“Help! My ADD Child Reminds Me of Me!” Abby remembers the first time she took her son, Charlie, to a doctor about some attention challenges. As she described Charlie’s behavior – impulsive, distracted, forgetful and moody – the words sounded familiar. It turned out that in Abby’s last job review, her manager had said some of the same things about her own performance!
According to the non-profit organization CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), ADD/ADHD affects individuals “across the lifespan”. We now know that most children and adolescents do not “outgrow” this disorder, though the symptoms in adulthood may look very different than in childhood and adolescence.
Experts believe that between 50-60% of children and teens retain some if not all symptoms as adults. And some adults have struggled with learning, attention and memory their whole lives but were never diagnosed.
How can I know for sure if I have Adult ADD or ADHD? Anyone can have occasional occurrences of ADD, ADHD-type behaviors without having the condition. A pattern of consistency determines if you are just experiencing stress, anxiety, or the physiological imbalances of ADD/ADHD. If it’s once a year, it’s probably not physiological.
Asking yourself these questions will help evaluate your attention pattern. Do you:
- Have trouble wrapping up final details of a project once the challenge is completed?
- Procrastinate on preparing for a task that requires organization?
- Fidget or can’t sit still when you’re supposed to, like at a lecture?
- Feel compelled to stay active, doing one thing after another but easily distracted?
- Feel overcome by negativity when something doesn’t work out?
- Have a problem with intimacy or accepting authority?
- Remember having a short attention span, impulsivity or restlessness as a child?
If you answered “yes” to many of these, you are in good company! All of these luminaries had or have attention difficulties which could be classified as ADD/ADHD: Presidents Eisenhower and JFK, Beethoven, Magic Johnson, actors Henry Winkler, Jim Carey and Anne Bancroft, Prince Charles, Socrates and many more! Prescription medication is not always immediately necessary or advocated as a first solution.
There are safe, natural solutions and dietary changes you can investigate! In ADD and ADHD, signals between the Brain and Central Nervous System are for some reason not performing properly. This can be caused by incomplete neural growth or nutrition reaching the Brain’s important chemical neurotransmitters.
Solution within your diet and daily nutrition:
- Food allergies or sensitivities are primary causes of ADHD, or irritating to its symptoms. Try these adjustments, one at a time, to find out if a change might work:
- Switch from dairy (cow’s milk, cheese and ice cream) to comparable rice milk products and make sure you buy hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats and poultry.
- Eat whole grain wheat and brown rice, no white rice or white flour.
- Go a month or so without caffeine, sugar, other sweets, processed food, MSG, aspartame (especially in sodas) and food dyes.
- “Essential fatty acids” (EFA’s) may be missing in people with ADD and ADHD. You can find these healthy fats in foods like olive and flax oil, nuts, fish, avocados, or in supplements.
- Drink plenty of water. Sometimes just sitting down and drinking a glass of water can return the body to balance.
When you begin experiencing stress, anxiety or distraction, try 5 minutes of meditation with deep breathing a few times each day. It’s important to develop a tool kit of resources to support you during times when you face challenges.