It has been quite a while since our last newsletter, so we are trying to "make it up to you" with some particularly good articles and resources!
If you have kids at home you'll want to review the new American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations chart about what treatments work best, as well as read our article about depression in teens.
On other fronts, Becky Shafir provides information about getting a loved one help, while I have an article about ADHD and marriage.
And, of course, we include our regular national and regional events listings and resource section.
If there is a topic you would like us to write about, please send it along for future newsletters...and can I say that it's great to be back?
Melissa Orlov, editor
Did you know that October is Depression Awareness Month? Do you know the signs of depression? It is critical that parents know what to look for and to know the difference between a bout of sadness vs clinical depression. Here is some information from the Mental Health Association of America that you may find helpful.
Depression is more than just feeling blue or having a bad day. And it's different from feelings of grief or sorrow that follow a major loss, such as a death in the family. It's not a personal weakness or a character flaw. Children and teens with clinical depression cannot simply "snap out of it."
Depression is a serious health problem that affects feelings, thoughts and actions, and can also appear as a physical illness. As many as one in eight teens and one in 33 children have clinical depression. Fortunately, depression in youth is treatable.
Some Signs of Depression
*Increased irritability or agitation
*Withdrawal from family, friends and activities that were once enjoyed
*Changes in eating and sleeping habits
What Can Parents and Other Adults Do If They Suspect a Child May Have Depression?
*Know the warning signs for depression, and note the duration, frequency and severity of troubling behavior.
*Take the child to see a mental health professional or doctor for evaluation and diagnosis if he or she is exhibiting several of the warning signs. The evaluation may include psychological testing, laboratory tests and consultation with other specialists.
*Talk to other families in your community or find a family network organization.
by Rebecca Shafir
Joan Crimmins tried everything she could do to get her husband and her high school son to seek help for their symptoms - anxiety, poor concentration and moodiness. She tried family getaways, relaxation CDs, vitamin supplements - the works. She couldn't bear to see her son, now struggling in his classes, to go through the same frenetic, stressful lifestyle she had to endure with her husband, a high tech sales executive. Joan pleaded with them to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but to no avail. Father, like son, denied their problems and refused medical help. Their general family internist was not as supportive, nor as knowledgeable as she would have liked. At their annual physicals Jon and Trevor (husband and son) put on a good face and downplayed their symptoms.
At some point Joan developed stress- related health problems as a result. That was the last straw. She began talking to others who had similar family situations and was able to finally convince Jon and Trevor to team up and get the help they needed. Joan learned that shame, vulnerability and/or poor judgment can prevent someone with mental illness or dysfunction from seeking help until a crisis unfolds. If you know someone who needs help, here are some ways to get around denial:
*Ask for help yourself. See a psychotherapist or a social worker who can help you cope with your loved one(s) and who may be very familiar with patients with ADHD, depression etc. They may be able to help you approach the subject of getting help more effectively. Join a support group for spouses.
*Avoid "pathologizing" your loved one. Pointing out their negative behaviors makes them feel vulnerable and flawed. Instead be gentle and let them know you love and care about them enough to bring up these concerns. Allow them time to process this.
*Focus on the problems your loved one can see (i.e. poor sleep, losing things, procrastinating, etc) and how it is keeping them from achieving their goals. Share situations when you accepted help for something. This will help them reduce their shame which is a contributing factor to denial.
*Get the help of others who love and care about this person to share their observations with this person - a respected sibling, adult child or close family friend.
Once a person can accept that a problem exists and that there are several treatment options available, it is easier to take steps towards improving one's mental health and the health of those around them.
Rebecca Shafir works at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury and can be reached at 978-287-0810.
by Melissa Orlov
Many who read this newsletter are used to thinking about how ADHD impacts one or more children. But have you given thought to how it might be impacting your marriage? A recent study that linked the presence of on ADHD child in a household to higher rates of divorce missed the point. It's not the child's ADHD that's the issue, it's that ADHD is highly hereditary. If you have a child with ADHD you most likely have at least one parent with ADHD and, to make matters worse, it often has not been diagnosed.
Though it has been little discussed, ADHD symptoms add consistent and predictable patterns to any marriage in which one or both partners have ADHD. As long as the ADHD remains untreated or undertreated, these patterns can leave both partners unhappy, lonely, and feeling overwhelmed by their relationship. They fight frequently or, alternately, disengage from each other to protect themselves from hurt. A common response for the non-ADHD partner is to become overly controlling and nagging ("the only way to get anything done around here") while the ADHD partner becomes less and less engaged ("who wants to be with someone who is constantly angry?")
The good news is that understanding the role that ADHD plays in a relationship can turn your marriage around.
Distraction is a primary symptom of adult ADHD, and that can be disastrous for a marriage. Chronic distraction can result in disconnection, deep and hurtful misunderstandings, difficulty following through on both simple and complex tasks, and short-term memory issues. The symptom distraction is frequently mistaken for "not caring" or "being lazy" which leads to deep resentment and anger. To overcome it, both partners must address the role ADHD plays in their union.
My newly released book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, helps couples understand what pressures and patterns adult ADHD adds to their relationship and provides six specific steps to take to turn difficult relationships around. It helps all couples, distressed or not, better understand just how different they are and how they might bridge some of those differences.
I've done many things in my life, but helping couples turn their marriages around is by far the most satisfying. While not all couples can overcome the pain and patterns of their past, a surprising number do and there is no happier time than when a grateful spouse says "thank you."
Melissa Orlov is the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage as well as the editor of this newsletter. Her book is being heralded as a breakthrough for couples in distress and she has been interviewed by The New York Times US News and World Report, Today, CNN, AOL, CBS and others.
National Best Books of 2010 Awards Finalist for Best Non-Fiction: Melissa Orlov's new book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, was just named an award finalist in two categories by USA Book News - best non-fiction and best self-help for relationships.
ADHD and Therapy A recent study at Mass General Hospital supports the idea that medication alone is not the best treatment for ADHD. During treatment, patients reported that their symptoms were significantly improved when they participated in cognitive behavioral therapy. This is something Dr. Hallowell has been saying for many years. For an overview of the non-medicinal treatments offered by the Hallowell Centers, Go to this link.
Western Diet and ADHD Is it possible that ''Western' style diets are associated with an increased risk of ADHD? Many feel that research on the relationship between diet and ADHD is more important than ever because the diets of children in Western countries have shown steady increases in the amounts of heavily processed foods rich in saturated fats, salt, and sugars with decreases in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
This important question was examined in a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders [Howard et. al. (2010). The study was done on 1,172 14 year-old Australian adolescents and their parents who had been recruited into the study and followed since the mothers were between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant. What the study found was that after controlling for all other variables, adolescents (boys and girls) that ate a Western diet high in processed food were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD. They also found evidence that while the western diet may exacerbate ADHD symptoms, eating at the other extreme did not diminish ADHD symptoms to a point. Thus the Hallowell Center's recommendation to eat a very healthy diet that doesn't induce huge swings in carbohydrates and sugars and includes some amount of proteins at each meal remains.
Fact or Fiction: ADHD in America, A Capitol Hill Forum A Forum on ADHD was held on Capitol Hill during ADHD Awareness Week. The forum's goal was to increase awareness about the realities of ADHD and the day-to-day challenges presented for the estimated 4.5 million Americans who live with ADHD.
Featuring a panel discussion, the event addressed the myths and stigmas associated with ADHD and shed light on the diagnosis and treatment in patients' everyday lives. The panel approached ADHD from the perspectives of doctors, advocates, patients, and the media. The panelists included: Frank Sesno (Moderator - Former CNN Washington Bureau), Roxy Olin (Living with ADHD - Actress), Michele Novotni, Ph.D (Expert - Former ADDA President), Katherine Schantz (Head of the Lab School of Washington and Baltimore), Judith Warner (Author and Former New York Times Journalist), and Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA (Psychologist and ADHD Expert).
Is Your iPhone the 3rd Person in Your Marriage? An interview with Dr. Hallowell on NPR's Morning Edition about how to cut the addiction to your BlackBerry or iPhone and restore intimacy in your marriage. Listen to the interview to get some helpful tips.
National Institute of Mental Health - If you haven't been to this website, you'll find it's a great resource. There are videos and articles about ADHD, depression, bi-polar and much more. Go to this link.
American Academy of Pediatrics Interventions Guide -This chart outlines various options for treatment of specific types of behaviors and ranks them from "best support" to "no support." A very useful tool when talking with your child's doctor about possible treatments. Go to this link for a copy of the chart.
Center for Eating Disorders -This is an interesting Q and A on the connection between ADHD and eating disorders with the center's director, Dr. Carolyn Dukham. Go to this link.
Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention -A new book by Katherine Ellisen about the year she spent trying to find the best way to help her son who has ADHD. Go to this link to hear an interview with the author on NPR.
Additude Magazine - How to tell if your child has ADHD or one of 10 other conditions. Read about Asperger's vs ADHD.
Anxiety or ADHD? Read about Anxiety vs ADHD.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or ADHD? Read about APD vs ADHD.
Autism or ADHD? Read about Autism vs ADHD.
Bipolar or ADHD? Read about Bipolar vs ADHD.
Executive Function Disorder (EFD) or ADHD? Read about EFD vs ADHD.
Learning Disability or ADHD? Read about a Learning Disability vs ADHD.
OCD or ADHD? Read about OCD vs ADHD.
What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder? Read about Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or ADD/ADHD? Read about SPD.
Independent School Magazine-An interview wtith Dr. Ned Hallowell on the future of leadership in Independent Schools. Go to this link.
iLS Training - The more we learn about the brain, the more we appreciate the regulating value of exercise. And by "exercise" Dr. Ned Hallowell means more than a jog around the block. For years Dr. Hallowell has advocated specific sensory activities which build and strengthen neural pathways in the brain. A program based on this concept, Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) is being used at Hallowell Centers and other clinics and schools around the country with notable results. Go to this link for more information.
Every Other Tuesday Beginning October 19, Sudbury, MA - Free ADHD Adult Support Group 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Sudbury Hallowell Center. No registration necessary and free to the public. For more information: Call Rebecca Shafir (978) 287-0810
Nov 6, Sudbury, MA - How to Conquer Procrastination and See Results A workshop with expert Robin Roman Wright on how to manage time if you have ADD. It will be held at the Hallowell Center at 142 North Road in Sudbury, MA. Saturday, Nov. 6th 9:30 am -12:30 pm Fee: $125 Registration required by NOON on Thursday, Nov 4th. For more information: Call Robin (978) 447-1496. To register, make sure to leave your name, phone number AND email.
November 9, Cross River, NY - The Lives of CrazyBusy Children Event hosted by: Family University, Katonah-Lewisboro School District, Katonah, NY. For more information: Click Here
November 12 - Raleigh, NC - Talk and Book Signing with Melissa Orlov Crabtree Mall Barnes and Nobles Book Signing 2 pm - 4pm Stop in and say "hi!" if you live nearby. For more information: Click Here
November 12, New York, NY- Reclaiming What is Most Important for Young Children: Building Connections in a Disconnected World Hosted by: 92nd Street Y. Dr. Hallowell is participating in the 92Y Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference at the 92nd Street Y. For more information: Click Here
November 16, Sudbury, MA - Parenting Teens with ADHD .6:00-8:00 pm at Sudbury Hallowell Center for parents of teens ages 13-18 Leader: Theresa Garvin. Fee: $25 single/$40 couple For more information: (978) 287-0810
November 16, Wayland, MA - Talk and Book Signing with Melissa Orlov Wayland Public Library at 7:30pm. Melissa will speak for 30 minutes about how adult ADHD impacts relationships, then answer audience questions. For more information: Click Here
December 1, Web - ADDA Webinar Presentation on "Moving Past Defensiveness and Denial in ADHD Relationships" 9:00 pm EST For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org