Monday, December 15, 2014

Here’s Why ADHD May Have Been An Evolutionary Advantage

If you've ever learned something by playing a game, observing someone else, or watching a TED talk, you're doing it the way humans have for the majority of our history.

Rather than learning in a classroom, our hunting and gathering ancestors played, observed each other and, occasionally, got a lesson from family or friends. If you were lucky enough to have a personality that was well-suited to this style of learning, it not only meant you acquired new skills quicker — it probably also meant you lived longer.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Does ADHD make you cleverer?

Does ADHD make you cleverer?

People with ADHD are often considered "stupid" and perform poorly at school, but evidence suggests that they might be brighter than average, they just can't achieve their potential.

ADHD, and it’s related-disorder, ADD exist in a haze of stigma, misunderstanding and over-diagnosis. Most importantly, though, is the way that these highly prevalent conditions are viewed as an “excuse” for poorly performing children and, increasingly, adults.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Second Generic Version of ADHD Drug Concerta Found to Have Problems

US regulatory officials say they have identified not one but two supposed generic copies of the attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) treatment drug Concerta that have failed to demonstrate required levels of equivalency.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Losing Is Good for You

AS children return to school this fall and sign up for a new year’s worth of extracurricular activities, parents should keep one question in mind. Whether your kid loves Little League or gymnastics, ask the program organizers this: “Which kids get awards?” If the answer is, “Everybody gets a trophy,” find another program.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

How do you remember the Warning Signs of Suicide?
Here's an easy-to-remember mnemonic:


I Ideation
S Substance Abuse

P Purposelessness
A Anxiety
T Trapped
H Hopelessness

W Withdrawal
A Anger
R Recklessness
M Mood Changes

A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show:

Warning Signs of Acute Risk:
Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or, talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

These might be remembered as expressed or communicated ideation. If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.

Additional Warning Signs:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes
If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.

These warning signs were compiled by a task force of expert clinical-researchers and 'translated' for the general public. The origin of IS PATH WARM?

Why Teenagers Act Crazy

CreditGary Panter 
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ADOLESCENCE is practically synonymous in our culture with risk taking, emotional drama and all forms of outlandish behavior. Until very recently, the widely accepted explanation for adolescent angst has been psychological. Developmentally, teenagers face a number of social and emotional challenges, like starting to separate from their parents, getting accepted into a peer group and figuring out who they really are. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to realize that these are anxiety-provoking transitions.

Friday, November 7, 2014

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finding Strength in Vulnerability

In my last post, I discussed one reason some people reject a mental health diagnosis – because the diagnosis attacks an important way they see themselves and they reject the diagnosis to protect their own identity. Today, I want to discuss another reason a mental health diagnosis is rejected – our cultural relationship to vulnerability. We are taught to deny and fear exposure of our weaknesses to others. Since the extreme states that result in a mental health diagnosis carry a natural vulnerability, someone who is newly diagnosed might reject the diagnosis so that they can continue to see themselves, and still be seen by their friends and family, as strong people. Unfortunately, this denial can interfere with having an honest relationship with the situation, and can prevent the newly diagnosed person from seeking out and accepting the care they need to properly manage their mental health diagnosis.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ADHD Often Lurks In Other Illnesses, But Frequently Left Untreated

ADHD Often Lurks In Other Illness, But Frequently Left UntreatedADHD Often Lurks In Other Illnesses, But Frequently Left Untreated
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) hides.

ADHD lurks in medical fields other than psychiatry, and it wears masks. Rarely will a patient or doctor see the symptom or the diagnosis as a manifestation of ADHD. And less often will either consider evaluation and treatment of ADHD as a pathway to health.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Redefining Race Relations: It Begins at Home

Diverse kids holding hands
In the United States, race relations has had its challenges across history. Although strides have been made over the course of history, we continue to battle racism and injustice in the 21st century. The recent incident in Ferguson, Missouri has re-energized efforts to address race relations, racism, and discrimination. If you’ve been avoiding media or hiding from technology, CNN has provided information on their website detailing the events and current status.

15 Rules To Foster Good Behavior In Children

15 rules that parents can use to help children learn to behave well (most of the time).

1. Play (and work) with them often.
This is the best way to teach children cooperation and self-restraint. The best way to help children learn to cooperate, when there is work that needs to be done, is to work with them.

Monday, August 25, 2014

To Know Suicide Depression Can Be Treated, but It Takes Competence

WHEN the American artist Ralph Barton killed himself in 1931 he left behind a suicide note explaining why, in the midst of a seemingly good and full life, he had chosen to die.

“Everyone who has known me and who hears of this,” he wrote, “will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it.”

“Teacher, I Need Your Help” What kids with attention deficit wish their teachers knew.

Although each child should be treated as an individual, with their own strengths, challenges, and needs, here is a list of the most commonly experienced issues for students with ADHD.

Please don't ever humiliate me.
I have a condition called Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. It is a real medical condition that doctors define as impairment to my executive functions (cognitive management system) in my brain. That means that learning is hard for me. The part of my brain that manages these skills is like an orchestra conductor who tells all the musicians how to play together and on time to make beautiful music. My conductor has trouble communicating with the musicians, so I need your help.

ADHD Secrets My Teacher Should Know

A student with attention deficit gives advice to his teacher to bring out their unified best in the classroom.

"I need your patient encouragement, not shaming remarks."— Josh and Melinda Boring

Dear Teacher, as we prepare for another day of school together, can we pause for a moment? We have gone through my checklist, gathering everything I need for the day’s subjects. But did we go through your checklist? Both of us need to feel successful. Since you have helped me understand how you want me to prepare for school, here is my checklist for you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Myths About ADHD Special Ed Law

10 Myths About ADHD Special Ed Law

Know the law: Which special education services are children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) entitled to?

10 Myths About Special-Ed Servicesliquidlibrary/thinkstock
After working in special-education law for more than 30 years, I have found that schools don’t always follow the letter and spirit of the law when providing accommodations and services for children protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, the law governing special education) and Section 504. If your special-needs child doesn’t receive some or all of the educational assistance he deserves and is legally entitled to, he may find school hard, and he may even fail.
Here are 10 common myths about ADD/ADHD special-education laws that some schools purvey, either through ignorance or in an attempt to discourage parents from requesting the help they should legally receive. Knowledge is power.
Myth 1: ADD/ADHD is not a real disorder and does not qualify as a disability.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Being on Time Means Being Early

I was watching Judd Apatow's This is 40 [again] last night with my husband in order to decompress from a troubling day, and was delighted to see my favorite scene come up about halfway through the film. The main character drops her kid off at school and the homeroom teacher greets her with:

Teacher: "Hi - um, listen, Charlotte really needs to get here on time because she really just needs the extra time to settle in."

Mom: [mystified] "We are on time."

Teacher: [deadpan] “Being on time means being early.”

Princeton Review Ranks 20 Most (And Least) LGBT-Friendly Colleges In America

gay college student 2
The Princeton Review has released its list of the top 20 most LGBT-friendly colleges in the United States. The annual survey asked 126,000 students at 378 top colleges to rate their schools on a variety of subjects relating to academics, administrators and campus life. (Students ranked their campus on a five-point scale for each question.)

So which schools were most gay-friendly, according to their student body?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A ‘High’ From Marijuana Is Really the Opposite in Your Brain

Marijuana dulls your response to dopamine

A new study suggests marijuana blunts the brain’s reaction to dopamine, making users less responsive to the chemical responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What is wisdom?

What is wisdom?

‘It does not automatically come with age. Many older people never put their life experience to good use’

The Shrink

When people are asked what they’d like in life they typically respond that they want to be happy. Wisdom, which we might think of as a remote and highfalutin concept, is not such a popular answer. But, in practice, happiness is flimsy, relatively unpredictable and best thought of as something that may visit us if we create the right environment for it. A practical, everyday sort of wisdom – the ability to make good choices and judgments in life – is the stuff we need to negotiate life’s sharp bends.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Benefits of Failing at French

I USED to joke that I spoke French like a 3-year-old. Until I met a French 3-year-old and couldn’t hold up my end of the conversation. This was after a year of intense study, including at least two hours a day with Rosetta Stone, Fluenz and other self-instruction software, Meetup groups, an intensive weekend class and a steady diet of French movies, television and radio, followed by what I’d hoped would be the coup de grâce: two weeks of immersion at one of the top language schools in France.

The Emotional Whiplash of Parenting a Teenager

Being a teenager is hard – being the parent of a teenager may be even harder. Any parent of an adolescent knows the pain of being rejected, neglected, or artfully critiqued by their teenager. But being pushed away is only the half of it. Raising teenagers becomes that much more stressful and confounding when teenagers interrupt weeks of frostiness with moments of intense warmth and intimacy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Facts about Transgender People and Health Care

In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest‐ever survey of transgender and gender non‐conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide‐ranging questionnaire. Here are some highlights relating to transgender people and health care:


Terminology within the transgender community varies and has changed over time so we recognize the need to be sensitive to usage within particular communities. 

Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. “Trans” is shorthand for “transgender.” (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus “transgender people” is appropriate but “transgenders” is often viewed as disrespectful.)

How do transsexual people change genders? what is the process like?

Note: The information in this section applies only to transsexuals, not to transgender people in general. Remember that not all transgender people want to transition.

There are a variety of paths that people follow, but many use a series of guidelines set out by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. These guidelines are called the Standards of Care (SOC) and they outline a series of steps that people may take to explore and complete gender transition. 

These may include:
  • Counseling with a mental health professional 
  • A “real life” experience where an individual lives as the target gender for a trial period 
  • Learning about the available options and the effects of various medical treatments 
  • Communication between the person’s therapist and physician indicating readiness to begin medical treatment (usually in the form of a letter) 
  • Undergoing hormone therapy 
  • Having various surgeries to alter the face, chest and genitals to be more 
  • congruent with the individual’s sense of self 

Friday, July 11, 2014

We Tell Kids to ‘Go to Sleep!’ We Need to Teach Them Why.

We tell children why it’s important to eat their vegetables. We tell them why they need to get outside and run around. But how often do we parents tell children why it’s important to sleep? “Time for bed!” is usually the end of it, or maybe “You’ll be tired tomorrow.” No wonder children regard sleep as vaguely punitive, an enforced period of dull isolation in a darkened room. But of course sleep is so much more, and maybe we ought to try telling children that.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why Love Is a Learned Language

From developmental psychology to Timothy Leary, a reframing of love as deliberate mastery rather than magical thinking.
Love might be one of the most quintessential capacities of the human condition. And yet, for all our poetic contemplation, psycho-scientific dissection, and anthropological exploration of it, we greatly underestimate the extent to which this baseline capacity — much like those for language, motion, and creativity — is a dynamic ability to be mastered and cultivated rather than a static state to be passively beheld. Despite what we know about the value of “deliberate practice”in attaining excellence in any endeavor, the necessary toil of mastery, and the psychology ofwhat it takes to acquire new habits, we remain gobsmackingly naive about the practice of love, approaching it instead with the magical-thinking expectation that we’re born excellent at it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adult ADHD and Kids: 60 Percent of Kids Don’t Outgrow It!

Many don't know that about 60 percent of kids with ADHD will never outgrow it! Raising awareness is PRICELESS. - Jeff Emmerson

As I continue spreading adult ADHD awareness through The Adult ADHD Blog, I’m reminded that a significant percentage of parents, educators and others from all walks of life don’t know that the majority of kids (60%) will never outgrow this condition! Here are a few things that people need to know when it comes to ADHD as kids grow into their later teenage years and adulthood:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Give Kids Your Undivided Attention — or No Attention At All

Here is what I wish I’d known, from 14-some years into this parenting gig: Leave the children alone when you must and then really be with them when you can. Or, to put it slightly differently: Alternate fully engaging with fully ignoring them.

Three Things Students Wish Teachers Knew

As the school year winds down, I thought it would be helpful to hear from students in the vein of “Five Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew” and “Three Things Parents Wish Teachers Knew.” I spoke with and emailed over a hundred students in grades kindergarten through 12, enrolled in independent and public schools all over the country, and asked them to think back on the past year and come up with just one thing they wished that their teachers knew. The top three:

1. “Be fair.”

3 Things Parents Wish Teachers Knew: We Can Handle the Truth

After I wrote “5 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew,” parents started filling my inbox with the things they wish teachers knew — and why not? The ideal parent-teacher conference is an opportunity to give and take, a time and place for both teachers and parents to share their observations. Here’s what the parents who got in touch wish their children’s teachers knew:

1. Tell us the truth. This suggestion was, by far, the most popular I received.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Non-Goal Directed Behavior Scenario

Imagine it's Saturday and you have seven tasks to accomplish. They have to be done by six because the movie starts at 7:30 and you'll want to grab a quick bite at a nearby restaurant first. You know that the dog needs to be walked by nine and the lawn needs be mowed by 11:30 in order to make it to Johnny's soccer game by noon. You'll have to do the groceries by three, have the kids' dinner prepared and ready for the sitter to heat by five, and be showered and ready to leave the house at six.

Got that straight? Not if you've got ADHD.

People with ADHD have a different clock system, and it doesn't tick to standard time. "People with ADHD live in the process," says Lynn Weiss. "The task defines the time."

Survival strategies for the wives of ADHD men who seem to ignore, forget, and disregard... but maybe don't mean to.

When Jessica met Josh it was love at first sight. He was affable, fun and outgoing, not to mention darkly handsome and athletic. When he told her about his ADHD, it didn't faze her. "He was succeeding in law school," she says. "His ADHD didn't seem to have much of an impact on him or on anything he did."

But Jessica soon would feel ADHD's impact on their marriage.

That's because Josh's style of coping with ADHD was to stay strictly organized and create a rigid structure for his life. From his desktop to his sock drawer, everything had to be in order and in place. "He had to have his keys in a certain place," Jessica says. "If I messed with them, he freaked out."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Beyond the Medication: Behavioral Treatment for ADHD

When most people learn that their child has attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) or hear about treatment for it, stimulant medication (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) often is the first type of treatment that comes to mind. For many children, teens, and even adults, stimulant medication can make a huge difference in curbing ADHD symptoms. However, stimulant medication alone often does not provide comprehensive treatment. Medication improves focus, reduces impulsiveness, and enables one to sit still more easily, as well as other similar benefits. However, underlying most individuals with ADHD are executive functioning deficits that impede their ability to plan, organize, initiate tasks, use good time-management skills, and so forth.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Top 25 Psychiatric Medication Prescriptions for 2013


These are the top 25 psychiatric medications by number of U.S. prescriptions dispensed in 2013, according to IMS Health, a global information and technology services company. I’ve also provided their 2011, 2009, and 2005 rankings.

Communication Tips for Parents

    Be available for your children

  • Notice times when your kids are most likely to talk — for example, at bedtime, before dinner, in the car — and be available.
  • Start the conversation; it lets your kids know you care about what's happening in their lives.
  • Find time each week for a one-on-one activity with each child, and avoid scheduling other activities during that time.
  • Learn about your children's interests — for example, favorite music and activities — and show interest in them.
  • Initiate conversations by sharing what you have been thinking about rather than beginning a conversation with a question.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Happens In Our Brains As We Read

Amid the squawks and pings of our digital devices, the old-fashioned virtues of reading novels can seem faded, even futile. But new support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why Am I So Angry?

More evidence that there is a strong emotional component to ADHD has emerged over the past several years. Although ultimately it was not included, this emotional component was taken into consideration in determining the diagnostic criteria for ADHD in the DSM-5, the latest revision of the diagnostic manual. Folks with ADHD often have a difficult time regulating their emotions, and when faced with overwhelm, can have angry outbursts that hurt their relationships in the process.

Is anger something that is hurting your relationships, resulting in strained relationships within your family and with your friends? Here are some truths about anger when it is not controlled:

• It impedes our ability to be happy.
• It can send marriages and other family relationships off-course.
• It compromises our social skills, thus interfering with healthy relationships.
• It can result in non-productive business because of strained relationships.
• It can lead to health problems because of increased stress.
Anger is not always bad. It is a natural reaction to feelings of hurt and betrayal. It needs to be expressed at times and not held inside. However, aggressive forms of anger that are out of control can further hurt you socially, mentally, and physically. The goal of anger management is to help you find healthy ways to express that anger and resolve the issues that trigger it. 

Here are some tips for you:

• Give yourself a “time out.” Find a safe spot for yourself and try deep breathing to calm down. Close your eyes and breathe all that stress out.
• Give yourself a break. Go for a walk, get some exercise. Fresh air will do you good. Later you can come back to the problem from a new perspective and solve it!
• It is okay to express your anger in a healthy, non-confrontational way. Decide what the real issue is. Once you are calm, state your concerns while being sensitive to the feelings of others.
• Learn to recognize those ADHD moments that trigger your anger. Think about the effect your anger had on others around you. How might you handle the same situation differently from now on?
• Ask yourself this question: “Will the object of my anger even matter ten years from now?”
• Take care of yourself. Make sure that you get enough sleep, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
• Brainstorm positive solutions to the problem.
• Learn to think before you speak. In the heat of a discussion it is more difficult to listen. It may be easier if you pause in the moment, allowing yourself to collect your thoughts and reflect upon what the other person is saying.
• Use humor to release tension.
• Know when to seek help from a counselor.

by Terry M. Dickson

Long-term safety of ADHD meds not established

There are few long-term studies on the effects of ADHD drugs, and there's a big gap in the medical establishment's understanding of what the effects of these medicines might be.

Scant research has been done on the long-term safety of drugs for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new analysis shows, though millions of American children have been taking them for decades.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficits

Which will it be — the berries or the chocolate dessert? Homework or the Xbox? Finish that memo, or roam Facebook?

Such quotidian decisions test a mental ability called cognitive control, the capacity to maintain focus on an important choice while ignoring other impulses. Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all signify lapses in cognitive control. Now a growing stream of research suggests that strengthening this mental muscle, usually with exercises in so-called mindfulness, may help children and adults cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its adult equivalent, attention deficit disorder.

Do Our Kids Get Off Too Easy?

The conventional wisdom these days is that kids come by everything too easily — stickers, praise, A’s, trophies. It’s outrageous, we’re told, that all kids on the field may get a thanks-for-playing token, in contrast to the good old days, when recognition was reserved for the conquering heroes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thinking of Requesting a Specific Teacher for Your Child? Think Twice

How hard should I push to get my daughter the teachers I think will best fit with her learning style?

There are really two questions here, so I will address them in order. First question: How hard should you push to ensure your daughter is assigned to the teacher you feel is best for her?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Raising a Moral Child

What does it take to be a good parent? We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated.

Yet although some parents live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments, success is not the No. 1 priority for most parents. We’re much more concerned about our children becoming kind, compassionate and helpful. Surveys reveal that in the United States, parents from European, Asian, Hispanic and African ethnic groups all place far greater importance on caring than achievement. These patterns hold around the world: When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was not achievement, but caring.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Has psychiatric diagnosis has become way too loose?

Today, 25 percent of Americans meet the criteria for a diagnosis in any given year. Twenty percent of us take psychotropic medication; that’s one in five people. We now have more deaths in emergency rooms from prescription drugs than from street drugs. Pill popping is rampant, along with all the unnecessary side effects of drugs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Suicide Prevention Sheds a Longstanding Taboo: Talking About Attempts


The relationship had become intolerably abusive, and after a stinging phone call one night, it seemed there was only one way to end the pain. Enough wine and pills should do the job — and would have, except that paramedics barged through the door, alerted by her lover.

“I very rarely tell the story in detail publicly, it’s so triggering and sensational,” said Dese’Rae L. Stage, 30, a photographer and writer living in Brooklyn who tried to kill herself in 2006. “I talk about what led up to it, how helpless I felt — and what came after.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

What is Executive Function?

Executive Function (EF) refers to brain functions that activate, organize, integrate and manage other functions. It enables individuals to account for short and long term consequences of their actions and to plan for those results. It also allows individuals to make real time evaluations of their actions, and make necessary adjustments if those actions are not achieving the desired result.There are differing models of executive function put forth by different researchers, but the above statements cover the basics that are common to most. Two of the major ADHD researchers involved in studying EF are Russell Barkley, PhD, and Tom Brown, PhD.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Authoritative Parenting Has the Edge

In my practice, when I begin to see family routine tides turning from frustrating and negative to more optimistic and healthy, two shifts are typically happening: 1) parents begin taking responsibility for their actions and get curious on how they can better influence their children’s behavior, 2) parents make less frequent use of practices falling into either the Authoritarian or Permissive parenting category, and instead begin opting for a more Authoritative approach.

Research on Children and Math: Underestimated and Unchallenged

We hear a lot about how American students lag behind their international peers academically, especially in subjects like math. In the most recent Program for International Student Assessment, commonly known as PISA, students in the United States ranked26th out of 34 countries in mathematics. On the surface, it would seem that we’re a nation of math dullards; simply no good at the subject. But a spate of new research suggests that we may be underestimating our students, especially the youngest ones, in terms of their ability to think about numbers.

I Refuse to Be Busy

I’m not busy.

Are you shocked? It feels almost wrong to say, in this moment when all my fellow parents reply to my “Hey, how’s it going?” with “Busy! Always busy!” and even fill in the same response for me: “How are you? Busy, I’m sure!”

But I’m not. I hate being busy. Busy implies a rushed sense of cheery urgency, a churning motion, a certain measure of impending chaos, all of which make me anxious. Busy is being in one place doing one thing with the nagging sense you that you ought to be somewhere else doing something different. I like to be calm. I like to have nothing in particular to do and nowhere in particular to be. And as often as I can — even when I’m dropping a child off here or there, or running an errand, or waving in the carpool line — I don’t think of myself as busy. I’m where I need to be, doing, for the most part, what I want to do.

The Spectrum of Sexual Orientation: Does It Exist?

Depending on who you ask, sexual orientation is either given at birth, learned by nature or discovered over time. Personally I’ve known since I was about five-years-old – it was pretty clear to me. However for many of my bisexual friends, it wasn’t as obvious until later on.

For years I never understood what made us all so different. As human beings we’re stuck in our own realm of understanding. What we know to be true, is. All we have is our experience which ultimately shapes an identity. I never thought the idea of a “spectrum” was authentic. I knew I was gay just as my straight friends knew they were straight. It never occurred to me that people could exist on different levels – you were either gay or straight. But I was wrong.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Viktor Frankl on the Human Search for Meaning

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
Celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, born on March 26, 1905, remains best-known for his indispensable 1946 psychological memoir Man’s Search for Meaning — a meditation on what the gruesome experience of Auschwitz taught him about the primary purpose of life: the quest for meaning, which sustained those who survived.
For Frankl, meaning came from three possible sources: purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty.

Friday, March 28, 2014

When People Are Dismissive of Your ADHD

When People Are Dismissive of Your ADHDIt seems like everyone has an opinion about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And that opinion may not be grounded in fact, according to Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“ADHD is one of the most misunderstood conditions.” And that misinformation leads to a litany of misconceptions, he said.

ADHD doesn’t exist. It was invented by drug companies to make money. It’s just an excuse to be lazy. Can’t you just try harder?

Everyone has ADHD. You can’t have ADHD. You have a college degree. You’re too smart.

ADHD doesn’t affect adults. It only affects kids.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

5 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew: Your Children Can Do More Than You Think

When I ask teachers, “What one thing would you want your students’ parents to know?” the same five points come up over and over again.
1. Your kids can do much more than you think they can do. Despite all evidence to the contrary, your children do not need your help tying shoes, zipping jackets, sharpening pencils, packing their backpacks and lunch, or any of the million other tasks they expect you to do for them every day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Paying Attention to Our Kids

Do we pay attention to our kids when they need it the most? Are we able to drop everything from our minds and concentrate on our kids when they need our attention and support?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Developing a Brain Filter How to Help Highly Impulsive Children and Teens Stop and Think Before Acting

HAVE YOU EVER MET A KID WHO LACKS A BRAIN FILTER? Usually, for such children, whatever is on their mind quickly comes out of their mouth with little or no regard for who is listening and who might be hurt by their cutting words. They often do things with little thought about the possible consequences of their actions. The inability to think before acting and to stop unproductive behaviors often plays a critical role in the lives of children and teens with ADHD. Poor response inhibition is one of the most difficult of the ADHD difficulties to address.

Most mental health disorders and suicidal ideation among U.S. Army soldiers start before enlistment

Most mental health disorders and suicidal ideation among U.S. Army soldiers start before enlistment, according to findings of the largest-ever study of mental health risk in army personnel. Three new articles address the issues of suicide, mental health and death predictors in army personnel. The authors concludes that enhanced screening of applicants and expanded interventions to help new soldiers with mental disorders hold promise for reducing the high suicide rate in the U.S. Army.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Breathing -To learn why correct breathing is so important and how to breathe correctly to reduce anxiety.

Breathing is something we quite honestly take for granted. An incorrect breathing habit can contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, muscle tension, fatigue and more. [4] Breathing awareness may sound a little out there for some, but its actually an extremely important aspect of self management for all of us. The idea of this page is to teach you how to improve your breathing overall.

A Quick Anatomy Of Breathing
We inhale oxygen through our mouth and nose, we exhale the waste product, being carbon dioxide. Think of your lungs like a tree with many branches. The branches are our bronchial tubes, the leaves are our little elastic air sacs (alveoli). The alveoli is what expands and retracts with air as we breath in (expands), then breathe out (collapses). Think of the veins leaves have. Well, each sack has the same thing, small blood vessels (capillaries) that when we breathe in, the oxygen is mixed into our blood system, which our heart continues to pump throughout our body. Now, as that blood is pumped around our body, the carbon dioxide in our blood is released back into our lungs through the same capillaries, through alveoli's and back up through the bronchial tubes and out of our mouth upon exhale.

That is a simplified breakdown of an otherwise complicated biological procedure. You really need to keep this quick anatomy in your mind as you progress, because this is the foundation to understanding how poor breathing causes the issues within the opening introduction of this page.

There are two types of breathing:

1. Chest (thoracic)
2. Abdominal (diaphragmatic)

The first is bad, the second is good. Now before you say, "I've tried changing my breathing and failed", I'm going to give you a small reality check. Abdominal breathing (the good type) is what you naturally do when sleeping. This is the type of breathing we perform naturally as a baby. So whilst you are breathing during the day in your chest, when you sleep, your actually breathing via your abdominal. My point is, don't let your brain try and tell you it can't be done, because your brain does this for you automatically the moment you sleep.

Why Chest Breathing Is Bad

When you breathe via your chest, as you inhale your chest expands and your shoulders rise to fit the air. There is a two fold issue with this type of breathing, firstly: Shallow, irregular and rapid breathing exacerbates stress, anxiety, emotional distress, tension, poor posture and more. This causes too little oxygen to get within your lungs to oxygenate your blood, plus, too little time for the carbon dioxide within your blood to get back out of your body. This leads to fatigue and depression. From chest breathing, you suddenly heighten the risks for the above, plus light-headedness, heart palpitations, weakness, numbness, tingling, agitation and overall shortness of breath. When you have the extreme end of incorrect breathing, you get imbalanced inhale vs exhale and the end result can be hyperventilation. [3]

Abdominal Breathing
This is the natural pattern babies use, and adults during sleep. Its when we're awake we become our own worst enemies, feeding anxiety symptoms due to poor breathing. Learning diaphragmatic breathing teaches deeper, slower and more rhythmic breathing cycles. Our body inhales and correctly oxygenates our blood, whilst giving our system enough time to correctly dispel carbon dioxide from our blood and body. In with the good, out with the bad, efficiently. The end result is that your blood becomes correctly balanced to normalize your heart rate, reduce muscle tension, anxiety and stress related symptoms. Yes, all from just breathing correctly.

Learning To Breath Correctly
Changing your breathing type when awake takes time, but you can get this happening within minutes. It will take you months of constant conscious assessment to catch yourself breathing incorrectly, correct yourself, and continue, yet with practice it will become instinctual.

There are times when breathing is an exercise, ie. during heightened symptoms. This is when finding an isolated, quiet area is essential, as part of your relaxation regime. You should focus to breath through your nose, not your mouth, especially if conducting breathing for a relaxation exercise opposed to daily general breathing.

Position yourself so your comfortable. You could lay down, relax against a tree, be in your favorite chair, yoga position, there is no right or wrong answer to this.

How Do I Breath Currently?
An easy question which has an easy answer. Lay on your back, place one hand on your chest, one hand on your abdomen. Breath in and out normally. Take notice on which hand raises further, the one on your chest or the one on your abdomen. If your chest raises further, then you are chest breathing. If the hand on your abdomen raises further, you are diaphragmatically breathing.

Teaching Yourself Abdominal Breathing
There is no 100% method to achieve this aim, so you should adjust to your requirements. Below is a simple guide on how to begin teaching yourself how to change breathing styles, so you predominantly use your abdomen vs. chest.

  1. Lay down, place a pillow under your head so you can see your stomach, and then place a book on your abdomen.
  2. Breath so that the book rises and falls.
  3. Getting past difficulties:
  4. Exhale forcefully to empty your lungs, which will create a vacuum that will pull a deep breath into your abdomen. When you revert to chest breathing, repeat procedure.
  5. Push on your abdomen with your hand, then breath in with a goal to force your hand up.
  6. Alternatively, you can roll onto your stomach, then try and breath so your abdomen pushes against the ground on breathing in.
  7. Don't panic if your chest moves as well, because it will. You can't breath through your abdomen without a little movement in your chest, considering your lungs are in located behind your ribs.
  8. Focus on watching your abdomen rising, then your middle chest followed by upper chest will rise slightly. That is the perfect order that your breathing is through your abdomen.
  9. Once you know what it feels like to breath through your diaphragm, you can then concentrate on slowing and regulating your breathing. You can use a guided breathing recording, available all across the web for free when Googled, or make your own through your computer / phone or appropriate device, with a nice slow cadence to breath at a relaxed rate.
  10. You should practice this gradually. Start for a few minutes a day, extending to multiple times daily, and eventually you will be sitting still and will just be able to breath diaphragmatically.
Don't beat yourself up because you can't breath this way all the time. When you exercise for example, your breathing will change through your chest, because you need to breath more rapidly during exercise. The more you practice breathing through your diaphragm, the more instinctively you breath that way whenever at a computer, driving, socializing with friends or family, etc.

Extending Breathing To Mindfulness
Breathing can be extended into other realms of relaxation, such as mindfullness relaxation, meditation and more. There is a link provided [2] that contains free mp3 downloads for those who wish to extend their breathing to relaxation mindfullness. Again, there are plenty of websites that have free audio downloads for breathing, breathing relaxation, meditation with breathing and more. Just Google and you will find, without having to pay.


Davis, Eshelman, McKay, 2008, The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook
Winston, 2011, Mindful Meditation CD (Free Downloads)
Stegen, Simkens, Cauberghs, Schepers, et. al, 1997, Unsteadiness Of Breathing In Patients With Hyperventilation Syndrome And Anxiety Disorders
Kunik, Roundy, Veazey, Souchek, et. al, 2005, Surprisingly High Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression Chronic Breathing Disorders

Monday, March 3, 2014

Describing Six Aspects of a Complex Syndrome

Attention is an incredibly complex, multifaceted function of the mind. It plays a crucial role in what we perceive, remember, think, feel, and do. And it is not just one isolated activity of the brain. the continuous process of attention involves organizing and setting priorities, focusing and shifting focus, regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and regulating the mind’s processing speed and output. it also involves managing frustration and other emotions, recalling facts, using short-term memory, and monitoring and self-regulating action.

Coping with Heightened Emotions When You Have ADHD

People with ADHD tend to have a hard time regulating their emotions. For instance, they report going from zero to 100 in just several seconds, according to Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“They report being emotionally hypersensitive, as long as they can remember.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Does outdoor play make kids smarter?

We know that outdoor play improves kids' physical health. All that fresh air and exercise — what's not to like? The truth is, there may actually be more to like. Outdoor play is increasingly linked scientifically to stronger mental muscle.

Parents have long thought of outdoor play as the icing on the cognitive cake: Finish your homework, attend to all of the after-school lessons and clubs intended to gain you admission to Stanford or Cal, and then, and only then, can you go out and play. A growing body of research, however, suggests outdoor play offers such a positive bump in brain power, it should perhaps be a priority.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Food additives and ADHD

Do synthetic dyes, flavors and preservatives make the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) worse?

Missing a child's ADHD diagnosis

Missing a child's ADHD diagnosis can have a cascading impact that ranges from limited success for an individual to severe consequences for society.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Client-Centered Therapy What Is It?

Client-centered therapy is a therapeutic approach that was introduced in the 1940s by an American psychologist named Carl Rogers.

As its name implies, client-centered therapy places significant focus on the client. According to Rogers’s view of client-centered therapy, the client-centered therapist refrains from asking questions, making diagnoses, providing reassurance, or assigning blame during his or her interactions with the client.

Interpersonal Therapy What Is It?

Interpersonal therapy focuses on social roles and relationships. The patient works with a therapist to evaluate specific problem areas in the patient’s life, such as conflicts with family or friends or significant life changes. While past experiences help inform the process, interpersonal therapy focuses on improving relationships in the present.

Existential Therapy What Is It?

Behind the existential movement are such philosophers as Heidegger, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and others. Existential psychologists evaluate an individual’s experience in four dimensions of existence: the physical, social, psychological and spiritual. They believe that conflict stems from confrontations with the “givens” or “ultimate concerns” of existence. These include:
  • The inevitability of death
  • Freedom and the responsibilities associated with it
  • Existential isolation
  • Meaninglessness

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

5 Ways to Boost Your ADHD Child's Confidence

Being criticized by adults all day can quickly sap an ADHD child's self-esteem. Help your child build his confidence when facing challenges.





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