Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mindfulness

Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Unlike many tools for ADHD, mindfulness develops the individual’s inner skills. It improves your ability to control your attention by helping to strengthen your ability to self-observe, to train attention, and to develop different relationships to experiences that are stressful. In other words, it teaches you to pay attention to paying attention, and can also make people more aware of their emotional state, so they won’t react impulsively. That’s often a real problem for people with ADHD.” – Carl Sherman

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. If that’s not enough they can be addictive and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. Since mindfulness is so promising as a treatment, it is important to further investigate the role of mindfulness in ADHD and its treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526699/, Aadil and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature of the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults. MBCT involves both mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms.

 

They identified 16 published trials and every one of them reported small but significant reductions in symptoms of ADHD. The improvements included significant reductions in ADHD severity, depression and emotional symptoms and increases in mindfulness, attentional ability, and quality of life. These improvements occurred even in patients who did not respond to drug treatment. Hence, MBCT is a safe and effective treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These are important and very impressive results. Mindfulness training is clearly a safe and effective treatment that may be used either as a supplement or instead of drug treatment and can help to alleviate the symptoms.

 

So, Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mindfulness.

 

“78% of participants who practiced mindful awareness reported reduction in their ADHD symptoms.” – Lidia Zylowska

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Aadil, M., Cosme, R. M., & Chernaik, J. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adults: A Literature Review. Cureus, 9(5), e1269. http://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.1269

 

Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood-onset neurological disorder that often continues into adult age. Stimulants medication are the mainstay of treatment, however, in the recent years, there has been a lot of studies conducted to understand the effectiveness and feasibility of mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. In this article, we have reviewed 17 articles to look for the beneficial effects of such therapy in adults. Overall, we found that there is a clear beneficial effect of such therapies, especially when used in adjunct with stimulant medication and may increase overall compliance. For better understanding, we suggest that large, well-designed studies should be conducted with robust strategies, allowing more comparison studies with the better analytical outcome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526699/

Higher Mindfulness Predicts Lower ADHD.

Higher Mindfulness Predicts Lower ADHD.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Unlike many tools for ADHD, mindfulness develops the individual’s inner skills. It improves your ability to control your attention by helping to strengthen your ability to self-observe, to train attention, and to develop different relationships to experiences that are stressful.” – Carl Sherman

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. If that’s not enough they can be addictive and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. Since mindfulness is so promising as a treatment, it is important to further investigate the role of mindfulness in ADHD and its treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Reported Mindful Attention and Awareness, Go/No-Go Response-Time Variability, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” (See summary below). Keith and colleagues recruited a group of college students with previously diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a group without ADHD. The students performed a go-no-go task in which they pushed a button each time a small square was presented on a computer screen and did not press the button when a different stimulus appeared. The go-no-go task is a standard test for attentional ability. They also completed measures of mindfulness, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

 

They found that there was a strong relationship between mindfulness and ADHD, anxiety, depression, and attentional ability with high mindfulness scores predicting low ADHD scores, anxiety, and depression and high attentional ability. The students who were diagnosed previously with ADHD compared to non-ADHD students had significantly higher ADHD scores and attentional ability, and lower mindfulness scores.

 

These results are correlational, so causation cannot be determined. These results, however, are in line with previous research findings that mindfulness in adults is associated with better attentional ability and lower depression, anxiety, and ADHD. This provides further evidence for the association of low mindfulness with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the potential for mindfulness training to be a safe and effective treatment for ADHD.

 

“mindfulness seems to be training the same areas of the brain that have reduced activity in A.D.H.D. That’s why mindfulness might be so important. It seems to get at the causes.” – James M. Swanson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Keith, J.R., Blackwood, M.E., Mathew, R.T., Lecci, L.B.  Self-Reported Mindful Attention and Awareness, Go/No-Go Response-Time Variability, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Mindfulness (2017) 8: 765. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0655-0

 

Abstract

The abilities to stabilize the focus of attention, notice attention lapses, and return attention to an intended object following lapses are precursors for mindfulness. Individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are deficient in the attentional and self-control skills that characterize mindfulness. The present study assessed the relationship between mindfulness and ADHD in young adults using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS), a computerized Go/No-Go task (the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA)), the World Health Organization Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS), a tool used as an adult ADHD screen, the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). We recruited 151 adult volunteers (ages 18 to 40); 100 with confirmed ADHD diagnoses and 51 control participants. Overall, participants with prior diagnoses of ADHD scored lower on the MAAS than controls and ASRS scores were strongly negatively correlated MAAS scores. Attention performance index, response time, and response-time variability subscales of the TOVA were positively correlated with MAAS scores and negatively correlated with ASRS scores. Intrasubject response-time variability on the TOVA, a parameter associated with attention lapses, was also strongly negatively correlated with MAAS scores. Overall, participants’ self-reported mindfulness, as measured by the MAAS, was strongly related to self-reports on a clinical measure of attention disorders, anxiety, depression, and multiple indices of concentration and mind wandering on a standardized Go/No-Go task, the TOVA.

Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness practice can help us pay attention better, resist distractions, be less impulsive, remember what we are doing in the moment, and regulate our own emotions, it is helpful whether we have ADHD or not. But it holds special interest for those with ADHD.” – Casey Dixon

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is currently epidemic in the US. Roughly 6.4 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.4% of American children are being treated with medication. There has been a 42% increase in the diagnoses of ADHD in the last 8 years. This increase in diagnoses probably represents an increase in awareness and willingness to diagnose ADHD rather than an increase in cases of ADHD. “Many children who like to run and jump may be high-energy. But that doesn’t mean they are hyperactive. To count as ADHD, symptoms have to be on the extreme side and have to cause problems in the child’s life. Also, they have to have been doing this for at least 6 months.” – WebMD

 

What can be done about this huge problem that is affecting such a large proportion of American children and adults? The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reduce symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. They can also be addictive and can readily be abused. If that’s not enough using drugs that alter the brain in children during the time of brain development is fraught with long-term risks. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.  Is there a better way?

 

There are indications that mind-body training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mind-body training are identical to those that are defective in ADHDattentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. Mind-body practices include meditationtai chi, qigongyoga , etc. Movement based mind-body practices would appear to be particularly appropriate as they are also exercise and as such an outlet for some of the excess energy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind–Body Therapy for Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/4/5/31/htm

Herbert and Esparham review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of mind-body practices for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

 

They report that in general movement based mind-body practices are effective for children with ADHD.  The research suggests that yoga practice improves attention, executive function, sleep patterns, produces less anxiety, more ability to focus at school, and less conflicts in children. The ancient Chinese slow movement practice of Tai Chi also appears to help with ADHD, producing significantly decreased anxiety, daydreaming, inappropriate emotions, and hyperactivity, and improved conduct. Meditation practice also appears to be effective for the symptoms of ADHD. The research indicates that mindfulness meditation practice appears to reduce ADHD symptoms and internalization, and improve attention and thinking. The research suggests that meditation practice acts by producing changes to the brains of children with ADHD.

 

These are exciting findings that suggest that mind-body practices are effective treatments for ADHD in children. This is particularly heartening as these mind-body practices are safe, and unlike drugs, have no significant side effects. They are also inexpensive treatments in comparison to active therapies and drugs. They are also convenient for the children to practice when time is available at home or school. Families and teachers can access online or purchase videos as resources to guide the practices. In addition, there are indications that these practices produce relatively permanent beneficial changes in the children’s brains, suggesting lasting benefits.

 

So, improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with mind-body practices.

 

“Mindfulness meditation for people with ADHD? It may seem like a stretch, since difficulty with mindfulness is the very challenge for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And yet recent research shows that mindfulness training can be adapted for this condition and that it can improve concentration.”  – Lynda McCullough

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Herbert, A.; Esparham, A. Mind–Body Therapy for Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Children 2017, 4, 31. doi:10.3390/children4050031

 

Abstract

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is pervasive among the pediatric population and new treatments with minimal adverse effects are necessary to be studied. The purpose of this article is to review current research studying mind-body therapies for treatment of children diagnosed with ADHD. Literature was reviewed pertaining to the effectiveness of movement-based therapies and mindfulness/meditation-based therapies for ADHD. Many positive effects of yoga, Tai Chi, physical activity, and meditation may significantly improve symptoms of ADHD among children.

http://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/4/5/31/htm

Lower Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms are Associated with Mindfulness

Lower Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms are Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Unlike many tools for ADHD, mindfulness develops the individual’s inner skills. It improves your ability to control your attention by helping to strengthen your ability to self-observe, to train attention, and to develop different relationships to experiences that are stressful. In other words, it teaches you to pay attention to paying attention, and can also make people more aware of their emotional state, so they won’t react impulsively. That’s often a real problem for people with ADHD.” – Carl Sherman

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. If that’s not enough they can be addictive and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. Since mindfulness is so promising as a treatment, it is important to further investigate the role of mindfulness in ADHD and its treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Reported Mindful Attention and Awareness, Go/No-Go Response-Time Variability, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” (See summary below) Keith and colleagues recruited college students with diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a comparable group of students without ADHD. They had the students perform a simple go/no-go task. Whenever a small square was presented on a computer screen they were to press a key as quickly as possible and whenever a different shape appeared to not press the key. From the students’ responses they measure response times, response-time variability, omission errors, commission errors, discrimination sensitivity, and an overall attention performance index. The students also completed measures of mindfulness, attention difficulties, depression, and anxiety.

 

They found the overall there was a very strong negative relationship between mindfulness and attention difficulties with high mindfulness associated with low attention problems. High mindfulness was also associated with low depression and anxiety. On the go/no-go task, high mindfulness scores were associated with high overall attention levels and discrimination sensitivity and faster reaction times, lower reaction time variability and fewer omission errors. Compared to control participants the students with ADHD had significantly lower mindfulness, greater attention difficulties, and performed poorer on the go/no-go task.

 

These results are interesting and document that ADHD in young adults is associated with low levels of mindfulness and even within the students with diagnosed ADHD the greater the levels of mindfulness and smaller their attentional and mood problems. These results should be interpreted cautiously as the study was correlational and causation cannot be conclusively demonstrated. But, given that previous studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training can improve ADHD symptoms, it seems reasonable to conclude that one cause of ADHD is low mindfulness and one way to improve ADHD is to train mindfulness.

 

So, it is clear that lower attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are associated with mindfulness

 

“adults with A.D.D. were shown to benefit from mindfulness training combined with cognitive therapy; their improvements in mental performance were comparable to those achieved by subjects taking medications. The training led to a decline in impulsive errors, a problem typical of A.D.D. Mindfulness seems to flex the brain circuitry for sustaining attention, an indicator of cognitive control.” – Daniel Goleman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Keith, J.R., Blackwood, M.E., Mathew, R.T., Lecci, L.B. Self-Reported Mindful Attention and Awareness, Go/No-Go Response-Time Variability, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Mindfulness (2017) 8: 765. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0655-0

 

Abstract

The abilities to stabilize the focus of attention, notice attention lapses, and return attention to an intended object following lapses are precursors for mindfulness. Individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are deficient in the attentional and self-control skills that characterize mindfulness. The present study assessed the relationship between mindfulness and ADHD in young adults using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS), a computerized Go/No-Go task (the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA)), the World Health Organization Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS), a tool used as an adult ADHD screen, the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). We recruited 151 adult volunteers (ages 18 to 40); 100 with confirmed ADHD diagnoses and 51 control participants. Overall, participants with prior diagnoses of ADHD scored lower on the MAAS than controls and ASRS scores were strongly negatively correlated MAAS scores. Attention performance index, response time, and response-time variability subscales of the TOVA were positively correlated with MAAS scores and negatively correlated with ASRS scores. Intrasubject response-time variability on the TOVA, a parameter associated with attention lapses, was also strongly negatively correlated with MAAS scores. Overall, participants’ self-reported mindfulness, as measured by the MAAS, was strongly related to self-reports on a clinical measure of attention disorders, anxiety, depression, and multiple indices of concentration and mind wandering on a standardized Go/No-Go task, the TOVA.

Improve ADHD in Children with Yoga

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Improve ADHD in Children with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For individuals with the ADD/ADHD wiring, who have a tendency toward addiction and extreme behavior, building awareness is essential. Mindfulness and the ability to focus go hand-in-hand. I think of mindfulness as a muscle that can be strengthened through meditation/prayer, yoga, exercise, and self-discipline.” – Michael Ferguson

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is currently epidemic in the US. Roughly 6.4 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.4% of American children are being treated with medication. There has been a 42% increase in the diagnoses of ADHD in the last 8 years. It should be emphasized that this increase in diagnoses probably represents an increase in awareness and willingness to diagnose ADHD rather than an increase in cases of ADHD. “Many children who like to run and jump may be high-energy. But that doesn’t mean they are hyperactive. To count as ADHD, symptoms have to be on the extreme side and have to cause problems in the child’s life. Also, they have to have been doing this for at least 6 months.” – WebMD

 

What can be done about this huge problem that is affecting such a large proportion of American children and adults? The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reduce symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. They can also be addictive and can readily be abused. If that’s not enough using drugs that alter the brain in children during the time of brain development is fraught with long-term risks. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.  Is there a better way?

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHDattentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. Yoga would appear to be particularly appropriate as it’s also an exercise and as such an outlet for some of the excess energy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237364/

Chou and Huang examine the ability of yoga training as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They recruited children between the ages of 8 to 12 who had been diagnosed with ADHD. They were assigned based upon their school district to either be in a no-treatment control group or receive yoga training for 40 minutes, twice a week, for 8 weeks. They were measured before and after training for concentrated targeted perception (visual pursuit task), for their “discrimination ability for reaction speed, attention deficits, and reactive stress tolerance in the presence of continuous but rapidly changing acoustic and optical stimuli” (Determination test), and physical fitness.

 

They found that the yoga practice resulted in a significant increase in accuracy and faster reaction time in the visual pursuit task, indicating improved concentration. They also found that the yoga practice produced a significant increase in accuracy and faster reaction time in the Determination test, indicating improves discrimination ability. Hence, it appears that yoga practice improves attention, both concentrated and selective in children with ADHD.

 

It needs to be remembered that the control group in the study did not receive any active treatment or exercise training. So, it cannot be determined if yoga practice was specifically responsible for the improvements or that any exercise or any intervention would have similar effects. It is possible that the increased attention, placebo effect, or experimenter bias effect might have been responsible. Future research should improve the control condition by including exercise and placebo control conditions. Regardless it is clear that the children treated with yoga practice markedly improved their attentional abilities.

 

So, improve ADHD in children with yoga.

 

“Those diagnosed with ADHD are often stressed, distracted and unable to focus. The benefits of yoga include stress relief, increased focus, self-awareness, meditation as well as confidence all things those with ADHD can benefit from without the use of medication.” – Carol Traulsen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Chou, C.-C., & Huang, C.-J. (2017). Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. PeerJ, 5, e2883. http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2883

 

Abstract

This study investigated whether a yoga exercise intervention influenced the sustained attention and discrimination function in children with ADHD. Forty-nine participants (mean age = 10.50 years) were assigned to either a yoga exercise or a control group. Participants were given the Visual Pursuit Test and Determination Test prior to and after an eight-week exercise intervention (twice per week, 40 min per session) or a control intervention. Significant improvements in accuracy rate and reaction time of the two tests were observed over time in the exercise group compared with the control group. These findings suggest that alternative therapies such as yoga exercises can be complementary to behavioral interventions for children with attention and inhibition problems. Schools and parents of children with ADHD should consider alternatives for maximizing the opportunities that children with ADHD can engage in structured yoga  exercises.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237364/

Mindfully Address Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness improves your ability to control your attention. In other words, it teaches you to pay attention to paying attention. Mindful awareness can also make people more aware of their emotional state, so they won’t react impulsively. That’s often a real problem for people with ADHD.” – Carl Sherman

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is currently epidemic in the US. Roughly 6.4 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.4% of American children are being treated with medication. There has been a 42% increase in the diagnoses of ADHD in the last 8 years. It should be emphasized that this increase in diagnoses probably represents an increase in awareness and willingness to diagnose ADHD rather than an increase in cases of ADHD. “Many children who like to run and jump may be high-energy. But that doesn’t mean they are hyperactive. To count as ADHD, symptoms have to be on the extreme side and have to cause problems in the child’s life. Also, they have to have been doing this for at least 6 months.” – WebMD

 

What can be done about this huge problem that is affecting such a large proportion of American children and adults? The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reduce symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. They can also be addictive and can readily be abused. If that’s not enough using drugs that alter the brain in children during the time of brain development is fraught with long-term risks. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.  Is there a better way?

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD, attention, impulse control, executive function, emotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Therapies for ADHD: A Meta-Analytic Review.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1384943878196201/?type=3&theater

or see summary below. Cairncross and Miller performed a meta-analysis of the published research literature (10 articles) on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They found that mindfulness training produced a significant decrease in inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity with moderate to strong effect sizes. These effects occurred regardless of whether children or adults were treated and whether self or observer ratings of behavior were used.

 

These are very impressive and clinically important findings. Mindfulness training appears to be a safe and very effective treatment for ADHD. Since, mindfulness training is targeted at improving attention to the present moment, it is not surprising that it might reduce inattention. Mindfulness training also improves executive function, cognitive control and emotion regulation. This combined by the reduced inattention decreases impulsive behavior, keeping behavior better regulated by thoughtful intentional processes rather than abrupt emotional reactions. Hence, mindfulness training can increase self-regulation which is the primary problem in ADHD. “Individuals with ADHD become more vulnerable to allowing strong psychological processes overpower their present-oriented experiences by capitulating to transient stimuli.” (Cassone, 2015, pg. 154). By increasing the ability to focus attention mindfulness training can help to overcome this central problem.

 

Given the problems with drug treatments, the ability of mindfulness training to reduce inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in both children and adults could markedly alter the standard treatment for ADHD. So, mindfully address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

 

“Mindfulness is a skill we can build. When we practice mindfulness, we practice awareness, non-judgement and stillness of mind. It seems like an excellent tool to help us learn to channel all that attention we have when we have ADHD.” – Jeff Rasmussen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Molly Cairncross and Carlin J. Miller. The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Therapies for ADHD: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Attention Disorders 1087054715625301, first published on February 2, 2016 as doi:10.1177/1087054715625301

 

Abstract

Objective: Mindfulness-based therapies (MBTs) have been shown to be efficacious in treating internally focused psychological disorders (e.g., depression); however, it is still unclear whether MBTs provide improved functioning and symptom relief for individuals with externalizing disorders, including ADHD. To clarify the literature on the effectiveness of MBTs in treating ADHD and to guide future research, an effect-size analysis was conducted. Method: A systematic review of studies published in PsycINFO, PubMed, and Google Scholar was completed from the earliest available date until December 2014. Results: A total of 10 studies were included in the analysis of inattention and the overall effect size was d = −.66. A total of nine studies were included in the analysis of hyperactivity/impulsivity and the overall effect was calculated at d = −.53. Conclusion: Results of this study highlight the possible benefits of MBTs in reducing symptoms of ADHD.

Improve Reading with Dyslexia and ADHD with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness has its roots in meditation and blends numerous approaches such as yoga. Meditation enables the individual to reprocess internal experiences with more awareness, neutrality and acceptance. It focuses on the breath to develop concentration and take control of attention. This is particularly helpful for people with specific learning difficulties who often report difficulties with concentration and attention.”

 

Reading skills have always been important but in the modern world they are essential. So, difficulties with reading can be a major obstacle in school, work, and life in general. Unfortunately, difficulties with reading are all too common. It has been estimated that 20% of the children in school struggle with reading. There are a number of problems that are responsible for these struggles, but the most common ones are dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

 

Dyslexia is the most common form of language based disability. It literally means “poor language” and affects around 15% of the population. “Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability, characterized by difficulties with word recognition, by poor spelling, and limited decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” – (International Dyslexia Association)

 

ADHD, on the other hand, also produces reading difficulties but in an entirely different way. It is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. About 6% of school aged children exhibit ADHD with about 25% of these students have other serious learning problems with oral expression, listening skills, reading comprehension, and/or math and about 50% have listening comprehension problems. Hence, ADHD appears to affect reading primarily by inattention and impulsivity.

 

Mindfulness training may be helpful with the reading problems of children with dyslexia and ADHD. It has been shown to affect many of the symptoms of these disorders, improving attention and cognitive processes, reducing impulsivity, and generally improving ADHD symptoms. So, it would be expected that mindfulness training might be helpful with the reading problems of students with dyslexia and ADHD. In today’s Research News article “Mindful Reading: Mindfulness Meditation Helps Keep Readers with Dyslexia and ADHD on the Lexical Track.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1266348443389079/?type=3&theater

or below or view the full text of the study at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4862243/

Tarrasch and colleagues recruited adult college students with either dyslexia or ADHD and measured their reading, attention, mindfulness, emotional well-being, and sleep disturbance. They were then provided with an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program which involves meditation, body scan, and yoga practices. They were re-measured at the conclusion of MBSR training.

 

They found that following the MBSR training there was a 19% decrease in reading errors and a significant improvement in sustained attention. There was an increase in lexical reading, indicating a greater reliance after MBSR on previously learned words and a reduction in reliance on phonetic reading, sounding out words. They also found significant decreases in impulsivity, perceived-stress, rumination, depression, state-anxiety, and sleep-disturbances and an increase in mindfulness. In addition, they found that the greater the increase in mindfulness the greater the improvement in reading and the greater the decrease in impulsivity the greater the improvement in reading.

 

Hence it appears that MBSR training improves reading, emotional well-being, and sleep disturbance in students. It appears that the training improves mindfulness which improves attention and reduces impulsivity and these in turn, improve reading. These are exciting results that mindfulness training can be of assistance with dyslexia and ADHD produced reading problems in college students. This suggests that mindfulness training earlier in schools may not only help students overall, but also help students with dyslexia and ADHD in their academic progress. This is a ripe area for future research.

 

So, improve reading with dyslexia and ADHD with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness is a skill that allows one to be less reactionary. Its primary force is teaching self regulation. Mindfulness (meditation) is a way of paying attention, “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis”. This skill gives the person with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) tools for moment to moment self regulation of emotional, cognitive and behavior responses, essential for effective Executive Functioning.” – Ann Farris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Tarrasch, R., Berman, Z., & Friedmann, N. (2016). Mindful Reading: Mindfulness Meditation Helps Keep Readers with Dyslexia and ADHD on the Lexical Track. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 578. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00578

 

Abstract

This study explored the effects of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on reading, attention, and psychological well-being among people with developmental dyslexia and/or attention deficits. Various types of dyslexia exist, characterized by different error types. We examined a question that has not been tested so far: which types of errors (and dyslexias) are affected by MBSR training. To do so, we tested, using an extensive battery of reading tests, whether each participant had dyslexia, and which errors types s/he makes, and then compared the rate of each error type before and after the MBSR workshop. We used a similar approach to attention disorders: we evaluated the participants’ sustained, selective, executive, and orienting of attention to assess whether they had attention-disorders, and if so, which functions were impaired. We then evaluated the effect of MBSR on each of the attention functions. Psychological measures including mindfulness, stress, reflection and rumination, life satisfaction, depression, anxiety, and sleep-disturbances were also evaluated. Nineteen Hebrew-readers completed a 2-month mindfulness workshop. The results showed that whereas reading errors of letter-migrations within and between words and vowelletter errors did not decrease following the workshop, most participants made fewer reading errors in general following the workshop, with a significant reduction of 19% from their original number of errors. This decrease mainly resulted from a decrease in errors that occur due to reading via the sublexical rather than the lexical route. It seems, therefore, that mindfulness helped reading by keeping the readers on the lexical route. This improvement in reading probably resulted from improved sustained attention: the reduction in sublexical reading was significant for the dyslexic participants who also had attention deficits, and there were significant correlations between reduced reading errors and decreases in impulsivity. Following the meditation workshop, the rate of commission errors decreased, indicating decreased impulsivity, and the variation in RTs in the CPT task decreased, indicating improved sustained attention. Significant improvements were obtained in participants’ mindfulness, perceived-stress, rumination, depression, state-anxiety, and sleep-disturbances. Correlations were also obtained between reading improvement and increased mindfulness following the workshop. Thus, whereas mindfulness training did not affect specific types of errors and did not improve dyslexia, it did affect the reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to stay on the straight path of the lexical route while reading. Thus, the reading improvement induced by mindfulness sheds light on the intricate relation between attention and reading. Mindfulness reduced impulsivity and improved sustained attention, and this, in turn, improved reading of adults with developmental dyslexia and ADHD, by helping them to read via the straight path of the lexical route.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4862243/

 

Treating Adult ADHD with Mindfulness

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life.

The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, including nervousness agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep and appetite problems, head and stomach aches, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. If that’s not enough they can be addictive and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

There are indications that mindfulness training may be a more effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD, attention, impulse control, executive function, emotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects.

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation Improves Mood, Quality of Life, and Attention in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1060527110637881/?type=1&theater

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/962857/

Bueno and her colleagues apply mindful awareness training for the treatment of adult ADHD. They found large clinically significant improvements in sustained attention, detectability, mood, and quality of life. Particularly important was the finding that mindfulness significantly improved attention as prior studies were not able to detect attentional improvement.

It is actually surprising that individuals with ADHD can sit still to meditate. But, it appears that they not only can, they report that they like it and it relaxes them.

Mindfulness practice is training in attentional focus. So, it is not surprising that this training improved attentional ability in people with ADHD. The improvement was not just in general attentional ability but also in detectability, the ability to discriminate relevant from irrelevant visual signals. Hence, mindfulness training appears to be particularly helpful in improving the ability to pay attention to the intended target while decreasing the degree to which other stimuli in the environment might intrude and distract the individual.

Mindfulness training improves executive function, cognitive control. This combined by the reduced distractibility decreases impulsive behavior, keeping behavior better regulated by thoughtful intentional processes. People with ADHD often fault themselves for their impulsive behavior and judge themselves harshly when these behaviors emerge. So, with mindfulness the individuals begin to feel better about themselves. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve the individual’s ability to keep emotions in check, to feel the emotions but to respond to them appropriately.

All of these benefits of mindfulness training for people with ADHD make it easier for them to function in life and combined with mood enhancement, produces a significant increase in quality of life. Mindfulness seems to make many aspects of the individual’s life better.

So, use mindfulness training to help manage ADHD.

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Overcome Attention Problems with Mindfulness

“ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.” Centers for Disease Control

ADHD is currently epidemic in the US. Roughly 6.4 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.4% of American children are being treated with medication. There has been a 42% increase in the diagnoses of ADHD in the last 8 years. It should be emphasized that this increase in diagnoses probably represents an increase in awareness and willingness to diagnose ADHD rather than an increase in cases of ADHD.

What can be done about this huge problem that is affecting such a large proportion of American children and adults? The treatment of choice has been to prescribe drugs, particularly stimulants such as Methylphenidate. But, this is very controversial. Using drugs that alter the brain in children during the time of brain development is fraught with long-term risks, not to mention the short-term side effects of the drugs. Is there a better way?

Today’s Research News article, “Mindfulness Training as an Adjunct to Evidence-Based Treatment for ADHD within Families”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1031079206916005/?type=1&theater

suggests that mindfulness training may be helpful. In this study mindfulness training was not used as a stand-alone treatment but rather as an addition to current treatments. So, it doesn’t completely solve the problem but is very helpful.

Mindfulness training can be a powerful tool to change the lives of ADHD sufferers. It has been shown to increase self-regulation which is exactly the primary problem in ADHD, producing problems with focusing attention. “Individuals with ADHD become more vulnerable to allowing strong psychological processes overpower their present-oriented experiences by capitulating to transient stimuli.” (Cassone, 2015, pg. 154). By increasing the ability to focus attention mindfulness training can help to overcome this central problem.

Mindfulness training helps individuals to simply watch their mental processes without getting caught up in them, without attaching to and getting carried away by intrusive thoughts. This makes the individual with ADHD better able, not necessarily to stop the onslaught of thoughts, but to let them go, to thus allow their attention to become resistant to distraction.

Mindfulness training appears to address the central problem in ADHD. It can do so with a program that costs nothing, can be practiced anywhere at virtually anytime, and has multiple other benefits.

So, be mindful and improve attention if you have ADHD, but even if you don’t.

CMCS