From Our ADHD Archives: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

From Our ADHD Archives: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

To help celebrate ADHD Awareness Month we’re re-releasing some of our most-downloaded shows from Distraction’s first three seasons!

In this mini episode from season 2, Dr. Hallowell gives his spin on Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, with a similar list for those with ADHD. From doing what you’re good at, to asking for advice, you’re bound to find a few nuggets of applicable wisdom for your own life. But as Ned advises, this is his list, so if these habits don’t resonate with you, add your own to the list!

Share your episode ideas and questions with us! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts 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.

Do you know someone who learns differently? Our sponsor, Landmark College, might be the right place for them. Learn more HERE.

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 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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. As everyone knows, years ago, Covey and company came out with a very famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It became extremely famous, has sold, probably gazillions of copies, probably printed into Martian by now. Anyway, I lifted that motif and put it into my book Delivered From Distraction and came up with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults. And what I’m going to do is give you my take of what are at least seven habits of highly effective ADHD adults. That you can add your own. Certainly the point of it is to come up with what works best for you and to make habits, make these habits if you possibly can.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So number one, do what you’re good at. Don’t spend too much time trying to get good at what you’re bad at. A lot of people with ADD, spend a lifetime trying to get good at what you’re bad at. And it’s really sad to see. And then they have some sort of moral imperative that they’re going to… Before they die, they want to become really good at accounting because they think they should. And as a result, they waste a lot of very precious time when they could be doing what they’re good at, trying to get good at what they’re bad at big mistake.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number two, delegate what you’re bad at to others as often as possible. You know, if you don’t have anyone to delegate it to, then hire someone. But one way or another pass off to someone else by delegation, by hiring, whatever means you have. If possible delegate to others, what you’re bad at now. You can’t delegate brushing your teeth. You know, there are some things that you just have to do yourself, but as much as possible have other people do what you’re bad at.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Connect your energy to a creative outlet. I call this the creative imperative. People with ADD really need a creative outlet. We do so much better when we have a creative outlet. The reason I write books, if I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. It’s like a cow needs to be milked. I need to have a creative outlet. Really, really, really important. And I’ve found that for most of us would ADD, this is essential. It’s, more important than almost anything in bringing out our best. We really need a creative outlet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number four, get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is well enough. That doesn’t mean you have to be really well-organized, at all. Just well enough organized to achieve your goals. So, you don’t want disorganization to keep you from reaching your goals, but that doesn’t mean you have to be Martha Stewart and appear in House Beautiful. It doesn’t mean you have to win the promptness award. You know, the school I went to, they always gave a promptness award, but that’s not what you want to do. You want to make sure that disorganization does not prevent you from reaching your goals. That’s the key, well, enough organized.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number five asks for and heed advice from people you trust and ignore as best you can the dream breakers and finger wagers. An old friend of mine used to say, be a dream maker, not a dream breaker. Listen to the dream makers, listen to the people who are encouragers, not discarded jurors. Now, of course you don’t want to be wildly unrealistic, but I think it’s better to go to your grave, living off an unmet dream than go to your grave with a bunch of shattered dreams.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And number six, make sure you keep up regular contact with a few close friends. Those of you who have listened to me before know I’m big on what I call the other vitamin C, vitamin connect. Make sure you connect and stay in touch with a few close friends. Probably the most important thing, or one of the most important things, you can do in your life. You know, the surgeon general has named loneliness as the biggest medical problem in the United States today. Well, one of the great antidotes to loneliness is to stay in touch with friends. Now, if you don’t have any friends, start making it a priority to make friends. Join a gym, join a synagogue, church, or other free place where people get together a library or start frequenting a certain, a convenience store or a mom and pop store, a restaurant, any place where you can meet people. And Heaven knows that online, there are any number of chat rooms. And just try to make friends, keep up with friends. And of course my favorite, one of all, which counts as a person is get a dog.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And number seven, go with your positive side. Even though you have a negative side, make decisions, run your life, and present to the world your positive side is as much as you can. Now that doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a smiley button. When you’re having genuine conversations with other people, of course be real. Let people know what you’re really feeling, but don’t walk into a job interview and say, I’m really second rate. Try to present with your positive side.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, those are the seven habits that I picked. You can pick your own. To recap, do what you’re good at, delegate what you’re bad at, connect to a creative outlet, get well enough organized to achieve your goals, ask for and heed advice from people you trust, Make sure you keep up with a few close friends, and go with your positive side. Those are the seven habits that I’ve chosen of highly effective ADHD adults.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distracted. If you have a question for me or a show idea for us, email it to [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you. We want to hear from you. So 844-55-Connect or email at [email protected] Distraction is produced by Collisions, the podcast division of CRN International. Collisions, podcasts for curious people. Our sound engineers and editors are the wonderfully talented Pat Keogh and Chris Latham, and our producer is the multitalented and unbelievably brilliant Sarah Guertin.

The episode 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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Ned’s Secret Weapon for Managing His ADHD

Ned’s Secret Weapon for Managing His ADHD

Dr. H is one of the minority of people with ADHD for whom medication does not work. Instead he drinks coffee to help manage his symptoms. And since today is International Coffee Day (and the start of ADHD Awareness Month), we thought it was the perfect day for Ned to share the details of how he uses caffeine for his ADHD!

Share your episode ideas and questions with us! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts 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. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently, and I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Today, October 1st, the first day of the month of October, is International Coffee Day. Isn’t it amazing? Every day has some designation to commemorate one thing or another. Well, today, October 1st, is International Coffee Day, not to be confused with National Coffee Day, which already happened on September 29th. But today, October 1st, we’re expanding the sphere of influence of coffee to include the entire world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We should maybe someday have a galactical coffee day, a universal coffee day, you know? Coffee throughout the universe. Is there coffee on a nearby planet? That’s a question to ask. But what can I say about coffee? Well, first of all, as many of you know, I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a terrible term, but I won’t go off on that riff, but I have that condition, which is poorly named ADHD. It’s a surplus of attention, believe me, not a deficit of attention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In any case, the medications that we prescribe, the stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall, don’t work for me. They work for about 80% of people who have this condition, but they don’t work for me. They just give me side effects. But I do have a medication and it is coffee. It is caffeine. And the way I get my caffeine is through coffee, and I get whole bean coffee. I put it in our little … don’t remember the name of the maker, but you put in the coffee beans and it grinds them up and spits out … not spit, that’s the wrong word, it drips out coffee, freshly brewed hot coffee. And that’s how I start my day, every day, with two cups of that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now I put milk in it because I’m one of those people, number one, who doesn’t like my coffee really hot, and number two, doesn’t like the taste of pure black coffee. My wife, on the other hand, likes her coffee very hot and black, so she gets the first cup out of the machine, and then I get the next two. I don’t understand people who say, “I want a piping hot cup of coffee.” It makes no sense to me. Doesn’t it burn your mouth? Doesn’t it burn your tongue? I can’t drink it if it’s piping hot. And there was that person who sued McDonald’s because she spilled a cup of coffee in her lap and burned herself and she said, “They made it too hot.” And she won the lawsuit and McDonald’s had to pay her for making their coffee too hot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I’d like that. I want it to cool off and I drink mine usually lukewarm. Well, that’s … would make my wife vomit. She can’t stand that. In fact, if her coffee gets too cool, she takes it and puts it in the microwave and warms it up, heats it up, makes it piping hot. I still don’t understand how you can drink piping hot coffee. If any of you listeners have an answer to that, please let me know, because when I try and do it, even if I just take a little sip, it burns my tongue. It burns my cheek. That’s not pleasant. I don’t like to be burned to start my day. And I don’t want to walk around with that feeling you get on your tongue after you’ve burned it. Why do people want piping hot coffee? Why? I mean, it’d be like drinking boiling water. Why would you … I don’t get it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So in any case, my medication is caffeine, and the way I get it is in the form of coffee with milk so it’s not too hot and so it tastes better. I don’t put sugar in it. I used to put sugar in it, but I’ve been persuaded that sugar is bad for us so I don’t put sugar in it. It’s an amazing bean, this coffee bean. The entire world is caffeinated now. If you add in tea and Red Bull and Mountain Dew and cola drinks, it’s hard to find a corner of the world where there is not the presence of caffeine in the form of coffee or cola or a so-called energy drink.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, some people claim or have claimed that coffee is bad for you. Well, the fact is anything in excess is bad for you. Too much oxygen can be bad for you. Too much water can be bad for you. Too much sunshine can be bad for you. So, all these things that we associate with goodness, sunshine, water … What was the third one? See, my mind is leaving me. Sunshine, water, and something else, things that we think of as good, if in excess … Oxygen. Sunshine, water, and oxygen in excess become bad for us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, the same is true with caffeine. And yes, if you drink too much coffee, you can get very jittery. Your heart can race. Your blood pressure can go up. You can get terrible kinds of GI complaints and ulcers and craters and bad juices flowing, and you can just be jittery like a cat on a hot tin roof. You can just be all over the place, so you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to develop what’s called caffeinism. And also if you abruptly stop coffee, if you are a regular coffee drinker and you decide one day, I’m going to swear off coffee because I read that it’s bad for me, you’re going to get our wicked headache, a wicked headache. So, don’t abruptly stop coffee. If you want to cut back, do it slowly, taper off the coffee, switch to decaf, something like that. And remember, even decaf has a little bit of caffeine in it, so don’t drink too much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I would say don’t drink too little because I would be lost without my daily coffee. It really does help me focus. And be grateful that we have this wonderful medicinal available element to our diet. I think of caffeine as my medication. Why not? I take it to improve my performance, and so does the rest of the world. Just don’t drink too much of it. Don’t stop it abruptly. And today, give thanks for your favorite coffee.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our producer, Sarah Guertin, asked me what’s my favorite coffee, and I said, “Any coffee, as long as it’s strong enough.” I don’t like weak coffee, coffee that tastes like dishwater. Not that I’m in the habit of drinking dishwater, but what I imagine dishwater would taste like. So I don’t like really weak coffee, but other than that, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Homebrew, I like them all. And just so long as it’s strong enough, and I like to drink it with someone else, but when I’m writing, I’ll drink it alone. But I don’t think of writing as being alone. I’m with the work. We’re a team. We’re trying to conquer the forces of chaos.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, there you have it for International Coffee Day today, and in memory of the September 29th National Coffee Day, here’s to coffee everywhere, and here’s to all of you who drink it. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell. That’s our show for today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is there a special day you’d like me to acknowledge in a mini podcast? Email your ideas to [email protected] We’d be very glad to acknowledge your special day. Well, I want to, once again, thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their Omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, a Harvard Medical School graduate. She’s very fussy about quality efficacy, and always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Distraction listeners can save 20% off of their first order with the promo code podcast, 2020, at omegabritewellness.com. And remember to look for Distraction on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and soon Tik-Tok. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our sound engineer is the wonderful Scott Persson with two Ss. He loves his second S. And our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin, and you spell that U-E-R, not like curtain, like Guertin. This is 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. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

Dr. John Ratey joins Ned to share the latest research on how underdeveloped cerebellums affect executive functions like regulating emotions and staying focused. They discuss Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann’s Dysmetria of Thought theory, and share specific ways those with ADHD can build up this part of their brain.

Learn more about Dr. John Ratey HERE.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and we want to hear your ideas for the show! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts 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. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s B-R-I-T-E, Omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. And I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well Schmahmann then said there can be something that he called dysmetria of thought and dysmetria of emotion. And this is where ADD comes into play because all of us with ADD have the common experience of having a thought not end up where we wanted it to. We have a thought and the next thing we’re thinking about how to fry an egg and the next thing we’re talking about how to change a tire on an automobile. That’s past pointing with a thought. A thought goes out, heading in one trajectory, and then it ends up in an entirely different place.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to another episode of Distraction. Today I am lucky again to have my dear friend and brilliant mentor and all around wonderful human beings Dr. John Ratey, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. 2016, being named the outstanding psychiatrist of the year for advancing the field by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, an internationally recognized expert on many topics in psychiatry and the brain, not to mention life. He’s truly a master of the field. And always curious and trying to branch out and discover new ideas, new projects, new ways of understanding the amazing apparatus, most amazing phenomenon of all of nature called the brain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, so welcome, John. I know we’ve had you on recently and we’re thrilled to have you back again. Let me say today, we thought we’d open up an entirely new area for most people, which is the cerebellum. And just to give you some background, the cerebellum is a clump of neurons at the base and back of the brain that literally has been thought of as an afterthought throughout psychiatry and medicine for that matter. It’s a small clump of neurons, but it occupies only 10% of brain volume, but most people, including most doctors, don’t realize it has 75% of the neurons of the brain. 75% of the neurons are packed into this clump at the back of the brain called the cerebellum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And when I was in medical school and you were John, we were taught it regulated balance and coordination, and that was about it. Well, the picture has changed and it’s a whole new ball game when it comes to the cerebellum. Thanks largely to one man at Harvard Medical School. So let me let you, John, tell us about what we’ve learned about the cerebellum in the past 20 years and why it is so tremendously important now in matters related to cognition, affect, attention, impulse control, and general life balance.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right, right. No, thank you for having me back again. I enjoyed the first time and I’m looking forward to this. So yes, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about that little part of the brain, that beautiful brain or the pretty brain, which is cerebellum because it was when we were in medical school, yes, it was all about balance, coordination, getting ourselves to have seamless movement. Now, what we know about the cerebellum is with all those nerve cells, they’re always working, even when we’re sleeping, even when we’re not doing anything, they’re constantly adjusting, readjusting the balance and the coordination of the body, but also of higher brain functions. And that’s where attention comes in, but that’s where all kinds of brain functions like wording, like memory, like our emotional life, like social involvement and certainly like attention. What we know is that cerebellum is constantly adjusting and keeping our experience seamless. So instead of being jerky and disjointed, it’s seamless and that’s the big push that the cerebellum brings to our brain and to our brain functions. Now we, yes. So Dr. Schmahmann, I’m never quite sure how to pronounce his name.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let me just spell it for you because it’s a name you ought to know if you’re interested at all in this topic. Jeremy Schmahmann. S-C-H-M-A-H-M-A-N-N. S-C-H-M-A-H-M-A-N-N. Jeremy Schmahmann. And he’s really the guy who with his brain scan studies has put the cerebellum on the map. There’s even a syndrome, Schmahmann syndrome, that results from cerebellar injury, which symptomatically closely resembles ADHD. In any case, so tell us what Schmahmann and others have shown.

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, what he showed and others earlier in the nineties that if the cerebellum is out of whack, if it’s not functioning properly, you will have motor problems. And we’ve known this. The cerebellum is responsible for instance, for helping us pass or fail the sobriety test, to be able to walk tandemly or to finger to nose kind of tests that they might do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We’ve always known that. So what’s the new stuff.

Dr. John Ratey:
So the new stuff is that he talked about that as dysmetria. And then he put that in and said, “We have dysmetria of thought as well, of thinking.” And especially of our attention system. The attention system needs this contribution from the cerebellum to achieve it’s wonderful balance and seamless working. And if we don’t have it, many people in the past have talked about their symptoms of ADD that oftentimes their brain are a little disjointed there, their experience is disjointed and-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t mean to interrupt but let’s just pause over that because it’s a very sophisticated concept. Dysmetria means, what John was just talking about, when you touch your finger to your nose and then you touch your finger to the doctor’s finger and back and forth. If you can’t do that, that’s called dysmetria. It’s past pointing. You point past the doctor’s finger or you miss your nose when you point it to yourself. Well, Schmahmann then said there can be something called, that he called, dysmetria of thought and dysmetria of emotion. And this is where ADD comes into play because all of us with ADD have the common experience of having a thought not end up where we wanted it to. We have a thought and the next thing we’re thinking about how to fry an egg. And the next thing we’re talking about how to change a tire on an automobile.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s past pointing with a thought. A thought goes out heading in one trajectory, and then it ends up in an entirely different place. Or with emotion. We start to feel an emotion that we think is gentle and tender and loving, and we end up getting angry at somebody. So again, it’s dysmetria of the past pointing, if you will, both of thought and emotion. And Schmahmann said, “Yes, this is cerebellar mediated.” It’s not a problem with cognition or affect in and of itself. It’s related to problems in the cerebellum. Did I get that right, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yeah, you sure did. And it is true that, yes. And so he, amongst others, began to say, Hey, the cerebellum is involved even in mood regulation, even in…” And so see cerebellar differences in people who get depressed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Once again, I want to tell you about the favorite supplement that I take and my wife takes, Omegabrite. Go to Omegabritewellness.com for their fish oil supplement, their omega-3 supplement, their CBD supplement. They’ve been our sponsor so of course, I’m going to tell you to go buy their product. But in addition to sponsoring us, they have really helped my health, my wife’s health, and the many of my patients who have I’ve encouraged to take the Omegabrite products. That’s O-M-E-G-A B-R-I-T-E. Particularly with all the stress we’re feeling these days, the antioxidant effect of Omegabrite, the anti-inflammatory effect of omegabrite is a real stress reducer and health promoter, Omegabrite CBD and omega-3 supplements are top of the line. You can find all of their supplements online at Omegabrite. That’s B-R-I-T-E. Omegabritewellness.com. Distraction listeners you can save 20% on your first order of omega-3 and CBD supplements at Omegabritewellness.com by entering the promo code Podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to the show.

Dr. John Ratey:
We early on in 1990, we began to look at the cerebellum as something that was off in autism. The social connection was off and the same thing can happen with ADD, that not having that balance can throw off your relationships with others. And this is why we’ve chosen the focus on it because it’s really very important. And what we see in a lot of kids is that they have discoordination syndrome. They are not very balanced and coordinated, and that plays a part in their attention problems. And so what we’ve done is begin to treat the cerebellum with exercise, with cerebellar training that helps to regulate the cerebellum and by the way, it then helps regulate the attention system.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is also big news and really new. And when I first learned about it 20 years ago, I couldn’t believe it, but isn’t it amazing that by doing certain physical exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, you can get marked improvement in the symptoms of ADHD, of dyslexia, as well as mood issues and cognitive problems, memory issues. So by bulking up, like John says, “The brain is a muscle,” by bulking up the cerebellum, by challenging it with exercises that require you to balance and that become progressively difficult. So this is very specific exercise. It’s not just doing any old exercise. Although every exercise usually includes some measure of balance, but these are specifically designed like standing on one leg or standing on one leg with your eyes closed or standing on one leg with your eyes closed while doing arithmetic calculations, so you’re further challenging the brain, you get definite improvement.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the fellow that I’ve been working with for years, who’s really perfected this Wynford Dore over in England has a specific program that if you do for 10 minutes, twice a day for three to six months, in his experience, he gets 80% who have marked, significant improvement. And again, you can’t just randomly do balancing exercises. You need to have them… He does a diagnostic assessment, then you need to have them gradually increased in difficulty. And they’ll track you. It’s all done on computer, but they’ll track you and increase the difficulty. Essentially they become your cerebellar trainer. But if you do the exercises faithfully, and that’s the big… Like all these things that involve exercise, you have to do it and do it faithfully, you do get improvement. And would you say John, you’re bulking up the cerebellum, is that too crude a way to put it?

Dr. John Ratey:
Oh yeah, no, you’re what you do is acutely you turn it on, but chronically that is over time, you’re going to build up resources inside your brain. You’re going to change your brain, grow more connections, one cell to another that will help you overcome deficits or differences or strengthen activities that you want to be good at and to have it work better for you. So yes. I mean, one just to the side, we completed a study with 32, very autistic, hospitalized patients and autistic kids always I mean, they always have a hard time with balance and coordination, but by just training their balance, the biggest factor, the biggest effect was an improvement in their attention system. They were able to attent, they were able to be more social etc, but the attention got better. And we see this again and again, and that’s why something like yoga or something like any balance demanding activity will stimulate your cerebellum and over time will change it. And this has an effect on the attention system.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if you want to get a really intense effect, I think you do need to, don’t just say, “Oh, any old thing.” Indeed get skiing, skateboarding, all of those things that challenge balance are really good for your cerebellum. But I think the program that Door has developed is, I don’t know of any… Well Brain Balance is another one, but you have to go to them and it’s very time consuming. With Door, you do it at home. Let me just give you a website. If you want to learn more about this program, go to Distraction, the word distraction.zing performance, Z as in zebra, zingperformance.com. So that’s distraction.zingperformance.com. And you’ll see an interview on there with me and Wynford Dore. And you’ll learn about his program. It’s in my opinion, the single best non-medication treatment that we’ve got for ADHD. And as John was pointing out, it helps a lot more than just that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We are really happy to welcome Landmark College back as a sponsor. It’s my favorite favorite place in the world as far as the college for kids who learn differently. It is absolutely a pioneer in the field and has set the bar for how to teach at a college level kids who don’t do school easily. And they find the gifts in these kids. It’s all about finding strengths, not about just about remediating problems. They really get it. And they have the added advantage of being in a beautiful town in Vermont, Putney, Vermont. It is an ideal college for students who learn differently. You could not do better. You’ll come out with confidence, direction and a real solid sense of what your special talents are. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. Go to lcdistraction.org to learn more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The cerebellum you could think of as the core of your brain. If you strengthen your core physically, you will help your whole body. Well, if you strengthen your cerebellum, you’ll help your whole brain in ways that you just were not aware of it. Who would have thought that challenging balance will improve your SAT scores or your attention or your mood, and yet it’s the case.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yep. No. And just as you mentioned that, the core, actually core training of all sorts affects the cerebellum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
[crosstalk 00:18:05] balancing… Exactly. Balancing itself depends upon core.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you’ve got the two working in tandem. And the visual cortex plays a very important role because when you close your eyes, it’s a whole lot harder to just maintain your balance.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes, it is. It is. And we’d learned that with our friend-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Simon.

Dr. John Ratey:
Simon, a Russian trainer. I called him my torture [inaudible 00:18:34] because he’d always come up with more harder things to do. And when we got on the Bosu ball, which is an unbalanced thing, and could stand there for 10 seconds, but then he said, “Okay, on one leg.” And we could do that eventually. And then when he said, “Okay, close your eyes,” we fell off. I mean [crosstalk 00:18:58] we couldn’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. We wouldn’t rest until we failed. It was… I tell you a funny story about him. I wrote about him in one of my books. And I said he was built like a brick outhouse, using the polite term. And he was reading the book and he didn’t recognize the term. So he showed it to his wife and he said, “What does this mean?” And she said, “Simon, he saying you look like a toilet,” which is anything but. He looks like a fireplug. I mean, the guy was just massive, massive bundle of muscle and a sweetheart, a really sweet man. Simon’s ultimate, what a wonder. I had to stop with him because he moved to Florida, but John and I, we both came under his spell.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is great. Isn’t it fun to be living in an era where we’re discovering new stuff? I mean with exercise in general, the cerebellum in particular. In upcoming sessions, we’ll talk about another new discovery that John and I are enthusiastic about, the default mode network. And we’ll have to do another session on that. So I think we’ve exhausted the attention span of our audience. And I think we should say goodbye, but gosh, John, it’s so wonderful to have you and how much you have advanced this field by taking us outside the box and finding ways that that all kinds of unconventional interventions can meet with tremendous success.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s going to be it for today. For more information about John and his wonderful world of ideas and concepts and work, go to Johnratey.com. That’s J-O-H-N R-A-T-E-Y.com, J-O-H-N-R-A-T-E-Y.com. And please reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] You can also follow the distraction podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Give us a like and follow to stay connected with the show. We love hearing from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the always dependable Scott Persson and our producer is the equally dependable, brilliant and resourceful Sarah Guertin. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you all the best of luck. 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. Shop online at Omegabrite wellness.com.

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Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned celebrates World Gratitude Day by sharing his appreciation for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and we want to hear your ideas for the show! What topics should we cover? What aspect of ADHD do you want to learn more about? Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts 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. Shop [email protected] That’s B-R-I-T-E, OmegaBritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. And I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Monday, September 21st was guess what? National world, not national, World Gratitude Day. What a great day to reserve, ideally every day is world gratitude day. We’re alive, and the more we can give thanks the better. But I thought I would comment now on World Gratitude Day by speaking about my own personal gratitude. And I am sure I share it with most of you, if not all of you, for the life and service of the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I don’t think you could really have anything bad to say about this woman and you could have so much good, so much good.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Even those who disagreed with her, absolutely diametrically like justice Scalia, loved this woman. They would disagree, write nasty opinions to each other, and then go to the opera together. That’s the way it ought to be. She was the hardest working woman you could ever imagine. People who clerked for said they became like her family because she was never not working and they were the people who were around her. She worked so hard for women’s rights. Much as Martin Luther King is to Black people’s rights and civil rights, you might say Ruth Bader Ginsburg is to women’s rights. And I remember the exchange in the movie about her, where she’s talking before the Supreme Court and one of the Justices says to her, “Ginsburg, where in the Constitution does the word woman ever appear?” And Ginsburg responded, “Well, your Honor, nowhere in the Constitution does the word freedom appear either.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you know, she was brilliant, witty, dry, but beyond every reckoning, fair, honest, believing in truth to the best of her ability to discern it and trying to render opinions that would advance the cause of justice wherever she could. Never did she ever sell out. Never did she ever come under the rubric of someone else’s sway. Never did she ever give into the power of popular persuasion or peer pressure. She was her own woman, but a woman very attached to all of humanity, very attached, deeply committed, there to serve all of us. There to serve all of us, not a selfish bone in her body.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I am so grateful for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What she did for me, my family, my town, my state, my country, my world. That woman did so much in her slight frame with that characteristic tilt to her jaw and twist to her lips. She just was wise, brilliant, big hearted, a great, great woman. So join me in commemoration of World Gratitude Day and make World Gratitude Day become every day in your life. And maybe to give it a jumpstart, just think of the life and service of the wonderful, brilliant, loving Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I want to once again thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, Harvard medical school graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy, and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code podcast2020 at OmegaBritewellness.com. All right, well next month, October, that’s the month that comes after September. See, I’ve still got my brains. October is ADHD awareness month. So be sure to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. We love, love, love getting these, it sends shivers up and down my spine. Your emails and voice memos will affect what we do in October. So please take charge, send us your email or voice memo with an idea, a comment, a thought, a show, a recipe. We don’t care, we just love to hear from you. And send them to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Remember to check us out on social media, please, we’re trying to beef that up. Distraction is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This podcast is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderfully talented Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the equally, if not even more talented, Scott Persson, with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

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

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Peggy’s Path to Better Health with OmegaBrite Wellness

Peggy’s Path to Better Health with OmegaBrite Wellness

In this special episode sponsored by OmegaBrite Wellness, a woman named Peggy shares details about the debilitating pain she experiences from sciatica, and how a suggestion from a friend to try CBD provided the relief she was looking for. (We didn’t include Peggy’s last name per her request for privacy.)

Learn more about the benefits of CBD and Omega-3 at OmegaBrite Wellness. 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 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 Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We found today’s guest through our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. Her name is Peggy, and she joins me today to share her story with us. You’ve heard me talking for several months now about my experience with their CBD and Omega-3 supplements, so we thought it’d be nice for you to hear someone else’s experience with OmegaBrite Wellness. So, thank you for joining me today, Peggy

Peggy:
Oh, thank you for having me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So can you just jump right in and tell us what it’s been like with OmegaBrite?

Peggy:
Yeah, it’s been great. My particular pain is sciatica, which a lot of people suffer from.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Peggy:
So it’s very, very painful. It sort of built up over a couple of years. I mean, about two years ago I had this pain and I would go for a walk and that would help. And over time, that walk started to be so painful I had to stop and I couldn’t walk anymore. And then sort of the old thing, you’re supposed to walk to help but you can’t walk because it hurts and that loop. And so it got to where basically 10 minutes into a walk, I was in so much pain I was almost crying. I had to like turn around and go back home, so.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Peggy:
Yeah, so over a long period of time. Some people only have sciatica for a short … like a few weeks or a couple of months. I mean, mine was a hole … And I also have pain on the same side, there’s also like a separate knee pain that kind of all works together for horrendous pain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They couldn’t diagnose it with an MRI of some nerve entrapment syndrome or anything like that?

Peggy:
No, just the sciatica so far, but they are looking at doing some other MRIs for spinal stenosis, so we’ll see. Yeah, I don’t know yet on that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So that’s when you discovered OmegaBrite.

Peggy:
Yeah. Well, in the midst of all that I had to move, suddenly I had to move. And the thought of that and the pain that that was going to cause. And sure enough, I mean, I’d move and then the end of the day, I would just fall into so much pain. And a friend of mine who was taking OmegaBrite, her and her son, she said, “Let me bring you over some of the CBD.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’ll do anything. I’m in so much pain.”

Peggy:
Because I was taking some kind of like high pain ibuprofen or high level, and that’s really bad for my kidneys. So I didn’t want to do that, I just did it out of desperation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Peggy:
So she brought it over. I thought, Oh, we’ll see. It probably won’t do much of any good but I’m willing to try anything because I’m in so much pain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Peggy:
And to my delight and surprise, it worked immediately. So the one great thing to me about it is that, like the CBD, the full spectrum, it works fast. So you take it and the pain is gone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. So it was CBD and the Omega-3 or just the CBD?

Peggy:
Well, I take them both, but if I’m just having pain, the minute I just take a CBD, the pain goes away.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s fantastic. Wow.

Peggy:
Yeah, for me it works. Yeah, it really works fast and good. I always keep a little bit in my purse, if I’m going to be somewhere, like I know I’m going to be out for the day or something, I’ll take one before I leave and then I always keep a little bottle in my purse, so if I have any breakthrough pain. But I never ended up taking more than two in a day and that means I’ve really had some bad pain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really? Only two, my gosh. I start every day with four of them and I’m not taking it for any symptom. I’m just taking it for wellbeing. But just two of those pills does it for you?

Peggy:
Yeah. And I’m telling you, my pain makes me want to cry and I have a very high pain tolerance, so my pain’s pretty bad.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. So instead of getting hooked on Oxycontin, you’ve kind of-

Peggy:
Exactly. Yeah, and that would be really bad for my kidneys, so I don’t want to do that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no absolutely

Peggy:
I really try to stay as holistic as I can and natural, so that’s another thing I like about this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you discover the OmegaBrite Wellness CBD?

Peggy:
Well, that was what I was saying before that a friend of mine was taking them, her and her son.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, okay.

Peggy:
And so she brought me some, she brought me both actually, the Omega-3 formula and the CBD full spectrum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Peggy:
But she said, “Oh, use the CBD full spectrum because that helps with pain.” So at that moment, I just took that. But now I take the OmegaBrite Omega-3 formula in the morning with the CBD and then if I have any more pain, I’ll just take CBD by itself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s fantastic. Well, you must be grateful to your friend for sharing that.

Peggy:
Oh yeah. She a dear friend and that’s why I tried it in the first place or else I would be very, very skeptical. But I knew she wouldn’t ask me to try something that wasn’t going to work.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you, Peggy. This is terrific information for people and it is a wonderful product. I can’t thank you enough.

Peggy:
It really is. I’m so happy to have found it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. Okay. Well that’s it for today. Thanks so much to Peggy for sharing her story. If you’d like to learn more about OmegaBrite Wellness and their supplements, just go to OmegaBrite, that’s B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com.
Distraction listeners, you will save 20% on your first order by using the promo code, podcast 2020.

Okay. Please continue to reach out to us at [email protected] and like and follow Distraction on social media. Remember to subscribe to the podcast, if you haven’t already, so you’ll never miss an episode.

Distraction is created by Soundscape Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the extremely talented Scott Persson, that’s with two S’s. And produced by the also extremely talented Sarah Guertin. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell, thanking Peggy and saying goodbye for now.

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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When Good Is Good Enough: Overcoming Perfectionism

When Good Is Good Enough: Overcoming Perfectionism

ADHD and perfectionism often go hand in hand. And it can be a particularly devastating trap to fall into. Learn how to avoid a perfectionist mindset and recognize negative self-talk as Lauren Krasnow, a certified leadership and executive coach, shares some of the techniques she uses in her practice.

To learn more about Lauren Krasnow, go to her website HERE.

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. 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 [elsiedistraction.org 00:00:00:33]. 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. My guest today is here to help our listeners who struggle with perfectionism. She also can talk about any number of other topics. She’s a professional certified leadership and executive coach to lawyers at major corporate law firms and other professionals. She herself was a long time, big firm, practicing lawyer. She was recognized as top lawyer coach by Diversity Lab and her own words she said, quote, “One lawyer recently told me that I have a gift for getting right to the heart of an issue with a great combination of candor, sensitivity, and humor.” What a great combination those three are. Well, welcome to Distraction, Lauren.

Lauren Krasnow:
Thank you so much, Dr. Hallowell. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, it’s lovely to have you. You want to just launch right into your thoughts about perfectionism?

Lauren Krasnow:
Sure. Let me start with, all of us struggle with this from time to time and if you’re one of them, which is basically everybody, there’s nothing wrong with you. The only question is how much of an issue is it for you and what do you want to do about it? I actually had the pleasure of studying with you in one of your seminars. And we talked a lot about perfectionism specifically with ADHD and some of the biochemical reasons that it can be harder for people who have ADHD to get themselves out of perfectionism in terms of the self-talk.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I guess I would say one of the best things that I have seen people do in terms of attacking perfectionism is just first becoming aware of it. It’s so very easy for us to conflate the voices in our head with reality. And I think disentangling them is always one of the most important steps and actually a huge chunk of solving the problem. I don’t know if you have anything to say about that, but that to me is once you do that it’s so much easier to actually look at what’s actually going on.

Dr. Hallowell:
Once you do, which… I lost you for a second.

Lauren Krasnow:
Once you just disentangle what’s real from what’s just the running commentary in your head about how bad something is or how good it has to be or the should’s that we put on ourselves. This has to be perfect. And instead of actually saying, “Is this good enough?” we say, “This has to be perfect because…” fill in the blank, “It has to be perfect because I will have failed so-and-so. Somebody in my life who is expecting me to be perfect, or I will… Some parade of horribles will happen.” And that’s not usually the case. I don’t think so. Usually one-

Dr. Hallowell:
No, you’re…

Lauren Krasnow:
… of the most important things is to say what’s real and what’s actually this running commentary going on in my head?

Dr. Hallowell:
And you’re so right. It’s so hard for these folks to do that, because they feel their perception is reality. That they’re abject failures unless they’re perfect.

Lauren Krasnow:
Right. I’m a huge fan of the Calm App. And I know-

Dr. Hallowell:
Yes.

Lauren Krasnow:
… some people are fans of meditation and mindfulness and some people may now be rolling their eyes. But I’m not talking about doing a 20 minute meditation every day, I’m talking about just training yourself for two minutes at a time to be able to have your mind be still so you can recognize in that gap and say, “This happened,” and actually the response that I’m having and saying, “This has to be perfect,” there’s actually a space, a small space where you can say, “Is this actually true?” And I think a lot of us are so conditioned that it becomes automatic. We don’t give ourselves the luxury of being able to see what’s real and what’s not real.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah. Would you say it’s pretty hard to do yourself and it’s easier if you can work with someone like you, someone who can coach you out of the bad mental habit of getting down on yourself if you’re less than perfect?

Lauren Krasnow:
Yes and no. I would say yes a lot of times I work with people… The most of the people I work with are lawyers at big law firms and they tended to be the people who did very, very well academically. I firmly believe that there are a lot of different ways to be smart. And most of these people are smart in the traditional academic sense.

Dr. Hallowell:
Right.

Lauren Krasnow:
And they have a lot invested in that emotionally and as a means of self identity. And I think because they’re surrounded by other people in the same [inaudible 00:05:15], there’s not a lot of checks and balances or questioning that goes on. And that’s why I do believe that working with a coach is very, very helpful because it’s somebody who can say, “Wait a minute. Did you notice that you just said this to yourself or did you notice that you just made this assumption?”

Lauren Krasnow:
And a lot of times the answer is no. I always tell the people that I work with, that I’m going to keep on calling them out and saying things like that. But my goal is that they get to the point where they’re able to do it for themselves. And most of them are. And I think it’s just something that we don’t even realize is as automatic as it is. And I say this as someone who lived it for many years and now somebody who gets to help other people identify that in themselves.

Dr. Hallowell:
You lived it as a perfectionist?

Lauren Krasnow:
Yeah. As a perfectionist for sure. Definitely. And when I was a lawyer and when I was in school, I would think, “This has to be perfect or else,” and as I’ve gotten older I’ve thought, “Why? It actually doesn’t have to be perfect.” And as a parent that’s been one of the biggest gifts is looking at my kids and saying, “They’re not perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And they’re still terrific.” And it’s a really liberating way to feel. But I think it’s very antithetical to the way a lot of us grow up and the way a lot of us are in our earlier younger professional days.

Dr. Hallowell:
Particularly the high achievers. How old are your children?

Lauren Krasnow:
I have a tween and a teen. And it’s funny. I’ve actually had this conversation with a number of friends and family members where I… “How much should your kid try?” And I said, “Well, if an A is a 90 or an A is a hundred and the kid’s goal is to get an A for whatever reason, let’s just say for college purposes or whatever. Do you want your kid to try to get the hundred or do you want your kid to try to get the 90?” And I think many people just assume that of course you would try to get the hundred. Why wouldn’t you?

Lauren Krasnow:
And I actually don’t believe that. I actually think that people are motivated by different things, figure out what you’re motivated by. And if there’s an intrinsic motivation that is encouraging the person to want to learn more or whatever, that’s great. And I’m not advocating slackerism exactly but I am saying, I work a lot with people now who 20, 30 years after they graduated from school are still trying to get the hundred and they don’t need to. And I say, “Why? Why are you doing that?” And they don’t really know, except that it’s a habit.

Dr. Hallowell:
Right. It’s the success cure that you… If you can pile up enough A’s then [inaudible 00:07:55] or other you’re all that. And I gave a talk some years ago at my high school. I went to a prep school in New Hampshire called Exeter Phillips Exeter and a very rigorous school where everyone is competing and wanting to go to Ivy league colleges and whatnot. And so, I gave a talk to the student body and I said what you really should do during your high school years is fall in love with a person, with a project, with an activity, with a piece of music, with a blade of grass. But the most important thing you can do here at Exeter or any high school is fall in love because that’s sustainable. A’s fade into distant nothingness but falling in love, that leads to getting an A, that sustains itself. And I think oftentimes kids, they need to hear from people like you and me to give them permission not to be seduced by the success cure, by the glitter of the A’s and what they think that might be.

Lauren Krasnow:
I love that. I love the concept of falling in love and I really believe that for two reasons actually. First I believe falling in love, generally paradoxically leads to whatever measure of success because when people do things that they’re passionate about that’s when they tend to be the best [crosstalk 00:09:24]-

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly.

Lauren Krasnow:
… in the world of ADHD, hyper-focus et cetera. But I also think, and I learned this from you when I studied under you, is I believe all of us have our super powers. We all have our gifts. And if we’re sitting there trying to eke out some level of perfectionism, when good enough would have been fine, the energy and the time and the attention that we would have spent going from good enough to perfect is diverted. And from us doing something that I believe we could really use our, I don’t know, I hope this doesn’t sound cheesy, but purpose. Something that is really meaningful to us and something where we could have a really big impact on ourselves and on other people and on the world.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yes.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I always think people who are in the throws of perfectionism sometimes forget to look at the opportunity cost of, “What am I giving up by working so hard to get from the 90 to 100? And is it actually something that I’m choosing with intention or is it just something that I’m doing either based on fear or based on an automatic habit?”

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely. You reached a branch point in your life when you were a lawyer at a big firm and then you decided to go in a different direction. What was that all about?

Lauren Krasnow:
So, I really liked being a lawyer but I didn’t love it. And I think I always had this feeling that I was doing something that I wasn’t meant to be doing. And I don’t know if everybody feels this way. I think a lot of people have these feelings, I’ll call them intuition, and they ignore them. And there’s all sorts of reasons we ignore them. For convenience, maybe you’re attached to a certain income or you’re attached to a certain prestige or status, or you’re trying to impress a family member, quite often a parent. And looking at what that means to give all of that up is terrifying.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I think it’s really hard for people to come to terms with that. But the flip side is if you go along and are led by what I call a fear-based decision instead of a conscious intention and you wake up and you sometimes wonder, “What did I do? Was this the right thing for me?” And I don’t know that I believe that every single person has to be madly in love with their job. I think there’s a lot of hobbies and a lot of other things that people can do that can give them that of satisfaction. But I really, I do encourage certainly everybody who I coach, I encourage them to really think about designing their lives to be intentional so that the choices are born of a conscious intention as opposed to just default happening.

Dr. Hallowell:
And how do you help people who are holding back out of fear?

Lauren Krasnow:
I think like many coaches, I really help them look at the fear and own it. And I think a lot of people because they’re in this world where they’re surrounded by other people who are doing the same thing that they’re doing and frankly maybe also driven by fear, I think a lot of people are in that practice and asking themselves, “What do I want?’ They think, “What should I do instead?” And I say this as somebody who used to be one of those people.

Lauren Krasnow:
And one of the very, very first things I do as a coach is if I hear this right away, I say, “Can we come up with an agreement? Do you mind if I call you out every time I hear you say the word ‘should’? ‘I shouldn’t do this,’ or, ‘I have to do this.’ And they say, “Fine,” and we make it a game and we make it fun. But I’m very, very vigilant about observing that and recognizing it. And a lot of times people are very, very surprised because I think a lot of times we don’t realize what we say to ourselves and hearing it can be the first step into saying, “Is this something that I actually want or is this something that I want to change?”

Dr. Hallowell:
So, let me give you a… Not a hypothetical, a real example. Patient of mine in New York a few years ago, working for a well-known investment banking firm. He said, “I begin my mornings meeting with the three other guys for coffee. And each one of us starts our day by saying, “Will any of us have the nerve to quit today?” and we never do. But there he’s held hostage or he holds himself hostage because he can’t imagine giving up the six figure salary and the bonus that comes with it. How would you advise him? How would you approach him?

Lauren Krasnow:
Well, I think first we would spend some time unpacking what is the fear about and a lot of times it’s just fear of the unknown. And then I believe that there are sometimes… This is not me coming up with this framework that I’m about to share, it’s actually Stephen Covey. But the framework of scarcity versus abundance. And I think that is as tied into fear and fear versus conscious intention. I think if we believe that the universe is somehow going to provide for us and that things will work out and that we own our own power enough to make things happen, I think then we’re more willing to take risks.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I think if we don’t, then we’re more willing to stay in a place of fear and make decisions that come from a place of fear. And one of my favorite quotes is, “Where attention goes energy flows.”

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s great.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I believe that a lot of times when people are coming from a place of fear, they’re focusing all their attention on what they might lose and not enough attention on what good things might happen from taking a risk.

Dr. Hallowell:
And what if he says back to you, “But Lauren,” or, “Dr. Krasnow,” or whatever your folks call you, “I don’t have the talent. I don’t have the talent to go out on my own. I don’t have the talent to do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is start a marina,” let’s say, “And I don’t think I could do that. So, I’m better off staying here with my half million dollars a year and playing it safe.”

Lauren Krasnow:
Well, there’s two things that I would want to know. The first is, well, what are your talents? Let’s get granular and let’s look at what your talents are and how you could see yourself using them. And then just like any coach, I would say, “Well, what are the costs to you of staying in the status quo versus the benefits to you? And what would the costs and benefits be of an alternative course of action?” And I think people tend to be very gloss over the benefits of the alternative, very superficially, and they tend to talk about the cost very superficially. And I think really digging down deep sometimes gets people to say, “Wow maybe this cost is greater than I really acknowledged myself, or maybe the benefit would be greater. And maybe I really do have the talents to make this happen. I may be deficient in skills XYZ, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get them or that I can’t hire somebody with a complimentary skill set, et cetera.”

Dr. Hallowell:
And you’re probably really underestimating your own talents because after all you wouldn’t have get… You wouldn’t have been hired at this high paying job at a New York investment ban, if you didn’t have a lot of talent. So, and the talent that you have can be transposed to the marina. You’re [crosstalk 00:17:00]-

Lauren Krasnow:
Absolutely. Thank you. That’s a great point. Absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah.

Lauren Krasnow:
One of the things I learned that actually, particularly when I took the course that I did with you, looking at your strengths in a different capacity. One of my favorite expressions is Einstein, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.” When in fact Einstein believes, as do I, that everybody has a genius. Everybody has genius in them.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yes, absolutely.

Lauren Krasnow:
And I think a lot of times people spend times measuring themselves against a certain situation without taking themselves out and saying, “Well, in a different context, this could be unbelievably powerful.”

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly.

Lauren Krasnow:
And one of the gifts of my job is that I get to be on that journey with people as they do that and discover that, and then bring those gifts to bear for their own lives and the lives of others. And it’s so rewarding. It’s unbelievably rewarding.

Dr. Hallowell:
You’re not just with them, you’re setting them free. You’re helping them break what Blake called mind forged manacles. You’re helping them break free. And that’s a [crosstalk 00:18:05].

Lauren Krasnow:
They’re helping them break free. I’m asking questions that I’ve been trained and skilled and practiced to ask because of my background in training, but they do the work themselves and it’s so empowering to see somebody really live into their own greatness. I feel like I did it myself, not to say that… Not in an unhumble way, but in a way of example, that I believe that anybody can do this and everybody should do this because I think the world would be better if everybody were living their talents to the maximum effect.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah. You’re not saying it in a non humble way, you’re saying it in a celebratory way. You’re celebrating. You, “Look, I took this chance and it made all the difference,” and you’re celebrating. And I think you’re, by implication, exhorting other people to celebrate too. To make the changes that will turn their lives into a celebration.

Lauren Krasnow:
Yeah. Thank you. I love that. Looking at it as a celebration because I really genuinely believe that. I believe that everybody has power within them. And the only question is when they realize that and then decide what they’re going to do with that.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, you wouldn’t be able to do as well as you do it if you didn’t really believe that, I think, anyway. Well, Lauren Krasnow, what a pleasure to have you on this podcast. I could talk to you for an hour but we’re not supposed to go that long.

Lauren Krasnow:
Yeah. Thank you so much. What a pleasure to be here. And I just want to give a shout out to you. You really have inspired me by encouraging me to think about my own strengths. And as I said, I’ve gone on to do that with other people and then as they go and become leaders, they do it for other people. So, I just will say, I think everybody… You never know what ripple effects your own stepping into your own strengths and greatness will have. So, I want to say thank you to you Dr. Hallowell.

Dr. Hallowell:
Thank you so, so very much. I really, really appreciate that. It means a lot to me. Well, if you’d like to learn more about Lauren… Now you tell me if I get this right, Lauren. Go to voltapeople.com. V-O-L, V as in Victor V-O-L-T-A people.com/Lauren-Krasnow-coaching. Did I get that right?

Lauren Krasnow:
You did. Thank you very much.

Dr. Hallowell:
Volta people.com/Lauren-Krasnow-coaching. You’re a tremendous resource and we’ll put a link to your site in the show notes. Please continue to reach out to us at [email protected] And like and follow Distraction on social media. Remember to subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already so you never miss an episode. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by Scott Persson and produced by Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell thanking our very special guest Lauren Krasnow. Goodbye for now.

Dr. 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 OmegaBritwellness.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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Being A Black Woman With ADHD – Candy’s Story

Being A Black Woman With ADHD – Candy’s Story

“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.” After reading these words in an email from Candy, a regular listener of Distraction, we wanted to learn more about her perspective. In this episode, Candy graciously shares some of her experiences as a Black woman with ADHD. This open and honest dialogue touches on a variety of topics including diagnosis, treatment, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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. 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. Hallowell. We really have a very special episode today, truly. I mean, I often say that, but this is especially special. Especially special special. We have have an extra special, special guest. If you listened to last week’s Q and A episode, then you’ll remember, I hope, a letter we got from a listener named Candy who shared some of her thoughts with us about being a black woman with ADHD and mother of two boys who also have ADHD. Let me quote part of what candy wrote to us.

Dr. Hallowell:
She said or wrote, “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. I have been absolutely floored and thrilled to witness more conversation happening about race in this country, and 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.” Well, that’s just wonderful. Today, Candy has graciously agreed to come on the podcast to share more of her thoughts and experience with all of us. Thank you so much for joining me today, Candy.

Candy:
Thank you very much for having me.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, so tell me when did you discover you have ADHD and how has it been both being a woman of color with ADHD, a woman with ADHD, a single mom with ADHD, all of those pretty stressful categories?

Candy:
Well, I first suspected that I had ADHD when I was in college. I had a roommate who had been diagnosed and she’s actually black as well. When we started talking about things, I resonated with so much of what she said so strongly. But I didn’t actually seek out a diagnosis until I was 25 or 26. The first doctor that I saw, I had to do this super long two-day, I don’t know, 12-hour interview thing with him. At the end of it, he just told me that I was depressed and I probably needed a prescription for an antidepressant and so-

Dr. Hallowell:
How many years ago was that?

Candy:
That was, man, I guess, almost 15 years ago now. Yeah, so I was really discouraged and actually I was in therapy at the time. So I brought the results back to my therapist and she disagreed and she was like, “I’ve known you for a while now. You’re not depressed, and I’m not an expert, but I really think you should go see someone else.” So it took me a while to do that, but eventually I did. I found a female psychiatrist who said on her website that she kind of specialized with adults with ADHD. I went in, I had a conversation with her, one conversation. At the end of it, she just validated me. She said, “You’re intelligent. I can tell you’ve done your research and I’m going to turn it back to you. Do you think you have ADHD?” I said, “I do. After everything that I’ve read and the people that I’ve talked to, I really do.”

Candy:
So at that point, I got a prescription and it was amazing. I mean, the change was just almost instant. I think I had been on the medication for maybe a week or two and it was around my dad’s birthday. So I was making him this super elaborate birthday dinner and dessert. My kids are running around and my mom came in and she looked at me and she said, “Don’t ever stop taking this medication.” I was like, “What do you mean?” She’s like, “You’re managing everything.” She’s like, “You’re cooking, you’ve got the kids and you’re handling it,” and so that was that.

Dr. Hallowell:
Wow. Wow. What medication was it?

Candy:
The first medication that I was on was Concerta, actually. So I’ve been on Concerta, I’ve been on Vyvanse and right now I’m on Adderall, and Adderall’s actually been even better, because with the other two, my appetite never came back and I had really bad headaches, so.

Dr. Hallowell:
Oh gosh.

Candy:
But still, just the fact that I was able to concentrate on one thing and then be interrupted and go back to it, that had never happened in my life before, so it’s been great.

Dr. Hallowell:
Now on the Adderall, you get the benefit, but no side effects.

Candy:
They’re not as bad. So I still get dry mouth and sometimes my appetite is not as normal as it is when I’m not on the medication. But it’s nothing like what it was before. I don’t get migraines and I’m able to sleep at night.

Dr. Hallowell:
Good, good.

Candy:
So, yeah, it’s a lot better.

Dr. Hallowell:
You take a immediate release Adderall or extended release?

Candy:
I take immediate release. So I take two pills twice a day.

Dr. Hallowell:
So two 5’s, two 10’s?

Candy:
I do one 20 in the morning and then one 20 in the afternoon.

Dr. Hallowell:
Great. That’s working well?

Candy:
It is, it is.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s wonderful. I often compare it to eyeglasses. Suddenly, you can see.

Candy:
That’s really what it felt. I remember reading something, this was back in college. My roommate recommended a book to me and I don’t remember what that first book was. But there was something in there about when you have ADHD, it’s like someone else, your brain is a television set and someone else has the remote and is channel surfing and you have no control over it. I mean, it gave me chills when I read it. So college was a million years ago and I still remember that. Once I took the medication, it was like all of those channels just went off and I had control over it. So, yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:
Where did you go to college?

Candy:
I went to college at Middle Tennessee State University, right outside of Nashville.

Dr. Hallowell:
Did you grow up in Tennessee?

Candy:
I did not. I grew up in Illinois, but I was 18. I’d actually done a year of college. I graduated at 17, but I did a year here in Illinois and it was just… I was just kind of biding my time. It wasn’t really what I wanted to study and I also just kind of got that itch to be away from my family and away from home, and so I transferred to the school. I had never been to the school, but they had an excellent recruiting program, because at the time I was really into music and songwriting and I wanted to be a songwriter and a producer. So I transferred to the school so that I could study sound production.

Dr. Hallowell:
Do you still want to do that?

Candy:
So much has happened in my life. I love it still, but I do not devote the time to it that I used to. So, no. It’s more of a hobby. I’m one of those people, I went and got this degree and I’ve never done anything with it. At least not professionally.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, the is young. You’re still pretty young. How does race come into play? How does being African-American-

Candy:
Well, I think for one, I think it came into play with that first doctor that I saw. I literally brought… So, like I said, I was 25, 26 at this point. I dug out report cards from elementary school, some statements from my parents and I was telling him these are things that I’ve experienced, the symptoms, I guess. I don’t even think he could see it and I don’t know specifically with him if it was race, if it was gender. I didn’t have a history of being hyperactive in the sense, that stereotypical little boy who’s climbing on his desk and swinging from the ceiling and that sort of thing.

Candy:
What I have since found out is that I was a little girl who’s extremely talkative, just non-stop. Even in preschool when we would have to nap, and my mother still tells this story, I would talk to whoever was around me. So eventually they gave me the job of going around and rubbing the other kids’ backs just to give me something to do, because I was not going to lay down and be quiet. So that continued, I mean, pretty much actually through high school. But in elementary school, I have all my report cards and it’s like my teachers would talking about, “Oh, she’s delightful, she’s this, but she won’t stop talking and she doesn’t pay attention to detail and she loses focus so quickly, but she’s so smart and we like her so much.” So [crosstalk 00:10:05].

Dr. Hallowell:
Pretty classic ADHD.

Candy:
Yeah, exactly. It’s interesting to me, because again, the more that I’ve read and listened to experts talk about it, like you said, that’s classic. He didn’t see any of that. At the time, that was actually a little bit before I separated from my husband, but I had been in therapy for some marital issues and some other things. It was like, that’s where that doctor stopped. It was just, oh, well, you’ve got two little kids and you’re having a rough time in your marriage. That’s it, despite all of the history. Then since then, like I said-

Dr. Hallowell:
I assume he was a white man.

Candy:
Yes, yes. He was. So again, I don’t know what was in his mind. I just know that it felt like he didn’t hear anything that I said. Then since then, a lot of times when I am reading articles or books or people are talking about their experience with ADHD, it’s gotten better in recent years, but the poster children for ADHD are very rarely people of color. Even in school, as I’m studying mental health, and I just did a class last term and we were talking about diagnosing children, so often little boys of color, particularly black and Hispanic ones are first found to be oppositionally defiant. That’s the first thing that they look at. So I didn’t have that experience. I was “smart” growing up so I was in all of the advanced classes. But I would lose my homework and mean to bring my math book home and end up with a science book instead.

Candy:
I could not turn anything in on time and I skated by, because, again, I think my teachers liked me and I tested pretty well so I just kind of skated by. But I do wonder if I had been male, if I had not been black, if someone would have noticed all of the difficulties that I’d been having for years and maybe thought, “Huh, this could be something else.”

Dr. Hallowell:
In this anxious back to school time, everyone is looking for ways to reduce the edge of anxiety, and 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.

Dr. Hallowell:
It’s funny, the first person I ever treated for ADHD was a seven year old African-American boy from a very poor neighborhood who was admitted to the hospital having witnessed a murder the day before and then attempted to murder his sister.

Candy:
Oh my gosh.

Dr. Hallowell:
So he had multiple problems. But his IQ on admission, I did some testing and his IQ was 69, which is very low and among his many problems. When we cleaned him up and got to know each other, he and I became friends. I said, “You have among many other diagnoses, you fit all the criteria for ADHD. Why don’t we try you on this medication?” and called Ritalin and his mother agreed. His IQ after on the medication was tested at 140.

Candy:
Oh my goodness.

Dr. Hallowell:
I’ve never seen that happen again. The neuropsychologist would say it’s impossible. But clearly, when he was admitted, he was traumatized and then when we were able to give him focus, and here I was, an old white male treating this young black boy and, but we became the best friends. When I had to leave after years following him, I remember, I said, “We’ve really gotten to know each other pretty well. Haven’t we?” He said, “Know each other? We love each other.” I think a lot of the help was developing that connection. So you had connection, you said you have a really strong family. So that must have helped you get through.

Candy:
Tremendously. I think I said something about that in the email, the other issue, of course, just with mental health in general. If you’re in a lower socioeconomic status trauma, that level of trauma. But I was very fortunate. I grew up in a very solidly middle-class family, two parents, both college educated, going to work. They were involved. But even in that, I have a younger sister, she had a lot of other health issues growing up. So my parents miss things. So again, and I know a lot of people, I think, who are diagnosed with ADHD as adults talk about that experience of kind of people telling you, especially when people think you’re really smart, oh, you just need to try harder. So every time there was a note sent home because of homework or whatever that I didn’t finish, that was my parents, “You’re too smart. You just need to apply yourself. You need to try harder.”

Candy:
But in finding out that I’ve had it, they have just rallied around me. I’ve had super tearful conversations with my mom where she’s apologized for missing things. It’s one of those things. You do the best you can where you are at the time. Then [inaudible 00:16:30] you do better. But my family has been amazing, just through the ADHD, through the divorce, through all of it.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s just wonderful to hear. Telling someone with ADD to try harder is about as helpful as telling someone who’s near sighted to squint harder.

Candy:
Exactly.

Dr. Hallowell:
This is the point. You need eyeglasses and the squinting will help a little bit and trying harder will help a little bit, but it doesn’t anywhere near get to the heart of the matter. So it must have been quite an awakening when you finally got diagnosed. You also say you’re floored and thrilled to witness more conversation happening about race in this country. Can you say more about that?

Candy:
Yeah. So I think that everything that happened when we all collectively as a country saw the video of what happened with George Floyd’s murder, I think a lot of people’s eyes were opened and it’s one of those things. I’ve grown up really fortunately. Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the country still. I live right outside of Chicago in a very diverse and integrated, it’s been integrated forever, area where growing up, I had friends of all different races, all different combinations of races and religions and ethnicities. So that’s been my experience, but because of that, I grew up talking to my friends about race and about our experiences and I think you have a lot of well-meaning people who get very uncomfortable kind of thinking about racism and the fact that it still exists and so they shut it down and they just, “I’m colorblind. I don’t see color. I treat everybody the same.”

Candy:
When that video came out with George Floyd, I have seen so many people kind of say, “We have to talk about this. We cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist anymore. We cannot pretend that people of color are not treated differently.” These hard conversations are being had. I’ve had white friends of mine just reach out with really heartfelt texts and cards and just to say to me, “I’m sorry that I’ve never talked to you about this before. I’m sorry that you’re going to have to teach your kids one thing, dealing with the police, than I’m going to have to teach my kids.” Having those conversations, It is uncomfortable sometimes, it’s rough, but it’s so necessary and it’s the only way we can change things. I mean, permanently changed things. I have been, I mean, so encouraged to see it in my personal life with my, like I said, with my friends and the people that I know, but even on a larger scale, watching the news and reading articles where people are really having a reckoning with it. I think it’s overdue, but it’s good to see.

Dr. Hallowell:
We are really happy to welcome Landmark College back as a sponsor. It’s my favorite place in the world as far as a college for kids who learn differently. It is absolutely a pioneer in the field and has set the bar for how to teach at a college level kids who don’t do school easily and they find the gifts in these kids. It’s all about finding strengths, not about just about remediating problems. They really get it. They have the added advantage of being in a beautiful town in Vermont, Putney, Vermont. It is an ideal college for students who learn differently. You could not do better. You’ll come out with confidence, direction and a real solid sense of what your special talents are. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. Go to lcdistraction.org to more.

Dr. Hallowell:
What do you think, I mean, what was it about George Floyd’s murder and then subsequent death, organizations that used to be very conservative, like the National Football League or NASCAR are now completely behind Black Lives Matter, behind talking about it openly? It’s really remarkable. It’s not just a liberal cause anymore. It’s not just Al Sharpton and whatnot. It’s people who had been unaware, I think. I think, myself included, I didn’t know that an awful lot of black people, if not most, when they see a police car behind them, they tense up, like they’re going to be pulled over. I was so naive. I thought, “Well, we have the Civil Rights Act and we have… It’s a lot better than it was in the fifties and sixties.” But you tell me, I mean, your daily experience what is it like for you?

Candy:
I’m going to be very honest with you and say again, coming from where I’ve come, being raised middle-class in this area, a lot of this has been shocking for me too. I’ve had to really start thinking about my own privilege because, of course, like we said before, poverty is a thing and when you don’t live in poverty, there’s a privilege that comes with that. With being educated, with being I’ve grown up around people who are “very much like me”, even if we’re not the same race. Two parent households, two incomes, college educated, that sort of thing. I had to realize that I had a lot of ideas about those people, those people who didn’t grow up the way that I grew up and, what do they call it, respectability politics.

Candy:
So that’s been a thing. But I do think that there is only one good thing that I can say about the person who’s currently in the White House, him being there, I believe has just kind of just torn the veil on all of these things for all of us and we are all having to reckon with all of these, with regard to race and socioeconomic status and healthcare and climate change and all of these things. Just like you said, it isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. So many of this is just a humanity issue.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah.

Candy:
What does it mean for us to be in a country together as people in this nation? How do we take care of each other and how do we love one another?

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, and-

Candy:
So yeah, it’s been interesting.

Dr. Hallowell:
Deepening our appreciation and empathy for what it is to be different. You and I know that from our both having ADHD, we’re different, I think in a wonderful way, but we are different. You’re African-American. I’m Caucasian and I’m a WASP. I’m a Episcopalian. Are you a religion of any kind?

Candy:
I grew up Methodist. Now, I definitely have a spiritual outlook. I mean, I still believe in God, although I kind of grew up in that evangelical tradition. I have completely left all of that. But yes, I do have a spiritual outlook for sure.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s another thing that’s I think we’re seeing happen that people are rediscovering spirituality in a less doctrinaire way.

Candy:
Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
One of my favorite prayers is Lord help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.

Candy:
I love that. I love that.

Dr. Hallowell:
So are you explaining your experience with ADHD to other people who don’t know about it? I mean, I think that’s such an important function if you can do that.

Candy:
I do. Well, I’m not going to say a little bit. Definitely in terms of the people that I get to talk to. I had taken a few years where I was pretty much off all of social media and a couple years ago I went back. So I’m on social media. So I’m always sharing something on Facebook or something on Instagram, a podcast or my own experience, just that sort of thing. My friends know that I’m very vocal about having ADHD. Even at one point, my therapist had kind of said, “Oh, you maybe don’t want to put it all out there like that in terms of when you’re looking for another job or when you are dating. Do you want people to know that right away?” I feel very much like maybe different with work, but yeah, in terms of somebody that I’m going to have a personal relationship with, yeah, they have to know this right away.

Candy:
It is not my identity, but it is a huge part of who I am and how I function. I need you to know that, and if you want to know more, I’ll totally help you know more. If you can’t accept it, that’s cool too, but let’s put it out there right away. I actually in a way kind of look at my ADHD the way I look at my race. I am black. You see that right away, obviously. I wouldn’t want to hide it. So it’s a very important part of who I am, even though my race does not define who I am. So my ADHD, same thing.

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, right. You can’t see your ADHD the way you can see your color, but-

Candy:
Right. Until you start talking to me.

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly.

Candy:
Especially if I hadn’t I had medication, then you might.

Dr. Hallowell:
Be careful when you explain it to people to play up the positives. I tell people, I don’t treat disabilities, I help people unwrap their gifts because we, as a group, we have tremendous positives, creativity, originality, energy, intuition, entrepreneurialism. We never give up. We never say die. I mean, the positives are all qualities that you can’t buy and you can’t teach.

Candy:
Absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
We have those and I’m very proud of my ADHD, and dyslexia, I have that too. I wouldn’t trade that either. But don’t get me wrong-

Candy:
That’s the thing.

Dr. Hallowell:
I’m sorry?

Candy:
No, I was going to say that’s the thing. I agree with that, that creative piece, that’s what my son, a couple of years ago, my older one was right before he went on medication was struggling a little bit and I could tell. I remember being his age, that junior high school age, I feel like it’s really hard when you have ADHD, particularly when you don’t know it. But he was feeling really down about not being able to stay focused and forgetting everything. I really did have to tell him, “Yeah, that part kind of sucks. We’ll work on that, but you’re so creative.” That’s the thing. Nobody can touch ADHD folks and their creativity and their energy.

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly, exactly.

Candy:
I think their passion too.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yes, absolutely.

Candy:
So I completely agree with you.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, no. It’s so true. Those are qualities you can’t buy and you can’t teach, so it’s so important to nourish them. But the black community, I don’t know if it’s still that way, but they’ve been resistant to the diagnosis and treatment, because they think it’s a bunch of white people trying to control black children’s behavior.

Candy:
Yes. I think that the black community has a lot of trauma with the medical community in general.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Candy:
Which, I mean, if you know about the Tuskegee experiment, you understand why that is, and a whole bunch of other things. So I get that. I think it’s getting a little bit better. I also know that sometimes with the black community, that spiritual piece can sometimes get in the way of the mental health piece where people kind of tell you, “Oh, pray harder. Go to church more. Tithe, fast.”

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, right.

Candy:
I am very thankful that as strong a Christian as my mother has always been, she’s also like, yeah, but God also gave us science and medicine and doctors who know things and so we should listen to them. So I’ve been fortunate, and that’s another reason that I talk about it a lot, because I want other black people and people of color to hear me and see me and see, it’s not a death sentence, first of all.

Dr. Hallowell:
Just the opposite.

Candy:
There’s so much you can do if you know you have it.

Dr. Hallowell:
Tell the listeners what you’re doing now, what you’re studying.

Candy:
I am in graduate school in a clinical mental health program so that eventually I can become a therapist.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s fun. What motivated you to do that?

Candy:
I’ve always been the person that my friends come to for advice, but what really kind of solidified it for me was going through divorce and having a great therapist who got me through it. It was very, very difficult for me on a lot of levels, and kind of as I was coming through that also while figuring out my ADHD and how to be a single parent to two boys and all of that, I just kind of felt like I want to pay this forward. I want to be able to help someone else do this thing too. So that’s [crosstalk 00:31:23].

Dr. Hallowell:
What was so difficult about it and how did your therapist help you through it?

Candy:
I did not initiate the divorce. So that was number one. I’m actually a child of divorce. I was very, very young when my parents split up. So my mom’s second husband is, he’s my dad, he’s raised me. But because of that, I always felt like I’m going to get married once and that’s it and we’re going to stay together and we’re going to figure it out. My ex-husband got to a point where he didn’t want to, and it felt like a personal failing to me. I also had a lot of, I think, kind of toxic ideas that came from being raised in evangelicalism. So there was that piece where I was like, “If I don’t hold this together, God’s not going to forgive me because he hates divorce.” So it was a lot. Then it was kind of trying to reimagine my life as a not married person and I couldn’t see it.

Candy:
My therapist really helped me see that there was something beyond what I thought my life was going to look like and there was so much beauty just kind of waiting me on the other side. I’m a really stubborn person. I really dig my heels in and she was just so patient with me and so that was really the thing that did it. It’s been rough and it’s not perfect, but I actually am really happy at this point that my ex-husband knew we needed to end because we really did and I see that now, so.

Dr. Hallowell:
What a wonderful story, and talk about paying it forward. I mean, you saw what a difference a great therapist can make and now you’re going to do the same.

Candy:
I hope so. I really do.

Dr. Hallowell:
Do you get Attitude Magazine?

Candy:
I do. Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:
You ought to write an article for them about the experience of being a single black woman mother having ADHD. I think it would be a wonderful article to write.

Candy:
Well, thank you for that encouragement. I just might do that.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah. I can connect you to the editor. It would be wonderful for you to tell the story, because, as you said, it’s not talked about that often and you have single mother, African-American, ADHD and you’re thriving. It’s wonderful.

Candy:
It is.

Dr. Hallowell:
Really, it’s such a great story.

Candy:
Thank you very much. I have a lot of great support. So I have to thank that people who love me. [crosstalk 00:34:20].

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, I think it’s all about connection. I think that’s what saves us all.

Candy:
Absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
It’s all about loving connections.

Candy:
Absolutely. I completely agree.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, you have a lot of love in your heart, Candy, and a lot of brains in your head, I’ll tell you that as well. You’re remarkable. You’re remarkable. Mother of two boys are lucky to have you.

Candy:
Thank you very much.

Dr. Hallowell:
Is there any last remarks you’d like to make to our listeners?

Candy:
I just want to thank you for just speaking on everything that you’ve been speaking on and just keep doing it. I mean, I wrote you. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of other emails from a lot of people. It’s that connection, like you said, and it’s that finding out that we really are more alike than we are different. I think you do such a great job in all of your episodes of finding that connection and reminding us of that. So again, I am so honored and humbled that you asked me to do this. Thank you so much for allowing me to speak with you today. This was fantastic. Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, I am honored and humbled that you joined us, that you agreed and I just can’t thank you enough. Thank you so, so, so, so much. Those of you please reach out to us with your thoughts just as Candy did, and we absolutely will get back to you. We’ll take some of them and answer them on the air. We’ll be listening, doing another Q and A episode soon. So write or email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Remember to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’re trying to build that community up on social media, and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen so you’ll never miss an episode.

Dr. Hallowell:
Thank you so much again, Candy. Let me close by saying Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the also wonderful, Scott Persson, that’s Persson with two S’s. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye and thank you once again to Candy. 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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Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

As fall nears closer and the pandemic rages on it can be difficult to envision what next month, or even next week will look like. In this mini episode Dr. H shares some words of advice on how to think about the future and get ready for whatever comes next.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us! Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

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

And thank you to our sponsor, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Click HERE to learn more the college of choice for students who learn differently.

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

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 this mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining me. We love having you with us and lending us your ears.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our wonderful producer, Sarah, gave me a note to base this mini on, and I’ll just read you what she gave me. She wrote, “I think we’ve all been waiting for fall to get here, kind of wait and see what’s going to happen with the pandemic. But now that it’s almost here, what if nothing changes, or worse yet we have to go into lockdown again? How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” Well, that’s the world we’re living in. Isn’t it? How have we done it so far? How do we look ahead when we don’t know what it’s going to bring? This whole thing has been an exercise in learning flexibility, an exercise in learning resilience, an exercise in learning how to find connection in places we haven’t found it before, learning new uses of technology.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My practice has drastically changed, but thanks to Zoom and the telephone, I’m able to see patients. Without Zoom and the telephone and other platforms, I wouldn’t be able to. They wouldn’t be able to see me, nor I could see them. Now, it’s not as good as in-person, but in many ways it’s better for people who leave live two or three hours away or people will live with the other side of the country or the other side of the world for that matter. It’s an absolute godsend, and I think I will continue after the pandemic is over to offer that as an option. You can either see me live and in-person or over Zoom or another platform, so it’s been wonderful in that sense. Another hidden advantage is my two kids, our two kids who live in New York City, work in New York City have come home, and they’ve been with us for the past three months to avoid the virus in New York when it was so bad, and they’re doing their work. Fortunately they can from home, so we’ve had the benefit of their wonderful company.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But the damage is colossal and the deaths and the restrictions on life and the not going to restaurants and going to movies. I used to love to take my son, who lives locally too, we’d go to Legal Seafood, a great seafood restaurant near us, and then we’d go to the Burlington Mall cinema and watch movie. We’d do that almost once a week. Sometimes Sue, my wife, would come with us, and sometimes she wanted a night to herself. But we can’t do that anymore. We haven’t been able to do that anymore, and then of course the big X factor, school. What’s going to happen with that? And we don’t know, and as we try to look ahead, people form opinions, and people think this, think that, think the other thing, and sometimes they get very angry and strident about it, but we’re still dealing with X factors, with unknowns. When you’re dealing with unknowns, you want to try to plan for various contingencies.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Harvard Business School made the worst case scenario famous by saying, “Well, let’s imagine the worst case scenario and then plan for that, and then if we do that, we’ve got everything else covered.” But we don’t even really know what the worst case scenario is with this virus. Haven’t we already had the worst case scenario? Can it get worse? Well, sure it could get worse, but what steps are we taking to make sure that doesn’t happen, and how can we maintain hope but also be realistic and prepare for bad things? So I guess my riff on Sarah’s question is use your imagination, both imagining what you hope for and imagining what you dread and get ready for all of the above, knowing that we are very resilient as humans. We’re very resilient, and what really makes us most resilient is when we’re serving one another, when we’re connected to one another, when we’re working together, because then you see we create a mission, and mission really motivates people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And our mission now is to survive and to thrive, but begins with survive, and we’d never had our survival threatened on a daily basis, at least in my lifetime, like we have it threatened today. Survival is actually a matter that we have to take precaution to ensure, and wearing masks and keeping distance and all that kind of stuff, washing hands. We’re doing things. We’ve adapted. We’re banding together. We’re helping one another. By wearing a mask, you help other people, not just yourself. By washing your hands, you help other people. I mean, by working together, we’re building muscles we didn’t know we had, and we’re learning the value of interdependence rather than independence. We’re learning the value and power of what we can do together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My daughter happens to work for the National Football League, so I’m, as a long-time 26-year season ticket holder for the New England Patriots, I’m praying not only for my sake to have football back, but for my daughter’s sake, because that’s her job. We’re hoping and praying, and I can tell you the NFL is taking tremendous care and precaution. They’re working very, very hard to do everything they can to allow the season to proceed. But again, there are X factors. Who knows what will happen? I do take my hat off to the NFL for the way they’re handling it so far, and I take my hat off to businesses and organizations everywhere as they deal with this and try to make the best of it for everybody.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Again, the people who are hit the hardest are the people who are hit the hardest by everything: people who live in poverty, people of color, people who don’t have access to medical care, who don’t have access to good food, who don’t have access to transportation, all of that, the people who usually get the short end of the stick. And I think it’s up to us to try to reach out to them in whatever ways we can. So the answer to Sarah’s question, “How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” My answer is envision and just know that you’re probably wrong, but one of your visions will be close to what happens, and you want to prepare for all of them as best you can and never worry alone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So don’t envision alone; share your thoughts with other people. Go online. Talk to neighbors, friends, however you do it, but this is a groupthink. This is not an individual think. This is a groupthink, and if we groupthink long and hard enough, this thing will come to an end, and we’ll reduce the damage it will do, and we’ll even find the hidden good things, just as I’ve discovered Zoom as a way of seeing patients and have got two of my three kids back inadvertently but as a special hidden benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. My wife and I have taken their omega-3 supplements for years, and for the past several months, I’ve been taking their CBD supplement as well. I highly recommend them both. Go to OmegaBriteWellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the code “podcast2020.” Okay, please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We love them, need them, thrive on them and would be lost without. Send your thoughts in an email or record a voice memo and send it to us at [email protected] That’s the word “connect” @distractionpodcast.com, and talk about from rags to riches, that little at sign, which never, ever, ever used to get used by hardly anybody is now everywhere. It must be so proud. It went from nothing to the penthouse, that little at sign. What a story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the infallible, lovely and brilliant Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the impeccably careful and always never missing a note or a sound, Scott Persson, and that’s Persson with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for today.

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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A Remarkable Story of Adaptability

A Remarkable Story of Adaptability

On this day in 1967 the people of Sweden successfully enacted a major change to daily life in their country. Listen as Ned shares the story and ponders whether the United States could accomplish the same kind of feat!

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

Thank you 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 a mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Always nice to be with you. Thank you for inviting me into your ear space.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, there’s a very interesting thing that happened on this day, September 3rd, way back in 1967 when I was a senior in high school. On September 3rd in 1967, as I was getting used to the 12th grade, something amazing, amazing happened in Sweden. And let me read you a paragraph from the news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
At 4:50 a.m., 4:50 a.m., 10 minutes of 5:00 in the morning on September 3rd, 1967 as crowds of people gathered to watch, all vehicles on the road were instructed to come to a halt. They were then directed to move carefully from the left side of the road to the right and wait. At the stroke of 5:00, following a radio countdown, an announcement was made, Sweden now has right-hand driving and traffic was allowed to resume. Time magazine called the event a brief but monumental traffic jam.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Can you imagine in this country if we tried to at 5:00 a.m. on a certain day tell everyone they had to turn their car around and drive on the other side of the road? It would take us decades to prepare to do that. The reason Sweden did it, of course, was all the other countries in the area had it. And 90% of the cars in Sweden, since they export so many of them, had the steering wheel on the left, which led to many accidents since they were driving on the other side, especially on narrow roads. So they made the decision to switch to the side of the road that the rest of Europe drives on. I still think of it as the wrong side of the road. I shouldn’t say that. But it’s psychologically amazing that they did it without rancor, they did it with obedience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You know, Jonathan Swift has a great part of, I think it’s in Gulliver’s Travels, where he talks about a war, that people went to war between the large-enders and the small-enders, and it was the people who cracked their boiled eggs on the large end versus those who cracked their boiled eggs on the small end. And they thought this was worthy of killing each other to determine who would hold sway, the large-enders or the small-enders. And that seems to be much more a common part of human nature than a country agreeably at 5:00 a.m. on September 3rd of 1967, “Okay, stop your car. Now, turn and go on the other side.” And everyone does it. And leave it to the Swedes to be so adaptable and so able to cooperate. We hear a lot of stories about how people won’t do it, can’t do it, haven’t done it, and protest that they shouldn’t do it. It’s wonderful to hear a story where a very, very practically impactful measure was proposed, enacted, and followed through on. Hail to the Swedes on September 3, 2020.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. My wife and I have taken their omega-3 supplements for years. And for the past several months, I’ve been taking their CBD supplement as well. I highly recommend them both. Go to omegabrigtwellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the code Podcast 2020. And please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We love them. We use them. We thrive on them. We’d be lost without them. You can email us at [email protected] That’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson. He’s also a musician, by the way. And our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin. She’s also an artist and a mom, by the way. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and I’m also Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks so much for listening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by Omega Brite 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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Exercise and ADHD Are a Winning Pair

Exercise and ADHD Are a Winning Pair

Dr. John Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, bestselling author, and Ned’s writing partner of many years, joins our host to talk about all the positive effects exercise has on your brain, including helping you focus.

Learn more in Dr. Ratey’s book, SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, or on his website, JohnRatey.com.

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

Thank you 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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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. John Ratey:
Everything that you can think of in terms of exercise has been looked to show a positive effect on attention measures. Okay? Yoga, dance is very good. Certainly racket sports and soccer, basketball, anything you can think of improves the attention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a very special episode. Not that they’re not all special, but this one is especially special. And it’s because I have my dear friend and former teacher, writing partner, squash partner, mentor, and just all-around delight in my life, Dr. John Ratey, coming to us all the way from Los Angeles.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
A little background on John. John is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and he’s the author of a number of books. He really has paved the way first in the treatment of aggression and then in the development of exercise as a really powerful treatment modality in psychiatry. In 2016, he was honored as the outstanding psychiatrist of the year for advancing the field by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. He’s an all-around wonderful man and truly an imaginative out-of-the-box thinker who also has very stellar academic credentials. So it’s an honor, a delight and a true pleasure to welcome my dear, dear friend, Dr. John Ratey.

Dr. John Ratey:
It’s great to be with you all and great to be with you Ned. About calling in from sunny Los Angeles and missing you and missing both family and our getting together in your backyard and all that, but I’m delighted to be talking about attention deficit disorder and all the stuff that we’ve known over the years and have written about and talked about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, let’s just jump right into an area of where you are a world authority, namely exercise. John wrote a book called Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, and really brought to the general public the fact that physical exercise is not just good for your heart and your bones and your blood, but it’s actually really good for your brain. Do you want to enlarge on that, John? Because I don’t think most people are aware of just how it helps your brain.

Dr. John Ratey:
Sure. Right, most people don’t realize it, but when you exercise, you are using more of your brain. When we move physically, we are using more of our brain than in any other human activity. And the way we think about the brain today is that the brain is like a muscle. The more we use it, the better it gets. And exercise challenges, moves, makes the brain really work. And this is especially relevant for people with attention deficit disorder.

Dr. John Ratey:
One of the things that was in all of our findings, from Driven to Distraction onward, is we always talked about the benefits of exercise. We could see it, patients could see it, parents could see it. I just had, I did a course… [Mary Jane Beach 00:04:32], who you may remember, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh yes.

Dr. John Ratey:
She was in the course.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh wow, wonderful.

Dr. John Ratey:
Recalling, really, our first talks down at the Cape with her parents’ group, where we picked up a lot of information, including how beneficial exercise was.

Dr. John Ratey:
But now we know, we can unpack it. What happens? Well, when we fire our nerve cells so much, we release a lot of neurotransmitters and especially we release dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin a lot. And it sort of acts like exercise, acts like a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin so that when we move, we release these neuro-transmitters, which then has an effect on our attention system throughout the brain. So it stands to reason that exercise is a very good treatment or co-treatment for attention deficit disorder.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
As well as depression and anxiety, right?

Dr. John Ratey:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Spark was written all about the psychiatric benefits of exercise, including very much so depression and anxiety, addictions, certainly attention. And a big boat of benefit is its effect on aging. It’s really the number one anti-aging tactic that one can have along with, by the way, connecting. Those two together are at the top of any wellness pyramid or list that you can find. That’s because exercise really does so much in our brain.

Dr. John Ratey:
One of the things that it causes, when we use our brain, we release a substance called BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor. Well, we know a lot about this, basically a neuro-hormone, a growth factor, in the brain because it acts in the brain like fertilizer. Meaning it keeps our brain cells young and perky as well as it makes them do what they’re supposed to do, and that is to grow and grow in our information. So when we’re-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So exercise makes you grow new nerve cells, new brain cells.

Dr. John Ratey:
But that’s the second part of the neuroplasticity. The big big effect of neuro-plasticity is making our hundred billion nerve cells more growth worthy, more growth oriented.

Dr. John Ratey:
Another part that we learned in 1999 is that we humans are making new brain cells every day. And the number one effect on promoting new growth of new brain cells is exercise. And this is study after study we’ve had. And in Spark, I talked about a thousand different articles on exercise and its effect on the brain and made it palatable for people, hopefully, and how it works because it works magnificently.

Dr. John Ratey:
The best way to make a person ready to learn, that is ready to take in information, sort it and log it in is a bout of exercise because it makes our brain cells really ready to log in the information to grow.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The cover of Harvard Magazine, which I receive every month as a Harvard grad, arrived today. And it had an elderly gentlemen on the lawn in a pushup position with a little toddler sitting on his shoulders. And the caption was, “Why exercise keeps you young.” It was very fitting for today’s conversation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then the next question is: what kind and how much? So people listening, I’m sure nobody would disagree with anything you’ve said, how could they? But then they say, “Okay, how do I get in the habit of exercising? Is it enough just to walk around everyday?” How much and what kind and how do I keep doing it consistently?

Dr. John Ratey:
Those are all very important questions. How much is, if you look at what Health and Human Services tell us, and that’s a combination of looking at all kinds of evidence, they say 150 minutes a week of exercise. What does that mean? That’s about 30 minutes every day or so. And what they say is that we should get our heart rates up to about 60 or 70% of our maximum, which means if it’s walking, it’s fast walking, it’s walking, pushing yourself a little bit, though. There’s no denying that walking itself is great. Walking will get you more focused and more ready to pay attention. Lots of studies showing that, that just walking on a treadmill and not really sweating but pushing yourself a little bit, getting a little bit breathless that your test scores go up about 20, 30%. A big part of that is the attention system is locked in and we have all kinds of evidence from all over the world, really, about exercise making people attend better and stay with it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I just wanted to confirm, you said 150 minutes a week?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. That’s the recommendation. Now, for boosting your attention system, you can do even very little. You could do five minutes of something like jumping rope or squats or pushups. Any of those will get your heart rate up and you’ll do a little bit, more than just moderate, if you do it for five minutes straight, and that will give you a burst of attention. The deal is the longer you do it, the better your attention will be. But you have to program yourself to do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, now let’s get back to the show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I recommend to people there’s an app called the Seven Minute Workout.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Most people can afford seven minutes, but it’s a pretty vigorous workout for seven minutes.

Dr. John Ratey:
Oh, it is. It is. It’s 30 seconds on a bunch of different exercises with a short rest period in between. So it gets you moving and takes you through jumping jacks to squats, to push-ups, to lunges, to crunches, to planks, all the usual suspects for aerobic kinds of exercise.

Dr. John Ratey:
Most of the studies had been on measuring aerobic exercise, that is running, walking, swimming, biking, climbing, whatever, to get your heart rate up to see the change in the attention measures that they do with tests. However, more recently in the past 15 years, we’ve done a lot of work on looking at weight training, strength training with exercise. Strength training more than weight training. Just by moving your muscles and challenging them, you have this great effect on your brain. Almost as much as you do with aerobic training.

Dr. John Ratey:
That leads to what kind of exercise to do. Well, something that you’ll come back to, something that you’ll do again and again and again. The all-time best prescription for exercise is something that you like to do, that you do outside and you do with somebody or some group because that connection has so many other positives to it, but it also keeps you honest. It also keeps you coming back and doing it.

Dr. John Ratey:
Now this can be anything. It can be Zumba, it can be biking, it can be walking. Because this all challenges your brain, it makes your brain work best.

Dr. John Ratey:
Now, how to be motivated and how to stay motivated once you start? In January every year, people join gyms and the [inaudible 00:15:06] and go for a month and then stop. What happens? Well, what you need to do is remember how you feel the day that you exercise. So right after you exercise, that day you note to yourself, like, “Note to self. I feel better today. I’m more productive today. I’m happier today. I’m more altruistic, I’m less angry, I’m less hopeless today.” Because that is the only way to sort of get you to continue.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t think it’s the only way at all. I’ve been exercising for 40 years by playing squash with the same guy on Tuesday afternoon. And, and for me, reminding myself how great I feel, that doesn’t do it. I’m too much of a hard sell. But showing up for a friend, I can’t let him down. I have to be there. So to me, the key in making it sustainable is combining it with a human connection, with a friendship. And you and I, we used to play squash on Sunday mornings for a number of years until that place closed down. I think this thing of solitary exercise, I know I don’t like it. I know a lot of people do it, but to me, to make it sustainable, I think the best way is to combine it; a group who likes to play tennis or a group who likes to run together, or a group who likes to swim together or in my case, play squash.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. No, there’s no question that that human connection makes it so worthy and bringing you back to it. And that’s why the reason why something like CrossFit has been so popular, because it’s a group. You get into a group or the running group, the walking group or playing squash, yes. I remember that very well. And then I ruined my arm after 25 years. But nonetheless, I loved it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That brings up another question that as we get older, and you and I are both in our seventies, as we get older various injuries crop up. But that still should be no reason to give up exercise. There are still ways for just about anybody to get exercise if they’re resourceful.

Dr. John Ratey:
Exactly. When you talk about ADD, and people all over the world have been watching after this and trying to understand what kind of exercise, how long. So everything that you can think of in terms of exercise has been looked to show a positive effect on attention measures. Yoga, dance is very good. Certainly racket sports and soccer, basketball, anything you can think of improves the attention.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just another idea to throw out there in terms of connection is working with a trainer. And as you know, John, I worked with this wonderfully grumpy, brilliant Russian trainer named Simon for some 15 years. You did it for a little while with him, yourself. And that’s another way of getting you to do it. If you’re you’re paying someone, you have to show up. So again, it’s a human connection. You hire someone but it’s another way of getting you to do the exercise. I think part of your message is it doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do, as long as you do it.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. And if you’re constantly… Or not constantly, but if you’re pushing yourself to do more or do better, like for instance even playing squash, it’s competitive so we wanted to do better each time. We’d push ourselves a little bit to beat one another, or you mainly beat me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But you’d start every game by saying, “I’m going to beat you today.”

Dr. John Ratey:
We had fun, though. It was over and we were laughing and we were talking. We didn’t hold it against one another.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, not at all. It was wonderful. It was wonderful. It was wonderful.

Dr. John Ratey:
I do exercises all the time now. You can do it with COVID, you can do it in your house. There’s plenty of different YouTube to follow or just do it with your mates. But it doesn’t do the same as a squash. Are you playing squash now, Ned, with COVID?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, the courts aren’t open, but my wife Sue, her gym closed, much to her distress, but she has this group and this trainer named Derek and they do it on Zoom. She’s in the living room this morning, doing these burpees and squats and pushups and weights. She’s a half an hour in her gym clothes on Zoom, and Derek is marching them through their paces and you hear the voices of all the other members. In spite of COVID and the gym closing, she’s still got her group and she does it four times a week and loves it. She wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Dr. John Ratey:
Because it does so much for the way we feel and the way we can attend and reducing stress and anxiety, which we know happens. It also boosts our mood because it changes our brain chemistry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, yes.

Dr. John Ratey:
The chemicals that I mentioned, but also on the endorphins in the endocannabinoids.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t forget oxygen. I mean, that’s another brain enhancer and you get a lot of oxygen when you exercise.

Dr. John Ratey:
You sure do. You also produce more oxytocin.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Dr. John Ratey:
Which is the love and bonding hormone. We produce more of it when we exercise. So when you’re finished exercising, you will feel more likely to be more altruistic, to be kinder, to be more interested in bonding from a biologic perspective. There’s a lot that happens in the brain, all for the good.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, my wonderful, brilliant friend, John Ratey. Thank you so much for gracing us with your really expert top-of-the-line knowledge on exercise. The take-home points, find something that you want to do over and over again. And however you find it, with a squash mate or a trainer or self-motivation remembering how good you feel when you do it, but just find a way to get yourself to do it because it’s one of those things that everyone praises but not enough people do. You could say the same for meditation, by the way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In any case, thank you. Thank you, thank you for joining us today. For more information on John, go to his website, JohnRatey.com. That’s J-O-H-N-R-A-T-E-Y.com. Johnratey.com. You can read about his books on the brain, on exercise, on attention deficit disorder, on diet and nutrition. He has a wonderful book called Go Wild about the paleo approach. He’s creating all the time and he has ADD and that’s what ADD people do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And please reach out to us with your questions, comments and show ideas. We really depend upon them. We need your input and we’re looking for it all the time. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to us at [email protected] That’s the word “connect,” [email protected] We really love to hear from you and your questions. We often put a show together based entirely on your questions, which I try to answer. sometimes they stump me, but I usually can find some answer or find someone who does know the answer.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You can also follow the Distraction Podcast on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Give us a like and a follow to stay connected with the show. We truly appreciate it as we’re trying to in the social media world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the brilliant and always on time Scott Persson and our producer is the inevitably perfect, depressingly so, perfect. The sweet and lovely, brilliant, talented Sarah Guertin. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for this time.

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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