Can Striving Be Toxic?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 0 comments

I have seen a lot of evidence that some brains have an easier time with attention, self-regulation, and executive function than others. I have also seen that our culture of meritocracy and constant striving makes it more difficult for most brains to settle into a natural harmony and flow. I think we are diminishing not only our fulfillment and connection to one another, but also our creativity, efficiency, and power because of our “push.”   Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness. Help them instead to find wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.   William Martin, The Parent’s Tao...

Read more

Different Types of ADHD

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 0 comments

Thinking of ADHD as a singular thing is not accurate, nor is it helpful. There are many different types of ADHD.   3 Different Types of ADHD according to the APA The American Psychiatric Association(APA) currently only recognizes three different types of ADHD in the DSM-V: inattentive hyperactive-impulsive combined You can see the symptom checklist here. To me this classification is only a minor step forward from the DSM-IV and is not nearly as helpful as other models I have come across. I like models that tell me about the specific strengths and challenges a person faces. This helps me tailor fit the treatment program to help their unique brain, learning style, and life situation. There are a few typologies that I find really useful in identifying different types of ADHD. The first is by Stephen Cowan in his wonderful book Fire Child Water Child. He uses the Chinese medicine framework to identify five general flavors of...

Read more

What Causes ADHD?

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 1 comment

So what causes ADHD symptoms? Over the last several posts I have described the core capacities that are diminished in ADHD: attention, self-regulation, and executive function (A/SR/EF). There are a myriad of factors that can disrupt these capacities and causes ADHD symptoms.   There are many pieces in the ADHD puzzle Is the Brain Impaired or Injured? In the last two posts, we looked at the many brain systems that are involved in A/SR/EF. All of these systems have to be healthy and working well together for a person to stay focused and get their projects done every day. And so many issues can challenge any given individual by disrupting these systems and their harmonious communication. Genetics For starters, we are all built differently. We all have different genetics. This genetic variation plays a big part in determining our strengths and challenges. Many genetic differences have been found in ADHD, the most common of which are...

Read more

Top-Down Attention

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 0 comments

Last week I wrote about bottom-up attention. Today I will describe top-down attention. Top-down attention is dominant when we feel irritable, but take deep breaths and calm ourselves we make a conscious choice to use our words rather than “hit” we set our sights on a goal and focus until we reach it meditate on our breath despite multiple distractions Top-down attention is more proactive than reactive; we consciously choose where our attention goes. It is run by more “upper” brain systems tied into our sense of self, our goals, and our understanding of how the world works. Top-down attention tends to work towards integration — helping the situation evolve in a harmonious way. It is often referred to as the “cool-know” system rather than the “hot-go” system of bottom-up attention. But the top down attention mode is more exclusionary and focused than bottom-up attention. This is...

Read more

Bottom-up Attention

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Attention/ADHD | 0 comments

Attention can be practically broken down into two broad categories: bottom-up attention and top-down attention. Today we will focus on bottom-up.   Children are run by bottom-up attention   Bottom-up attention is dominant when a loud noise from the street outside interrupts our reading the flashy images turn our head as we walk by a department store TV grumpiness fills our body when we have not had enough sleep old memories of being traumatized color our present experience Bottom up attention is more reactive rather than proactive; we don’t have conscious control over where our attention goes. It is run by more automatic “lower” brain systems rather than chosen by our “upper” ones. And bottom-up attention is more open; it allows in more inputs compared with the more exclusionary awareness of the top-down mode. Brain Regions of Bottom-up Attention The neurobiological hub of bottom-up attention...

Read more