For April we continue with our varied offerings - an in- depth look at panic attacks, information about memory and ADD, new resources, and more. But the big news this month is about a revolution that Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Kenny Handelman (an ADHD expert from Canada) are starting - one they want you all to join.
The bottom line is that Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Handelman are TIRED of the negative way that ADHD is portrayed and they are launching a program to do something about it.
To celebrate the launch, they are offering an online report and recording of an interview with Dr. Hallowell. Next week, when everything is all pulled together, they will announce a groundbreaking series of free teleseminars with really renowned ADHD experts. The seminars will take place at the end of this month, so I'm going to break my normal rule and send you the information when it is available outside of this newsletter. From what I know, the program will be outstanding and well worth your time...and yes, completely free.
So, I urge you to download the report. As a reader of this newsletter, I think you'll agree wholeheartedly with what they write. And, we hope you'll join them in spreading the message.
Melissa Orlov, editor
Q: Does ADHD affect memory? I was diagnosed about 18 months ago. What happened before then seems to be a blur, but what has happened since is much clearer. Is there a connection?
A: We posed this question to Dr. Hallowell, who response follows: "My years of experience have taught me that ADD affects memory in a major way. This is the analogy I use. Think of your memory bank as a block of wood. Think of a piece of information or data or an image as the nail. Attention is what hammers the nail into the wood. This is what we mean by studying. So, if attention is variable, many nails will not get hammered in.
Q: My 30 year old son believes he has ADD, and he did have some symptoms growing up that, in retrospect, might suggest this. Now he has moved from a highly structured job that he held for many years to a new job in a different industry that is very fast- paced and confusing and he is having trouble dealing with the chaos. Is that ADD?
A: Your son should get a formal diagnosis with someone very familiar with ADD and its many co- existing conditions in order to start to untangle his issues. The problems he is having with his new job may be as simple as being a bad fit with his skills or may be related to more complex issues around how he processes information or tasks. A good career coach can help him identify his workforce strengths. (The Hallowell Center in Sudbury has a career coach who also has expertise in ADHD if your son needs that).
Q: Would you happen to know where I can get information on the foods I, as an adult with ADHD, should be eating or not eating?
A: You are smart to be thinking about nutrition. What you eat determines how effectively your brain operates. Diet is an essential component of treating ADHD. Here are a few of the ideas from the chapter on nutrition in Delivered from Distraction:
For more specific details about supplements and nutrition, see Delivered from Distraction.
We have received several inquiries about panic attacks - what they are, and how one can stop them from occurring. Rebecca Shafir of the Hallowell Center interviewed psychologist David Keevil, also of the Hallowell Center, to get some answers.
Panic attacks are distinguished from other experiences of anxiety by their intensity and their sudden, episodic nature. They usually come "out of the blue," with little or no warning. If you've never had one, imagine yourself lying in bed, trying to get to sleep, when suddenly you begin to feel sweaty, shaky, nauseous, and dizzy. You become acutely aware of your speeding heartbeat. You fear you are having a heart attack. The attack rises to peak intensity in a few minutes, and takes quite some time (often an hour or more) to subside. You can't talk yourself out of it, and there seems to be nothing to do to stop its power.
A panic attack is essentially the sudden, unforseen mobilization of the sympathetic nervous system - similar to the "fight or flight" response. The unique combination of symptoms characteristic of a panic attack can be remembered with the mnemonic: STUDENTS FEAR the 3 Cs: Sweating, Trembling, Unsteadiness/dizziness, Derealization/depersonalization, Elevated heart rate (tachycardia), Nausea, Tingling, Shortness of breath, FEAR of dying, FEAR of losing control, FEAR of going crazy, Choking, Chest pain, and Chills. These physical symptoms are interpreted with alarm by the person having the attack. This results in increased anxiety, and forms a positive feedback loop, increasing the intensity of the attack.
While panic attacks are often experienced in conjunction with anxiety disorders and other psychological conditions, they are not always indicative of other psychological issues. A panic attack is not the same as being very nervous or worried about something. A period of anticipatory anxiety - like the nervousness one might experience before going into a crowd or speaking in front of a group - is not a panic attack, although a panic attack can co-occur in such situations.
Given how stressful life can be, it isn't surprising that panic attacks are comparatively common: up to 10 percent of otherwise healthy people experience an isolated panic attack about once per year, and 1 in 60 people in the U.S. will suffer from a panic disorder at some point in their lifetime (Anxiety Disorders Association of America). The people most prone to panic attacks are those who are in a "steady state" of relatively high arousal: always edgy, always "driven," always rushing to catch up with multiple demands. Many people with ADD/ADHD or anxiety disorders are in just such states much of the time. Panic disorder has been found to run in families, which suggests that genetic inheritance plays a strong role in determining who is at risk for a panic attack. However, many people who have no family history of the disorder develop it. In addition to genetic causes, environmental factors - such as an overly cautious view of the world expressed by parents, and cumulative stress over time - have been found to be causes.
Panic attacks, like anxiety disorders in general, respond particularly well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as medication and neurofeedback. David Keevil, of the Hallowell Center, usually begins with relaxation strategies to lower your overall state of arousal, making a panic attack far less likely. For example, during CBT, Dr. Keevil teaches a "calming breath" routine, and helps his clients schedule brief periods of relaxation during the day. During treatment, Dr. Keevil also focuses on establishing a healthy balance between work, exercise, creative pursuits and relationships. "Connecting" with others can have a beneficial effect: Dr. Hallowell suggests such activities as joining a buddy for a daily walk or having a pleasant conversation with a loved one. Clinical studies have even shown that patting the dog can lower indications of anxiety!
Panic attacks can be intensely upsetting and disruptive. However, simple and effective treatments are available.
This month, Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Kenny Handelman are teaming up to start a revolution - one in which the world learns that ADD isn't a "disorder", it's a gift! As part of this effort, the two doctors are offering a free report, and a recording of an interview with Dr. Hallowell. Both are easily downloadable at this link.
The report and the interview are terrific and inspirational, and they are just the prelude...the doctors are in the process of putting together a series of teleconferences with other top ADHD experts that will happen at the end of April. These, too, will be free.
Their goal is nothing short of redefining what it means to be ADD to the world - and making sure the world hears their message!
This revolution is really worthy of your attention...make sure to send the link to your friends and spread the word! Go to this link and sign up to get the report...the recording will soon follow. Next week, when the details are finalized, I'll send out the information about the free teleconferences.
Smartman Daily - This is a new website set up by a former editor of ADDitude Magazine who wanted to created a place where people (particularly men, in this case) could go for interesting and relevant current news stories from across multiple publications. His site features stories, organized by topic ("family", "health", "money" and "sex" are a few) that are gleaned from a wide variety of well-known organizations (the FDA, Barron's, the Harvard Business Review, MSNBC and Discover among many others of similar quality). Stories vary from the immediately relevant ("Tax Tips for Procrastinators") to the just plain fun. "It's definitely worth a look and a bookmark. Go to this link to see today's issue.
The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents by Nancy Ratey. Nancy Ratey is an excellent coach, and in her new book she provides lots of really helpful tips about putting together a system that helps people with ADD live happy lives. The Disorganized Mind is for those who coach others with ADD, and it is also for those who wish to coach themselves. The book uses a variety of devices, including acronyms for remembering important steps, questionnaires, and personal stories. Her experience, and success, as a coach shines through. As an added bonus, her husband, Dr. John Ratey, provides input about what is going on in the brains of people as they exhibit ADD symptoms.
Doctor Referrals - We get many requests from all over the world for referrals to doctors who know about ADD. It's impossible for us to keep up with everyone, so we created a page about how to find a doctor in your area. To access this information, go to this link.