I'm speaking at the 2010 Virtual AD/HD Conference. Yay! My topic is related to the social connections issues I've talked about some in this blog. I'm happy to speaking at this conference because besides the many cool and interesting speakers, I can "go" without traveling, which is pretty hard to do with an infant and a toddler to care for. Maybe that'd be helpful to you, too? It takes place October 4-6, 2010. Register here and join me.
I love that this article about women and adhd made it into the mainstream (cnn) press. It has some good things to offer, and a few things lacking that I'd like to point out.
Good: "When adult ADD (or ADHD: the H is for hyperactivity) goes untreated for
years, women may end up plagued by anxiety, depression, and low
I'd add: A lot of women seem to end up being treated for anxiety and/or depression when their ADHD goes undiagnosed. (I used the terms ADD and ADHD interchangeably.)
"Because women are less likely than men to be classically hyperactive,
their symptoms can be more subtle and easily missed. For instance, a
woman with ADD may come off as chatty, peppy, or extroverted, or even
as a dreamy, artistic soul."
Many women with ADHD lack the symptoms of hyperactivity and/or impulsivity. (There are different types of ADHD- predominantly hyperactive, combined, and predominantly inattentive.) So these womens' symptoms aren't always apparent to others at all because they aren't disruptive.
"Hormonal changes can exacerbate the effects of ADD, too. When a woman
enters perimenopause, she may be even more likely to forget names or
key bits of information."
Hormonal changes within the menstrual cycle can exacerbate effects of ADD. You don't have to wait until (peri)menopause to have hormones affect ADHD. In fact, it seems that many girls symptoms really start to show up along with hormonal changes at puberty. Many women have symptoms fluctuate at certain points during each menstrual cycle.
Decent, basic article. Glad to see this information out there. Inattentive folks, you're vaguely represented here. Women with PMS and ADHD are a bit neglected here. It's a good start. The stories towards the end are worth reading. It's great that people are talking about women with ADHD.
..."researchers find." Link is here, and really the biggest thing I want to say about this, is thank goodness. Thank goodness that researchers are bothering to find out this fact, which may seem obvious to some of us. The fact they are finding is not so much that high IQ doesn't "help" but that high IQ doesn't mean someone doesn't have ADHD.
I sometimes find it surprising that we have to be told this. Maybe that's because in my training as an ADHD coach, at some point I learned that one characteristic of ADHD can be a mismatch between achievement and potential for achievement, where IQ might be one measure of such potential.
I have been personally fortunate never to have anyone tell me that I couldn't possibly have ADHD because I was too smart, or had gotten through too much school, despite having made it through a Master's degree, and through some doctoral research, before even knowing what ADHD is. But I have gotten to know people who have, including some of my clients. This has included the particularly nasty cases where a previous diagnosis was dismissed simply because of some success in academics.
I think this notion that IQ or book smarts or whatnot could exclude ADHD is particularly insidious for people who also don't have the obvious target written all over their faces of obvious hyperactivity. The same holds for other with very quiet disabilities (such as learning disabilities). If you are one of these people, take heart that not everyone writes off your struggle. Luckily, there are people, including doctors, who get it, or who even have ADHD themselves and are open about it. And three cheers for folks like those at Yale who use their credentials to make things easier for us.
I'm kind of amazed that this insight has made it this far. (Team it up with research that chewing gum helps learning and it's like a whole frontier of reality has opened up.)
While it's amazing to see people figuring out that kids are actually helping themselves by wiggling and chewing and the like, I myself am torn. While I work with people to figure out the strategies that help them focus best, I am quite sensitive to noise and motion around me. The right cocktail of background stimulation is great for me... but quiet, occasional noise pulls me off task and thought. And when a friend sits on an exercise ball while we're chatting, their mild background bouncing makes it impossible for me to focus on what they're saying. It can even make me feel queasy- especially when I see it in my peripheral vision like I would if it were the kid sitting next to me. If they were to sit without bouncing, that would be ok. The ironic thing is it is a friend with adult ADHD (with hyperactivity!) who is most likely to constantly bounce on the thing. How would I do in that classroom?
In an earlier post I said that when other people told me I worried too much I used to think they were right, and get, well, worried. And that now I get annoyed instead, which is an improvement. Nowadays I think about it in terms of how I work. As I said in that post, I know I do best when I have a conceptual framework. That means that I have a kind of mental scaffolding for understanding a situation; I know where to put my thoughts if that makes any sense. So when I think about "worry" and "overthinking," nowadays I think of it more in terms of disaster preparedness.
A couple of years ago, when avian flu was bigtime in the news, I had a bunch of conversations with people about preparing for epidemics / pandemics. Would I have the supplies to hunker down and stay safe? What does that involve? Same with Katrina, got us all thinking about what you would do if you had to evacuate suddenly. These are scary things to think about. I noticed that some people (like the one I live with) thinks that it's kind of overkill to be concerned, or to go through a checklist and buy supplies for these kinds of situations. It can be seen as just overactive worrying if you don't live in active earthquake/flood/fire area, for example. But for others of us, getting prepared is something productive and constructive to do with our concerns. It is a way of taking care of ourselves, not by letting anxiety rule us, but by getting our houses in order.
And once that's done, worry is free to subside. In fact for me, I don't even have to carry out a full preparedness plan; merely understanding what it involves and having a tangible sense of those steps allows me to feel more in charge. You could say that the preparedness information is my conceptual framework. If the proverbial -or actual- dam breaks, I'll be mentally ready; so in the meantime I don't have to be concerned, whether or not I'm thinking about it.
I try to stay low-key about all the safety concerns and toxins concerns. I have enough to take care of. I have enough issues without making up no-buy lists I don't have to. I've seen how hard it is for people who really have to avoid foods and chemicals of various sorts because they are clear causes of health problems in their lives. (sugar/diabetes or citrus/hives or various cosmetics/eczema etc)
For myself and my clients, I do try to maintain a "save yourself before you save the world" attitude. This means: if you can't get organized to get the trash out at ALL, work on waste disposal before you work on recycling that takes extra car trips. Once the house is out of public-health-hazard danger, you'll be more able to think about setting up systems that are as great for the world as can be, and more able to actually have an impact. Similarly, once you've ingested some food on a regular basis, you'll be more able to think about ingesting better food.
And then here come the plastics scares. and I'm a new parent. I'm a new parent with a long (25 year long) history of crazy hormones. Sometimes they call it "PMS and we don't know what else there is to do," sometimes they call it "hormonal dysfunction," and sometimes they call it "PMDD." More about all that later.
There are all kinds of things one can do supposedly to improve PMS symptoms, like drastically change diet, cut out caffeine, bla bla. Never mind whether these things work (I tend to think it's just assumed that they do, because I haven't seen much research that shows that less red meat and no caffeine helps PMS); they ignore the fact that my hormones can mean it's hard to get to the supermarket, let alone cook healthy food. They ignore the fact that caffeine is one of the medicines that helps me cope, and helps me distance from my physical discomfort, helps me focus, and helps me get to the gym, and well, to the store, during the 1/2 of my life I may be sick. Oh no! way to much rant on another topic.
Bisphenol-A, used in plastics since grandmother's childbearing years. A synthetic estrogen. I've been wondering about xenoestrogens and all that for some time in my pursuit of a more even-keeled hormonal life, but thought, well, we've had wicked bad pms in the family going back to at least my grandmother. Before that might be hard to know; the women were preggo for most of their child-bearing lives. What I do know going back to my grandmother is that menopause is something to look forward to. It's when things get better. I know mine is the worst, but I figured those chemicals and stuff can't be so much of a dramatic issue because the rest of the family has it bad. Until I read the timeline for BPA and its use in polycarbonate and realized I can't know that it isn't an issue.
That along with the finding that phthalates are exreted in infants' urine... and I'm changing a couple of things. Don't get me wrong folks, I am not claiming it will change everything or that these chemicals are the root cause of all that is bad. The thing is, that timeline, made me realize, I just don't know.
So I hope my husband will pardon the apparent obsession; it's hard to track down which products contain and don't contain which chemicals, and I'm just trying to clean things up for the sake of the little one while I'm still passing this stuff on to his tiny body. And who knows, maybe it'll help me too.