fair treatment of ADHD across Canada. Ontario failed at the time, but subsequently joined the other provinces in recognizing ADHD as a learning disability.
  • Canada has its very own stimulant medication, called Biphentin, that is not available in other countries.
    ** Canada has at least eight first-line medications for ADHD, compared to many countries where Ritalin is still the only option.

Canada is a leader in the fair treatment and highest standard healthcare for individuals with ADHD. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but take comfort in knowing your environment is among the best in the world when it comes to ADHD. Go Canada!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Parenting ADHD Teens: Connecting with your Amazing Crazy Teen

June 27th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Parenting teens? A tough job. Parenting ADHD teens? A particularly tough job. Full stop.

If you’re a parent of a teenager with ADHD, one book we highly recommend checking out is ‘You’re Ruining my Life: Surviving the Teenage Years with Connected Parenting’ by Jennifer Kolari.

Although not specific to ADHD, this book is great for parents who want guidance on how to improve their relationship with their child. The book delves into the science behind changes in the adolescent brain, but also provides clear strategies on how to deal with confrontations, build emotional independence, and strengthen the bond.

ADHD teensThe Message: Yes, they may be driving you up the wall, but it’s important to remember that your crazy teen is actually an “amazing crazy teen” that sometimes just needs a little bit of empathy. Right now, their body and mind are making huge changes – they’re in the process of experiencing “one of the most intense and complicated transitions of their entire life.”

Sample Tips from the Book:

    • Decide ahead of time which battles to choose: what’s okay, a maybe, and a no-way issue? Take a took at the common issues you have with your teen, and decide which ones you’re able to let go, the case-by-case ones (the maybes), and the ones you’re never going to be okay with.
    • Choose a neutral time to discuss your expectations. You won’t get far in the heat of the moment, so choose a time where you’re both relaxed to explain that something’s not working, and discuss your expectations moving forward.
    • Give your teen a role in discussing the issues and in deciding how they’re going to alter their behaviour. Change has to come from within if it’s going to be long-lasting, so give them some say in how things are going to be addressed.

Have any book recommendations? Let us know!

Alternative treatment for ADHD: The role of exercise

June 24th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

ADHD exerciseCan exercise play a role as an alternative treatment for ADHD?

At this point, a growing number of studies are showing preliminary support for the benefit of exercise on behavioral and cognitive functioning with individuals with ADHD, particularly children. However, because the research right now continues to be somewhat limited, we’re not able to answer the question definitively.

We recently came across an article online called Physical Exercise as ADHD Treatment: Necessary but not Sufficient, and we agree with their message: Exercise seems to be an effective complementary treatment for ADHD signs and symptoms, but it is not necessarily sufficient in treating the disorder.

We have spoken about the role of exercise before, and anecdotally, we know that exercise has helped with signs and symptoms of ADHD in most, if not all, of our clients who have incorporated it into their lifestyle. We’ve been told that exercise has helped with focus, stress, emotional reactivity, resilience, and mood.

So yes, exercise can be extremely helpful as a way to help manage your focus. Is it enough as a standalone treatment intervention? At this point we don’t know, but not likely. There isn’t enough research to support the answer to the question either way, so what it comes down to is what works for you!

Watch Lisa Ling get Tested and Diagnosed with ADHD

June 20th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

Lisa Ling, an American journalist best known for her role as the host of “Our America with Lisa Ling” on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), recently decided to pursue an ADHD assessment after covering a segment on ADHD for her show.

As a prominent public figure, Lisa used her influence to show the world a glimpse of what it’s like to go through an assessment, and ultimately get a diagnosis as an adult. We’re hoping that Lisa will continue to use her role in the public eye in such a positive way; the videos below are a huge step toward continuing to break down the stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds ADHD, particularly in adults.

Understanding the Adult ADHD Brain

June 17th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

A team of neuroscientists over at MIT recently uncovered some fascinating new insight into the brain of an adult with ADHD. 

In an article describing the findings, Inside the Adult ADHD Brain looks at comparisons of brain activity in adults who were diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, who either present with persistent symptoms, or are considered remitted (e.g. “recovered”).

Adult ADHD brainThe researchers primarily looked at activity in the brain when the mind is ‘at rest’ and not focused on a particular task. In people without ADHD, we already know that when the mind is at rest, there is a synchrony of activity in brain regions known as the ‘default mode network.’ In people with ADHD (both children and adults), the ‘default mode network’ does not display this synchrony.

Some interesting new findings:

  • In adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as a child but have since recovered, the normal synchrony pattern seems to be restored (e.g. the brain now looks like those of people who never had ADHD)
  • However, both groups diagnosed with ADHD as a child (those recovered and those with persistent symptoms) showed continuing signs of impairment in executive function (the management of cognitive tasks)

What does this mean? Well for one, as the article states, it provides new evidence for the biological basis of adult ADHD. Secondly, it gives us insight into the potential life-cycle of ADHD symptoms from childhood to adulthood. This will also open the door for more specific research into how to apply these findings to potential treatment interventions. Most importantly, it’s really interesting to know something new about the ADHD brain!

 

What’s it like to have ADHD? Another perspective…

June 13th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

post it notesWhat’s it like to have ADHD? This is something that many people ask us about, and many people wonder about. ADHD has been in the media quite a bit recently, and not many people fully understand what it means.

We’ve posted one perspective before, but in light of an article we stumbled across, we thought it would be worth posting a different perspective.

In the article called “If your friends ever say they have ADHD just show them this,” the writer likens ADHD to “living in a soft rain of post-it notes.”

“This happens every single waking moment, and we have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was we were thinking before it came along…”

Check out the article! It’s well worth the read.

Alternative Treatment for ADHD: Does mindfulness help?

June 10th, 2014 by Springboard Clinic

The potential role of mindfulness in treating signs and symptoms of ADHD is receiving a lot of attention these days. There a growing number of studies looking into its potential benefits, its impact on executive functioning, and its ability to help regulate emotions.

Mindfulness training essentially involves teaching people to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment. The idea of mindfulness is to help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment, without judgement, without reactivity. It can help you, for example, be more aware in the moment of when your attention has wandered, without judgement, so you can bring your attention back to the task at hand.

At this point, the research is looking promising, but limited. One study published by the Journal of Attention Disorders in December 2013 saw some positive results, but was only able to conclude that larger studies were necessary.

An article recently published in the Globe and Mail spoke to this growing body of research, and although we don’t agree with their somewhat alarmist view on the role of medication in treating ADHD, we agree with the general message – mindfulness holds a lot of promise as a potential tool to help manage symptoms of ADHD. We also agree that medication alone isn’t enough in treating ADHD – medication can be an extremely helpful intervention when needed, but on its own it does not build the tools needed to manage all areas of difficulty.

So, at this point, we see mindfulness as another tool for your toolbox – not necessarily enough on its own, but potentially quite helpful. 

All of this too theoretical for you? If you want more information about what mindfulness can look like in practice, check out these links:

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