1. Three Most Common Misconceptions of ADHD

    June 3, 2013

    Girl with ADHD

    by TK Cooke

    Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (hereon ADHD) has come into public scrutiny as of late because of the media blitz reporting on its overdiagnosis. The increased scrutiny is not without cause—a report from Psychology Today stated that the diagnosis of ADHD has increased by more than 40% over the past decade. The increased scrutiny has also brought upon a lot of misconceptions about the disorder and what it entails. So to set the record straight, we are going to talk about some of the more common misconceptions of ADHD. The following are three of the most commonly-held misconceptions about the disorder:

    Adderall (Or any other ADHD medication) Makes You Study (Better)

    This is a common belief among those who do not have ADHD, especially those in college. Ritalin, Adderall, and other methylphenidate/amphetamine run rampant in colleges, with many students believing it to be the silver bullet to acing their finals. This is a myth. ADHD medication will not make you do anything you didn’t want to do in the first place. Although popularly labeled as a stimulant, The Last Psychiatrist thinks ADHD medication should be labeled as reinforcers instead. The medication reinforces your will—but if you do not have a will to study, then there is nothing to reinforce. Yes, Ritalin (and the like) will make you hyper-focused. But what you are going to focus on is entirely up to you. If you want to talk to your significant other, the medication will make you focus on that and no medication in the world is going to make you study if you don’t want to.

    If I Can’t Concentrate, I Must Have ADHD

    The lack of concentration is just one of the hosts of symptoms used to render a diagnosis of ADHD. If you find yourself unable to concentrate but do not display any other types of symptoms, it does not mean you have ADHD.  ADHD is broken into several subsets: inattentive, impulsive-hyperactive, or combined, and the disorder itself presents the following set of symptoms:

    • Difficulty paying attention to details
    • Easily distracted by trivial matters (such as a buzzing sound or crickets chirping)
    • Difficulty finishing work or participating in activities that requires some sort of prolonged attention
    • Frequently shifting from one thing to another without ever finishing
    • Procrastination
    • Disorganized
    • Forgetfulness
    • Tendency to make careless mistakes
    • Failure to complete tasks
    • Frequent shifts in conversation
    • Not listening to other people while they talk
    • Fidgeting, squirming when seated
    • Getting up frequently to walk or run around
    • Running or climbing excessively when it’s inappropriate (in teens this may appear as restlessness)
    • Difficulty in a quiet setting
    • Always needing to be ‘on the go’ and doing something
    • Excessive talking
    • Impatience
    • Difficulty delaying responses
    • Difficulty controlling impulse for immediate gratification
    • Frequently interrupting others in order to get your point in
    • Starting conversations at times that would seem inappropriate

    You do not have to have all the above symptoms for a diagnosis of ADHD; however you do need to display a more than just inattention. And remember, you cannot develop ADHD as an adult—the onset of the disorder is only from early childhood.

    ADHD is Not Real?

    On the other side of the spectrum are non-believers who do not believe that ADHD is a real disorder. This misconception stems from the same originating premise as the previous misconception—that the only symptom of ADHD is the lack of concentration. Although ADHD is a highly subjective diagnosis, advances in neuroscience have made it possible to diagnose the disorder via imaging studies. Brain scans have shown that those with ADHD have a variant dopamine receptor gene that has been linked to regulating behavior. In addition, studies using brain scans have also found that ADHD is related to lowered dopamine production.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

  2. On Psychological Benefits of Meditation

    April 22, 2013

    benefits of meditation

    Image Credit: Lululemon Athletica

    In the world we live in we value goals and getting the best results. It therefore might look like a paradox that people turn to meditation. Sitting in silence is not very productive one might think. But is this true? Do benefits of meditation compensate the value of time you lost sitting? Absolutely! Your mental health and well-being are priceless. We live to be happy and meditation is the path to happiness. Let’s have a look at some known meditation benefits.

    Better control and concentration

    Concentration is important to make the most out of your day at work. It allows you to do more in less time and use your time more efficiently. The Power of focus increases when you meditate regularly. The new found focus can be used for meditation but also for all other activities that ask for concentration like sports, making music or a day at work. When you have negative thoughts often or think you cannot control your own thoughts, meditation can very well be beneficial to you. It teaches you to control negative thoughts that arise and even stop them entirely. An unruly mind can come under control through meditation, which will create more peace of mind and enable you to achieve your goals. When you get irritated easily by situations you cannot control the solution is not to avoid these situations but to take distance from it. Everybody needs to wait in line sometimes, nobody likes a train delay but you cannot help it that these occasions occur. The solution to these problems is to detach yourself from these situations in your mind. You need to try to see things in the right perspective. A great benefit of meditation is that you’ll be better able to detach from unfortunate circumstances and the negative thoughts they cause.

    Improve your health

    Many studies have proven that meditation has health benefits. For example, when you feel less stressed you are a lot less likely to develop heart disease. Meditation teaches you to switch off from negative thought patterns and worries. By spending 15 minutes a day you will calm your mind and feel more relaxed overall. Our society is getting more and more aware of the link between physical health and our state of mind. Inner turmoil is often the reason for physical ailments. Because meditation stills the mind it can be a great step to avoid stress related ailments.

    Happiness and creativity

    It is fair to say that everybody seeks happiness. Happiness can be found in your own mind but if there is no peace of mind you will constantly be under attack from negative thoughts, no matter how successful you are. The act of stillness and simply being will create a happier self. An unexpected source of happiness arises when you meditate. In other words, happiness does not only depend on outer circumstances but your inner attitude is much more important. Your thinking mind often worries about the future or the past and sometimes even both. This takes out a lot of energy that covers up your creativity and spontaneity. Maybe you think you have no spontaneity or creativity but you have more potential than you think. We need a quiet mind to access these sources of inspiration. Your creative potential can be unlocked by living in the present moment.

    Find your purpose in life

    If you want to know more about the point of your existence in life, meditation can help greatly. Most of us look for external events and people to learn about themselves. When you really want to know more about yourself however, a journey inwards is also needed. Meditation provides us with a better understanding of ourselves and thus a greater understanding of life itself. New and neutral perspectives on life will be unleashed without our egoistic perspective. The answer ‘who am I’ can be answered by doing meditation.

    The first few attempts of meditation will not get you there. Meditation takes consistency and perseverance as it takes time to tame the mind. Reading about meditation alone is not enough. You really need to experience it to get a deeper feel for it. Therefore: give meditation a try because the benefits are plenty!