“Tapping into apps didn’t cure my ADHD, just like taking that salmon-colored pill didn’t make my symptoms disappear. But using a range of apps has allowed me to evolve from tech geek to productivity geek. When you go through life being clueless about managing any of the details of life, and then you crack the code, it’s hard not to geek out.”
Dr. Nicole Brown’s quest to understand her misbehaving pediatric patients began with a hunch.
Brown was completing her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, when she realized that many of her low-income patients had been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
These children lived in households and neighborhoods where violence and relentless stress prevailed. Their parents found them hard to manage and teachers described them as disruptive or inattentive. Brown knew these behaviors as classic symptoms of ADHD, a brain disorder characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and an inability to focus.
When Brown looked closely, though, she saw something else: trauma. Hyper-vigilance and dissociation, for example, could be mistaken for inattention. Impulsivity might be brought on by a stress response in overdrive.
“For the study, a team of Dutch neuroscientists analyzed MRI scans of the brains of more than 3,200 people between the ages of four and 63 years old (with a median age of 14 years old), measuring total brain volume as well as the volume of seven brain regions thought to be linked to ADHD.
Roughly half of the participants had a diagnosis of ADHD.
The brain scans revealed that five brain regions were smaller in people with ADHD. These include the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure involved in processing emotions like fear and pleasure; the hippocampus, which plays a role in learning, memory and emotion; and three brain areas within the striatum ― the caudate nucleus, the putamen and the nucleus accumbens. The structures within the striatum are involved in the brain’s reward system and in its processing of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control motivation and pleasure.
These differences were more dramatic in children than in adults, leading the study’s authors to conclude that ADHD involves delayed brain development. It appears that as the brains of people with ADHD develop and mature, these brain regions “catch up” to the brain regions of people without ADHD.”
One of the biggest challenges in relationships is when a partner misinterprets ADHD symptoms. For one, couples may not even know that one partner (or both) suffers from ADHD in the first place. (Take a quick screening quiz here.)
In fact, “more than half of adults who have ADHD don’t know they have it,” according to Orlov. When you don’t know that a particular behavior is a symptom, you may misinterpret it as your partner’s true feelings for you.
Orlov recalled feeling miserable and unloved in her own marriage. (At the time she and her husband didn’t realize that he had ADHD.) She misinterpreted her husband’s distractibility as a sign that he didn’t love her anymore. But if you would’ve asked him, his feelings for her hadn’t changed. Still, to Orlov his actions — in reality the symptoms — spoke louder than words.
Do you pop up from your seat during meetings and finish other people’s sentences? And maybe you also procrastinate, or find yourself zoning out in the middle of one-on-one conversations?
It’s possible you have adult ADHD.
Six simple questions can reliably identify adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to a World Health Organization advisory group working with two additional psychiatrists.
“The idea that young adults, particularly women, actually have ADHD routinely evokes skepticism. As a fairly driven adult female who found the strength to sit through biology lectures and avoid major academic or social failures, I, too, was initially perplexed by my diagnosis. My peers were also confused, and rather certain my psychiatrist was misguided. “Of course you don’t have ADHD. You’re smart,” a friend told me, definitively, before switching to the far more compelling topic: medication. “So are you going to take Adderall and become super skinny?” “Are you going to sell it?” “Are you going to snort it?”
” Imagine you are driving in the car. You look in the rearview mirror and see your child trying to shrink into her seat.
“What’s wrong?” you ask.
“I don’t want to go to the birthday party.”
“But you’ve been excited all week. There will be cake and games and a bounce house. You love all of those things,” you try to reason.
“But I can’t go. There will be lots of people there I don’t know. No one will play with me. My tummy hurts.”
Sound familiar? As a parent of an anxious child, you might regularly find yourself in situations where no matter what you try, what effort you make, what compassion you offer, or what love you exude, nothing seems to help quash the worry that is affecting your little one’s everyday interactions.
In my work with anxious children, I have found it tremendously beneficial for both parents and kids to have a toolkit full of coping skills from which to choose. As you know, every child is different and some of the tools described below will resonate more than others. When you pick one to work with, please try it at least two to three times before making a judgment on whether it suits your child and family.
Learning the ins-and-outs of parenting a transgender child is made easier by the recent outpouring of stories, suggestions, and advice from families all over the world who are making the journey with their loved ones. This article gives us a beautiful glimpse into the lives of one family.
“……Then one day “Kendra” told them that “she” was gay. Not many months after that, “she” asked to be called “Kasey” which would eventually become Ashur. From there it progressed to cutting. It became so bad that they took “her” to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
While there, they suggested that Ken and his family sweep Ashur’s room for anything unusual.
What they found was a suicide note.
This is the moment they learned that their son was Transgender.
They confronted Ashur and learned that he had indeed already attempted his plan weeks ago and it had failed. The note made clear that if Ashur couldn’t be who he felt inside, there was no point in living.
Take heed of that. When a person is making it known that they wish to take their own life, they are asking for help. When they say nothing, they’ve given up hope.”
Read the whole article here.
Emily Shire brings us an inside look into the current trend of rich, white celebrities preaching about a vocation and work environment they do not have personal experience with. Did they somehow become experts by virtue of having money and time on their hands?
“Everybody thinks they’re helping us. They never stop to talk to us,” DiAngelo says, choking back tears, “They just want to make it disappear.”
While she believes the celebrities opposing Amnesty International “probably have good intentions,” they’re far too quick to pat themselves on the back.
“They go home at night thinking they did something good and we’re cleaning up the bloodshed. We’re the ones trying to keep ourselves alive.”
Melissa Atkins Wardy, with permission from her son Ben, writes empathetically about his social anxiety and the kind of adjustments she has made to accommodate and honor those times Ben “might have some tears”.
“My kids freeze. They have panic attacks. They drop out of first grade in favor of homeschooling. They can walk up to a group of new kids at the park to make friends and start a game of play, but they cry over things that seem really little or insignificant and I don’t get it. I’m more like a Golden Retriever: everything’s a party and everyone is my best friend. Ben makes me pause, reframe, and see situations the way his little heart see them.”
Uninterested in making Ben fit her own mold of life, but equally understanding of her responsibility to raise him to look after himself, Wardy demonstrates the ways children can learn from their guardians how to develop their own agency and self expression, on their own terms, without being stuffed into a box of confining expectations arbitrarily determined by gender.