Archive for Adult ADD

Britney Has ADHD

britneyspearscropped Britney Has ADHD

Britney Spears has ADHD (picture from Wikipedia.org)

It has just been reported that Britney Spears has ADHD. The Grammy winning pop star, who holds Guinness World Records, and has her own Star on the Walk of Fame has now shared that she has ADHD.

Britney has taken on the role of a judge on the singing reality show “The X Factor”, and she is now currently filming for the show. During the filming of auditions, Britney reportedly needed to take breaks, and the explanation was that she has ADHD, and that she had to take breaks during the long filming sessions.

The reports also go on to explain that Britney was diagnosed with ADHD when she was young, and used to take medication for it. Her doctors apparently have now forbidden her from taking ADHD medication for reasons related to other mental health concerns. Here is a link to one of the news reports about this story.

Now that Britney has come forward and shared her diagnosis of ADHD, she joins other celebrities like: Howie Mandel, Ty Pennington, Adam Levine, Michael Phelps, Karina Smirnoff and many others.

I personally view this as a brave and helpful admission. Millions of kids and teens get diagnosed with ADHD, and they feel that they are disordered, and they wonder if they will have a positive future because of their “Disorder”. Having celebrities come forward to share their diagnosis helps kids to realize that they can be successful even though they have ADHD.

While I view Britney’s disclosure as a positive, I have come across some comments on social media sites (which I don’t want to support with a link right now…) who say that Britney is “blaming” her behavior on ADHD, and how awful is that. They are suggesting that she is acting like a diva, and using ADHD as an excuse.

Before responding to this, I’d like to share that I have no direct knowledge on Britney’s diagnosis or medical care – I only know what I’ve read online. And saying that – here’s my response: Britney apparently disclosed to her employer (Simon Cowell) before signing on for the show that she has ADHD, cannot take medication for it, and needs to take breaks at times because of it. Simon apparently agreed to this before hiring Britney. Britney can’t take medication for ADHD, and instead she is using strategies to help herself to function well. And let’s remember – although an ‘audition show’ makes it seem like 1 hour for each city (i.e. the LA auditions only seem to take 1 hour), in fact, they are filming for very long days… (and of course there is much more involved – make up, lighting, direction, breaks, etc.) They just edit it to seem short for us – the viewers.

In my understanding of the situation, Britney is acknowledging her challenges, putting strategies and supports in place, and working to function in the best way that she can. I think that is a great model for others to learn from and to emulate. I would not try to tear her down for being a diva and blaming it on ADHD.

The reality is that ADHD medication is helpful for Adult ADHD, and it is not the whole solution. There is some research that shows that most of the time, ADHD medications do not fully treat the symptoms of adult ADHD. So, it is very important to use strategies and to develop skills to improve functioning with ADHD. This is even more important if someone is unable to take medication.

Why can’t Britney take medication for ADHD?

There aren’t any reports that I’ve read which explain this in more detail. One news report said that she can’t take medication for ADHD because of mental health issues. While I don’t know what these are for Britney, it is possible that she has had one of these challenges: intolerable side effects from ADHD medication; mood instability from ADHD medications (i.e. depression or induction of hypomania or mania), sleep disruption, significant decreased appetite, etc. In other words, I’m guessing. I’m sure she has expert and capable doctors.

The take away I encourage you to get from this is: Britney is a talented star, who has ADHD, is using strategies to manage it because she can’t take medication (on doctor’s orders). That’s a great example for all of us.

What impact do you think this admission will have for you, or your kids with ADHD, or the people you work with (if you’re a professional working with people with ADHD)?

Please share your thoughts or comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Why I Like NBC’s “The Voice” and Its ADHD Lessons

230px TheVoiceTitleCard Why I Like NBCs The Voice and Its ADHD Lessons

The Voice (picture from wikipedia.org)

In general, I’m not one for reality shows, especially not ones about singing (maybe it’s because I can hardly carry a tune…). But, something about the promos for “The Voice” caught my attention. This season (season 2), I caught a couple of the early shows – with the blind auditions, and I’m now watching the final shows (to see who’s going to win!).

As a doctor who specializes in ADHD, I think “The Voice” has some important lessons for parents of kids and teens with ADHD, as well as Adults with ADHD, and I’ll share them with you here.

If you’re not familiar with “The Voice”, it has some interesting twists on a singing competition show.

Firstly, on this show, the judges aren’t just judges, they’re coaches. The four coaches are: Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Ceelo Green and Blake Shelton. While they do ‘judge’ throughout the competition, they each choose contestants, and they coach them. The coaches help to develop their singer’s talents, and help them to do the best they possibly can during the show. Through the course of the show, the contestants get great advice, training and encouragement from their coaches, and viewers can see how close the relationships develop during the course of the show.

ADHD Lesson: getting coaching from people who have been where you are, and can help you to go where you need to go, can be life altering. When it comes to ADHD treatment, there are doctors, therapists and other health professionals, and now there are also expert ADHD Coaches – who can help you in many ways as well. To find out more about coaching, visit the ADHD Coaches Organization.

Secondly, when the contestants audition, the judges are ‘blind’ to what they look like. The judges have their chairs turned backward, and they can only hear the singer’s voice when they’re deciding if they want to choose them for their team. This is a real twist, because the judges have to choose the contestants based solely on their voice, and not on how they look. We all know that certain people look like stars, and many people don’t. In some reality shows, a person’s look has a big impact on whether they’re chosen. In this show, people are chosen based on their own merit. Although the world doesn’t always work that way, it’s great to see it happen.

ADHD Lesson: Many times, kids, teens and even adults with ADHD are judged negatively because of their ADHD symptoms (i.e. they’re too inattentive, or too impulsive in a situation). We need to help people to see ADHDer’s talents and actual abilities. Often, they’re incredibly talented in particular areas. Hopefully, people can look past ADHD to see the talent, and hopefully, good treatment for ADHD will help people to develop their talents, and share them well with others.

Thirdly, I love how many contestants and participants make so many sacrifices to pursue their dream of singing. Early in the season, there were many people who left their jobs, left a semester at college or made other sacrifices to be able to attend the auditions. And not all of them even got chosen for the show! From my perspective, even if they weren’t selected for the show, those participants were hugely successful for choosing to pursue their dreams.
To quote Zachary Scott: “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” (source Brainyquote.com)

Fourthly, many of the show’s contestants/singers are singing for reasons which are much bigger than just themselves and their dreams. Many are singing to stay true to themselves and to support their families; to honor and thank those that believed in them; and Erin Willette even stayed in the show and sang when her father passed away in between the auditions and the live battle rounds. Although she was quite emotional about it, she knew she had her father’s love and support, and both of her parents (and her family) wanted her to pursue her dream. What a gift her family gave her, and what a gift she gave her dad – for him to see her pursuing her dream (and succeeding!) in his final days.

ADHD Lesson: Combining points 3 and 4, we learn that it’s important to pursue our dreams, and to work for a reason bigger than ourselves.
For many of us, getting through the day to day and week to week can be challenging (especially when dealing with ADD/ADHD in ourselves or our children). And it may seem selfish, indulgent, or just absurd to take the time to dream again, or to connect with our long lost dreams. And it is still important to do! Why do you get excited when you see an underdog win a gold medal in the Olympics? Why do we love hearing the back-story of someone who goes on to do great things? Because it inspires us. It touches us deep insider – where we have our dreams, goals and our greatness. And when we hear their story, we briefly remember our greatness. Make a decision to pursue your dreams again. You don’t have to quit your job, or move to Los Angeles right now, but if you love music – start playing your guitar again, or start singing again. Maybe there’s a local ‘open mic’ night, and you can enjoy connecting with your creative side again. Or the church choir would love to have your voice join them…

When it comes to helping to motivate kids/teens and adults with ADHD, it’s important to have a great ‘reason why’. People with ADHD don’t pursue goals ‘just because’. The daily, mundane, boring (and seemingly irrelevant tasks) don’t get done just because they should. When there is a great reason why – that motivates ADHDer’s to do great things. So, think about some great reasons why. And if you have a child or teen with ADHD, take the time to help them to find the reason why things are important (like Math homework that they think will never be relevant in their life… try putting a dollar sign in front of the numbers :-)) With a strong ‘reason why’, the contestants in “The Voice” are more compelling, and in real life, if we have a strong ‘reason why’, we work much harder to pursue what’s important to us.

Finally, one of the reasons that I love “The Voice” is the huge respect I have for Adam Levine, the singer from Maroon 5. Not only is Adam a great singer, a great coach on the show, and the coach who won in season 1 of “The Voice”, he is also an adult with ADHD.

Not only is Adam an adult with ADHD, he is one who is sharing it widely, and using his position of celebrity to help others who have adult ADHD. Up to 60-70% of kids/teens with ADHD still have it as adults. However, most believe that they have outgrown it, and don’t need any more help. Adam’s message is simple – you may not have outgrown it, and you should review it with your doctor, and get the help you need. Recently, Adam has worked with Shire to create the “Own It Project” target=”_blank”, which encourages adults with ADHD to ‘own their ADHD’, and if that’s you – you can submit your story to qualify to win a prize.

Adam is doing a great thing to raise awareness of adult ADHD, decrease stigma, and to help others. And for that, I’m grateful.

When it comes down to it, I don’t mind whether you watch “The Voice”, or whether you ever will. Hopefully, these reflections will help you in your life (or your loved one’s life) by taking the messages and applying them to your situation.

Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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ADHD Medication: How To Decide

When it comes to making a decision about whether to use a medication for ADD/ADHD or not, many people struggle with this… There is so much misinformation out there, that people are worried about making the wrong decision, and whether they will be judged for it…

In this short video (taken from a presentation I did), I share with you the way to decide if you will take ADD/ADHD medication or not. And this applies whether you are dealing with child/teen ADD/ADHD, or Adult ADD/ADHD.

Please watch this short video, share your comments/thoughts below (and also forward it to friends/family who may appreciate it!).

What do you think? Do you agree with the message of this video?
Best,
Dr. Kenny

p.s. To learn a whole lot more about the safe and effective use of ADD/ADHD medication – take advantage of the special discount on the Medication Mastery Course (special ends on Monday December 5th at 11:59 pm Eastern time) [hyperlink family="Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif" size="20" color="1A12FF" textshadow="1" alignment="center" weight="bold" style="normal" lineheight="110" linkurl="http://medicationmastery.com" linkwindow="_blank"]Click Here To Take Advantage Of The Special Offer[/hyperlink]

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Practice Gratitude Regulary

This past week, it was US Thanksgiving. When it’s Thanksgiving, people (generally) have a great time with friends and family, and have a wonderful, satisfying meal together.

And… most people take some time to consider what they are thankful for.

I am thankful for so many things. Including:

  • My Family and Friends
  • My Health
  • My profession, and the ability I have to help people on a day to day basis
  • The fact that I was born at the time I was (we live in amazing times, with incredible opportunities)
  • The fact that I was born in Canada (it may get cold here, but it is one of the best countries in the world, in my opinion)

And I’m also thankful to you - my blog reader or subscriber – because you’ve chosen to share your journey with ADD/ADHD with me, and you allow me to come onto your computer screen, or into your email inbox to share my thoughts, perspective and advice. I also really appreciate your comments, feedback and participation in the dialogue.

Now – I love Thanksgiving, and I think it is a wonderful yearly ritual.

And I encourage you to practice gratitude more regularly than once a year.

When I say ‘practice gratitude’, I mean that I encourage you to take a few moments, and quiet yourself down. Get comfortable, slow your breathing, and even close your eyes. Think about who and what you are grateful and thankful for. And then feel the feelings of gratitude and love for what you are focusing on. This exercise can take just a moment, and it can be tremendously helpful for you.

When you achieve a state of gratitude (with true feeling and emotion), it changes how you feel, as well as how you interact with the world and others. This can help you in our stressed out, overly busy world – especially if you have ADD/ADHD yourself, or if it’s in your family.

I encourage you to practice gratitude regularly – ideally daily.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Conquering Clutter

Clutter is a universal problem for adults with ADD/ADHD. When there’s trouble dealing with the boring need to clean up little things, piles begin to build up.

Paperwork is often a big issue, as well as impulsively buying something that seemed great at the time, and now is just filling up more space.

And then clutter can get overwhelming…

It can lead to embarassment, and it can contribute to social problems – you don’t want people to come over because of how embarasing your clutter is. And then you may feel bad about your kids not having their friends over because of it.

And this can lead to guilt and shame.

On this post – I interview ADD Coach Lynne Edris (From Coaching ADDvantages) about how to clear clutter.

(watch the video until the end – you’ll not only hear me mess up (and have a good laugh over it), you’ll learn how you can get specific strategies and skills to conquer your clutter)

Join Us For the ADD Coaching Class: Conquer Your Clutter
On Monday October 24th at 9:15 pm Eastern Time

By joining the ‘Attention Difference Disorder Insiders Membership Site’
>>Click Here To Find Out More<<

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Age Activated ADD

This is a humorous video from Youtube about ‘Age Activated ADHD’. Although this is a funny ‘sketch’, it describes what many people with ADD/ADHD feel like when they go about their day.

Watching it can help parents of kids/teens with ADD/ADHD, and spouses of adults with ADD/ADHD understand what is really going on for people who have this condition.

Enjoy!

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Lindsay Lohan: ADHD?

A recent article online reported that Lindsay Lohan has been given the right to take Adderall and Ambien. She is currently struggling with substance abuse and dependence, and apparently she has to go for regular drug screening. Court documents show that Lindsay has been prescribed Adderall – presumably for ADHD.

Does this mean that Lindsay has ADHD?

Most likely, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s unconfirmed.

It’s my hope that she can get good treatment for all of her current challenges, and get her life on track.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Is Adult ADHD Real? Are You Kidding?

I was surprised to find that the British Medical Journal recently published a ‘head to head’ commentary on whether Adult ADHD was a valid diagnosis.
They had one paper written to say ‘Yes’ – Adult ADHD is a valid diagnosis, and then a second paper written to say that ‘No’ Adult ADHD is NOT a valid diagnosis.

Huh?

Pinch me for a second…
I just double checked – it wasn’t published on ‘April Fools’.

Is this a real publication?

Yes it is.
The British Medical Journal is publishing a debate on the existence of Adult ADHD in 2010.

I find this shocking and very concerning.
The fact that stigma still exists in our society at large about ADHD makes sense when the medical community itself can’t seem to agree on the existence of Adult ADHD.

Now, let me be clear:

The diagnosis of ADHD can have its problems. And there certainly are issues with how the DSM-IV-TR ADHD diagnostic criteria are applied to Adult ADHD (which will hopefully be addressed in the new edition of the DSM-V).

I’m very comfortable with the scholarly discussion and debate on the issues and problems in the diagnosis and treatment of Adult ADHD (and child/teen ADHD for that matter).We all know that there are issues, and scholarly discussion and debate helps to clarify issues and propel the field forward.

I am not comfortable with the concept that a leading medical journal is publishing a debate on something like the validity of Adult ADHD. This inhibits growth and pulls us backwards.

I see this as an insult and ‘slap in the face’ to our field, and more importantly to all of the people who are bravely fighting against many odds to bring success to their lives despite their Adult ADHD.

I have checked, and I haven’t seen any scholarly debate about whether: breast cancer is a valid diagnosis in elderly women, or whether heart disease is valid in children. I wonder when the BMJ will look at these issues? I won’t hold my breath for those ‘scholarly debates’.

Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Adult ADHD Resources in Toronto

I recently spoke at a conference in Toronto for professionals who deal with ADD/ADHD, and who wanted to learn more about working with Adults with ADHD.

One of the participants suggested that it would be helpful to have a spot for people to share their contact info and what they do.
I would be very happy to help to facilitate that with this blog post.
My invitation – if you provide an ADD/ADHD resource in the Great Toronto Area, please enter a comment below – with your contact information. I recommend a website or phone number. (If you post your email address, there’s a chance that someone could come to this site and ‘harvest it’, meaning start to spam you! NB You do have to enter your email to post a comment, but that doesn’t show up on the site)

So – if you provide ADD/ADHD resources in the Greater Toronto Area, particularly with adults, please leave a comment below describing (briefly):

  • Who you are
  • What you do to help with ADD/ADHD (hopefully adults)
  • How people can learn more about you – i.e. website link, phone number
  • How people can contact you

Please note that all comments are moderated – so they will not appear on the blog right away, and any comments deemed to be ‘spam’ will be deleted, and comments may be mildly edited if it’s deemed necessary.

I hope this helps!

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Adult ADD Overwhelm

It is very common for adults with ADD to feel overwhelmed. If you are an adult with ADD, or live with one, then you know what I’m talking about. Often ‘living by the to-do list’.

I’ve just posted a video podcast interview with Jennifer Koretsky about this exact topic.
If you want to get some specific strategies to help you to overcome Adult ADD overwhelm, then go visit this video podcast now: Adult ADD Overwhelm.

And if you want to be sure to get all new episodes of the ADHD TV Video Podcast delivered right to your computer or iPod, make sure to subscribe to our show via iTunes. (You can watch a video on how to do that here).

Enjoy!

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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