Month: February 2016 Page 2 of 4

Gene

Is there an ADHD gene?

The alleles of the genes behind the genetic component of ADHD are unknown.

The Gene

It is an interesting question but even associating a gene or allele mutation with development of ADHD symptoms or intelligence is an ill-posed question.  There are too many variations and outside influences to even predict.  It’s like the “butterfly effect” where everything is an influence but how much and what the role is on the outcome is highly variable.

know-it-all

Are all people with ADHD know-it-all “walking encyclopedias”?

Have you wondered about those folks that give off the aura of being a know-it-all walking encyclopedia? Do I mean the eletro-magnetic radiation around the sun seen during eclipses known as the “corona” or more of a “halo” around an object caused by light diffusion of particles in the atmosphere type “aura”?

Know-It-All

No. I don’t think people with ADD/ADHD are commonly known for being encyclopedias…Walking Wiki’s on the other hand…

Seriously, I think many walking encyclopedias have ADHD and may not be diagnosed.  I believe this is because we hyperfocus on what we are interested and passionate about.  Then a part of the disorder is that we can miss social queues that we are being a “know-it-all”.   We become so immersed in the topic and knowledge that our passion and enthusiasm spills, or more likely explodes, everywhere all the time.  If all this leads to success in life then we don’t consider it a disorder and don’t get diagnosed.

ADHD affects people differently, some are very inattentive and quiet.  Regardless, there is a high probability of walking encyclopedias having ADHD but not that probable a person with ADHD is a walking encyclopedia or knows it all.

trouble starting

Having trouble starting things.

There are a couple of things that may be contributing to the lack of “self-activation”.  Problems with “Executive Functioning” or being able to think of what to do or how to approach a task are common.  Problems with “Working Memory” are another cognitive area that may be causing the difficulty.

Trouble Starting

Then again the task just be boring and tedious which cause ADHDers a great deal of pain from the strain of trying to subdue their attention and concentration to get that boring chore done.  Yes, my desk is a mess, cleaning it up is boring and answering this question is a lot more fun!

In reality, ADHDers have the same problems as neurotypicals, but the disorder makes it very difficult and very energy consuming to “just do it”.  So, to actually get going ADHDers have to use techniques above and beyond what normal people do.  This can include breaking the task into smaller pieces, setting up rewards for completion, identifying personal pay value of the task and other goal setting methods.  It may seem more involved and unnecessary but to an ADHDer this becomes vital.

Can you have ADHD and also be a quiet kid?

Yes, you can have ADHD and be a quiet kid.  I was quiet and thought you had to be hyper to be ADHD.  This delayed me getting diagnosed until I was an adult.

Sometimes people call non-hyperactive ADHDers ADD not ADHD but officially it’s ADHD-PI which is the primarily inattentive type.

There is still hyperactivity of the brain with thoughts and emotions.

Seek a professional opinion from an ADHD specialist.

What causes ADHD #1

We do not know what causes ADD/ADHD.  Hopefully we’ll know soon.  If there is something that claims it is the cause check the references.

We do know some things about what causes the symptoms of ADHD.

The brains of some ADD/ADHD subjects show different brain activity under SPECT scans and functional MRI scans but differences in function does not necessarily indicate the disorder.  There is some thought that dopamine and other neurotransmitters (catecholamines) play a role in affecting the executive functioning and working memory of ADD/ADHD.

Why is ADHD called a disorder?

Sticky post
It’s considered a disorder because of the last D.  It is a measurable impairment of executive function and working memory.  I consider it a neutral Superpower where depending on the situation can be an obstacle or advantage.  That’s just me.
I don’t enjoy my ADHD symptoms sometimes.  I try to minimize that time by creating situations and goals that invite ADHD traits to help me out.
An example is using my stubbornness to work through problems that people have given up on.  Then the trust I have cultivated in my hyperfocus and my scattered thoughts helps me arrive at innovative solutions in non-linear ways that others could never imagine.
I hope you find some enjoyment of your ADHD.  It’s the best roller-coaster ride I’ve ever been on!

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome has feelings of being incompetent or a fraud.  There is a fear of being “found out”.  It feels like you are always looking up to a goal that is always out of reach.

Signs:

Hyper vigilance to cover up.

Scared that you really aren’t that smart.

Staying up all night to present facade of having it all together.

Being smart gives self-esteem in school but there may be confusion socially and emotionally.   After leaving school the measures of being smart or successful change.
Anxiety in maintaining something that is slipping through your fingers.  Clinging to the external identity of being smart creates obsessive clinging to achievement and performance.

Dirty little secrets.

Perfectionistic and rigid.

Indications

Anxiety
Perfectionism
Hyper-vigilance –
Obsessive – way to success.

Worried about going too far. Too intense. Must reign in intensity and regulate emotions. Regret over saying or doing things.

Feeling inappropriate.

Feel stupid because they weren’t able to do

Find continuum where they they don’t measure up as well.
I could have done more.
Hard to find a way to re-frame with acceptance and compassion.

New challenges are treated as threats. They create a sense of being frantic or overwhelmed.

You’ve found ways to compensate.

The struggle within. Processing is chaotic and time consuming with ADHD.

No matter how you try to reconcile what you think as ideal it beats you up.

The demands create shame.
We think of superhuman traits but we have to remind ourselves that all superheros are also flawed.

Core of your identity is being smart.
Self-loathing.

Why do some people only work well under pressure

a common characteristic of the ADHD brain “In an emergency or a situation which calls for focused action, my brain works with crystal clear focus effortlessly.”
For an answer with a neurological perspective I would consider the research on the reduced dopamine levels in the ADHD brain and the inverted-U shaped task performance curve. We can develop a reasonable explanation for what is going on for what you describe.

The situations that are an emergency or fully engaging create a stress that increases the dopamine level. With the increased dopamine level the ADHD brain’s frontal lobe and striata are then able to perform well with working memory and executive functioning tasks. This performance is your focused and effortless you describe.

This is an illustration of the dopamine performance curve with shifts in the baseline levels. It is from a paper on the effects of drugs on dopamine levels. If we start of with a deficit of dopamine, the endorphins created from physical activity or the adrenaline from stress it illustrates that ADHDers enter a optimum task performance of working memory and executive functioning.

from: Inverted-U-shaped dopamine actions on human working memory and cognitive control.

Stress isn’t always bad or an emergency situation as illustrated with this performance grid.

The psychological aspects of seeking to increase dopamine explains the thrill-seeking behavior and athletics. On the downside of your brain longing for dopamine can be addition from caffeine to meth and habits that create stress like waiting till the last minute to complete tasks or intentionally starting arguments.

Your brain longing to be fully engaged can be a productive and valuable trait, as long as it doesn’t control you. I agree it is magical and think of it as a superpower. However, just like any superpower if not focused and used for good it can hurt others and destroy the person.

Normal changes in life situations can bring about the impairment of ADHD in adulthood. If you get away from competitive athletics and do not find something to fill that vacuum you may find increased impulsiveness or not being able to concentrate. The desire for an emergency room environment, or MEDVAC helicopter pilot duty as in my case, can lead you on a transition to a fulfilling career.

I have devoted the rest of my life helping adults deal with all this and recognizing these traits as a Superpower. Some of my clients don’t have an ADHD diagnosis but possess the Superpower. I coax out the talents, develop the skills to use the power and have them reach goals that they haven’t even imagined.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective with this well written question.

How to stick to boring tasks.

For me sticking with something to completion and not jumping to greener pastures is about creating the situation and motivation where the hyper-focus superpower is evoked.

1. Identify the goal and map out a plan and the tasks required to get there. If it’s boring I connect the task to bigger activity.
2. Make sure the activity is connected to my goals, interests, passions and legacy. Jeff Spencer is a great reference for this
The Champions Blueprint with Dr. Jeff Spencer
3. Vividly visualize until I can feel what it is going to be like to succeed in reaching the goal. Directive affirmation gives my visualization structure.Lanny Basham
4. Commit to the goal that I get to in that visualization. Giving my self permission to proceed. David Giwerc’s method is what I use Permission to Proceed

Once I have a clear picture in my head of what I want to achieve, I am passionate about it the trivial tasks are no longer boring.

ADHD and What you should be doing now?

You’re already doing what you need to do.
Find out what it is and refine it.
Find out what you truly want to do and do it.

That’s what I do when I coach people with adult ADHD. You see to get this far with ADHD you’ve figured out a lot of stuff. What you now consider “easy” is actually a very valuable skill. It needs to be identified and used elsewhere.

As for the not being able to focus on repetitive tasks. Ask your doctor about your meds. When you take the correct dose there is an “aha” feeling. Dr. Brown works with very smart adults with ADHD Welcome to DrThomasEBrown.com I have found when I am “dosed” I can control my hyperfocus at will. However, boring will always be boring.

You can also delegate a lot of the tedious stuff. Barter by offering your honed ADHD traits to help colleagues. You might be amazed how people will be overjoyed to sort out files and documents all day. I’m ADHD too and just don’t understand that.

David

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