"When I can't pay attention, I really can't pay attention,” says Adam Levine.
The Maroon 5 singer recently revealed that he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in a “Own Your ADHD” PSA. Levine wanted to share his struggle to encourage others going through it to seek help. The disease, often characterized by hyperactivity, impulsiveness, inability to focus, and a short attention span, reportedly affects about 3% to 5% of children and adults in the United States.
The frontman isn't alone in the realm of ADHD celebrities. Channing Tatum, diagnosed as a child with both ADHD and dyslexia described his experience with prescriptions, "For a time, it would work well, then it worked less and my pain was more. I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns." He added, “I understand why kids kill themselves. I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less. I’d never do it to my child.”
Tatum is joined by Michael Phelps in the group of public figures with ADHD who nixed scripts. The Olympic swimmer and 18 time gold medal winner eventually opted to pass on the pills and manage his condition via workouts and a low-sugar diet.
Indeed, Gen. Arthur Dean, chairman and CEO of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, reported that ADHD drugs can be habit-forming with grave side effects. He explained they can “cause hallucinations and raise heart rate too quickly," adding that, “the longer you're on them, the more problems they can cause.”
While some pass it off as a “fabricated disorder”, many medical professionals tend to disagree. In her article for Maclean’s Magazine, Kate Lunau interviewed specialists on this issue, saying, “You know, ADHD is a real condition.” She went on to add:
“It is chronic, it can last a lifetime, and it can be very serious. But I think increasingly, there’s a lot of concern that at least some of these kids are being misdiagnosed.”
What can people do, then?
For those who want to address this affliction head on without potential repercussions of prescriptions, a few lifestyle tweaks might be helpful. Dr. Oz indicates “Treatment proceeds with a re-structuring of one’s life. Usually, disorganization is a leading problem in the life of the person who has ADHD. Often an organizational coach can help enormously in developing new habits of organization and time management.”
It sounds simple, but we often fall prey to our own poor diet and exercise habits. Among supplements suggested have been: essential fatty acids, flaxseed oil and vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins, fishoil, and probiotics.
A few dietary modifications, include less sugar and more vitamins and minerals. It might sound daunting, but don’t let the price tag on the organic produce send you sprinting to the sanctuary of the golden arches. Just as Michael Phelps weaned off his ADHD meds, we can slowly wean off bad foods like drinks with artificial sweeteners, additives, and processed gunk (however magically delicious it might taste for the moment it’s in our mouths).
Try label-checking, too. When you hit the fruit aisle, observe those little stickers on your fruit. The ones that have a “9” and five digits on them are the organic labels. Do you like eating cows? Make sure you know what they eat! Grass-fed is optimal, as a creature chock full of artificial stuff can’t be good. Seeing as cannibal-cows were said to be how mad cow disease began, beef eaters might research what their dinner itself is dining on –ADHD affliction or not.
Even on a healthy diet, too much of a good thing is still a bad thing.
When I went vegan the first time, I gained ten pounds in ten seconds. That’s when the obvious truth hit me: there are no easy fixes, moderation is key and (surprisingly) that after binging on the healthiest fridge remnants at midnight, waking up feels reminiscent of the morning after your 21st birthday.
For more active hacks on your disorder, physical exercise, 4 times per week, is said to be a great help. Dr. John Ratey’s book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, describes physical exercise as being among “the best treatments we have for ADHD.”
Or… you could try meditation.
— Healthline.com (@Healthline) September 12, 2013
Wait, what? A hyperactive human sitting in stillness? Am I crazy? Lidia Zylowska, M.D, a psychiatrist and founding member of the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) doesn’t seem to think so. It might sound counter-intuitive, but after a study done on ADHD patients, she reported:
“It is feasible to teach people with ADHD mindfulness. On the surface it looks like a contradiction, but if you look at it, if you look at the nature of self-regulation, it’s not.”
It’s really not so insane a concept. They asked participants to just start with five minutes at a time. From there, they slowly increased it to 20 minutes. The thing is, there’s more than just one type of meditation. You don’t have to wear special garb or sit with crossed legs or (and this part’s important) you don’t have to even sit still.
Yep. There’s something called “walking meditation” for those who feel the proverbial ants in their pants. There’s actually a plethora of different types of meditation out there, which is great because everyone responds to different kinds of treatments. In this same study, even children benefited from mindfulness meditation, according to their parents.
This combination of advice is fantastic, but we should never self-diagnose or suffer in silence: anyone dealing with symptoms should involve a third party and seek medical advice before jumping into a treatment plan.
Image via Youtube