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Old 10-02-2013, 05:11 PM   #1
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MODS - Please move where appropriate. I just wasn't sure of where it should go.

I wanted to talk with adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The more I pay attention to my eating habits, the more I find that I'm super impulsive when it comes to eating. I don't think it's just "low willpower". I think it's more like "high impulsivity." My teenager was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 and I always assumed it was inherited from his dad who is bipolar.

I'm curious to talk with others who have ADHD as adults and whether this has negatively impacted their lives and their weight loss journey.

I know that I am a very high-energy person and I'm even more high-energy since losing about 40 pounds. I have a demanding job where I am required to multi-task all day and be on my feet most of the day. To me, this is fun! My idea of torture is being forced to sit at a desk for an 8-hour shift and I don't know HOW my husband and others do this and enjoy it. I've never taken a desk job in my whole life. While I enjoy classes, love to learn, and can become extremely focused on an assignment, I can't stand to sit in a classroom for very long and I get very restless and start to have difficulty focusing on the speaker.

I also do the majority of the housework at home, keep track of the budgets, and am very good with details, planning ahead and working efficiently. I love having lots of things to do and I HATE weekends where I have nothing going on. I don't like sitting down for long either and, when I'm on my computer at home, I'm often flipping between a few open browser tabs reading things. I can become engrossed in a novel but lose attention after about half an hour or less and find myself playing on my phone or looking for something to clean at home. Some people dream of a vacation lying on the beach. To me that sounds horribly dull to just sit around and do nothing lol.

I also exercise daily and am involved in a few work-related organizations around town. My mind is always going, always thinking, jumping around topics in my head. Sometimes I can't sleep because my brain won't shut off.

However this IS NOT negatively impacting my life except I am recognizing the impulsiveness around food. I also tend to get focused on food and cannot stop thinking about it. Someone said I could have ADHD or similar since my son does, and I just wondered about others' experiences, if this sounds familiar to them.

Has anyone else experienced ADHD in a mostly positive way? How do you control impulsiveness around food?
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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My goodness if you lived in Jersey, we could be best buds! lol

I don't know if its ADHD in my case because I can focus on one task if I need to. However I am like you, even with the multiple browsers open for simultaneous reading! I prefer to bounce around from thing to thing, always on the go. I find that if I have down time is when I eat. I am bored with pretty much any down time. I almost find it depressing not to have something to do every waking moment.

I seriously struggle with not being busy and out and about every waking momnet if my day. I was just thinking yesterday, how when I do feel the need to relax, sitting for about 5-10 minutes does the trick and then I'm up and puttering around and onto something else. I tend to start many projects and I have been working on starting one task, then finishing it before moving on to the next. I learned in a recent class that having multiple tasks going at once, is not effective time managment, but I get board with one task if I see it through from beginning to end without switching to something else. Even my house cleaning effects this.

I don't think I'm impuslive though. I'm actually super big on planning, like everything. I do calculate everything I do, which I can see in my eating habits *at times* that I'm actually to calculated with my food plans and I start to feel frustrated then go crazy and then make an unplanned (and often poor) food choice.

My son is diagnosed on the austism spectrum. He also has issues with OCD and anxiety and issues with impulsiveness. He's not considered adhd though for the same reason, that he is able to focus when he wants to.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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Hi alaskanlaughter-

I can definitely relate to what you explained. I was the student in school who daydreamed and had a tough time with homework and had an incredibly messy room. I was diagnosed with "part-ADHD" or "part-ADD" at a young age. I tried Ritalin in junior high, it helped me focus, then I went off of it and I have been on Strattera and Dexedrine at later points in my life. I didn't like the side effects of those meds, and I don't currently take any of those meds but focusing, organizing and not procrastinating are huge challenges for me. I think that what has helped are 'tricks' like keeping my keys, change, cards, etc in the same place, focusing on tackling things bit by bit, not overwhelming myself. I also have tried to accept myself more for who I am, not berating myself for losing things like I used to.

Yes, I can absolutely relate to the frustrations I have had with weight loss, I think that is such an issue because weight loss requires dedication and focus. I never connected the ADHD to weight loss difficulty, but it truly makes sense why it is so tough for me, thank you for connecting those dots with your post! I think for me, I tend to focus more on things that I want to do and that I enjoy, maybe if I saw weight loss as something that I want to do for me instead of a chore, then it wouldn't be so tedious and arduous, which tends to cause me to give up more easily because I lose interest.

There are some good books: Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell and Healing ADD by Daniel Amen.

I sincerely hope for the best with this for you. I have tried to grow to accept myself for who I am with this issue, I hope you can too because you are a lovely person.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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Has anyone else experienced ADHD in a mostly positive way? How do you control impulsiveness around food?
If ADD/ADHD were "a mostly positive" experience, it wouldn't be classified as a medical disorder. People may cope with it well and be successful in spite of it, but I don't think there's anything inherently positive about having it.

I don't know if the mods will let it stay up, but here's an article from NPR about the possible connection between ADHD and obesity:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/20/185521490/adhd-in-childhood-may-feed-obesity-in-adults

And here's an article from Additude (an ADD/ADHD magazine) on how "end impulsive eating":
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7306.html
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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If ADD/ADHD were "a mostly positive" experience, it wouldn't be classified as a medical disorder. People may cope with it well and be successful in spite of it, but I don't think there's anything inherently positive about having it.

Actually many experts disagree and even argue that ADHD is classified as a "disorder" only because of the modern method of education that teaches to only one kind of learner. Rather, they argue that ADHD is simply a "learning style" that reflects one way that the brain can be organized.

One theory links the ADHD brain as a genetic adaptation that is highly suited to the skills of "warriors and hunters," while the more common, non-ADHD brain is more suited to "gatherers."

Another theory links the ADHD to PTSD of the parents. ADHD being the adaptation to deal with "war" (again linking to the skills needed as a warrior) and the non-ADHD brain is the adaptation for times of peace and abundance.

I find ADHD fascinating, because my learning style and level of distractibility lines up more with the ADHD model mentally, but not physically. Even as a small child, I had a body that could sit motionless for hours, but a mind that was in constant movement, easily distracted and always flitting from subject to subject. Luckily I my thoughts were SO swift that I could usually hide the fact, in class, that I wasn't paying attention. I would hide novels in my math book for example and read during class.


Hubby calls me "ferret in a glass ball factory, constantly being distracted by all the pretty "ooh shiny" things.

I have the attention span of a gnat for anything that doesn't interest me. Almost everything interests me, but only for five minutes. A few things interest me to the point that I can become hyperfocused (which is sometimes considered an ADHD variant or symptom). During hyperfocus, the rest of the world disappears. If I was caught up in a good book, for example, the house could burn down around me, and I'd never notice.

Such intense hyperfocus is often seen in ADHD as well as in people with OCD and Autism spectrum disorders as well.

Whether these patterns of learning and thought are true "disorders" or just normal patterns that are no longer considered useful, is difficult to say, but an argument can be made for both perspectives.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:46 PM   #6
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thank you everyone! I've nodded in agreement with so many responses that I can't figure out how to quote them all to reply....but YES I know exactly what most of you are talking about with ADHD-like behaviors....it's taken me a very long time to start wondering "does everyone's brain work like this? and what if i'm the only one?"....I feel like my brain just works 50%faster than anyone else's, zooming all over the place....

for me it HAS been positive, because it allows me to tackle so many things in my life quickly and efficiently and successfully - work, kids, home life, budgeting, extra activities, etc - so maybe it's not worth looking into a "diagnosis"...I doubt I will....because whatever it is, is not impacting me negatively beyond weight loss

kaplods - I agree with the link between PTSD and ADHD...I just was at a conference that touched on that...I posted it in here under another thread title "epigenetics"
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
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thank you everyone! I've nodded in agreement with so many responses that I can't figure out how to quote them all to reply....but YES I know exactly what most of you are talking about with ADHD-like behaviors....it's taken me a very long time to start wondering "does everyone's brain work like this? and what if i'm the only one?"....I feel like my brain just works 50%faster than anyone else's, zooming all over the place....

for me it HAS been positive, because it allows me to tackle so many things in my life quickly and efficiently and successfully - work, kids, home life, budgeting, extra activities, etc - so maybe it's not worth looking into a "diagnosis"...I doubt I will....because whatever it is, is not impacting me negatively beyond weight loss

kaplods - I agree with the link between PTSD and ADHD...I just was at a conference that touched on that...I posted it in here under another thread title "epigenetics"

I find the field of epigenetics fascinating, perhaps especially because I am adopted. The interaction between environment and genetics makes more sense to me than the either/or debates, or maybe I just want to feel integrated myself.

I became interested in ADHD when I read an article by a physician who linked her own childhood ADHD with her fibromyalgia as an adult. She believes there is a link between fibromyalgia and ADHD and that fibro may be a natural progression of ADHD, or that the brain physiology that causes one, also causes the other.

She believes both are caused by "over active" or overly sensitive neurons which fire too-easily and too-rapidly compared to "normal."

The theory makes sense, but there's not much research support at this point (and most of what does exist was done by the aforementioned doctor herself, so observational bias has to be considered).

Interesting theory though.

Btw, have you ever noticed time "distortion" as a result of your "fast brain?"

Sometimes it seems others are in "slow mo" and it takes "forever" for others to respond or get to the point in a conversation. I literally become distracted during the time it takes for someone to answer or finishing a question I've asked. Or if they're talking on a topic I know a lot about or one I find boring I have to fight the urge to rush them through to "new" or "more interesting" part.

The fibro has allowed me to see the reverse. During the "brain fog" of bad flare, my brain can work so slowly that my husband will have time to repeat his question twice, or ask, "Did you hear me?" before I've finished processing the question.

Hubby says now I finally know what it feels like to try to talk to me on my normal or manic days (that is with someone who thinks at a higher speed). He says I also often leave vital information out of a conversation because I've "said it in my head" and don't always realize I haven't said all of it out loud.

From my perspective, he isn't picking up on the obvious... that what I left unsaid was so obvious he should have made the connection.

Even though I know it's my fibro or normal brain at work, being out of sync is equally frustrating whether my brain is working much faster or much slower than the people I'm talking to.

It's one of the reasons I'm more comfortable with written communication, because I can use whatever pace I need.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:27 AM   #8
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A few things:

There are three different types of ADHD. I noticed that Kaplods spoke about not having the physical manifestation of ADHD, and I thought I would share.

There's ADHD combined, where an individual exhibits both qualities of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention.

There's ADHD Predominately Inattentive Type where a child or adult has more aspects of inattentiveness. They may still exhibit some of the hyperactivity/impulsivity, especially in thought-processing, but they show more signs of inattentiveness. This is your disorganized daydreamer, and people with this kind of ADHD often go undiagnosed due to not having the more in-your-face symptoms. This is what type of ADHD I have.

Then there's ADHD Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type. These are your individuals who have more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, but are more capable as far as staying focused on their environment. I worked for a woman like this, and it was somewhat strange. Her mind would go 90 miles an hour, and she would talk that way to people. Everyone that worked for her was always confused, as she went so quickly with directions and where she was going in her thought-process. She was always flying off half-cocked on things; however, when I would walk into her office, it was sooo organized. When she started rattling off to me, however, I could clearly see how disorganized her mind was.

Anyway, I hope that cleared some things up. Now, as far as ADHD being a way of thinking or a syndrome. Hm. I would put it in the same category of autism. It's a way of seeing and interacting with the world, and it's all along a spectrum.

Now, there are many benefits to having ADHD, but I can't say that many feel it is a positive experience. My ADHD students are always creative. They're mover and shakers if you keep them on the right track. Most of my ADHD students have been very bright. Most are capable of picking up and understanding complex concepts much quicker than some of my other students.

On the flip side, however, for the hyperactive types, they have a number of social issues. Students (and unfortunately, teacher) become annoyed by their behavior, thinking that it is rude. They make poor decisions in a split moment that can cause great damage to their lives. My inattentive types? They're always forgetting their homework. Always forgetting their books. They ace their tests, but fail to follow directions carefully on a big assignment. They lose their cellphones, their keys, their... everything. It's a life of frustration.

And Kaplods picks up one of my greatest challenges... the distortion of the fast brain. This functions a little differently with the inattentive type, but I can live inside my brain fog for hours. I jump quickly from one place to another in my head, leaving those I'm talking to behind. I often find myself being the one in the vehicle saying random things I have noticed. I am a TERRIBLE conversationalist in a car, and it often leads people to just kind of ignore me when I'm commenting on my surroundings so much. When things pile up with multi-tasking, my brain moves so quickly from one thing that I need to do to another that I end up not getting anything done. It's frustrating, because I know that I'm doing this in my head, but it is hard to stop. Some one will have a whole conversation with me on the phone, and I won't remember a bit of it. Some one can have a whole conversation with me to my face, and I come out of some never-ever land that I was in to realize this person is talking to me and I have no idea what they're talking about. It is distressing. I've received multiple benefits from my fast brain as far as processing, but it's not done me much good because I have trouble properly applying it.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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Btw, have you ever noticed time "distortion" as a result of your "fast brain?"

Sometimes it seems others are in "slow mo" and it takes "forever" for others to respond or get to the point in a conversation. I literally become distracted during the time it takes for someone to answer or finishing a question I've asked. Or if they're talking on a topic I know a lot about or one I find boring I have to fight the urge to rush them through to "new" or "more interesting" part.

He says I also often leave vital information out of a conversation because I've "said it in my head" and don't always realize I haven't said all of it out loud.
.
YES exactly!! I talk so much to my DH in my head when he's not around...I'm just thinking through conversations...and sometimes I'll forget to ACTUALLY tell him something because we already "had" this conversation before, it was just in my head though

I also find myself getting bored during conversations....And I struggle not to interrupt someone else because, when I have a comment or question in the conversation, I need to ask it NOW because by the time they're done talking I will have forgotten what it was...OR I'm trying so hard to remember what I wanted to say, that I then don't listen to what they're finishing saying
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:08 AM   #10
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A few things:

There are three different types of ADHD. I noticed that Kaplods spoke about not having the physical manifestation of ADHD, and I thought I would share.

There's ADHD combined, where an individual exhibits both qualities of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention.

.
My teenager was diagnosed with ADHD combined when he was 5.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:26 PM   #11
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Actually many experts disagree and even argue that ADHD is classified as a "disorder" only because of the modern method of education that teaches to only one kind of learner. Rather, they argue that ADHD is simply a "learning style" that reflects one way that the brain can be organized.

One theory links the ADHD brain as a genetic adaptation that is highly suited to the skills of "warriors and hunters," while the more common, non-ADHD brain is more suited to "gatherers."

Another theory links the ADHD to PTSD of the parents. ADHD being the adaptation to deal with "war" (again linking to the skills needed as a warrior) and the non-ADHD brain is the adaptation for times of peace and abundance.

I find ADHD fascinating, because my learning style and level of distractibility lines up more with the ADHD model mentally, but not physically. Even as a small child, I had a body that could sit motionless for hours, but a mind that was in constant movement, easily distracted and always flitting from subject to subject. Luckily I my thoughts were SO swift that I could usually hide the fact, in class, that I wasn't paying attention. I would hide novels in my math book for example and read during class.


Hubby calls me "ferret in a glass ball factory, constantly being distracted by all the pretty "ooh shiny" things.

I have the attention span of a gnat for anything that doesn't interest me. Almost everything interests me, but only for five minutes. A few things interest me to the point that I can become hyperfocused (which is sometimes considered an ADHD variant or symptom). During hyperfocus, the rest of the world disappears. If I was caught up in a good book, for example, the house could burn down around me, and I'd never notice.

Such intense hyperfocus is often seen in ADHD as well as in people with OCD and Autism spectrum disorders as well.

Whether these patterns of learning and thought are true "disorders" or just normal patterns that are no longer considered useful, is difficult to say, but an argument can be made for both perspectives.
There are certainly a lot of theories about the origins and appropriate classification of ADD/ADHD. I think I come down pretty close to Russell Barkley on this, because I do believe that there are no inherent advantages to having the condition. I also think that what is currently classified as ADD/ADHD is probably actually a number of different types of problems that haven't yet been conclusively identified and incorporated into clinical practice. (Not an original idea, I know.) "Learning differences" may account for some cases, but I don't think they account for all of them. That explanation certainly doesn't account for mine, and I don't think the evolutionary adaptation answers fit well either. But what do I know?

On a related note, unless I'm mistaken, the current version of the DSM, as full of cowpies as it probably is, does include language in its diagnostic criteria for ADHD that the behaviors considered when diagnosing the condition be disruptive, developmentally inappropriate, and interfere with the individual's ability to function. Assuming that they have competent and thorough physicians (), this should more-or-less rule out a clinical diagnosis of ADHD in people who display above-average levels of the triad of behaviors used to diagnose the disorder, but who don't actually have any major problems functioning (i.e., who consider having their unusually wired brains "a positive experience"). You can be impulsive and daydreamy without having ADHD.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:36 PM   #12
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Ah, but functionality, developmental appropriateness, and disruptiveness are all, in part, culturally defined and therefore largely "in the eye of the beholder." After all, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and included in the early DSM editions. It was considered dysfunctional, developmentally inappropriate and disruptive.

Also no disorder is considered to have absolutely no advantages. So a person diagnosed with or having symptoms of ADHD may have mixed experiences, both positive and negative. Even being a sociopath or psychopath has some advantages.

Many ADHD diagnosed children thrive in a homeschooling environment. Does homeschooling "cure" ADHD? Or is it more likely that the ADHD behavior was maladaptive, inappropriate, and disruptive only in a conventional school environment. If the learning environment were more flexible, it's likely fewer children would be diagnosed ADHD.

I would agree that I do not meet the diagnosis of ADHD, but I do know people who "grew out of the diagnosis" only because as an adult they had more control over their environment and choices.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:52 AM   #13
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For me, mindless multi-tasking makes me struggle. I am one of those people who really just can't focus, for example right NOW, I am browsing here with my morning coffee, spoon feeding a baby in another hand, watching a toddler on the floor and seeing a cartoon, while eating. No wonder I loved being a 911 operator, doing 50 things at once.

As you all know, food and distractions = overconsumption. That's just me though, so I premeasure things.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #14
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I think we have to remember that diagnosis is for the purpose of treatment. If the symptoms are not causing negative effects in an individual's life that would be eased if they were medicated or went through more behavioral based counseling (can't think of the word for that right now), then there would be no point making a diagnosis. That is why the proper diagnosis of ADHD deals with those individuals who are having negative consequences in their lives. Whether others have ADHD brains without those negative consequences, some one much smarter than me would have to say.

I do believe it is true that society has created the workplace and schools around an ideal set of personality and cognitive traits. In terms of Myers-Briggs, one only has to be an IP (Introvert/Perceiving) in an EJ (Extrovert/Judging) world to see that it was not set up for with that particular set of strengths in mind.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:18 PM   #15
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So after reading this thread and those articles I am 99% sure I have ADHD lol

Which actually cracks me up a little because yesterday after my behavioral neuroscience class i was joking with my hubby that I need to get on ADHD stimulant meds because they rev up a hormone in the body that promotes appetite suppression and ups the metabolism.

His story discussing it talked about children he had that started losing weight after starting their ADHD meds so he told their parents to feed them milkshakes and other high fat high cal food every day and were still losing even after. I was like I need THAT drug lol
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