Strategies for Thriving With ADHD and FAST MINDS

(NECN) - We're talking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and there's new information that 29-percent of ADHD patients who are diagnosed as children will still meet the criteria for the condition as an adult, according to a study from Boston Children's Hospital that we shared with you earlier this week.

Our guest is co-author of "Fast Minds -- How to Thrive if you Have ADHD (or think you might)." Dr. Craig Surman is also a neuropsychiatrist and ADHD researcher at Harvard Medical School.

Four percent of adults have ADHD. Millions more – about 10 percent of the population – have enough FAST MINDS traits to keep them from performing as well as they should. Dr. Surman says the key to better functioning starts with understanding the condition and identifying which FAST MINDS traits you have – then creating a balanced, personalized plan for adapting to your challenges using active lifestyle and behavioral strategies.

FAST MINDS is an acronym for characteristics we all have at times, but which are constant for people with ADHD: Forgetful. Achieving below potential. Stuck in a rut. Time challenged. Motivationally challenged. Impulsive. Novelty seeking. Distractible. Scattered.

Can you have some ADHD traits without necessarily having full-blown ADHD?

You can carry some of these FAST MINDS traits even if you don’t meet the full clinical definition of ADHD.

ADHD is often missed in girls and women. Why is that?

ADHD in females often gets missed because girls are less likely to attract attention for being hyperactive; instead girls and women tend to be forgetful, distractible and impulsive.

We hear about taking medications like stimulants for ADHD, is that the best approach?

Popping a pill isn’t enough. Medication can help, but effective treatment involves behavioral and lifestyle changes, too.

What are some specific strategies for people challenged by distractibility or organization or time management?
a. Break down your activity into steps by making an outline. Set deadlines, meet with other people where progress can be reviewed, or reward yourself when each task is completed.
b. Minimize internal distractions: The constant “popcorn” thoughts of an ADHD brain are distracting, so record the thoughts and review them later.
c. Minimize external distractions: De-clutter your workspace, minimize sights and sounds that may be distracting, plan intervals when you will check email (or work where there is no access to Wi-Fi); turn your cell phone off for periods of time.
d. Be aware of “critical moments”: A critical moment is the moment before you might make a bad choice. Understanding your “critical moments,” which derail you from productive, healthy, balanced living, will help you forge better choices and habits the next time they arise.

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