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Mindful : April 2016
MINDFUL PARENTING FOR ADHD By Mark Bertin New Harbinger • 2015 ADHD: WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW By Katherine Ellison & Stephen P. Hinshaw Oxford • 2015 THE MINDFULNESS PRESCRIPTION FOR ADULT ADHD By Lidia Zylowska Trumpeter • 2012 THE FAMILY ADHD SOLUTION By Mark Bertin St. Martin’s • 2011 COGNITIVE- BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR ADULT ADHD By Mary V. Solanto Guilford • 2011 5 Helpful Books on ADHD MINDFUL RECOMMENDS whether mindfulness might be of spe- cial use to people with ADHD. In 2004, she and Susan Smalley, an accomplished researcher and now a professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry at UCLA, established the university’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. Three years later, they collaborated on the seminal study published in 2008. “ We initially faced a lot of skepti- cism from our colleag ues,” Zylowska recalled. “Some said it was a setup for failure: You’re asking people who can’t sit still and focus to sit still and focus.” To the skeptics’ surprise, the majority of the pilot-study patients not only endured through the eight- week course, but reported—and demonstrated—improvements in focus and mood. Even so, Zylowska and Smalley thought they could make mindfulness even more user-friendly for people with ADHD, and so went on to devise a new, customized training program. Their eight-week course on “Mind- ful Awareness Practices for ADHD” features brief periods of sitting meditation—15 minutes at the most— combined with other modifications such as walking meditation, counting breaths, and imagery. Group discus- sions touch on concerns common to people with ADHD, such as that they talk too much and don’t listen enough. GETTING RID OF THE GREASE For adults who’ve spent lifetimes coping with clumsy distraction, the practice of mindfulness and its accom- panying teachings of acceptance and compassion for oneself and others can also be particularly helpful in coping with what Holly Seerley, a therapist in Mill Valley, California, calls the “g reasy buildup” of the disorder. “That includes all the low self-esteem and negative self-talk,” says Seerley, who has led ADHD support groups for the past decade. “ Like when you tell your- self, ‘ I screwed up again. What a loser. I can’t believe I did that.’ ” It’s all a matter of being able to shift your attention—a core feature of the practice. Says Bertin: “ You just move from the judgment to the idea that this is how things are, and I’m working on it.” For Deb Rowley, a psychothera- pist and ADHD coach in Madison, Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2009, this ability to shift away from negative thoughts is much more important than simply striving to have a still mind. Rowley is one of millions of women who grew up struggling with ADHD and yet slipped under the radar, avoiding diagnosis, while boys of the same age got tracked and treated. Boys have historically been about three times as likely to be diagnosed as girls, although for adults, the rates are evening out. That’s because ADHD often manifests differently in boys than it does in girls. Boys tend to be more hyperactive and impulsive, and naturally attract more attention, while girls, with some exceptions, are more day-dreamy. The trouble with this picture is that by the time girls grow up, we’ve accumulated much more of that “greasy buildup” of repeated mistakes, failures, injuries, accidents, and near-to-the-ground self-esteem. Women with ADHD are 42 mindful April 2016 health