Happy (Almost) Summer!
This newsletter includes some really interesting information about non-medicinal treatments for ADHD. First, there is a fascinating feature with Dr. Georgia Ede about treating ADHD symptoms with nutrition. Second, we have more feedback from those using the iLs system.
On a different front, if you are thinking about getting a new job or changing careers, you'll be interested in our article about one approach to creating and maintaining a professional network.
There is too much in the news and upcoming events area to cover here, but it includes new information about genes and autism, as well as new research connecting spanking to violent behavior in kids. Upcoming are a number of events in which you can hear and learn from Dr. Hallowell.
Thank you for your continued readership, questions and feedback!
Melissa Orlov, editor
Q: Can my 20 year old daughter learn to overcome her ADHD symptoms so she won't have to take medication forever? I sure would love to see that. She currently in college and doing well with medication, and she took summer school (easier) last year without them.
A: ADHD is only a disorder if it is getting in your daughter's way - obstructing her from reaching her potential. If she does well enough without medication in order to succeed to her satisfaction, she may not need the medication. Some do find that when they put external structures in place to keep them organized then they are less reliant on meds. (Note - succeeding can be defined many ways - grades is just one part. Feeling in control of your life is another...make sure she is clear about what she defines as success.)
If she decides not to take her medication during the regular school year then she should monitor her progress closely. Watch for inconsistency in test scores, less attendance in class, a general sense of being overwhelmed and not in control. If you see any sign that she is not thriving, reconsider the medication.
There are alternative ways to manage ADHD symptoms - see the articles in this newsletter about nutrition and iLs for starters - and exercise and sleep are important, too. Some adults who used to take medication find they can do without it, particularly if they pick a career that is well suited to their interests and skills. But most find that full and optimal treatment is even more important as they age because life gets more complex and significantly more "scattered" as you get older and must organize a home and family. Sub-optimal treatment of ADHD with young kids has spelled marital disaster for many. Meds can also help people remain focused enough to be productive in the workplace. So be careful not to "demonize" the idea of medication, for she may find she wishes to use it and you don't want to set up a dynamic where she thinks you disapprove.
The bottom line is she should pursue the optimal treatment for her, whatever that looks like. She can pursue and combination of therapies - behavioral therapy, nutrition, exercise, iLs, fish oil or any other treatments help her cope and see what works for her. It's a good idea to experiment, under the supervision of a doctor, to see what works best.
Q: I was diagnosed with ADHD last year at age 30 - what a relief. Vyvanse has literally changed my life, but since I've been taking it I keep getting sick. This has been going on for 13 months now and I'm starting to worry there is a connection. In your experience, have you heard of any decrease in immunity with ADHD medication?
A from Dr. Hallowell: There is no connection I know of between use of Vyvanse and immune dysfunction. However, there could be! You might try asking your doctor to change you to a methylphenidate- based medication like Concerta or Ritalin LA and see if that helps.
Also, you might try boosting your immune function by taking omega-3's, eating lots of greens, getting plenty of exercise, and taking vitamin C. There is also a new product called Hyperimmune Egg that you might want to look into. You can email their medical director. Dr. Helen Greenblatt at email@example.com for more information.
Nutrition, as a treatment approach for ADHD, is one remedy getting lots of attention lately, and with good reason. There is solid research that shows that making specific nutritional changes can alleviate ADHD symptoms. In fact, in a 2009 research study done in Europe in which children were put on a very strict diet of only certain foods, 70% of the children tested stopped showing signs of ADHD (details in European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 18:12- 19;2009, but we know you're curious - the foods were rice, turkey, lamb, "vegetables," "fruits," margarine, vegetable oil, tea, pear juice and water).
It's unlikely that either you or your children will be interested in that strict a diet! The point was made, though, that nutrition plays a significant role in the expression of ADHD symptoms. The Hallowell Center has for many years suggested that people modify their diets to help them with their ADHD, recommending the addition of fish oil, as well as protein at breakfast for an "easy" start.
"If we want the brain to function properly, we need to feed it properly," says Dr. Ede of the Needham Hallowell Center. In addition to providing pharmacological evaluations, Dr. Ede offers nutrition consults to patients of all ages with ADHD. We asked Dr. Ede, "How does changing our diet affect our behavior, mood and energy?" She explained that our brain is made of fat and protein, and therefore requires the right kinds of fats and proteins in order to accomplish all of the tasks it is responsible for, from concentration, to mood regulation, to the timing of our sleep/wake cycles. "The chemical neurotransmitters that brain cells use to communicate with each other are almost all made from amino acids (the building blocks of protein), so eating high-quality protein every day is crucial."
But what is "high quality" protein? It turns out that the answer is pretty specific - animal proteins, such as chicken, turkey, salmon, and even naturally-raised red meats, like beef and pork. Dairy and vegetable proteins such as yoghurt, peanut butter, and soy are less desirable, because people are more likely to have sensitivities to these proteins (and soy has other issues in that it contains phytoestrogens, which can disrupt our hormonal balance, and phytic acid, which can reduce levels of healthy minerals in our bodies).
"I enjoy teaching people what a healthy diet really is. Learning the basics of healthy eating is important for all of us, but especially for those who have ADHD. There is so much misinformation and unnecessary confusion out there-- I think people will be surprised to see how simple the principles are, and how different they are from what most of us have been led to believe. In addition to providing general nutrition guidelines, I can also help people figure out which specific foods might be contributing to their ADHD symptoms," says Dr. Ede. The children in the recent study saw significant declines in symptoms by eliminating some very common foods such as gluten (wheat protein) and casein (dairy protein) that many are sensitive to, but don't realize it. We tend to think that food sensitivities will give us a rash or make us feel ill. In fact, for many, the only evidence of their food sensitivities may be ADHD symptoms. People with ADHD are more likely to have other conditions associated with food sensitivities, such as asthma, lactose intolerance, eczema, and recurrent sinus/ear infections.
What are other elements of good nutrition for those
Dr. Ede will be offering a 90 minute lecture, titled Food for Thought: Managing the Symptoms of ADHD with Good Nutrition, at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury on Tuesday, June 8 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Call Rebecca at 978. 287. 0810 x117 to register for this informative and life-changing discussion. Dr. Ede also provides individualized nutrition consultations by phone. Call the Needham Hallowell Center for more information on phone consultations. The number is 781-726- 6698.
Many of you have written in praising iLs since I mentioned them in my January newsletter, and I am impressed with the results we are seeing in our Boston and NY clinics. The results the program provides are particularly relevant to schools:
It's also nice to see that iLs believes in their own product enough to guarantee results. They just emailed me that their training schedule for the rest of the year is now available on the Training page of their web site. Take a look at them, your students stand a good chance of benefitting.
All the best,
by Robin Roman Wright, Career and ADHD Coach
If you have ADHD, and you are trying to make a good impression with other professionals as you launch a job search or start your new career, my advice is: Just get started. Pick one professional association or networking group to visit this month. To help make your visit a success, here are some strategies I recommend:
Before you attend:
When you attend:
After you attend, nurture your relationships in this professional networking group. A first step is to enter a reminder in your calendar noting the group's next meeting date and topic. See if you can attend. If there are 1 or 2 people who really seemed to want to help you, send them an e-mail. Write that you enjoyed meeting them and tell them a little more about yourself. Explain that you will be in touch with them in the next few weeks.
Put reminders in your calendar for any and all promises of contact that you made. Then contact each person on the date indicated.
If you are a college or graduate student, sometimes professionals will ask you to help them in a current volunteer project as a way of being helpful to you. But many students with AD/HD would be better off to "sit, listen and learn" at this point in their journey. A lot of people with AD/HD have a hard time following through on commitments. Offering to do something, then forgetting to do it or being late in delivering it is worse than politely bowing out.
However, if you think a possible volunteer opportunity is your big break, here's what to do:
Say something like, "I greatly appreciate your asking me. I'll think about it and get back to you in a week." Go back home and review your calendar. Then schedule a time, within the next week, to call or e-mail this person. In the meantime, ask a trusted friend what he or she thinks about whether you can adequately meet all your responsibilities and take on this volunteer commitment. Whether you decide to work on this volunteer project or not, remember to call/e-mail the professional back when you said you would.
As you proceed, add 1 or 2 more professional association meetings/networking groups to your list. This will help you stay in touch with what is happening in your preferred field. You will also be developing your supportive professional community.
Robin Roman-Wright specializes in providing ADHD and career coaching by phone and in person at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA. She can be reached at 978-287-0810.
Two news reports provide information about autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released information about a large scale research study that has confirmed two genes that are linked with autism, and identified two new ones. In addition, there is evidence that environmental factors play a role. Go to this link.
In February, Time Magazine reported that a study published in1998 claiming that autism is caused by vaccines was officially retracted by the journal in which it was published as being incorrect. Read more at this link.
Spanking Makes Kids More Aggressive: A new, multi-year study shows that spanking is a strong indicator of violent behavior. After controlling for a large number of factors, this study shows that the odds of a child being more aggressive at age 5 increased 50% if he had been spanked more than twice in the month before the study started when the child was 3. The study also accounted for varying levels of aggressiveness native to its subjects. In other words, it corrected for the idea that more aggressive children might receive more spankings, showing that the spanking contributed to the aggression, not the other way around. For more information, go to this link.
The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy: A
Teaching Model, by Maxine Ficksman and Jane
Adelizzi, Ph.D. - There is a new textbook out for
those interested in learning more about the
educational therapy and how it can help struggling
Executive Function Training for Adults. Are you an adult with AD/HD or executive dysfunction? Trouble with organization, initiating tasks, time management, follow through, and memory? Contact Chris Sorgi of the Hallowell Center at 978.287.0810 x101 to see if individualized executive function training would be of help to you. Our team specializes in each aspect of executive function; we can create a plan that will make your life easier and more productive.
Staying Sharp: Brain Fitness for Active Seniors. Due to popular demand the Hallowell Center in Sudbury is offering private one-on-one brain fitness sessions for active seniors who want to stay sharp. Emphasis is on reducing anxiety, improving attention and concentration, and advancing memory and processing speed. Sessions are 1-2 hour sessions a week with light homework requirements. Include a friend or spouse in the session and be eligible for a group discount. Contact Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC at 978 287 0810.
MAY 12 - Ned and Sue Hallowell will be on NBC's Today Show during the 8-9am segment. They will be talking about issues related to how to remain intimate in the age of distraction and their new book, Married to Distraction.
May 20, New York, NY - Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness - lecture hosted by babybites at the Faculty House at Columbia University. 5:00-10:00 - more information, contact Laura Deutch at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 18, June 1, June 15 - free ADHD support group with Dr. Hallowell at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA Seats are limited, call 978-287-0810 to register.
June 5 (Boston) and ongoing throughout the country - iLs training seminars for educators and clinicians interested in learning how to use the iLs equipment. Non-professionals may also attend. There is a fee for this training. Go to this link for further details.
June 8 - Food For Thought - lecture with Dr. Georgia Ede on how to manage the symptoms of ADHD with nutrition (see main article). There is a $25 fee, which includes materials. Call 978-287-0810 x 117 to reserve a spot.
June 12 - One day seminar for couples with Ned and Sue Hallowell, at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA. This seminar is about providing tools and strategies that couples can use to make their relationship continue to improve long after the seminar is over. This is for all couples, not specifically couples in which one or the other member has ADHD. For more information, go to this link.
June 17 - CrazyBusy lecture, hosted by the Harvard Business School Club of NY. 6:30 pm registration, 7-8pm presentation followed by book signing. Open to the public. Visit hbscny.org for more details.
June 27 - July 11 - Married to Distraction interview with The People's Pharmacy will be available as a free podcast at www.peoplespharmacy.com
July 12-16 - Cape Cod, MA, Unwrapping the Gifts - A Strengths-Based Approach to ADHD Across the Life Span. Hosted by the Cape Cod Institute. Go to this link for details.
July 18-23 - Glen Arbor, MI, Hallowell ADHD Summer Enrichment Camp. Hosted by the Leelanau School. Have your family spend the week with Dr. Hallowell. Go to www.leelanau.org or call toll free 800-533-5262 for details.
July 25-30 - Glen Arbor, MI, Hallowell Summer Enrichment Camp (Advanced) - for those making a return visit. Same contact information as above.