Strategies to Counter Negative Emotions

Strategies to Counter Negative Emotions

Negative thoughts and feelings of rejection, anger, resentment and bitterness can be particularly difficult for those with ADHD. The good news is that these feelings and emotions can be managed by practicing positive beneficial emotions. And it’s something everyone can learn to do!

Listen and follow along as Dr. Carol Locke of OmegaBrite Wellness (one of our sponsors) takes Ned through a Metta meditation. Practicing this meditation regularly has been shown to decrease stress and make you feel less depressed. It actually changes your brain! 

Learn more about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in this Distraction episode with Dr. William Dodson.

Center for Healthy Minds (University of Wisconsin website Dr. Locke mentions in this conversation)

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about the programs being offered this summer at Landmark College! There’s a summer program for high school students, a summer bridge experience, and a college readiness program. Go HERE to learn more. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. 

Learn more about Dr. Locke’s company (and our sponsor) OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the #1 Omega-3 supplements for the past twenty years. Ned and his wife, Sue, take them every day. Distraction listeners will SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

Check out this episode!

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Gabby Bernstein’s Judgment Detox

Gabby Bernstein’s Judgment Detox

Gabby Bernstein is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back and Super Attractor. She’s an international speaker, and a self-proclaimed spirit junkie who has made it her life’s mission to empower people to gain more confidence and live their purpose.

In 2018 Gabby joined Dr. Hallowell to talk about her book, Judgment Detox, a six-step method for releasing and healing judgment so you can feel good and restore oneness. She and Ned talk about why we attack one another, how shame and vulnerability play a part, and why it’s important to find a better way.

Learn more about Gabby Bernstein on her website, GabbyBernstein.com.

Check out Gabby’s book: Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living A Better Life

If you like this episode, please rate and review Distraction on Apple Podcasts! If you have a question, comment, or show idea please email it to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0!

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

This episode was originally released in January 2018.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega 3 supplements for many years and so as my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at OmegaBritewellness.com, and bright is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E. OmegaBritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more llcdistraction.org.

Gabby Bernstein:
I don’t like to preach to people who are unwilling. So my hope is to gather the willing and really the question is, are you willing to feel better? Are you willing to feel safer? Are you willing to feel more connected? Are you willing to feel more compassionate towards yourself? Are you willing to attract more of what you want into your life? If the answers to any of those questions are yes, then I invite you to join me on this journey and open your mind to these steps.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. Welcome to Distraction. Today we have an extremely interesting guest and truly, stay with us, because I think you’ll be intrigued. She’s onto a topic that I think almost everyone can relate to. She’s a woman by the name of Gabby Bernstein and her bio describes her as a number one New York Times bestselling author, international speaker, and spirit junkie. She’s a recovering addict, certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next generation thought leader, New York Times named her a new role model, co-hosted the Guinness World Record largest guided meditation with Deepak Chopra and her new book, which will come out today, just absolutely captivated my imagination when I read the title. It’s called Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back From Living a Better Life. Rather than me telling you why I find that so interesting, I asked Gabby if she would just tell us about her journey and how she came to writing this book. So welcome, Gabby.

Gabby Bernstein:
Thank you for having me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m so excited to talk to you about this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you come to the place in your life where you wanted to write this?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I’ve been in this field of personal growth and spiritual development for 12 years, and this will be my sixth book. And I have had the privilege of helping people in many different ways shift their perceptions and choose to align their thoughts with higher thought forms and use power of prayer and positive thinking to change their experience of life. And in the last two years, as I was preparing to write this next book, I was becoming very conscious of a really huge pervasive issue that we were all coming up against in a way far bigger than we’d ever known before. And that’s the issue of judgment and the issue of division and separation. I was writing this book during the 2016 election and seeing not only just our country, but the world, really far more divided than we’ve ever really seen before.

Gabby Bernstein:
And actually the truth is, is that I had the idea for the book a year earlier. So it was almost like I had a sense of what was coming. And my concern always has been that, when we have these belief systems, but then when we start to voice them, we bring even more energy to them. So what we were seeing over the last two years, and up until even this point today, is the vocalization of the judgmental belief systems that many of us have always carried and had. So we’re just seeing it all very magnified at this time. And the judgment’s not just judgment towards others, but also judgment towards ourselves and living with these belief systems, this separation, is what’s causing, I believe, all of the issues that we’re facing today. Racism, terrorism, fear, all of the fear based experiences that we’re experiencing, unfortunately, every other day throughout the world.

Gabby Bernstein:
So my feeling was the best contribution that I could give to my readers and far beyond hopefully, was to help people begin to learn how to clean up their inner belief systems so that they could stop polluting the planet with their fear and their judgment and separation. And I believe that as we begin to shift on an internal level, we have the power to start to experience shifts within our local communities and our families and our homes, and that ripple effect spreads far beyond our local environment. So my mission as a spiritual activist is to really help people clean up their belief systems, clean up their side of the street. And as a result of cleaning up your own inner terror, you begin to really heal the world around you. I believe that is a solution and that’s the intention and energy that I’m focused on bringing to the world today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What if a person says, well, that sounds fine, but I just see so much horribleness in the world, I can’t stop myself from judging it? I’m not just going to say, Oh, well, that’s okay and walk on by. I have to judge it. I have to say, that’s terrible. I hate it.

Gabby Bernstein:
Right. Well, this is something I address in the book. I don’t by any means, ask my reader to be apathetic or to turn their back on what’s happening in the world. And in fact, I don’t do that myself. I’m very loud and clear about what I believe is right and what I believe we need to do politically and globally. But the goal here is to be able to learn how to speak up from a place of love and compassion, not a place of attack. When we meet attack with more attack, we just create more of it.

Gabby Bernstein:
When we speak up and voice our opinions and voice our desires, and start to show up more socially in our lives, when we do that from a place of love and from a place of oneness, that’s when I believe we can be truly heard. So that’s been my experience, having a platform where I speak up about these daily issues that we see showing up, and I’m not going to stay silent, but I’m never going to take it from a one-sided approach. We can’t fight an attack with more attacks. And that’s been my experience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I wrote a book about forgiveness and it was very much in keeping with what you’re saying, and it didn’t sell very well. I often thought if I wanted to write a best seller, I should write a book called Get Even, because I think people would much rather respond to an attack with an attack. It’s sort of wired into our brains to forego the attack response. You have to appeal to your higher brain centers, and that’s hard for folks to do.

Gabby Bernstein:
It’s very interesting that you said that because it’s actually much more comfortable. Just as what you’re saying, is much more comfortable for us to fight back because that becomes … Because judgment ultimately has become this great protector. It’s become the way that we protect ourselves from feelings the shadow part of ourselves that we do not want to recognize, protect ourselves from the fears of the world, protect yourself from feeling unlovable and inadequate. And ultimately to your point, we get high in many ways off of judging because it’s a way of anesthetizing the deep rooted pain. But underneath that high is deep rooted guilt because it’s not the truth of who we are. So that’s really the bigger issue is that, even if we get that quick fix or we get a quick moment of relief because we’re put pushing out and reflecting out what we don’t want to feel within, we feel relief for a moment, but an unconscious sense of guilt begins to come over us because, deep down, we know that’s not the truth of who we are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In the attack position and the judgment position, we don’t have to feel vulnerable.

Gabby Bernstein:
We can avoid vulnerability. We can avoid shame. We can avoid feeling any or acknowledging any of the wounds from our past when we’re in the stance of judgment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So why should we do it?

Gabby Bernstein:
Because ultimately, living in that place of judgment, we are constantly standing there with knives out, right? Constantly ready to fight, and every day we’re triggered and every day we’re fighting each trigger and then we’re triggered again and we’re fighting the next trigger. Our nervous systems cannot handle this. And from a global standpoint, when we magnify these individual movements of judgment and attack, that cumulative energy begins to create what we’re seeing in the world today. I think this is a really important point is that we need to take a personal responsibility for the terror that we’re seeing in the world today. Because even those moment to moment judgmental thoughts are contributing a negative vibration that has a ripple effect.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of Omega Brite Wellness, Dr. Carol Lark, about the benefits of taking Omega Brite Omega 3’s, CBB, and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study, that showed Omega Brite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Lark:
This was a great study. It was done at Ohio State and it was done on medical students, 68 medical students, without any medical problems, done over 12 weeks. And it was a blinded study, meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the Omega Brite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine il-6. So that you had a very powerful benefit from the Omega Brite shown in this study, and that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBritewellness.com by using the promo code, podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So Gabby, I agree with you 1000%. It’s just, how do we persuade people that it’s in their, ultimately not their, but the whole world’s best interest to override these primitive responses that people seem to so want to go with?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, Doctor, I don’t really like to persuade anyone. I like to invite people to give … Offer an invitation. And I really, truly, I don’t like to preach to people who are unwilling. So my hope is to gather the willing. Gathering the willing, there are many of us out there. Anyone who’s listening to you today, anyone who’s read your books, anyone who’s read my book. There are people out there who are willing. And really the question is, are you willing to feel better? Are you willing to feel safer? Are you willing to feel more connected? Are you willing to feel more compassionate towards yourself? Are you willing to attract more of what you want into your life and the answers to any of those questions are yes, then I invite you to join me on this journey and open your mind to these steps.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let me just encourage everyone who’s listening too, if you’re a part of the willing, and I think most people listening to this podcast are, join Gabby. I mean, get her book Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back From Living a Better Life. I mean, really, and it sounds dramatic to say it, but I believe it with every fiber of my being, the future of the world depends upon our somehow galvanizing this energy that she’s talking about. And if you join her in her efforts and more and more people join that, then we can start all of us together generating that positive energy. Don’t you think, Gabby?

Gabby Bernstein:
I couldn’t agree more. It’s absolutely the reason I wrote this book. These are the times where we have to be very, very serious about what we’re putting out in the world and begin to show up for in a really big way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you offer the invitation sort of by modeling it, would you say?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, yes, absolutely. I think that we, in any moment, have an opportunity to look at our life, and people come to me all the time and they’ll say things like, I don’t have time. I teach meditation. I teach really beautiful, mindful practices and people will say, well, I don’t have time for meditation, or I don’t have time to read the books and do the work. And my response is, do you have time to feel like crap? Right? So I do model it because in all of my books, and particularly in this book, I share many, many personal anecdotes and experiences of how releasing judgment has set me free. I’m very forthcoming with my reader of all the ways that I have judged, all the ways that I have detoured into fear and been unforgiving and held on to resentment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So give us a couple of examples of how releasing that has set you free.

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I wrote this book at a time where I was going through a lot of personal struggles with my family, with some friends. I applied the principles that I was living, the types of principles from the book, and have truly forgiven the people who I had been holding resentment towards. Truly forgiven them. I’ve been given very clear direction on how to carry out the next phase of those relationships.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you forgive them?

Gabby Bernstein:
I accepted that, one of the steps in the book is called, see for the first time. And I practiced this step and truly seeing the people, seeing these specific people for all the things that I love about them and all the qualities of them that I admired most. And then I took the others parts of the book, which were the first two steps, which were really owning my shadows and looking at my wounds and seeing my part, seeing my judgment and the issues. While I may have felt like the victim of a situation, I spent some serious time auditing my part and seeing how I was contributing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Did you do that alone or with a guide?

Gabby Bernstein:
With the guidance of the book that I wrote. I followed the steps from the book and really did the work to see my part. And I practiced emotional freedom technique, which is the second step in the book, which was using EFT to really get to the deeper ones that live beneath the judgment. I’ve practiced that third step of seeing for the first time. I practiced the steps of really, prayer and meditation to really get grounded in healing my belief system so that I can be free from the projections I’d placed upon these people. And then the final step of the book is forgiveness.

Gabby Bernstein:
And I put that step at the very end because I felt that these other steps were very necessary to get to the place where we could finally be willing to forgive. And then the practice of forgiveness in the book is very passive. It’s really about offering our desire to forgive up to a power greater than ourselves, and really inviting in a spiritual intervention. Really opening up our consciousness to allow the miracle of forgiveness to be bestowed upon us. And it’s not a very active step. It’s a step of releasing and surrendering.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m fond of saying forgiveness is a process, not a moment.

Gabby Bernstein:
Yes. I love it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s something that’s sort of ongoing and you’re much better heading in that direction then heading toward revenge.

Gabby Bernstein:
Couldn’t agree more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And yet so many people, when they say I demand justice, what they really mean is I demand revenge.

Gabby Bernstein:
Often that is the truth, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But what you’re speaking is so, if only people could see it’s in their best interest. They think they’ll feel better when they get revenge, but they don’t. They don’t feel any better. They still carry that pollution inside.

Gabby Bernstein:
Right. People feel like they, when they walk around with that revenge, they feel like in some ways they’re protecting themselves. They feel like they are in some ways, that that would be the way that they would stay safe. Particularly if someone has been traumatized or if someone has been deeply wounded, which can also be reflected trauma, a traumatic event. They use that feeling of defense, that defense mechanism in efforts to avoid having to feel the severe pain that lives underneath it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently, with ADHD, for other learning differences or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit, offering bachelors and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at Landmark, which as you know, is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to, give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place, and I can’t say enough good about it. I myself have an honorary degree from Landmark College, of which I am very proud.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Landmark College in Putney. Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What were the worst wounds that you suffered?

Gabby Bernstein:
Some of the things that I’ve uncovered throughout the process here is traumatic memories from my childhood, healing, forgiving myself for detouring so far to the places of drug addiction and alcoholism.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Those were the traumas, the drug addiction?

Gabby Bernstein:
Yeah. I got sober when I was 25. So I’ve been sober now for 12 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When did the addiction start?

Gabby Bernstein:
Probably, I’d been running for most of my life, I imagine, but the drug abuse and addiction was pretty fast, probably off and on for a few years and then got pretty bad towards the end.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You weren’t an addict in high school?

Gabby Bernstein:
Not in the sense that I would have recognized that I needed to get clean and sober, but I did have a dysfunctional relationship to drugs and alcohol when I was in high school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you happen to have ADHD?

Gabby Bernstein:
I probably do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The reason I ask is there’s a big relationship between addiction and ADHD, and the biggest undiagnosed group are adult women. So we ought to talk about it at some point because it’s-

Gabby Bernstein:
We might have to have a private conversation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah.

Gabby Bernstein:
I definitely think that I may have ADHD. And in some ways I think it’s been one of my greatest virtues and in some ways, of course, it can be [crosstalk 00:00:19:36].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s the whole thing about it. What makes it so interesting, if you manage it right, it’s an incredible blessing. Some of the most talented, most successful people in the world have it, but on the other hand, it’s got a downside that can hurt you. So I’ll get in touch with you when we’re finished and we can talk about it. I’d love to talk about it.

Gabby Bernstein:
I’d love to talk about it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah. So where did your gift come from? How did you develop this sort of … You’re obviously incredibly intuitive and spiritually connected. How did that develop?

Gabby Bernstein:
To be honest with you, I think that I was really quite willing to just release all the barriers that were in the way of those gifts that are within me. And I don’t think I’m any different. I think we all have the same types of gifts within us. They just manifest in different ways. And I think those of us who are brave enough to wonder what the blocks are that are holding us back from stepping into those gifts and do whatever it takes to get closer to consciousness and get closer to a more peaceful path. When we have the willingness to be that brave and do that work, then we can allow our true gift to be expressed. That’s been my experience. I’ve just been really brave. I’ve just been willing to go there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I agree with you. What do you think others are so afraid of it? I suppose, getting hurt or feeling embarrassed.

Gabby Bernstein:
Feeling embarrassed, being hurt, facing the feelings of shame. I think the biggest thing that holds us back is the terrible, terrifying fear of facing our shame. And not even many people wouldn’t even have a name, wouldn’t even know that shame was what they were running from.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. And you just said, okay, I’m going to feel it and release it, and then …

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I’ve been doing this work on myself for over a decade. So it’s been many stages of development. I think some of the heaviest lifting I’ve done on myself has been in the last two years. Not I think, I know. Even more than when I got sober. [inaudible 00:21:34] any of that. Some of the biggest, biggest work I’ve done on myself was over the last two years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What was the hardest part of it?

Gabby Bernstein:
Facing my shame. That is definitely been the most terrifying. But the beauty about it is that, when you do give voice to your shame and you face it finally, then you finally feel free. You feel truly free because you don’t have to run from it anymore.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, listeners would say, what in the world do you have to be ashamed of? You’re a beautiful woman, happily married, well educated. You’ve written six books, you’re successful. What shame could you possibly have?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, first of all, I think that we all carry shame from traumatic events from our childhood. And those traumatic events may be something as simple as somebody calling us stupid in the classroom or something far more significant, seemingly significant. But regardless of what the minor or significant instance was, it creates an imprint. And obviously this is what you teach and write about, I’m sure, but those imprints are shameful moments, feelings of being unlovable, inadequate, not good enough. And we do whatever we can to avoid feeling those feelings. It really creates a tapestry that becomes our life. And we have to begin to redesign that when they want to heal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a wonderful gift you’ve given. And I’m so impressed that you’ve done this. Gabby Bernstein, enlightened, gifted woman who has done an awful lot in her still relatively young life and is on her way to doing a lot more. Get her book. I’m quite certain it will set you free in many ways. Thanks a lot for joining us.

Gabby Bernstein:
Thank you so much for your time and thank you for having me on your show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care. Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You can find Distraction on all the social channels and you can find me on TikTok. My username is @drhallowell. I’ve uploaded a bunch of ADHD related videos, 60 seconds a piece, and I’d really love to hear what you think. Send me a DM or email [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Burton, and our audio engineer and editor is the equally extraordinarily talented Scott Person. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omega Brite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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Does ADHD Cause Depression?

Does ADHD Cause Depression?

Dr. H talks about how ADHD, anxiety and depression affect one another and what you can do about it. 

Please continue to reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com, and by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently. Hello, and welcome to a mini-episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. In today’s mini, I’m going to respond to an email we received from a listener. And keep that in mind, please send us an email with your question and I will respond to it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It begins, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I love listening to your podcasts and your YouTube videos. I’m wondering if you can touch on how ADHD and anxiety overlap in similarities. My daughter has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but I’m positive she has ADHD as well. And my feeling is that ADHD causes depression since the procrastination and distraction takes us away from getting things done or getting to appointments on time or forgetting to do things, and so forth. Thank you so much.” From Kathleen. Kathleen, by the way, I love the name Kathleen. It’s with a K and double E. Sometimes you see it with a C, but this is Kathleen. There’s just a beautiful ring to it. Yes, you are so smart and so right, Kathleen. Very often someone gets diagnosed with depression and anxiety and the clinician misses the ADD, but it’s the ADD that’s causing the depression and anxiety. And it only makes common sense if your ADD is not treated, you’re underachieving.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s a bummer. It’s not depression in the endogenous sense of depression, where you’re hopeless and helpless, and all that kind of stuff. It’s more just that you’re bummed out. You’re disappointed. You know you’re smarter than your grades reflect, or you know you’re more talented than your work performance reflects, and you don’t know what to do about it. So you look as if you’re depressed, but you’re really just frustrated. And then the anxiety, well, if you never know what you’re going to forget, what you’re going to overlook, where are you going to show up late, you begin to feel anxious because you don’t feel in control. And so that looks like an anxiety disorder, but it’s not. It’s in the wake of the untreated ADD. So when you treat the ADD, let’s say you start on medication, and if it works and it works about 80% of the time, your performance improves because you’re more focused, more organized better to follow through and deliver.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what had looked like depression goes away, because you’re glad, “Oh, hooray. Now I’m doing as well as I should be doing,” and it’s a big load off your shoulders. Plus, you feel more in control, hence you’re less anxious. Anxiety derives from feeling not in control. Well, when you get on the meds and you get your ADD treated, you feel more in control so your anxiety diminishes. So both, that what had looked like depression, goes away, you get into a good mood, and you’re happy clicking your heels, and what had looked like an anxiety disorder goes away because now you’re in control. You don’t have to worry what you’re going to forget, overlook, or misspeak. Very often, treating the ADD takes care of what had looked like depression and anxiety and spares you the need to take medications for those conditions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Common problem that comes up often missed by clinicians who simply don’t have enough experience in the field to realize that ADD is the driving force and they tend to rather to treat the wake of the ADD, namely what looks like depression and anxiety, but actually is not. Good pickup, Kathleen, and please relay to your doctor my suggestions. Thank you so much for that, and please, others of you reach out. Before I close I do want to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. I’ve been taking it for several months and found that it does help me reduce my reactivity, my tendency to be impatient and annoyed. Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code “Podcast 2020” by going to omegabritewellness.com. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E wellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Remember to reach out to us with an email or a voicemail. Send us your questions. We love to get them. I love to attempt to answer them as I attempted to answer Kathleen’s very good question, Kathleen. Send your thoughts, questions, show ideas, or pictures of your family to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the brilliant top of the line, first in the profession, Scott Persson. That’s Persson with two Ss. And our producer is the equally brilliant, talented, and always full of new bright ideas, Sarah Guertin, and that’s spelled U-E-R-T-I-N, not like curtain, although it rhymes with curtain. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you all a lovely rest of your day, wherever you may be. Tell your friends about us and come back for next time. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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ADHD and Accepting Help, Hormones, Meds and More

ADHD and Accepting Help, Hormones, Meds and More

What do you do when someone you love with ADHD won’t accept help? Do hormonal changes affect medication? What are the different types of ADHD treatment available? These are just a few of the questions Dr. H addresses in this week’s podcast as he responds to emails we’ve received from our listeners.

Please continue to reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com, and by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. In today’s episode, I will be doing one of my favorite things, answering questions and responding to emails from you, our treasured valued, esteemed, and just magnificent listeners. As we usually do with these episodes, my wonderful producer, the lovely, brilliant, so very faithful and good and true, Sarah Guertin is joining me today to help out. Okay, Sarah, who are we starting with today?

Sarah Guertin:
I kind of sound like a dog. Maybe that’s why we get along so well, you like dogs. I’m loyal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You don’t look anything like it though.

Sarah Guertin:
Well, thank you anyway. Okay, so today we are starting with an email from a listener named Mary. She writes, “I enjoyed listening to the mini Distraction/What’s in My Toolbox podcast.” That was quite a while ago you did that one, but she says, “My son is almost 20. He was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at age eight. He is a wonderful human being and very loved, but struggles daily and spends much of his time shut away in his room. He has friends and enjoys his time with them, but shuts himself away when at home. Throughout his life he has shunned any form of help, despite huge encouragement. He won’t accept our help or help from external sources, i.e., he rejected to help at school, left college as lecturers couldn’t help him, won’t let us teach him practical things, gave up on driving lessons. The list goes on. How can we overcome this barrier? If it was in his toolbox, he’d fly.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mary, your son, this is not uncommon, particularly among young men. He had a hard time early on, and he’s adopted avoidance as a coping style. That’s really the coping style that I hate to see, because it’s out of fear. He doesn’t want to fail. He doesn’t want to look stupid. He doesn’t want to embarrass himself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
He’s, as you say, a wonderful human being and very loved, but he’s hiding from the world. How do you bring someone out of hiding? How do you coax someone or persuade someone that it’s worth taking a shot? This is where creativity comes into play, even bribery, but if you can find something to interest him in, something to get him to stick his head out of his hole long enough to smell life and get excited by something, anything. It could be a project, could be a relationship, could be a sport, could be a puzzle. Could be something online, some chat rooms, some group of people, some game, anything to get him involved in life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s, I would say, the measure of a successful life is have you found the game you love to play? Have you found something you love to play? Whether it’s a business or a profession, once you get in the game and love the game, then the wins and the losses don’t matter. The victory is loving the game and looking forward to taking another shot. Right now your son, bless his soul, is dropped out of the game, because he’s afraid of embarrassing himself. He’s afraid that he doesn’t have whatever it takes, and it’s your job and the job of whoever you find to help you, and there are lots of people who can do it, doesn’t have to be a mental health professional could be, but it could be an uncle, an aunt, a grandparent, a friend, a relative, a music teacher, a gym teacher, a drill instructor in the army if he decides to enlist.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You don’t know who it’s going to be, but that’s the project, and approach it with a creative mind. Try not to fall into the trap of getting frustrated and fatalistic and just kind of giving up on him, not that you’d ever do that, but just feeling in your heart that it’s never going to work out because chances are, it will work out. Chances are, if you keep at it, if you keep coming toward him with different offers of different projects, different treasures, different goodies, one of these days, he’s going to get in a mood where he’ll snatch, he’ll reach out, his eyes will widen and his heart will beat. He will come out of hiding long enough to taste some kind of success, some kind of approval of others, some kind of engagement on his own in a way that it’s more valuable to chase that feeling than to hide and avoid feelings altogether.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I promise you if you keep at it with a team of people, not you alone, with a team of people, and they can be a ragtag bunch of, doesn’t have to be professionals or experts of any kind, just people who are interested in him, care about him, know something about something to get him hooked on life, to find a game he loves to play, and then you’re off to the races. Then you’ve got it made. Then he’s doing this thing we call life until he can’t do it anymore. You’re in a tough place right now, but a place that is fraught with possibility, as long as you keep at it. Good luck and do me a favor, come back to us in a few months and tell me what’s going on. I’d love to follow you along, Mary, in your journey with your son. Thanks so much for writing to us.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. This next one is about hormones in girls and ADHD. It starts, “Hello, Dr. Hallowell, I am a divorced parent of one daughter who is about to turn 13. She started middle school last year. She was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago due to struggling in the classroom. She had no issues with peers or coaches though. After trials of a handful of medications that were either ineffective or had negative side effects, she responded well to guaifenesin and she has been taking it ever since.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Guanfacine, that probably is.

Sarah Guertin:
Sorry, guanfacine. Okay. “However, her reactivity, anger and impatience, at home only mind you, are at an all-time high and have been for a year or two. As she enters adolescence and is experiencing hormonal changes, I am wondering whether that has an effect on how medications for ADHD work. Do you recommend a medication re-evaluation? Of note, she presents much more like a boy with ADHD than how girls typically present. Thank you for any thoughts that you have, Chloe”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. By all means I recommend a re-evaluation of medication. Guanfacine worked for a while, but it’s not working so much at home because of her reactivity, anger and impatience. Do hormones play a role? Yes, indeed they do. They very much do. You want to revisit medications. 80% of people with ADD can get an excellent response to medication. By that, I mean, target symptom improvement with no side effects. No, no, no, no side effects other than appetite suppression without unwanted weight loss.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But remember, there’s more to this than just medication. We have many more tools in the toolbox than just medication. You might want to consider one of my favorites. It’s a real breakthrough, the Zing method. We’ve had podcasts about this in the past. It’s a specialized form of exercise that you do for 10 minutes twice a day, that bolsters the cerebellum part of your brain at the back. It turns out the cerebellum is very involved in executive function and mood and cognitive issues. If you do these for 10 minutes twice a day, three to six months, 85% of people get really excellent results.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
To learn more just go to a website, distraction.zingperformance. That’s Z-I-N-G performance.com. That’s distraction.zingperformance.com. You don’t use medication at all. You may take medication while you’re doing Zing, it’s not contra-indicated, but this is a completely non-medication treatment for ADHD. It’s based on breakthrough science from Jeremy Schmahmann at Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Schmahmann’s not part of the Zing group at all, but the Zing people took advantage of Schmahmann’s research in developing their program, which I think is very, very promising. I recommend that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then the other standards of non-medication treatment, physical exercise of all kinds. My friend, John Ratey, in his book, Spark, showed what an incredibly powerful tool exercise is for sharpening up your mental faculties. Getting enough sleep, meditating, eating right, in other words, avoiding junk food, avoiding sugar, trying to eat whole foods and not use drugs and alcohol to help you get by. Then coaching is another standard in helping with ADD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re talking about good news in that she’s symptomatic only at home, which means she can hold it together away from home, which is a good sign, but we want to help her at home, as well. Her race car brain is running away with her, and she’s having trouble putting on the brakes. That’s ADD, race car brain with bicycle brakes. You want to strengthen those brakes in whatever ways you can. I would suggest revisit medication, see if stimulants might work this time, but in meanwhile, investigate the Zing program. Go to distraction.zingperformance.com, and then look at physical exercise, meditation, sleep, eating right and coaching.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Also, don’t forget my favorite element in the list, which is positive human connection, the other vitamin C as I call it. A lot of people aren’t getting enough vitamin C these days because of the pandemic, but we need to connect with each other one way or another, so make sure your daughter is doing that, as well. Thank you so much for writing in and please give us follow-up. Love to hear how she’s making out.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In this anxious back-to-school time, everyone is looking for ways to reduce the edge of anxiety. One good way to try is by taking OmegaBrite supplement, Omega CBD, OmegaBrite CBD, as well as the OmegaBrite fish oil product. Both are good for emotional reactivity and can take the edge off of that. They’re fully natural, very healthy, really developed by a top-notch company. OmegaBritewellness.com, and you can get 20% off your first order by using the code podcast2020. Enter that, get 20% off. OmegaBritewellness.com. Okay, now let’s get back to the show.

Sarah Guertin:
Okay. Since we’re on the subject of medication, we have another question from a listener about medication. Jean wrote, “Thank you. Please talk more about Ritalin and other best medications for ADD. I have side effects, and it takes months to get my medication changed.” I was thinking maybe you could just give listeners a quick overview.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is that what you were thinking, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:
It’s my job to produce, so this is me producing you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I will do as I’m told. In fact, I would love to do your bidding and this writer’s, this listener’s bidding. It says it takes months to get my medication changed. That should not happen. These medications, stimulant medications, can be changed daily if need be. It certainly shouldn’t take months. There’s something wrong with that picture. Maybe have a sit-down with your doctor or nurse practitioner or whoever you’re working with and try to set up a system where you can make changes more quickly, because to wait months for a stimulant medication change is just insane. There’s no need for that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now the stimulant medications, of which Ritalin is one, are basically divided into two categories. Those that are methylphenidate-based, Ritalin, Focalin, Daytrana patch, Concerta, Ritalin LA, those are all based on the molecule methylphenidate, which came into use in the early 1950s. Ritalin is the best known among those. By the way, do you know where Ritalin got its name? The man who developed it, developed it to help his wife with her tennis game, so she could focus better. Her name was Rita. Hence, Rita-line is where the name came from.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then the other group of stimulants are based on the molecule amphetamine. Now amphetamine was used for the first time to treat what we now call ADHD in, guess what year? 1937. Most people think it’s some new development in the past couple of decades. Not so at all, it’s been around for what is that, like 80 years. That’s good, because nothing lasts that long unless it is safe and effective. Now the best-known amphetamine-based medications are Adderall, Adderall XR stands for extended release, Vyvanse, which is another extended-release and Mydayis, which is the longest-acting of the amphetamine-based medications.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Those two groups, the methylphenidate-based and the amphetamine-based, make up the bulk of stimulant medication that we prescribe for ADHD. They still remain, in my opinion, the gold standard. Those are the best, when they work, they’re the best. They’re not definitive treatment, but they are symptomatic treatment. They’re like eyeglasses, and eyeglasses are pretty darn good if you’re near-sighted, and stimulant medication is pretty darn good if you have trouble focusing, if you have ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The major side effect of both groups, and the side effects are the same, the major side effect is it cuts your appetite. You have to be careful not to lose weight that you don’t want to lose. Other side effects are much less common, but they include insomnia if you take it too close to bedtime, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure. Some people get jittery as if they’ve had too much coffee. Some people the opposite, oddly enough, become somnolent. Some people just don’t like the way it makes them feel. They feel like they lose a bit of their personality. They lose their spontaneity, their sense of humor.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Any of those that happen, you just stop the medication. You can stop it on a dime. You don’t have to taper it. If it does anything you don’t like, if you turn purple, stop it, and you’ll go back to your original color. One of the great conveniences of these medications is that they’re in and out of your system in a matter of hours. That’s why I say you certainly don’t have to wait months to make a change. If one doesn’t work, another might. If Ritalin doesn’t work, Adderall might. The fact that one medication doesn’t help you, doesn’t mean that the other grouping won’t. How do you know in advance which one to try? It’s trial and error. That’s where we are. You try one. You try the other. As I said, you can go through a number of these in a matter of days. You don’t have to spend months doing the trial and error. About 80% of people who have ADD will find benefit without side effects from one or another of the medications.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then there are the non-stimulant medications, which don’t have the stellar track record of stimulants, but they’re great if they work. At the top of the list in that group, in my opinion, is Wellbutrin bupropion, which also has effectiveness as an anti-depressant and as an anti-addiction medication. It’s marketed as Zyban to help people quit smoking.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There’s a quick, quick overview about stimulant medication and medication in general. Work with a doctor who knows what he or she is doing. That’s the key to it all. Work with a doctor who has lots of experience in treating adults and children who have ADHD. If you do, you can really exhaust the possibilities, certainly in a matter of a couple of months at most. You may be one of those people like me for whom medication does not work. My medication is caffeine, coffee. That’s the world’s medication, but I don’t leave home without it. It’s something that I find very beneficial. Well, thank you so much for writing in and asking about that. Sarah, do we have another question?

Sarah Guertin:
We sure do. Do you remember the mini episode you did a few weeks ago… it was a little bit more than a few weeks ago… where you asked listeners whether you should stick to only talking about ADHD?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. Whether I should stick?

Sarah Guertin:
Yes. Yes. We had said in a recent episode that we got a lot of listener feedback where they all said, “No, you should talk about whatever you want.” I wanted to let you know that that has continued. We are still getting emails where people are telling you, “Yeah,. Speak your mind.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, it’s funny, because I thought about that. Whoever wrote that to me, telling me to shut up and dribble, he was, or she was trying to help me. I appreciate that. He or she was saying, “You’re going to hurt yourself if you go outside your behavioral perimeter, if you go outside your designated area of expertise.” I took it to heart enough that I wanted to ask people about it. I also am grateful to the man or woman who sent me that, because they were trying to help me, and maybe he or she is right. Maybe there are people when I go off to other topics that think, “Oh, shut up and dribble.”

Sarah Guertin:
Well, they’re not emailing us if that’s the case.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good, good, good, good.

Sarah Guertin:
But I wanted to share one with you. It’s a little bit long, but I thought it was particularly powerful, so I wanted to read it to you. It says, “Hi, Dr. H, I was catching up with the podcast when I heard the episode where a listener suggested that you should stick to what you know and leave more provocative topics alone. I’ve never sent an email to your show before, but I absolutely had to this time. I’m a Black woman with ADHD. I also have two sons with ADHD, and I’ve appreciated your work for many years now. I’ve often felt invisible as a woman of color with ADHD. Although there are plenty of us out here, we often get overlooked for one reason or another.

Sarah Guertin:
I’ve been absolutely floored and thrilled to witness more conversation happening about race in this country. I’ve been especially happy to witness it coming specifically from some of my favorite ADHD experts. I’m beginning to feel seen in a way I never have before. We are living in unprecedented times where the people at the very top are willfully and intentionally corrupt, bigoted, illogical and hateful, and it is costing lives every single day. Now is not the time for anyone to be silent or to simply stick to polite topics that won’t ruffle feathers. I want to know what kind of people the experts I’m supporting (with my time when I’m listening to their podcasts and my money, when I buy their books and go to conferences). I want to know who they are. I don’t think you can call yourself a decent person and not speak about the things that are happening in our country.

Sarah Guertin:
The same way more ADHD experts are talking about how race affects diagnosis and treatment, I hope to hear more speaking out on how poverty and lack of access to mental health resources also affects diagnosis and treatment. It’s especially vital that people with a platform use their reach for good, which is exactly what I’ve witnessed you doing for years now. The person who sent you that email does not speak for me, and I suspect they don’t speak for a significant portion of your listeners. Please keep speaking about the things that matter, especially when they’re messy and have potential to ruffle feathers. Respectfully, Candy”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, Candy, what a wonderful email. I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, and also for what you’re seeing happen in your own life. I mean, you’re twice invisible. You’re a woman with ADHD, the biggest underdiagnosed group, and you’re of color with ADHD, also an overlooked group. You have two forces that lead you to fade into the background. I’m so glad you’re standing out and standing forth and standing up and saying, “Hey, here I am finding your voice, finding your identity, laying claim to your truth, your story, your place in this world, your place at the table.” Gosh, it’s wonderful, because, I mean, I’ve been trying to bring people with ADHD to the forefront for my whole career. I’m now 70 years old, and it’s wonderful to see it happening in the two groups you represent, women and color. Both groups are hugely overlooked in our society in general, but in the ADHD diagnosis in particular.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
People of color who have ADHD, women of color who have ADHD are so at risk not to fulfill their destiny, not to fulfill their potential, not to find the encouragement, the guts, the platform, whatever the propulsion, to stand up and be counted, and then help others stand up, because that’s the next step which you’re doing in writing in and helping others stand up. I mean, because this diagnosis, unlike so many diagnoses in medicine, this is good news. Things can only get better when you find out you have ADHD. They can only get better. Often your life changes dramatically for the better. You’re really on the precipice of making good on all your potential. You’re on the precipice of finding the superpower hidden within ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t get me wrong, it can be a terrible curse, as well. That’s why it’s so important to diagnose it, because undiagnosed ADHD can all but ruin your life. Sometimes indeed ruin your life, whether it’s through incarceration, or addiction, or job loss, what have you. But when you learn to get the right help, you can begin to tap into the superpower that’s often there, the Ferrari engine, when it gets its brakes, can start winning races. That’s what you’re doing. No pun on race, because you’ve also got that going. People of color are finally being recognized more accurately, and we old white men like me are understanding better what it’s like to go every day and if you see a police officer, wonder is he going to pull you over, and if he does, what are you going to do?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I really, in all my naivete, and I grew up in the ’60s when we were fighting for civil rights, but in all my naivete, I sort of thought that had been taken care of. Then my gosh, even just the past months, learning how wrong I was, that it’s anything but taken care of, and that we old white men like me need to start learning that we haven’t solved this problem, to the point where many of us, including me, were unaware of the details of what it’s like subjectively to live as a person of color in this country. Then if you throw in poverty, which is another way of being unnoticed, invisible, discounted, rejected, unheard, then you have a third factor folded into the mess, as you say, the messiness of life. If you’re a person who has little money, you’re of color, and you have ADHD and you don’t know it, boy, oh boy, is the deck stacked against you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if you start listening to people like you, Candy, and if you hear your stirring example, and if you say, “Okay, let me go find someone to get my ADHD taken care of,” now that in and of itself is a problem. How do you gain access? How do you gain access to care? Experts in ADHD are not easy to find. For one reason or another, they’re is rare as hen’s teeth. I live in the Boston area, so there were plenty of experts around here. But if you go outside of the academic centers, they’re hard to find, particularly ones who take my approach, which is a strength-based approach saying, “This is a trait, not a disorder. It can be a terrible disorder, but it can also become a superpower if you manage it right.” We’re very hard to find.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The most economical way of gaining access to me is by one of my books, which are cheap on Amazon. That’s like $10 for Delivered from Distraction. Now for some people, $10 is not cheap. It’s a big reach. There are also libraries. There are places where you can read books for no charge. This podcast is free of charge, as well. My website has a lot of information on it, drhallowell.com. That’s also free of charge.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It is the truth that shall set you free in this case. It really is. Once you understand the basic symptoms, which creativity, originality, entrepreneurial-ism, powerful brain going all the time, a desire to be free, desire to not necessarily play by the rules, but make it up as you go, all of those positives that you can’t buy and you can’t teach, immense curiosity, coupled with the negatives, which is trouble getting organized, trouble being on time, trouble showing up where and when you’re supposed to, trouble following through, and trouble focusing when you’re not interested. When you’re interested, you can hyper-focus, but when you’re not interested, your mind wanders, goes elsewhere. What that all sums up to is trouble achieving and a tendency to underachieve and then get fired, lose jobs, lose relationships, and so on and so forth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if you can identify that, if you can see yourself in that list of symptoms, and then go to an MD who has some experience with this, and you don’t have to go to an expensive specialist, go to some MD, you could bring my book with you, could say, “I’ve gone through this. These are the symptoms I’ve got. Could you give me a trial of stimulant medication?” As long as they’re comfortable with it and comfortable with the diagnosis, they’ll do that. That’s sort of the first step, getting a trial of medication and then learning about the condition, learning about what it is, owning it, metabolizing it, learning about it well enough that you can teach someone else about it. This is life-changing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Chances are, once you do get it, your earning power will increase because you’ll be able to marshal your God-given talents and resources and start leading others of your group, of your race, of your ethnic grouping, whoever you are, lead and help them free, I say, break the manacles that that can be holding you back. When you start leading others to do that, helping others to do that, it’s a great feeling. St. Francis said, “In giving, we receive.” It is so true. When you can help someone else, and when you can see their life change, and when they say, “Gosh, thank you. Man, that feels good.” You have it in your power to do that, Candy. You have it in your power to lead a whole bunch of people, because you’re representative of a group that is underserved, for sure, people of color, women of color who have ADD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much for writing in. I’m glad you are encouraging me to speak my mind. I am someone who values telling the truth, certainly in doing that with my work with ADHD. I hope and pray whoever leads this country in the coming years, what we need is coming together. What we need is forces of unification. Often that’s done best at local levels. I like to think that everyone knows how much we need each other now. Everyone knows that what we need to do is come together. I kind of believe that we’ll find a way to make that happen. Candy, thank you so much for writing in. I can’t thank you enough.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s going to do it for today. If you have a question you’d like me to address in a future episode just like the ones I answered today, please write an email or record a voice memo, and send it to us at [email protected] That’s the word, [email protected] We love getting these questions. We really love them and make them commentary, not just questions. Put in your opinions, your thoughts, your speculations. It’s a great way for our audience to get to know each other.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining me. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the meticulously brilliant Scott Persson, never misses the sound. Our producer is the very imaginative, but also very careful to detail, Sarah Guertin.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBritewellness.com.

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Science Shows Omega-3s Improve Executive Function with OmegaBrite Wellness

Science Shows Omega-3s Improve Executive Function with OmegaBrite Wellness

This special episode is sponsored by OmegaBrite Wellness.

This back-to-school season is especially stressful, so we know parents and kids are looking for ways to cope! Dr. Carol Locke, founder of OmegaBrite Wellness, shares some of the proven benefits of Omega-3s and how they can help adults and children. Dr. Locke cites recent studies out of Ohio State using OmegaBrite Omega-3s, which showed a reduction in anxiety and inflammation, and improved executive functioning in participants.

To view the studies cited in this episode, go HERE.

Shop OmegaBrite Wellness online. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson. Reach out to us at [email protected].

LISTEN to this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Those of you familiar with the podcast will know my guest today, and she’s one of my favorites. She’s joined me on the podcast many times over the years, and especially over the past few months, Dr. Carol Locke, Harvard Medical School trained and all together entrepreneur, innovator extraordinaire, the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness, a sponsor we’re lucky to be able to say of this podcast, joins me today to talk about how parents and kids can alleviate some of the anxiety they are feeling as they embark on this new school year, a particularly difficult time because of the pandemic and the tremendous uncertainty that surrounds it.

What you might be feeling, whether it be political, medical, nutritional, spiritual, what have you, Dr. Locke is here to help us with one kind of intervention that you probably haven’t thought of, namely Omega-3’s and fish oil. So Dr. Locke, could you please begin the discussion by telling us why Omega-3’s are so important?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Omega-3’s are so important because, number one, we cannot make them. Our body cannot make them. We must take them in our diet and they’re very low or deficient in them in our diet right now. They have tremendous health benefits all across the board from cardiac, brain health, to our joints, as well as to managing stress. And that makes them very essential all of the time, and even more important now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I start every day by taking five of your little gel capsules. So what good am I doing for myself when I take them and swallow them?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, what you’re taking is OmegaBrite. That’s OmegaBrite 70-10MD, which is our high EPA Omega formula product. And what you’re doing in taking those capsules is you’re giving your body a way to not only provide for the health benefits of Omega-3, but have the unique ability to increase your ability to manage stress, decrease your anxiety, increase your executive function, and improve your mood as well as pain. So those are very big benefits that would help people in their toolbox as a parent, or as a child, in facing this pandemic, COVID return to school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Huge. I mean, the advantages you just ticked off. And all I have to do is, I keep them in the freezer, reach in there and, and take five capsules out of the bottle and swallow them, and I’ve done myself a huge favor. Now there are many different, many different products, brands of fish oil. Why is OmegaBrite the best?

Dr. Carol Locke:

What I can speak to with OmegaBrite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or on line. OmegaBrite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing OmegaBrite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So it’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits. And these benefits we know come from OmegaBrite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has say 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, that’s really good to know. As you know, I have total faith in it, take it myself. So does my wife. Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study, that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Yeah. This was a great study. It was done at Ohio State and it was done on medical students, 68 medical students without any medical problems. Done over 12 weeks. It was a blinded study, meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety, and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6. So you had a very powerful benefit from the OmegaBrite shown in this study, and that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety, and stress, and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So I think with that in mind, I mean, honestly, my profession, psychiatry, and medical in general, we ought to be, we ought to be prescribing this, certainly before we prescribe drugs like Prozac or Zoloft.

Dr. Carol Locke:

I think it’s a very powerful foundation to give to yourself and to your patients. It’s has all-health benefits on top of these benefits. So I agree. I think it’s something that we can powerfully prescribe and use in our lives and in our patients’ lives to reduce anxiety, inflammation, stress, and help with mood.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And tell me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents?

Dr. Carol Locke:

It’s a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent without negative effects. So typically if you take a prescription anti-inflammatory, you can have problems with COX-2 inhibition. You can have various problems in your immune system with suppression. When you’re providing high EPA Omega-3 like OmegaBrite, you’re giving your body back the ability to balance inflammation in its own system. Omega-3 EPA competes with arachidonic acid, and so when you provide a high dose of Omega-3 in your diet, you gain ability to balance and modulate your own inflammation in your body, as it wants to naturally.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And most people, most lay people, think of inflammation as what happens when you get a cut or you get a bruise, and you turn red and it’s hot. But in fact inflammation drives stuff that people don’t associate with inflammation, like obesity, like depression, like high blood pressure, like immune dysfunction, which is associated with cancer. So by suppressing inflammation, you’re suppressing one of the major provocateurs of the conditions that we fear the most.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Exactly. It’s a huge thing. And we want inflammation, like you said, if we get a cut, we break our leg. We want to know about it. But we don’t want that fighting against our body all the time, like you said, causing those disease states. One of the things, Ned, that people, as you know, are facing overload right now, and the kids are facing, is stress. And stress affects inflammation as well. We think that stress causes a neuroinflammation and it looks like the Omega-3’s can decrease that neuroinflammation. And one of the effects of stress is impaired executive function.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Carol Locke:

And we have a study I wanted to share with you, in 2019, just came out also from Ohio State, in youth and kids showing OmegaBrite improved executive function. This was in 95 kids over 12 weeks. So that’s a pretty big gain I think could go in and kids and adults toolbox right now with the pandemic to increase our ability to have executive function.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh my gosh, absolutely. What ages were these kids?

Dr. Carol Locke:

These kids were ages seven to 17, boys and girls recruited from the community. This study was done over 12 weeks in 95 children with the diagnosis of mood disorder, including bipolar disorder, not otherwise specified major depression, or cyclothymia. An important point, Ned, was many of these kids had co-diagnoses as well, 75 with anxiety and 58 with ADHD. There was improvement across the board for executive function in all diagnoses. And the ADHD population had a slightly higher level of improvement.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Is the dose different for kids?

Dr. Carol Locke:

The dose in this study was four capsules a day, four OmegaBrite capsules a day. And what we think when dosing is it looks like we can use weight rather than age in children. OmegaBrite, six capsules a day have been used in kids with bipolar disorder, a MGH study. Again, very healthy with only health benefits, positive health side effects.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. Wow.

Dr. Carol Locke:

So the executive function study, I think, is really powerful because problems with executive function happen in ADHD. They happen in every mood disorder, and they happen across the general population in stress. And if we can help with that-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. I mean they happen just in modern life, and now modern life with a pandemic thrown in, everybody’s executive function is going.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Yeah, is affected.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, no boy. And it’s such a simple thing to just take these capsules. Like I said, I take five of them. Is five enough, should I take six?

Dr. Carol Locke:

A lot of people take six, and there have been studies in mood disorders where less than six was not as effective as six capsules a day. A lot of people take four or five. This study on executive function was four capsules a day. In the anxiety study it was six capsules a day. So I think you can use your own body and experience to tell you, is four good? Is five good? Is six good? You’ll know.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I’ve certainly found them to be mood stabilizing. My mood is all over the place. I don’t know what diagnosis I have other than ADHD, but my mood is very labile, up, down, in-between, and quick to change. And I found that the Omega-3’s really helped me with that. Not only with my musculoskeletal issues, but the mood issues as well. It is a wonder drug, you know, what can I say?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Thank you. We hear that a lot from people, particularly in the pandemic we’re hearing from customers that they’re finding it essential with their mood. They’re also finding the OmegaBrite Omega-3 essential in their relationships. Keeping their mood stable, positive, and feeling less anxiety helps them with their family relationships. And I think anything we can do to help kids, parents, and teachers right now, because of this added stress of do they go back to the classroom, at a changed classroom with partitions and masks and social distancing, or are they at home with their parents who are stressed, is such a powerful situation. I think we want to help give people tools to put in their toolbox to succeed and to feel like they are thriving and able to learn during the stress.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely. And this is such a simple tool. I mean some tools, you have to work out, or you have to stretch. I mean, those are all good too, but this is a simple tool. There’s no taste to it. There’s no aftertaste to it. What could be easier than swallowing a few capsules? I mean, it’s such a wonderful product. And there are fish oil products that you got to watch out for, because if they’re not pharmaceutical grade the way yours is, you can get mercury contamination. It can be dangerous. So it’s worth taking OmegaBrite to get the quality assurance that comes with it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Any last words, Carol? It’s always great to hear you. You always have such good news.

Dr. Carol Locke:

I am glad to be here. I think this is a particularly powerful message of this executive function study, showing both the safety in kids, but also the effect, helping kids with their ability to get along. The parents in that study said that their kids had less distractibility, more ability to plan for and problem solve stressful situations, as well as less dysphoric mood irritability and improved self-esteem. So I think that’s the message I’d like to give, is we have something to help. OmegaBrite can help kids, is safe, and will add to their ability to manage stress. And the parents too. And teachers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you so much, Carol. And listen, to learn more, go to OmegaBriteWellness.com.

And Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order by using the promo code Podcast2020. That’s Podcast2020. So go to OmegaBriteWellness.com. Enter the promo code Podcast2020, save 20% and most important, be on your way to promoting health, mental health, physical health, all-together wellness for you and your children, and your family and your friends for that matter.

It’s such a treat to have you as a sponsor because it’s spreading good news and powerful, powerful resources. Tools in the toolbox as you like to say.

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We thrive on them. We love them. We use them. We metabolize them. We turn them into new shows all of their very own. Our email address is [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the brilliant always on top of everything Scott Persson. That’s person with two S’s. And our producer is the wonderful, brilliant, many-ideas Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you a healthy and productive day, week, year, and life. Goodbye for now.

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Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental illness is so prevalent in the U.S. that we now have a reduced life expectancy as a result of 2 specific causes, and the pandemic is only making things worse. Dr. Ken Duckworth, the chief medical officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), joins Dr. H to talk about how his organization helps those with bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other conditions.

Looking for help? Learn about NAMI by clicking HERE.

Is there a topic you’d like Dr. Hallowell to explore in a podcast? Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distruction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If anybody here is listening to Ned’s podcast and lives with schizophrenia, or loves someone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe post-traumatic distress, has had a suicide attempt, NAMI is a great group. It is a great group, and one thing you’ll know is that people will listen to you. They won’t dismiss you, they know how hard this is, they know how much pain there is in this, and they will embrace you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello and welcome to Distruction, I am your host Dr. Ned Hallowell. I am really excited about our show today. As you know, I have some very special people in my life and one of those is Dr. Ken Duckworth. I’ve known him since he was a resident back at Mass Mental Health Center, and I used to call him one of the living saints of this world. He’s an amazing man, he’s a Harvard professor, a psychiatrist and the Chief Medical Officer for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Ken and I share a personal history in that both of us had bipolar fathers, and that’s what brought us into the field. We exchange stories about that often. Ken is also double board certified in adult and child psychiatry, and he’s completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about. He’s also an incredibly devoted dad to his three wonderful, brilliant daughters and has made them his top priority throughout his life. Another thing we share with me and my three kids and him with his three kids.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We over the years have grown up together and even though I’m a little bit older than he is, he is one of the most special people I know. Without further ado, let me welcome my friend the…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’ve got to meet this guy if any of that’s true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well he is.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
[crosstalk 00:02:35].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s you Ken, just look in the mirror.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
[inaudible 00:02:37] all right, so I want to start with a story if I may.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Please.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
This is about Ned, and in 1986 I took the radical path which was extremely unfashionable, to write about my dad’s bipolar disorder as the reason I wanted to become a psychiatrist. This essay was very personal and intense and real, my father was a very good man with a very bad illness. I spent a lot of time at state hospitals, police coming to the house and then on alternate summers or falls or winters, my friends and relatives saying, “How come you got the nice dad?”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’m like, “Yes, I did get the nice dad,” but there was an asterisk there which is that, his bipolar disorder was quite severe and it made a big mark on me. This is 1986, this is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness had just gotten started. I thought, “I’m just going to write the truth because for God’s sake I’m going into psychiatry. Surely someone will understand what this is like and have been through a personal experience.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Little did I know how naïve that was and I went to 15 of the best programs in America. 14 of those people ignored my essay, literally talking to me about my major in Political Science or my passion for college football, which is ongoing. I went to the University of Michigan and no, I don’t want to talk about Ohio State.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
One person that I interviewed with the day before I saw Ned in Boston, at our world’s famous Harvard Institution, said to me, he’s the only person besides Ned who I met the next day who took a look at my essay. He said, “So, you want to help your father, that’s a terrible reason to become a psychiatrist.” I say that with an accent because he had an accent.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He apparently was a very famous person because I was a 26-year-old scared kid out of medical school, I didn’t know what that whole thing was that he was a world famous psychoanalyst. I said, “Well, I have been traumatized by this experience, but I loved him very much. I thought it might be good if I could see if I could make a difference because I know a little bit about what it’s like to love someone with a severe illness and see them for their strengths.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He further ridiculed me and before I left and I walked out to my car, burst into tears and didn’t even finish the interview with that world famous program, I asked him, “One last question,” and again I sound like I have confidence but I don’t at the time. I’m a kid, I know no one. I said, “What would be a good reason to become a psychiatrist?” He paused for a minute, I think nobody had ever asked him that hard of a question. Paused for a really long time and he said, “Well, if your father is a psychiatrist, that would be a good reason.” I said, “Don’t we have something of a workforce shortage in the field?” Like I did say it, I got in one punch but then I left and I even skipped the free lunch, which is very unlike me if you knew me at all. I walked in my car, burst into tears and the next day I met Ned Hallowell.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Now, I’m going to finish this story about this world famous hospital flash forward 14 years and I’m the commissioner of mental health and this hospital does something very bad to a patient. When I called them into my office I wanted to remind them that I had the power to shut their facility because I was over licensing and control. What I did is, I didn’t do that of course. Maybe wonder what kind of person I was because I did have the power to actually harm them back, but I said, “I’d like to tell you a story.” I told them this story about how they had treated me when I was a nobody, but now I was the commissioner of mental health with power over their facility. I don’t know if they listened to my story, but it was very therapeutic to tell it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That next day I got up and I thought, “Maybe psychiatry isn’t for me.” I liked cardiology and I noticed they drove nicer cars than the psychiatry. I thought maybe I could just switch my whole orientation and just go into cardiology. I like talking to people about their hearts, it seemed very concrete and I really thought that morning that it wasn’t for me.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
After 14 programs had ignored me, one program had humiliated me, the last interview I did was with Ned Hallowell at the Massachusetts Health Center. The other three people I interviewed with at Mass Mental Health Center were very nice, but they also ignored my essay. It was just too much to take on, I mean you want to deal with this guy’s problems and his issues and how does that fit into who he is?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Ned read my essay and I’m going to say 45 or 50 people I interviewed across America, he was the only person who read the essay, looked at me and said, “What a great thing. You know what this is like. Do you know what a difference you can make in people’s lives?” When Ned said that to me, I made a decision to move to Boston from Philadelphia. I’m still affiliated with the same Massachusetts Mental Health Center three decades later.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It matters how you talk to people and it matters how you talk to them about their vulnerabilities. Ned was encouraging and supportive. You also encouraged me to pursue my actual interest, which was the first person and family experience of living with a condition and try to master it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Then of course I found the National Alliance on Mental Illness or they found me, and I’ve been their National Medical Director now Chief Medical Officer for 15 years. I found this community of people who live their first experience and the family experience and Ned’s encouragement, pursue what you want to do. You might actually have some knowledge or advantage through your traumatic experiences that will help you be a better doctor.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s a long story about Ned, but it’s the crucial story of my becoming a psychiatrist because for that one day after I was humiliated at the world famous Harvard Institution down the street, I thought seriously about becoming a cardiologist.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well I’m glad you didn’t do that Ken.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do drive a Mazda, it should be noted I could be driving a Bima, but psychiatry is my calling. I just needed one person to respond to my essay with an affirmation or at least an inquiry of, why was that important? Ned you made a big difference in my career and I shall never forget that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you so much and you in turn have made a huge difference in the lives of thousands if not millions of people around the country. With various kinds of mental illness, do you want to just talk a little bit about, what are some of the misconceptions in the general public that you could disabuse people of?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well I’d start with the idea that these aren’t real illnesses. Back in the day before this thing called mental health parody, I testified before Congress in multiple state houses that my dad had bipolar disorder which easily could have killed him if he didn’t receive medical care, and his medical care was the bare minimum. I had the misfortune of having cancer as a psychiatric resident and I could have been dead of course through an illness that would have killed me if I had not attended to it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I said and somehow in our society, this is in the 1990s, cancer is considered legitimate, [inaudible 00:10:11] casseroles they call you a hero. They offer to cover for you, they send you flowers. My father after his manic episodes was isolated, alone, people wouldn’t talk to us at church. Church is supposed to be theoretically nice people, who would all move away from us after a manic episode. I thought, this was a big part of my life in my 40s which was to fight for this idea of mental health parody.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
These conditions are real conditions. Is it true that there’s things that we don’t know about the brain that’s absolutely true? Is it true that I can’t tell you how lithium works to save people’s lives? It’s true. Might have something to do with membrane stabilization, but is it true that we don’t really know how the antipsychotics impact voices? The answer is, it’s really humbling because there’s a lot we don’t know. The fact that we don’t know a lot about the brain has nothing to do with the fact that these are real conditions.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If you need to any further proof, I mean look at the evidence on suicide which has gone up steadily over the last two decades. From 1999 to 2018, we’ve had essentially a straight line of increase in suicide. At the same time we’ve had an increase in overdoes deaths too to opioids. These two illnesses together are conditions, are outcomes together are for the first time in 100 years caused a reduction in the American life expectancy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really? Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The deaths by suicide and the deaths by overdose, the French continue to smoke their brains out, drink coffee up to the max and their life span keeps expanding. This is an American problem, and it has something to do with health disparity, it has something to do with the complexity of the uninsured but it has a lot to do with the fact that mental illnesses are not fully treated. Because of our problem with opioids, we’ve seen a lot of premature death.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When you say mental health parody, Ken, what does that mean, mental health parody?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Mental health parody means your insurance company can’t give you unlimited visits to see your oncologist, which of course as a cancer patient when I was a young man, I was allowed to do anything I wanted to. I think my treatment probably cost half a million dollars, while final copay was 50 bucks. Cancer was legitimate, my illness was legitimate. Was I grateful? I’m incredibly grateful. Medical science saved my life but the insurance company at the same time would have $500 as your outpatient psychotherapy maximum.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That meant I could go see an oncologist twice a week if I wanted to, but I can only see a mental health practitioner perhaps five times if they charge $100 an hour. If they had the courage to charge 250 an hour, I only had two sessions that were covered. This is the inequity that was structured into the mental health system and into health insurance.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Mental health parody was a big cause celeb of mine personally and largely National Alliance on Mental Illness made this happen. The first version was 1998, Domenici and Wellstone. Domenici was a Senator from New Mexico, Wellstone a Democrat from Minnesota and they together had family members with serious mental illness. They got it, and they did version kind of 1.0 and then later on Patrick Kennedy with the affordable Care Act and all the activity after the housing collapsed 2008.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
This amendment was tied to it, and to make the long story short, mental health access has improved. I think a lot of people still feel that we’re not at true parody yet. That means treating them exactly the same, but I do think we’re going in the right direction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What percentage of families in the country have at least one member who does have a serious mental illness?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The answer Ned is one in five Americans would endorse, one in five families have a person who would endorse an anxiety disorder, a depressive disorder. Another mood disorder like bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, these are kind of the major categories. For serious mental illness the number is smaller, that’s about one in 17 people has a condition that is severely impacting their functioning. That is brain based and it involves emotion, behavior, cognition that is severely impacting their functioning. Frequently with work, relationships and their health and self-care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. What percentage of people who could benefit from help from a mental health professional actually consult the mental health professional?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s a good question. We think less than half of people with most mental health conditions actually get help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well the good news is since we’ve done this whole mental health parody thing, the number of people who are seeking help is increasing. We saw this in the pandemic. NAMI has a helpline 1-800-950-NAMI which is staffed by individuals with first person experience or family experience. Our calls went up very substantially.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The other thing which was surprising in the pandemic is the American mental health field not known for sprinting, pivoted in three days to become a teleservice. The experience of the therapists and the patients has been very positive, although not universally positive, but I think it’s a new way of delivering care that’s here to stay.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The therapists were surprised that the people always show up, that the cancellation rate is low. That they don’t have that first five minutes of accession where they can read CNN online because the patient show up on time as they do for their professional meetings or other Zoom calls during the course of the day. The patients notice that it’s convenient, they get heard and they don’t have to pay for parking or fight traffic.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think that for people who don’t have a lot of privacy, it’s important to have a phone service covered so people can go into their car. If you live in a studio apartment with another person and part of your experience is to talk about that person, privacy can be a challenge. I do think there are people who are a little bit paranoid of technology. There are people for whom this isn’t an ideal setup. I think if you talk to people they’d rather see somebody like you Ned in person, but given the fact that we’re in the middle of our first pandemic in our lifetime, the rules have changed. I think the mental health field has responded.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They’ve changed by using Zoom or some other platform, that’s one.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Any platform that they’ve been using has made a difference, and it’s interesting the other fields of medicine have really struggled. How do I do ophthalmology care? How do I take care of people’s knee problems? Well, those things are very hard to do virtually but because our skillset is listening, judgment, empathy, compassion, and thoughtful reflection and potentially recommendations, that’s a skillset that’s ongoing.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We can’t touch the patients. We’re not supposed to take their blood pressure. We have to be thoughtful about what we’re trying to do here in the field of medicine and it turns out mental health is an incredibly easy thing to apply to the tele space. I think that’s been a great gift.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you think that will continue after the pandemic is over?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do think people will want to see their therapist in person. I think they’ll want to, but now that they’ve been thrown into the deep end of the teletherapy pool, and realized they can swim pretty well, I think a lot of people are going to say, “You know, it’s an hour to drive to Sudbury,” you probably don’t charge people for parking Ned at your office.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Sudbury’s not next to my house, so if I want to come see you as a professional, be an hour commitment going out, an hour commitment coming back, I’d had to pick up some apples in Concord on the way. It’s four hours round trip, so it’s a big commitment. If I could see you by pushing a button, then go back to work or engage in child care or do any other tasks that might be relevant like cooking dinner for the family, I think I might choose to do that some of the time. Some other time I just break down and make the trip.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I have been taking a new supplement called OmegaBrite CBD. Listeners know that Brite is spelled, B-R-I-T-E, so it’s Omega B-R-I-T-E CBD. As I had mentioned before, OmegaBrite CBD was created by my good friend Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School and her company, OmegaBrite Wellness. They have been making the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well Carol and her team decided to break new ground and having set the standard for purity, safety and efficacy in the world of omega-3s and they’ve brought that same commitment to excellence to their new CBD supplement. I take it myself, it helps me with my reactivity, my impatience. It kind of just puts a smoother edge. It’s in no way is it a buzz or a high or anything like that. It’s way more subtle, but it’s a very noticeable subtle effect and one that I have come to really appreciate as I take it every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com and now Distruction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code podcast 2020. That’s podcast 2020, go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did just as I am.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What about the person who’s listening now and is saying, “This living at home and this keeping social distance is starting to drive me crazy.” That’s not a mental illness but what should that person do?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well first of all I don’t think anybody likes it. Although I have one friend who’s a psychiatrist who’s a severe introvert, who seems happier. He works out of his basement, has lunch with his wife every day. I go over to his backyard every other week, we stay at 20 feet away from each other and chat. I think his quality of life has improved. Now, this speaks to how individual this all this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
True.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I of course I’m an extrovert.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes you are.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I struggle to not see my friends. I don’t like not going down to my coffee shop at the end of my street and hanging out, and talking to the owners. The owners are hiding in their masks, it’s not a convivial environment. In fact, all the tables have been removed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh gosh.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You can have a standing chat for two minutes, nobody checks in about my daughter who used to work there, but there’s something lost there. I guess what I would say is isolation is hard on all of us. If you have an anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, it’s a challenge. You have to figure out, how do you stay connected with people?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Connection is crucial for mental wellbeing and it doesn’t solve all problems, but through your faith group, through AA, through anomie connection, through some other vehicle. I have a Monday night meeting with four friends, we used to go out to dinner once a month and now we meet once a week. It’s fun.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I actually look forward to it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I have a friend deficit disorder during the variation on the thing you study. It’s hard to be isolated.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It is.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It is weary. I will say that, I do think it’s going to be a very long haul, like I don’t think the vaccine’s going to turn up and everything’s going to be okay. I think we’re up for a pro crafted experience, so figuring out what your inventory of coping skills is. Mine happens to be connecting with friends online, family reunions of sorts online. We’re doing a memorial service for a beloved member of the family this week in New Jersey. I didn’t really want to do it but somebody really wanted to get us together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh good for you.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’m driving to New Jersey and I’m going to see the family and it’s not the way I wanted to see them. I wanted to have a party and hang out and toast the family member, but what we’re going to do is have lunch under this tree where our little grave sites in Cape May, New Jersey and we’re going to have lunch. Elbow bump, and go back to our respective corners, extremely suboptimal.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I have come around from opposing this idea to believing it’s probably better to make it a choice to be connected.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yes.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You mentioned that your family’s in North Carolina, see and they’re cousins right? There’s some risk there, but there’s a lot of benefit in the connection.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. There sure is, I mean it’s essential. I mean we’ve learned social isolation is as dangerous as cigarette smoking.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Yeah, it’s really not a good thing and so I really think we miss the boat when we called it social distancing. We should have called it physical distancing from the get-go. I think you’ve seen in this entire pandemic that we’ve missed several big boats. Telling people not to wear masks because we were trying to secure them from medical providers I think has confused a lot of people. Giving the impression that young people can’t really get the virus so they can feel free to party on at the beach. Again, just some young people duly noted.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think we haven’t done a very good job and by calling it social distancing, I think we missed it. The idea is we have to stay away from each other because the virus is transmitted physically. Socially you got to stay connected to your people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
You really have to because that’s an antidepressant and an antianxiety treatment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I call it the other vitamin C, vitamin connect.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
There we go, vitamin connect. It’s also good for people who have addiction vulnerabilities.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Connection is really important. I have a friend who’s a physician who’s in AA, and on his birthday, I checked in on him on his birthday and he said, “I had a great birthday.” I said, “What made it great?” He said, “Well, I’m here in my apartment and I have been to two AA meetings and I got a lot of love in both of them. It was new and I called them in the middle of the day.” I thought, “This man has figured something out.” He said, “I’d be at meetings anyway and it turns out the AA platform is very well suited, and it might even be better because when on a Zoom call, somebody’s speaking, you get to see their face. You’re not spacing out in the room like you might be the rest of the time.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
He found something that meant something to him and this is the art of self-care. You have to find out, what is it that will help you get through this because this might be a long haul? It’s not good for people to lose their jobs, it’s not good for people to live with the anxiety of losing their jobs and coping with the anxiety of someone you love getting ill or dying. There’s a lot to cope with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We’re almost overtime, just coming back to irrational things and what to do to combat them, what can we do to dismantle the terrible stigma that still surrounds mental health issues?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I prefer the words prejudice discrimination to the word stigma, because the word stigma itself is complication of how you think about things. What is the prejudice that you have for yourself if you were to say, “Can I join this club?” Every time a famous person comes out and says, “I have such and such a condition,”… Selena Gomez two weeks ago did a talk with NAMI’s CEO. I’ve had several chat with famous celebrities on NAMI’s Instagram page. People want to talk about their mental health conditions and so this idea I have prejudice against somebody gets broken down when you see Selena Gomez, one of the most amazing humans on the planet has said, “I think it’s okay to talk about the fact that I’ve struggled with bipolar disorder, that’s very helpful.”

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The related thing about the attitudes is the discrimination. This gets back to our early discussion about mental health parody. The idea that you just structure and rules that jam people who don’t have illnesses that are considered quote legitimate end quote. This is why mental health parody’s an ongoing struggle, we continue to have lawsuits and interpretations and attorney generals review it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
What are the conditions under which the race is actually fair for a person with mental health condition? Can you allow yourself to seek help? Still, a challenge for many men. There was a pretty good study a little while ago, showed that the more hypertoxic, masculinity men endorsed, the more likely they were to have very bad outcomes including suicide. The idea somehow being threatened by mental health is such an unfortunate piece of our culture and I think this ordinary human experiences… My dad’s bipolar disorder, hearing voices and believing that he was Jesus wasn’t great. It is 2.7% of the population plus or minus has this condition. It’s rooted in biology. It’s treatable for the most part. It requires a lot of self-knowledge and self-care.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Was it difficult? It was very difficult. Was it worse before there were things like NAMI and Selena Gomez to use two examples? Yes, it was worse. There’s a NAMI chapter in every major American city that’s doing connection groups and programming, educational work. Advocacy if you feel the service system is mistreating you or somebody you love. Well let’s fight to make it better. Mental health parody, that fight is not over. We’ve won some battles but that war is not over.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I feel like there’s a place to go now if you’re struggling with this, and you will be welcomed by people who are loving and creative. A community of people who probably didn’t start their lives thinking, “I want to be identified with a condition that it does not have a high status.” Like mental health problems, mental health conditions, turns out it’s an amazing group of people and I consider it my second family. NAMI is in my will.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I feel like NAMI helped to save my life by giving me a sense of purpose around these wounds I had. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon it, and if anybody here is listening to Ned’s podcast and lives with schizophrenia or loves someone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe post-traumatic distress, has had a suicide attempt, NAMI is a great group. It is a great group and one thing you’ll know is that people will listen to you, they won’t dismiss you. They know how hard this is, they know how much pain there is in this, and they will embrace you.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I think the question about prejudice discrimination is, can you take the first step? I might be talking to your primary care doctor about the fact that you can’t sleep, you’ve lost 30 pounds, you’ve lost interest in everything. You’re thinking about giving away your possessions. That’s a classic depression, you could reach out to your primary care doctor. They prescribe most of the antidepressants in America, they help people, they might be able to refer you to somebody who does therapy. Or if you don’t want to go that route, you could start with NAMI and find a local NAMI chapter and say, “What are the resources that are out there? How can I find a path to be supported and connected while living with this particular challenge that I have?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You go to nami.org, is that the website?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Nami.org is where it’s at. We get millions of hits and we’ve become the dominant source of information for people in the last year. It’s been interesting to me to see that because I have tremendous respect for the other communities, NIMH, the American Psychiatric Association. More people seem to be seeking media inputs and lessons from our website, so people have come to trust NAMI and I’m grateful for that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well that has a lot to do with you Ken I mean because you’re the face of it and the spokesman for it. There’s no one I know who’s more convincing, believable. You’ve done such a great job.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well thank you Ned and if it wasn’t for you, I’d be practicing cardiology today, driving a BMW.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think also the image problem would be helped if more people talked about, it’s hard to find a very creative person who doesn’t have either an anxiety disorder, a depressive disorder, addiction, or ADHD. It’s common among those countries or common among the highly creative people amongst us.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Yeah, if you want to do a treatise on this, Kay Jamison’s, Touched By Fire is the artistic temperament and mood disorders. It’s unbelievable-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… how many of the artists that we would hold out as our greatest artists were clearly quote touched by fire. Maybe not with formal diagnostic schemes but she goes through their-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, they were crazy as hell, I mean you know.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… diaries, their writings, their observations and you’re absolutely right Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, it’s…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
For many people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, so it’s not to be ashamed at all. By the time I die I want people to wish they had ADHD because if you manage it right, it’s such an asset. It can ruin your life as well, but if listening to Ken if you’re listening and you know someone, don’t think of it as a marker of shame. Think of it as a marker of talent. I tell people overtime I don’t…

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Or of resilience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We all have to cope with something and the faiths conspired through genetics and environment and epigenetics to have you have a recurrent condition. You’re not alone with that, in fact there are millions of people who are living with these kind of things and together you can get a lot out of it.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I do want to say one thing that I still quote you about whenever I’m confronted with somebody who says, “I have a young child and he was just told he had ADHD.” I said, “Ned Hallowell would say you have a BMW brain and a Chevy hand.” They said, “How did you know he can’t write?” I’m like, “Well, it’s the Chevy hand, it’s right there. All the great ideas, he’s having trouble translating it.” A few things that you’ve said Ned have really stuck with me including one you said to one of my daughters who was diagnosed with ADHD, you said, “So you have the gift?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, exactly.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It was a great moment, it was a great moment in her life because thinking about these things which have the potential to identify you as different or less than through a different lens, that there’s a possibility, there’s a potentiality inside of us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. No, I don’t treat disabilities, I help people unwrap their gifts.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that you do the same thing. What you’re doing it’s such spectacular work. I mean it really is, it’s a wonderful thing. I’m glad that NAMI is now the leading source of information. As I said that’s thanks to Dr. Ken Duckworth.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well it’s a whole team of people, but I do think-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, I know, I know.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
… people trust a consumer family experience and we also made a decision about three years ago, every research study we cite is listed on the website. If you don’t believe what we say, click on the research study and you can see that it’s only 400 people but it’s the best study there is on this topic.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We make everything as transparent as possible, goes back to the antiscience discussion we’ve had, I believe in science, I believe in education. I believe that people have the capacity to learn and make decisions for themself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
If you want to see what the literature is on a specific treatment or an intervention, or on the risks or traumas that attend to certain things, it’s on the NAMI website and it’s all transparent.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yup, nami.org, N-A-M-I.org, not .com .org. N-A-M-I.org. Well you know Ken, I could talk to you for so long, this is wonderful. You’ve brought so much and you do so much. If people listening want to learn more and want to connect, feel a part of a growing community of people who have different brains and learn how to understand them better-

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… join a group [crosstalk 00:36:51].

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The other thing you might want to check out and dish to our groups is, I run a session called Ask the Expert, once a month. Where I get the leading thinkers in American mental health to talk about different topics and people who join in.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Beautiful.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We run about 1,000 people per session.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wonderful, wow!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Can ask questions and we cover everything from transcranial magnetic stimulation to minority disparities in mental health.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow! What’s the latest on transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Well I think it’s pretty well covered by private insurance.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, but does it work is my question?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It does have an acute indication, so if you fail on several meds, because nobody would start with an engine problem by doing a major overhaul of your engine. You would probably add oil first, check the timing of the engine. TMS does appear more invasive, but I took a three-day course at the Beth Israel Hospital in transcranial magnetic stimulation. I was impressed mostly by not the fact that when they zapped my brain it felt like a bee sting to the skull. Like I’m like, “How did they do a generic sham zap? How would you know the difference between that zap?” I was very interested in that.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I talked to the techs instead of listening to only the professionals and I [inaudible 00:38:18] about five of the techs. I said to them, “What do people say when they say our show rate is 95%?” I thought, “Okay, that’s telling me something, people feel they’re getting a benefit.” My understanding of literature Ned, is the maintenance use of TMS has not really been well established. I don’t think there’s really a research base for that and I don’t think it’s well established for bipolar disorder or psychosis.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
That would just be an example of a discussion, that if you have depression and the other interventions haven’t worked, there is some evidence there that this could be helpful to you. The side effects are apparently quite mild in terms of a headache or something like that. People show up at very high levels and it makes a different for people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. You are a living saint and can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your amazingly busy schedule to join us. Listeners go to nami.org, N-A-M-I.org or go to Ken’s Ask the Expert, happens once a month. Join a chapter, get involved, suddenly you will feel so much less alone and so much more accepted. You’ll learn, you’ll gain knowledge which is power in and of itself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you all for joining us, so much thank you especially Ken. As I say, learn more go to nami.org and don’t forget, please reach out to us with your questions, comments and show ideas. We need them, we live off of them, we use them, and we produce them. Send an email or a voicemail to [email protected], that’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distruction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson and our producer is the always vivacious and brilliant Sarah Guertin. I am your host Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

The Side Effects Of Our “New Normal”

Now that the novelty of living life in a pandemic has worn off, we’re finding ourselves feeling more tired, sad and on-edge. But that’s totally normal under the circumstances. Dr. H opens up about how he’s been feeling lately and asks listeners to do the same.

We will all get through this together! Let us know how you’re holding up. Share your thoughts with us by sending an email or voice memo to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Listen to this episode!

Or if you prefer, a transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Hallowell: This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega three supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, with a mini episode of Distraction. As you know, during this pandemic, we’ve been every week giving a what we’re calling a mental health check-in, and this is number six. What I thought I’d talk about today was prompted by our producer, Sarah Guertin, who said, “We’ve been doing this long enough now that the novelty has worn off.” We’re settling into the reality of shelter-at-home and now whatever that means where you are, it means different things for different people in different places.

But for most of us, it’s a radical change from what we’re customarily doing every day. Puts us at home, most of us for most of the time, with limited access to the outside world and that is having interesting effects. I mean, I can tell you personally, I feel more tired every day than I’m accustomed to feeling. I am seeing patients, but all over Zoom or virtual. So I’m not seeing any patients face-to-face. And I do go into my office some days and I see the support staff there, we are essential and they are not infected. So I have some human contact there.

But other than my wife, I don’t mean other than, I mean she’s the center of it all, but it’s nowhere near the person-to-person contact that I used to have. And I really do believe that takes a toll. I talk all the time about vitamin C, vitamin connect, it’s real. And I think if there’s a precipitous decline in the number of living human beings that you come into contact with every day, every week, it drains you. And I think that’s why I’m more tired. I think I haven’t been getting the dose of vitamin connect that I need. I mean, I tried to get it with email and of course my Zoom sessions with my patients and time with my wife and all that.

But I just think the fatigue I’m feeling, and I think it’s because I’m not getting the people that I need in my day. And I’m talking about people at the gas station or people at whatever markets I might go to, not to mention my patients and my friends and the Tuesday afternoon when I’d play squash and go up for a beer with my friend after it. All of that, none of that’s happening.

And I think it’s tiring because of what we’re not getting. I’m not working any harder. I’m seeing roughly the same amount of patients. I’m working on my book roughly the same amount. I think it’s the withdrawal of that vitamin connect that, you can still get it online virtually, but it’s not the same. And there is something about what I call the human moment to be distinguished from the electronic moment, that is just very powerful. And I believe we’re seeing it up close and personal now, how powerful the human moment is and how much we do need each other in person face-to-face.

Now I’m not saying run out and break the protocol and break the rules. Please don’t. We don’t want to have a resurgence of the pandemic. We don’t want to have phase two be worse than phase one. I’m just saying that I think we’re paying maybe an unanticipated price when we give one another up. As much as we complain about each other, as much as we complain about traffic and crowds and crowded supermarket aisles and crowded schools, crowded school meetings, crowded churches, crowded synagogues, I think we need those crowds in some very real and visceral way that we’re discovering now.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure it’s happening to a lot of people, where you just feel more tired because you’re not getting the invigorating effect that person-to-person contact has ,that what I call vitamin connect. And I’m telling you, it’s as important if not more important, in fact, I know what’s more important, than ascorbic acid. We don’t have a name for it, the deficiency, like we do with scurvy when you don’t get enough vitamin C, but we ought to name whatever, this is, not enough of the human moment, not enough of vitamin connect.

It’s tiring, mildly depressing. It’s not depression per se, but it’s a life without that zip, that zest that you get from the smile of the person you’re seeing across the table from you, from the energy you feel in the restaurant or the bar or the barbershop, the hair salon. I don’t know where I’m going to get my hair cut now. Or the street is empty, all of that. All of that that we get from being close to living people. And as I said, as annoying as it can be, I think we’re now seeing how vital it is in terms of our energy, wellbeing, joie de vivre, elan vital, call it whatever you want.

I think we’re really discovering how much we need each other in physical being, present with one another. We’ll get it back, don’t worry. But I think it is a time where we’re discovering the interpersonal force that we don’t have a name for, but how fortifying it is for us and how much we miss it now that we don’t have it.

Well, let me know if that resonates with you all. I’d love to hear your opinion because this is something that I’ve just been thinking about. I’d love to hear your opinion. If you identify with that, please let us know. Send us a note at [email protected]. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and meanwhile stay connected safely, as best you can, and look forward to the day when we can once again meet in person. With all best wishes, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

Well, since we’re all kind of stressed out these days with the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, I’d like to tell you about a new product that I’ve started taking myself. It’s manufactured by the people who make OmegaBrite Omega-3 supplements. They’ve been around for some 20 years and I take that product myself, as does my wife.

Well, their new product, OmegaBrite CBD, is really terrific. I’ve been taking it for about a month now and it does create a feeling of calm without being sedating. It’s a really good natural anxiety reducer. I recommend it to you. Try it and see for yourself. Go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. Okay, go get it.

Distraction is a project of Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and edited by the marvelously talented Pat Keogh. And our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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Your ADHD Questions Answered

Your ADHD Questions Answered

Not everyone sees their ADHD as a gift, as one listener wrote in a recent email. Dr. H responds and covers a lot of other ground answering your questions about ADHD and medication, depression, anxiety, struggles with executive function skills and more. Thank you to our listeners who sent in emails for this episode!

Watch A Stressful Simulation of ADHD by Gabrian Raphael, a Landmark College student, HERE.

Dr. H loves answering your questions so please keep ’em coming! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

Or if you prefer, a transcript of this episode is below:

Dr. Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number-one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD; safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Hallowell:

Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We’ve got one of my favorite activities lined up for today’s episode, listener email. And I do love it so much. Please, keep feeding us emails. Email to us at [email protected]. We’ll read it on the air, and I will do my best to answer it. And by the way, I don’t read these in advance, so what you get is spontaneous, off the cuff, which is the best way for me. And we’re going to do it this time, instead of me reading the question, my wonderful producer, Sarah Guertin, will read the question. I will do my best to listen to it without daydreaming. And then I will try to focus down and give you my version of an answer. All right, the wonderful Sarah is joining me now. She will be reading your emails. Let’s dive in. What’s the first question?

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. We’ve got some great emails. The first one was a lengthy one, so I’m going to abbreviate it. But the listener wrote in part, “Dear Dr. Hallowell. I take medication for major depression and anxiety. 16 years ago at aged 43, I was also diagnosed with ADD and started on Adderall. I see a therapist every other week when I hear you and others say, what a gift our ADD is, I don’t understand. I get so angry, and then so sad, and depressed. ADD has been nothing but a curse for me. It is the reason my administrators forced me out of my teaching position four and a half years ago. The harder I tried to do my job, the higher my anxiety level rose. I couldn’t think straight. I made mistakes. I couldn’t remember the questions I had planned, find the media clip I had set on the computer, or meet deadlines. It’s February, 2020 and I am still unemployed. I’ve done a lot of research and I want to start my own small business as an artist and fine art photographer. I have so much information, but I don’t know how or where to start. This is where my ADD really hurts. The lack of executive function skills. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how something that puts so many roadblocks in the way, can be a gift. Sincerely, Catherine.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, Catherine you’re absolutely right. This condition can be a terrible curse. And I’ve had people say to me, “Gee, if ADD is such a gift, where do I return it?” And if you can’t manage the ADD properly, it is indeed a curse. And Russell Barkley has shown that, it’s one of the most disabling of all conditions there is. And his calculations, just actuarial tables show that it can knock around 15 years off a person’s life. Hardly a gift, if it’s getting you fired from jobs, and breaking up relationships, and landing you into debt if not bankruptcy, and leading you to drug abuse, and traffic accidents, and criminal behavior, and unemployment. The list goes on and on of every bad thing. Pretty much every bad thing is higher in the world of ADHD.

So for anyone who thinks that I call it a gift, I don’t. I qualify it. I say my job is to help you unwrap your gift, turn this condition into an asset. With no guidance or intervention that can be difficult, if not impossible to do. And Catherine, you’ve found that it’s impossible. Not for one of effort. And the thing is, you can’t overpower this condition. You can’t just effort your way through it. You do need special help. And I don’t know what kind of help you got, but obviously whatever it was didn’t work.

Dr. Hallowell:

The key elements of a plan that stands the best chance of working are number one, education. And of course, I recommend my books. Delivered From Distraction is the most recent, and it has all in it that you possibly need to know. Medication, which works about 80% of the time. 20% of the time it does not work. In my own case, it does not work. My medication is caffeine, which is a good second choice. But prescription stimulant medication can be a godsend if you give it a try, and work with a doctor who knows what he or she is doing. So you can get on the various combinations or single-dose medications that are out there. We have quite a few now. So it’s not just a matter of trying one and then giving up on it. And then working with a coach. I don’t know what you’re doing with your therapist, but I think if you can afford it, add to that a coach which can be more important than a therapist. Really someone to help you organize, plan, act as your supplemental executive function. That’s the kind of team you’re looking for. And then of course, my old standby is, marry the right person, and find the right job. There’s no help that’s going to take you to where you want to get to.

So yes, I completely understand for you. This is a curse. For you the problems with executive function have been all but unovercomeable. The only hope I would say is have you gotten the right help, and have you gotten full help? It’s not just medication. It’s not just one coach or one intervention. It’s always, particularly with more difficult cases, a comprehensive plan that includes exercise, sleep, nutrition, meditation, coaching, job consideration, all of those tools in the toolbox. And then some of the new ones. We’ve talked on this podcast several times about the Zing program, and these special exercises. Now they don’t work right away. But you’re 59 years old, and it’s certainly not too late to start exercises that stimulate the cerebellum.

And if you want to learn more about that, just go to distraction.zingperformance.com. That’s another possible intervention that could unwrap the gift, as I like to say. But I truly understand. You’re feeling resentful of anyone like me who says there’s something good about this condition. It can be just a terrible thing to wrestle with, just an absolute curse. But if you follow the suggestions I’ve just made, there’s a darn good chance that you could turn it into more of a blessing than a curse.

In any case, thank you so much for writing in and please follow up. Let us know what happens as you continue to try to turn this curse into something better than that. Thank you so much, Catherine.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. The next one, this listener wrote in part, this was another lengthy email, which we love, but we can only read part of it. Anyway, she says, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. Just wanted to share with you this beautiful letter my daughter gave me yesterday after school. ‘To mommy. Thank you for helping me at school. It has been much easier now that I have the medication. It’s so much easier. Thank you so, so much. I had so much free time I could do this. I love you.’ With a little heart emoji. Ellie has just started grade-four this year. And wrote this on her third day on Vyvanse for ADHD. She’s finished every single piece of work since being on it and it’s neat and all right. She shot to like the top of her class. It’s completely insane. She was struggling more than I realized. I’m so glad I persisted with the whole process. The pride in her face is all I need to know I made the right decision. Thanks for all the great information and support. I have ADHD myself, so it’s rare that I feel like I’ve truly succeeded as a mom. This makes every bit of the work I’ve done to help myself and my own ADHD absolutely worth it. Kind regards, Nicole,” and she puts in parentheses currently feeling like supermom.

Dr. Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. That’s really, really wonderful And thank you so much Nicole for sending that in. So much of the publicity, what you read in the press, is about the downside of medication. And sure, that if you don’t use medication properly it can be dangerous, if not useless. But if you do use it properly then you can get the results like Ellie got and starting out fourth-grade going to the top of the class. Just imagine what a difference in how she feels about herself, about life, about school. And to get that at age, I assume she’s a nine or 10 years old, to get that so early that means you’re not getting year, after year, after year of frustration and failure. People talking about the side effects of taking medication, which you really ought to worry about are the side effects of not taking medication. Because medication properly used has no side effects other than appetite suppression without weight loss. That’s the one side effect I’ll allow. But all the other side effects can be controlled by changing the medication, or changing the dose. And if that’s not possible, you shouldn’t take the medication. You should not take the medication in the face of other side effects.

So 80% of the time that’s an achievable goal. You can get a medication regimen that produces target symptom improvement with no side effects other than appetite suppression without unwanted weight loss. And gosh, it’s a shame to see people turn away from it because of the misinformation they’ve received. If you really know the medical facts, there’s no reason not to give medication a try unless it’s against your religion. It really couldn’t be more simple. If it helps and doesn’t cause side effects, you continue it. If it doesn’t help or it does cause side effects, you discontinue it. That’s pretty simple, straightforward, applied common sense. And the reason that it really matters is, it’s by far the easiest intervention we’ve got. It makes all the other interventions, all the non-medication interventions that much simpler to implement.

And as this mom says, very beautifully and succinctly in her note, what a difference it makes for her daughter, for herself, for the family, for the school, the whole world smiles when you get a good result like this. Well, thank you Nicole. And please, you are a super mom in deed. Please, stay in touch and give us follow-up.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, since we’re all kind of stressed out these days with the pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, I’d like to tell you about a new product that I’ve started taking myself. It’s manufactured by the people who make OmegaBrite, Omega-3 supplements. They’ve been around for some 20 years. And I take that product myself as does my wife. Well, their new product, OmegaBrite CBD is really terrific. I’ve been taking it for about a month now. And it does create a feeling of calm without being sedating. It’s a really good natural anxiety reducer. I recommend it to you. Try it and see for yourself. Go to Omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD.

Okay. Do we have another question, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes, we do. This one says, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I enjoy your podcast and books, finding them very affirming and hopeful. However, I would like to hear you address the topic of children and adults of color. While ADHD is a medical condition, it has huge social and cultural implications. I’m wondering if there’s any research on specific challenges people of color face in terms of stigmatism, educational opportunities, and access to services. I’ve heard and read quite a bit about ADD/ADHD, but I’ve never heard this aspect of social justice addressed or specifically researched. Is there anyone working in this field? Thank you. Elizabeth.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Elizabeth, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. I imagine there is. I can tell you who would know for sure, Russell Barkley. And if you just Google Dr. Russell Barkley. That he’s very accessible, and would answer your question for sure. My hunch is that the same problems apply to people of color who have ADHD that apply to people of color in general; which is racism, stigmatism, things that go with the mistreatment and misunderstanding of people of color, for that matter, people of different religion, or ethnic background. ADHD itself is often a discriminating factor. I’ve spent most of my career championing ADHD as a possible asset and trying to fight the stigma that surrounds itself. So the very condition ADHD can be a source of stigma and a reduced opportunity.

So when you throw in another possible reason to be treated unfairly, with bigotry and ignorance such as being of color or of foreign origin, or of a different religion, or for that matter, a different stature, body habitus, physiognomy. Any of the ways people judge other people in a negative and unfair prejudging way. It’s hurtful, and it’s wrong, and it’s in many instances illegal. So you do even have the law on your side. But you shouldn’t have to get an attorney to get the right medical treatment. That would be a shame. I wish I could give you hard, fast statistics. But I’m pretty sure what I just speculated on is the case. And it’s up to all of us to fight stigma in all its forms, prejudice, bigotry, ignorance in all its many different forms. And certainly ADHD itself can be a reason for stigma and prejudice, just as being of a different color, a different religion, a different ethnicity, a different look, all the reasons people are excluded so unjustly and unfairly because they are often the most talented people among us. Thank you for your note, Elizabeth. Do we have another question, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. We have a few more here. This one says, “Hello, Dr. Hallowell. I am a mom of three. And my middle child an eight-year-old boy has ADHD. This is new information for our family. And I would love to hear you speak about how to break the news to siblings about their brother having ADHD, and how that has been affecting their relationships. For years, the eldest and youngest have been forming an alliance and have excluded my middle one experiencing him as annoying, sensitive, and quote ‘disruptive.’ I am hopeful that their relationships will heal as we all come to understand ADHD better and how it has been affecting our family life. I loved your book Driven To Distraction, which saved my life as a frustrated and confused mom. Now my goal is to understand not correct. Thank you so much. Carol.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Oh, what a lovely email. And now my goal is to understand not correct. There’s a famous saying to understand all is to forgive all. And if only we could build an understanding, we could get rid of the ignorance and stigma that persists. As to how to explain it in the family. I would just sit down with everyone and block out enough time –I.E –.more than 10 minutes to explain what this is. And the analogy I use really does work well, especially for boys. Having ADHD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain. You have a very powerful brain. But you have bicycle brakes. So you have trouble controlling the power of your brain. So you can bump into things, overturn things, misspeak, forget. But at the same time when you’re on track, you can win races. So my job as someone who helps people with this condition is to strengthen brakes.

And you can explain to your son’s sibs that they can help. And they may not want to help. They may think it’s a lame excuse. But you can tell them it is not an excuse any more than nearsightedness is an excuse for not being able to see. One of the brothers wouldn’t say, ‘Well, squint harder instead of getting eyeglasses.” Well the same with ADHD. Keep the simple, make sure they understand it’s not an excuse, but that it is a powerful explanation. Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes, race car brain with bicycle brakes. Anyone can understand that. And it happens to be very accurate. And then what you want to do is build up that understanding. So it takes repetition. Talk about it at family dinner, talk about it when your eight-year-old flubs up. Instead of saying you’re a jerk, say “No, his brakes failed him. That’s part of how he’s put together.” And we all need understanding in terms of how we’re put together. Thank you, Carol. Thank you so much for your question because it affects an awful lot of families.

Dr. Hallowell:

On the phone with me now is Gabrian Raphael, a student at Landmark College, our wonderful sponsor in beautiful Putney, Vermont. Hello Gabriel, and thank you so much for joining us.

Gabrian Raphael:

Hi Ned. How are you?

Dr. Hallowell:

I’m doing well, thanks. I want to hear you tell our listeners about your experience at Landmark.

Gabrian Raphael:

Well, before I came to Landmark, I really wished I was more normal. I didn’t have a good image of my learning difference. Coming to Landmark has done a lot to make me feel more normal, to feel intimate in detail, and on what my disability is, and how it works and how I work. And just being in this atmosphere has really helped me form a new sense of identity and just being comfortable with who I am.

Dr. Hallowell:

Wonderful. So they’ve showed you that you have talents and strengths.

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. And they’ve helped you tap into them.

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

I know firsthand how talented you are. Because I just watched a video you made about what it’s like to have ADD And it’s brilliant. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s at the same time entertaining and chilling because you show how completely misunderstood people with ADD can be. As you’re trying to pay attention, you’re just being bombarded with stimuli and you show this in the video beautifully.

Gabrian Raphael:

Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell:

If people want to watch it, where do they go to see it?

Gabrian Raphael:

YouTube. Type in A Stressful Simulation of ADHD. My channel is my name, Gabrian Raphael.

Dr. Hallowell:

Great. Okay, so on YouTube, Gabrian Raphael. And then the title of the video is-

Gabrian Raphael:

A Stressful Simulation of ADHD.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, it’s brilliant. And so Landmark welcomed you and showed you far from being impaired and damaged goods, that you are quite the opposite. You have super talents, and they helped you unlock them. Correct?

Gabrian Raphael:

Well, I don’t know about super talent, but yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, you see. Now you’re like most people with ADD. You’re chuckling because you’re modest, and you’re not used to hearing terms like that. But I just watched that video, and I can tell you have super talents. You just plain do. And what you got to do is learn how to metabolize that, and not think that I’m speaking Chinese. Because you do. But the talents will emerge all the more easily the less you fight it and say, “I don’t have any talent.”

Gabrian Raphael:

Okay, I’ll try that.

Dr. Hallowell:

Call me every morning and I’ll say, “Gabrian, you’re a really talented guy with super talent.” If we do that for about 45 days, you’ll start believing it.

Gabrian Raphael:

Okay.

Dr. Hallowell:

I honestly mean it. But Landmark really has opened up a whole new world for you. Is that fair to say?

Gabrian Raphael:

Yeah, it really has.

Dr. Hallowell:

And you feel more confident?

Gabrian Raphael:

Definitely. Helped me form routines and habits that just helped me grow. Like they have free exercises classes, and I go to those every week. And that’s helped me go beyond and just exercise on my own. Like just I’ve formed the habits and routines that helped me.

Dr. Hallowell:

And that’s so important for us to have ADD. I have it as well myself as you know. We really need structure in order to unwrap our gifts. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for joining me for this brief interlude. As I said, you’re a super talented guy. And Landmark College is showing you how. You listeners, if you’d like to learn more about the college of choice for students who learn differently, go to Lcdistraction.org. Now let’s get back to today’s topic.

Okay. Sarah, do we have another?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes. “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. I currently work as a learning specialist in an elementary school. I’ve recently been hearing about DNA testing to help determine the correct ADHD medication for an individual. What is your opinion on this process? Will it help eliminate the trial and error I often see my parents and students suffer through? Thank you for your response. I’ve been reading your books and following your work for over 20 years. I love listening to your podcast, and recommend it regularly to friends and parents. Warmest regards. Paula.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Thank you so much Paula. This question comes up all the time. And I have consulted, and I do regularly consult with the best experts I know, the people over at Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Russ Barkley, other leading authorities. And the word I get consistently is these tests are not there yet. They’re very seductive. Wouldn’t it be nice to just pay a fee? And it’s usually between 500 and $1000 to find out what medication will work best. Unfortunately it doesn’t usually work. You pay the money and you will get some results. So it’s not going to do any harm. But those results are usually no better than you’d get by using trial and error, which is free.

Now you don’t have to suffer through trial and error. Because these meds are in and out of your system pretty quickly. So you can try four or five medications over the span of a couple of weeks, if you’re working with a doctor who can turn things around quickly. So you don’t want to make the trial and error a period of suffering. You get lucky sometimes and the first medicine you try works. And in my experience, that happens about 50% of the time. But that leaves the other 50% of the time when you go to a trial and error. And remember there are those cases where no medication is going to work.

It is true that medication is the quickest, producing the most immediate results. But over the long haul you certainly want to have a robust non-medication plan that does include education, exercise, sometimes specialized exercise, nutrition, sleep, coaching, the toolbox, the Zing program that I’ve mentioned before. All of those are possible adjuncts. So if meds don’t work, don’t despair. If you want to spend the money on this test, and if it increases your level of confidence, then go ahead. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying the people I know and trust in terms of their expert knowledge on these tests say it’s not worth it. The testing is not there yet. It may come, but we’re not there yet.

On the other hand, if you want to try it, it’s not going to do any harm. And it will give you certain medications to try first. And you may be guided by that and discover right off the bat the best medication. I’m certainly not saying don’t do it. But in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, the cost does seem to exceed the benefit. You can get the same benefit, namely finding the right medication, by trial and error.

Okay. Paula, thank you for writing in with your question. And Sarah, do we have another one?

Sarah Guertin:

Yes. This one comes all the way from Sweden.

Dr. Hallowell:

Wow.

Sarah Guertin:

Yeah, right? This says, “Dear Dr. Hallowell, I’m currently undergoing an ADHD evaluation which is, at nearly 45 years of age, a complete and utter blessing to begin to understand why my life has been the way it has imbues me with a great sense of freedom, hope, and a dawning sense of self acceptance, and ability to care for myself. The emphasis on dawning here, LOL. So I’m wondering about meditation. Is it even possible to move towards a mindful state with an ADHD brain? I find it extremely hard to be still physically with myself, you see. Not to mention my beloved racing creative brain, which is also prone to judging, focusing on achieving for others, and finding it very hard to accept all sorts of things. So I’m wondering if you know of any meditations which are specifically for people with ADHD? Any meditations in motion? I’m at my calmest when I’m moving. Or is the answer just sit with it as it were. Many thanks. YJ from Sweden.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, YJ? Thank you for writing in all the way from Sweden. Please tell your friends about this podcast, and tell them I’d welcome other questions from Sweden. Meditation. Yes. It’s wonderful if you’ll do it. Now, I did something called Kundalini yoga some years ago, and I found it very helpful. Kundalini yoga is what you just said, you’re in motion. You’re walking, you’re punching the air. It’s movement. And yet it is a kind of meditation. So go and read about Kundalini yoga. That is a kind of meditation that does involve moving, and moving very vigorously in fact. But at the same time, don’t give up on the sit-still-and-don’t-focus-on-anything kind of meditation. The sit still and empty your mind and imagine your mind is a river flowing by and you just watch it without interrupting and evaluating it. You know it’s not our normal state. But that doesn’t mean it’s not something we can try to do. And it is the trying to do it that confers the benefit.

You may not achieve the state of a experienced meditator or a Buddhist, but you can experience the benefit of stopping, slowing down, suspending judgment, and letting your mind flow past you as a river would flow, and perhaps focusing on the leaf, and just watching that leaf drift by and not allowing the thoughts that pester us to take you away from that leaf. And if your mind does leave the leaf, come back to it. Don’t beat yourself up for being bad at meditating. It’s a wonderful tool to use. There are apps now for meditating. You can sample those and see which work best for you. And then of course, keep in mind the possibility of Kundalini yoga. I pray in the shower. I happen to be an Episcopalian, and I have a strong sort of affinity for prayer. And so that’s my form of meditation now. I don’t do the Kundalini yoga anymore. Thank you very much for reaching out to us all the way from Sweden.

Dr. Hallowell:

And I think we have another, is that correct?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. One more. It says, “I am an adult with ADHD. I feel like I can never get on top of keeping my home clean and orderly. Do you have any suggestions? What works for you? Tina.”

Dr. Hallowell:

Well, Tina. This is a common issue. And my reply is to try to change your expectations. What you want to do is not aspire to be Martha Stewart. You don’t want to aspire to have House Beautiful. You don’t want to aspire to perfection. What you want to do is get well enough organized that disorganization does not prevent you from reaching your goals. That’s it. And if you can’t do that, then hire a coach. There are any number of coaches who will come into your home and just give you some tips on how to straighten things out and keep them that way. Again, the goal is not to be a perfect office, not to be completely spiffy and spit polished and that kind of thing. But rather to be well enough organized so the disorganization does not keep you from reaching your goals. That, for almost all of us, is an achievable end. Thank you, Tina. Thank you for writing in. That’s a really eternal question in the world of ADHD. And I think the answer I gave you is the best one that I’ve come up with over my many years.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today. We went through quite a few questions. I love going through questions. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sending those questions in. And please, if you have a question or comment for me or for anyone else on our team, record a voice memo on your phone, or write an email and send it to us at [email protected]. We will try to answer as many as we can. And as you saw today, it’s a wonderful way of staying in touch with the show and us staying in touch with you.

Well, that’s it. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so, so much for listening. Distraction is a production of the marvelous Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the oh so marvelous and fantastic Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the princely and brilliant Pat Keogh.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number-one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD; safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Riding the Wave of Emotional Overdrive

Riding the Wave of Emotional Overdrive

Dr. Hallowell checks in to see how our listeners are holding up during the quarantine. He shares some simple advice about acknowledging your feelings of anger, annoyance, frustration and other negative emotions, as an important part of your mental well-being. Dr. H tweaks his adage, “Never worry alone” to “Never complain alone” as we muddle through this difficult time.

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Episode image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you’d prefer to read the episode, a transcript is below:

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at LCDistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, with a mini episode of Distraction. As we soldier on through the Coronavirus pandemic that has settled in upon the nation in a sort of viral fog, we get many, many messages reassuring us that things will work out. And urging us to be positive in our approach and to buck each other up. Those messages have certainly been coming from me, as well as almost everyone else who offers messages.

But I wanted to just sound a little bit of a permission, if you will, to complain. You don’t have to go around pretending that everything’s fine, everything’s going to work out, things are terrible. Businesses are failing, right and left. People are going out of business, people are losing their livelihoods, not to mention their lives. Short of the loss of life, which is of course tragic, much more common is the loss of business and economic hardship. I just think you got to be able to complain about that, acknowledge it before you get on to the positive thinking and all that.

There’s nothing negative about acknowledging a problem. In fact, there’s something very good about acknowledging a problem. It’s also good for the soul and the nervous system, in general, to let off steam, to say, “God dang, this is awful. I don’t like this.” And complain, get mad at God, get mad at whoever you get mad at.

Say, “Why? What did we do to deserve this?” Of course, the answer is “Nothing.” This is not a punishment, this is a phenomenon of viral behavior that maybe could have been prevented, but whatever. We are in the midst of it and it’s pretty darn yucky. It’s pretty darn awful. I just want to reassure you that it’s okay to say that. Feel it, say it, complain together. One of my motto’s is “Never worry alone.” Well, never complain alone. Find other people, complain together. Raise a protest against nature, against viruses. Then, of course, get on with the business of helping each other out and trying to move in a positive and constructive direction.

With this mini episode, I just wanted to give you permission to do the obvious, which is to complain, be upset, acknowledge how up against it so many of us are. Then look around and try to find the solutions that will, with the passage of time, lead us out of this viral fog. Until then, I look forward to connecting with you soon. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

I’d like to thank our new sponsor, actually our new old sponsor, who resigned up, OmegaBrite CBD, for supporting this podcast. I take it every day and I highly recommend it. It’s formulated by Dr. Carol Locke, of Harvard Medical School and her company OmegaBrite Wellness, who have created the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, which I also take, as does my wife, Sue. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third-party tested, and I am here to tell you it works. I honestly just started it about three weeks ago and it has definitely made me feel more even. Find OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Okay, remember to reach out to us with your comments, share your thoughts with us by writing an email or recording the voice memo and sending it to [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the always impeccable and delightful, Pat Keogh. Our producer is the lovely and always full of ideas, Sarah Guertin.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Listen to this episode!

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Tools to Help You Stay Calm

Tools to Help You Stay Calm

It’s more important than ever to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Dr. Carole Locke of OmegaBrite Wellness returns to Distraction to share the science behind how Omega-3s, melatonin, vitamin D, and CBD help to calm you at the cellular level, and why certain supplements strengthen your immune system and help you feel more in control.

To learn more about Omega-3s go to OmegaBrite.com.

To learn more about CBD, melatonin and vitamin D go to OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Click HERE to read a transcript of this episode.

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How to Take Care of Yourself in Times of Crisis

How to Take Care of Yourself in Times of Crisis

Lifestyle medicine expert and Harvard professor, Dr. Beth Frates, offers loads of practical advice on how to stay as healthy and well-balanced as possible during the pandemic. Listen as she guides Dr. H through breathing techniques, shares her insights on the foods we should be eating more of and the ones we should be avoiding, and gives listeners an overall guide to well-being through the 6 pillars of health.

Dr. Beth Frates Website: BethFratesMD.com

How are you coping? Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

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Entering Into Sadness

Entering Into Sadness

No one is happy all of the time. In this mini episode our host reflects on a bout of sadness that he experienced a couple of weeks ago and how he get through it.

(Note: This audio was recorded before the coronavirus began to affect daily life in the U.S.)

Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

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