ADHD can present itself in many different ways and can feel very different for one person, versus another. This video outlines the many varied ways that ADHD can present.
ADHD can present itself in many different ways and can feel very different for one person, versus another. This video outlines the many varied ways that ADHD can present.
My name is Rachel Coughlan. I am an Educational Psychologist in Training studying for the degree of Doctorate in Educational Psychology at the School of Education, University College Dublin (UCD). My doctoral thesis, which is being supervised by Dr Joyce Senior, focuses on the lived experiences of women with ADHD.
What is this research about?
This research is about exploring the experiences of women with ADHD in relation to how they perceive ADHD has, and continues to, influence their lives. The purpose of this study is to inform approaches to intervention and support for young girls and women with ADHD.
Why am I doing this research?
Most research on ADHD has focused on males. However, research indicates that females with ADHD have different symptoms and challenges to those experienced by males with ADHD. It is hoped that the findings from this study will highlight some of the ways girls and women experience ADHD in order to improve the practice of professionals such as educational psychologists who work with them.
Why have you been invited to take part?
I am contacting all women diagnosed with ADHD aged 18 years or over who access the services of ADHD Ireland to take part in this study.
What will happen if you decide to take part in this research study?
If you are interested in taking part in this research, I will arrange to meet you at a time and location that is convenient for you, either in the ADHD Ireland, Carmichael House, 4 North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7 or in a meeting room in the School of Education in UCD. You will take part in an interview with me during which I will ask you questions about your experiences of having ADHD in childhood and as an adult, including questions about your experiences at school, and the impact it may have had on your family, occupational and social life. The interview will last approximately and an hour.
How will your data be used?
Your interview will be audio recorded and then I will type it up for analysis. Quotes from your interview may be used in the study, but will be kept anonymous. The results will be written up in a doctoral thesis and submitted to UCD for examination for the degree of Doctorate in Educational Psychology. The study may also be put forward for publication in an academic journal. Again, your identity will be kept confidential.
How will your privacy be protected?
All information about you will be kept strictly confidential. I will not use your real name or any identifiable information about you in anything I write about the study. When I have transcribed your interview, I will delete the audio recording. All data gathered will be stored on an encrypted, password-protected laptop in a secure location.
What are the benefits in taking part in this research study?
You may not benefit directly from taking part in this research. However, it is hoped that the information gathered from this study will result in a deeper public understanding and awareness of the experiences of girls and women with ADHD. It is hoped that the findings will provide useful information to guide the planning of services and supports for females with ADHD and improve knowledge amongst professionals who work with them.
What are the risks in taking part in this research study?
It is possible that you may become upset when talking about your experience of having ADHD. If this happens, you will be offered the opportunity to take a break, to postpone the interview, to end the interview or to withdraw from the research altogether. In addition, I will provide you with information on services available to support you.
Can you change your mind at any stage and withdraw from the study?
It is up to you to decide if you want to take part in the study. You are free to change your mind and to withdraw from the research at any stage without giving a reason, up until two weeks following your interview. At this point, it may not be possible to withdraw as analysis will have already commenced on your interview.
How will you find out what happens with this project?
I will keep a record of your email details. Your email details will be encrypted and stored securely. When the study is completed, I will email you with a summary of the main findings. The results may be used towards the publication of a journal article in an academic journal.
Contact details for further information:
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me using the details below. I am also enclosing the contact details of my research supervisor.
Thank you for reading this information.
Rachel Coughlan, Trainee Educational Psychologist and Doctoral Researcher
Email: [email protected]
Supervisor: Dr Joyce Senior, Director of the Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology in UCD, Dublin
Email: [email protected]
All you need is love, right? Wrong. If you or your partner has ADHD, follow these rules to foster communication, build trust, and reciprocate support.
Regardless of adult attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), falling in love is easy. A rush of biochemical euphoria comes with “new love.” Those of us with ADHD often hyperfocus on romance, not just for the sake of romance, but also to increase those pleasure-producing neurotransmitters (dopamine) that are in short supply in our brains. Highly charged emotions are not part of lasting love. They are just feelings — strong and wonderful feelings — but you need much more to make an ADHD relationship last.
Relationships are hard, and when we accept that fact, we are dealing with reality, not the fantasy that “all you need is love.” All we need is love? I don’t think so. You need coping skills to compensate for your weaknesses and to save your relationship. What tools should you have in your relationship toolbox? Glad you asked.
You and your partner must take ownership of your condition. Treat ADHD responsibly by using behaviour therapy and/or appropriate medications to manage symptoms, increase dopamine, and help the brain work as it is supposed to. When you do all that, you should see a decrease in ADHD symptoms —like the inability to focus when your partner is talking to you or to follow through on tasks, such as paying bills on time.
Not being heard is a major complaint of those in intimate relationships with partners with ADHD. For many who have ADHD, listening to others is hard. To increase your listening skills, practice this exercise:
Sit down with your partner and let him talk for five minutes — or longer, if you can manage it. Make eye contact and lean toward him, even if you’re not absorbing every word.
After five minutes of listening, summarise what you’ve heard. You might say, “Wow, it sounds like you had a really hectic day. The lousy commute, the awful meeting. At least you got to stop at the gym on the way home.”
After the exchange, do something you want to do. Say, “Now that you’re home, would you mind watching Robbie while I go for a run?”
Your partner will probably be shocked, and pleased, that you have listened to him for a full five minutes.
The main symptoms of ADHD — impulsiveness and the need for constant stimulation — can enhance, as well as threaten, relationships. Because adults with ADHD are impatient and easily bored, adventurous sexual activities are highly stimulating. Attraction to the new and different may make it difficult to stay monogamous. That’s why it is vital to be committed to the idea of “relationship” — even more so than your partner.
I met a 93-year-old woman who had been married to the same man for more than 70 years. She told me that they had good times and bad times in their years together, and that she had never once considered divorce, though she joked that she had considered murder once or twice. She knew that she had to be more committed to the institution of marriage than to her husband to make the relationship work. There were times when the couple didn’t feel committed to each other, but their dedication to their marriage got them through.
Learn to laugh at yourself (not at your partner) and to take your problems a little more lightheartedly. ADHD causes us to do and say some pretty unusual things sometimes.
Rather than be wounded or angered by unintended words and actions, see them for what they are: the symptoms of a condition you’re trying to manage. A good laugh allows you to move forward in the relationship. I know how difficult this can be. It is easy to be defensive because we have had to explain our behaviour for years — when we acted impulsively or glossed over details due to lack of focus. Drop the defensiveness, then let go and move forward.
It is tempting to point the finger at the other person and blame her for the problems in the relationship. But it takes two to tango. When we admit to the problems we may be causing, instead of dwelling on what our partner does wrong, we grow spiritually. When I acknowledge my own shortcomings — identify them, work on changing them, and forgive myself for not being perfect — it is easier to accept my partner and to forgive her shortcomings.
A phrase that sums up this forgive-and-forget concept is: “I did the best I could do in that moment. If I could have done better, I would have.” This takes the sting out of a bad experience, and enables you and your spouse to talk with each other civilly. It is no longer about one of you “doing it again,” it is about being human and making mistakes — something that is possible to forgive.
Most married couples with one or more partners diagnosed with ADHD plan to be married “till death do us part.” But as the realities of living together set in, little problems go unresolved and become bigger problems that seem insurmountable.
One of the common mistakes that troubled couples make is to wait too long before seeking professional help for their relationship. By the time they get to the therapist’s office, they’ve already thrown in the towel, and are only looking for a way to validate their misery and justify their decision to divorce. Don’t wait too long to get help. A licensed marriage and family therapist can teach communication and conflict resolution skills.
ADHD is most often talked about in the context of problems it can cause – related to distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. But new research is showing that the ADHD brain can be particularly effective at three types of cognition that form the basis of creative thinking: divergent thinking, conceptual expansion and overcoming knowledge constraints.
Holly White, a research scientist in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, describes how these three cognitive capabilities can make ADHD an asset in fields where innovation and creativity are paramount.
Divergent thinking – This capability allows the individual to think of many ideas from a single starting point. An example of this type of thinking might be finding new uses or features for an existing device.
Conceptual expansion – This capability allows us to loosen the boundaries of concepts. One example White highlights is the invention of the sewing needle. The basic design (eye on the blunt end for threading) is ancient in origin. In the early 1800s, inventor Balthasar Krems flipped that design upside-down to create the world’s first eye-pointed needle—which the sewing machine possible.
Overcoming knowledge constraints – We are often unconsciously bound by knowledge or concepts we are already familiar with. Breaking free of this constraint of prior knowledge can be very difficult. Many of the great discoveries in modern science – e.g., the heliocentric planetary model, general relativity and quantum theory – were the result of overcoming the constraints of existing knowledge and concepts.
Several research studies have confirmed that individuals with ADHD consistently outperform non-ADHD individuals in using these types of cognitive capabilities.
The research of White and other shows that while ADHD may create difficulties in many situations that require focused, sustained attention, it can provide an edge when it comes to creative, original thinking. In a world where innovation and creativity are more highly prized, the ADHD mind can be a valuable asset.
For the full article from Edge Foundation, at this link http://bit.ly/2JOrSEq
Part of the reason ADHD is often missed is that people expect the symptoms to be loud and in-your-face. The stereotypical ADHDer is a little boy who’s running all over the place. An actual ADHDer, of course, can be any age or gender and have any temperament.
Why do people think that someone with ADHD will have symptoms that are overtly disruptive and impossible to ignore? The “H” part of ADHD definitely plays a role. If someone has ADHD, they have hyperactivity, and if they have hyperactivity it’ll be obvious, right?
To begin, it’s entirely possible to have ADHD without hyperactivity. This is the “inattentive” subtype of ADHD, and it involves deficits in areas like attention, motivation and organization.
But what I want to talk about today is that even if someone does have the H in ADHD, they aren’t necessarily going to be climbing up walls. It can still require being observant to know what’s going on.
For starters, not everyone with the hyperactive side of ADHD is loud and talkative. While talking non-stop is part of ADHD for some people, there are many other ways hyperactivity can express itself. Someone who’s an introvert can have an aversion to sitting still, fidget a lot, think better when they’re moving, and be impatient.
Then there’s the fact that comorbid conditions come into play. If an ADHDer has another condition like anxiety or depression, which is common, that can make hyperactive symptoms harder to spot. On the other hand, conditions like anxiety or bipolar disorder can also exacerbate hyperactive symptoms, so a mental health professional might initially attribute hyperactivity to those other disorders before realising that ADHD is a factor.
It’s worth recognising that hyperactivity isn’t just about excessive activity, and the terminology used in the DSM’s diagnostic guidelines has evolved to reflect that fact. In particular, “hyperactive” symptoms are now known as “hyperactive-impulsive” symptoms. As an example of what this means, consider that interrupting people or answering questions before someone is done asking them has more to do with an inability to inhibit impulses rather than excessive activity.
To be sure, there are ADHDers who you can tell clearly have hyperactive symptoms within seconds of meeting them. But in many cases, you have to know what to look for to know if someone has the H. It’s certainly not a given that hyperactive symptoms are obvious enough to necessarily be identified in childhood and then diagnosed.
From Neil Petersen from PsychCentral.com
As a 33-year-old teacher who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, I deal with it on a daily basis both as a patient and a professional. For the most part, I am able to use it to my advantage, but every once in a while, it gets the best of me, and I get told to “go fishing.”
My mother didn’t raise a fool, and I know that when your wife says “go fishing,” you would be totally and completely off of your rocker not to take her up on the offer. When I come back, I always seem to be much more focused and ready to do some work.
The outdoors is quite a busy place. Perhaps that is why, being hyperactive myself, I seem to fit. Boys and men are three times more likely to embody the “H” in ADHD than are girls. For me, “H” also stands for the “hunter” instinct. A “Hunter” says Thom Hartmann, author of A.D.D: A Different Perception, “is constantly monitoring his environment, able to throw himself into the chase at a moment’s notice and is bored by mundane tasks; he enjoys new ideas, excitement, ‘the hunt’ and being hot on the trail.”
Maybe it is the thrill of the “hunt.” When I am stalking that elusive trout, I am completely and totally focused on the task at hand I don’t have a care in the world. Not all hunting is meant for me, though. I teach in a rural school in southwest Missouri, and everyone deer hunts — everyone except me. I hate sitting and waiting for the deer. Give me a field of quail any day — I get to move, not just sit and wait. Fishing is the same way. I like to use my brain to help catch them, but it is no fun for me to just bait a hook, throw it out there and wait.
Physical activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and swimming keep boys energies engaged and can build strength and self-confidence. Wilderness programs and scouting teach discipline, focus and responsibility — I was active in the Boy Scouts throughout my childhood and it was a great experience for me.
The most enjoyable experience about being outdoors for your son, however, just might be the time he gets to spend with you. Take him to the woods, a favourite stream or lake and stand together for a while, just listening and watching. There’s a whole world outside of ADHD for him — and it’s something he needs to see!
From Todd Holt, www.ADDitudeMag.com
Desperate to improve your focus and productivity at work? Try these ADHD brain hacks — including the powerful DWYDN and PP478 protocols — to boost job performance and increase productivity naturally.
Back when I was a struggling advertising executive, before I knew I had ADHD, I couldn’t stay on task or get projects finished. I didn’t know why, but I knew chances were good that I wouldn’t be promoted.
One day a friend gave me an audio book, Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I thought, “A bunch of malarkey that I’ll never understand, much less be able to use in my pursuit of corporate success.” But in that book was an insight: 90 percent of the noise in my brain was useless, ego-based chatter — worrying about the past, anxieties about the future, and petty judgments about this and that. If I could recognise that noise, I could choose to listen to it or go with other thoughts.
This was my first “brain hack.” I could now make distinctions between malarkey and the meaningful, and “flip a switch” to shut down some of that noise. I could quiet my mind on demand.
Some of those with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) are physically hyperactive, but all of us are mentally hyperactive, which leads to excessive worry and useless rumination. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or unfocused, pause and really listen to the chatter in your head. That alone will give you a degree of control and choice.
I began to have more focus in my work — staying on task longer, spending less time and energy lost in rumination. And I started to get some traction in my slow-moving career.
Since then, I’ve developed, adapted, and curated hundreds of brain hacks that have helped me, my private clients, and broader audiences to live up to our potential.
Think about a computer hacker. Someone who goes into someone else’s system and changes the code for advantage or gain. There is also “life hacking,” the shortcuts or tricks you can use to help you save money, learn, and work faster.
The “system” here is your brain, and the switches you throw can help you become aware of the noisy thoughts in your head. You can also hack your brain from the outside through diet changes, exercise, and better sleep.
Here are more of my favourite brain hacks:
This brain hack was inspired by a line I saw from productivity guru David Allen: “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
DWYDN stands for “Do what you’re doing now.” I finally realised that if I could finish what I sat down to work on (“What I’m doing now”), my to-do list would get shorter fast.
I’m sure you know the universal ADHD truth: Too often we jump out of a task to pick up another task that seems easier or more interesting, and we never come back to the original task. Or, we do a little of this and a little of that and get nothing done. This is why our to-do lists stay so long.
Finishing the thing we’ve started is easier said than done for us, but here’s how you can use this hack: Next time you work on an intensive task, start by declaring, “This is what I’m doing now!” By saying that, you build a “fence” around the task to keep out potential distractions. When you get that text from your BFF, you will be equipped to say to yourself, “I’d love to reply to my friend, but that’s not what I’m doing now! This important task is what I’m doing now!” This hack has been responsible for my upward trajectory more than any other.
What is PP478? It stands for “Pause and Plan with the 4-7-8” breathing technique. It’s a way to recover from that feeling of never enough time, way too much to do, and the debilitating stress that goes with it.
You may have heard of the 4-7-8 technique, which comes from the ancient practice of yoga. But it’s got plenty of 21st-century scientific support for reducing stress: You breathe in deeply through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, then slowly release your breath through your pursed lips for eight counts. Repeat three times and you will achieve what’s called heart rate variability. You’re now be able to do something ADHDers are rarely able to do: Pause and Plan—think clearly and calmly about what you’re doing and what you can/should do next.
In his book, Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, Gregory Berns says that insight and discovery are most accessible to us when we break up our routines: “Only when the brain is confronted with stimuli that it has not encountered before does it start to reorganise perception…to provoke the imagination.”
Think about your typical workday: How many hours are you able to work on tough, important tasks with confidence and calm? Not many, right? ADHDers usually count focused work sessions in terms of minutes—and too often we count those minutes on one hand. But science says we can reboot our brain with pattern interruption.
You can interrupt the pattern of your day by changing your venue. I work in five or more different locations around my home and office on any given day, and sometimes I work in my truck. I’m constantly re-energising by changing my venues. Even if you work in a tightly controlled physical environment, you can vary your work-places: change the way you’re positioned at your desk; work in a conference room for a couple of single-tasking sessions; sit at a desk not being used by anyone.
Too many adults with ADHD fuel their brain with sugary snacks and drinks that are almost pure glucose, which is not efficient or effective fuel. You get spurts of mental energy, but you crash in a few minutes—as your brain begs for more sugar.
If you were to get your glucose from, say, dried fruit (a food in which the glucose is still attached to its fiber), the delivery curve of the fuel is extended. Add to your snack some protein, like raw nuts or jerky, and you extend the delivery curve further.
I regularly snack on raw pumpkin seeds (these and almonds deliver the most protein bang for the buck) and dried apricots.
If you’re hankering for some fresh fruit (or worried about the calorie count of dried fruits), grab a banana or a sliced apple, and spread peanut butter on it.
Feeling restless, hungry? Having a tough time focusing? ADHD brains are wired so that we don’t have access to the key neurochemicals that sustain mental acuity and effort over long periods of time. So we need to pay more attention to the signals that our brain and body send us. The longer we ignore them and try to push, the more we’re depleting our day’s limited energy supply.
When I accepted the fact that my brain is not designed to operate at the same level all day long, or even for a few hours, I began using occasional recovery rituals. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, says the length of renewal is less important than the quality. Knowing that there may be limits to recovery you can engage in, here are a few tips, starting with simple things you can do at your desk:
Digital strategist Tom Gibson said, “We need to understand that ‘on’ is impossible without ‘off,’ and the distance between the two needs to be made closer.”
We do have more control over our thoughts and actions than we’ve been led to believe. Most of what I’ve shared are classic brain hacks — tweaking your thoughts to change the way you view something (or tweaking your diet or breathing to alter your brain chemistry). Try them, and see your productivity increase at home and at work.
From Alan Brown, ADDitude Magazine
Long-term relationships can get rocky if your spouse has attention deficit disorder. Here, 10 helpful tips for keeping the romance alive and balancing one another out — whether it’s taking joy in a honey-do list or reading up on ADHD.
A happy marriage takes work. A happy marriage to a spouse with ADHD takes more work.
The following 10 tips are ones my wife and I have used in our “mixed” marriage — I have ADHD, my wife doesn’t — to help each of us love the one we’re with.
1. Study up on ADHD. There are many excellent books on the topic, and the one that I’d recommend most is my own book, Delivered from Distraction. The more you understand ADHD, the better you will be able to understand your spouse. Of course, no two people with attention deficit are the same, but there are commonalities it helps to know about.
2. Avoid making a “moral diagnosis.” By that, I mean attributing the negative behaviours associated with ADHD to lack of motivation or effort. If your spouse tells you he will take out the trash, and he walks right past the trash, don’t assume he did that on purpose or that he was being defiant or passive-aggressive. Don’t assume he is selfish or doesn’t care about you when he overlooks details or forgets important obligations. This is all part of the ADHD package. The moral diagnosis only makes matters worse.
3. If your spouse has ADHD, don’t treat her like a child. This is unromantic, and increases the struggles and resentments on both sides.
4. Set aside regular times for conversation — at least a half hour a week – at the same time, in the same place. Pick a time when you know you will be able to sit down and make plans, set up structures and routines, and talk through problems. Clear communication is key. Many couples “communicate” only when they are arguing or fighting. Communication leads to understanding, which leads to empathy and intimacy.
5. Speaking of intimacy, don’t forget about making love. People are so busy these days — whether they have ADHD or not — that they often let sex slip to the bottom of the list. Lovemaking is one of the few human activities that is fun and good for you. Do it as often as you can. Make dates for lovemaking. The anticipation is a form of foreplay.
6. Create a division of labour in which each spouse does what he or she is best at and dislikes the least. For example, I am bad at accounting, and I hate dealing with financial matters. My wife, on the other hand, likes being in charge of the money and is good at keeping track of it. So she handles it all. I turn over my paycheck to her, and she tracks our expenses.
7. That leads to another important point. If you are the one who has ADHD, as I am, be grateful for coaching and “honey-do” lists from your spouse. Don’t think of them as nagging, but see the lists as helpful reminders. People with ADHD need reminders, structure, routines, and schedules to keep our lives on track.
8. Make sure your spouse understands what you are going through. The spouse who has ADHD is sometimes not aware of the impact his actions have on his mate. His intentions are good, but the impact of his actions, often, is anything but good. Explain this to him, not in the context of an argument, but during one of your regular communication sessions.
9. Play together, doing things you both like to do. Having good times makes getting through the tough times much easier. Plan fun activities, sometimes just for the two of you, sometimes with the kids.
10. Love the spouse you have. Don’t try to turn him or her into someone else. Find the good in your mate, and appreciate it and cherish it. It feels good to cherish someone, just as it feels good to be cherished.
From Edward Hallowell, M.D., full article at https://www.additudemag.com/marriage-advice-adhd-adult-relationships/
Fans of Mervel Superhero films will know who actor Mark Ruffalo is. He talks here in this short film clip about growing up with ADHD, Dyslexia & Depression – and now he is someone with superpowers!
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