The Epidemic of Concentration Problems in Adulthood
Maybe it’s not a surprise that with all the noise and distractions that we see on a daily basis, that it’s getting harder and harder for adult Americans to focus and concentrate on one task at a time. It’s estimated that 11% of the United States population suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADD and ADHD are two terms for a common psychological disorder that is recognized by its symptoms. But is it, as some suggest, a diagnosis that is too often given out without proper scrutiny?
New terms like "daily bombing” are being used to define the overload of outside stimuli onto our brains — equivalent to 34 gigabytes (Gb) of information each day. That is enough to overwork some laptops in a week! It's possible that some of us are simply over-stimulated and do not really have adult ADD or ADHD. Let’s look at the common symptoms of both ADD and ADHD and how they each relate to attention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity.
ADD and ADHD are usually the result of a combination of events, somewhat like a biological and circumstantial perfect storm. The combination of genes, brain wiring, and environment mix together resulting in what we now know as ADD and ADHD. For sure, our modern technological world and social media scrolling habits do not help alleviate the risk factors of developing diagnosable adult ADD and ADHD. The way we have grown accustomed to consuming information and entertainment all the time is simply an overload for many.
Some people are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD early in life. Usually, problems arise during elementary school when teachers notice a lack of concentration or see that a child is too easily distracted beyond what is considered typical. The CDC in the US reports that 11% of all children in the U.S. aged 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Children, however, are often misdiagnosed. Hyperactivity and being distracted easily are common, natural, and healthy behaviors in childhood that could occur due to natural excitement, boredom with the curriculum, or childhood energy. A growing body of science has found that kinetic and movement-based learning, in nature and outside, is more natural for children than sitting inside at a desk for hours at a time. But many educators may not understand this, and as a result tend to view students as problematic, or class clowns, who are simply acting the natural way that children act.
As those who were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD during childhood grow up, roughly 30-60% of those will carry their struggles with ADD and ADHD into adulthood. There is a misconception that ADD and ADHD is something that only affects children and that adults aren’t affected by the symptoms. This is not the case. Many adults struggle daily with the symptoms of ADD and ADHD that can affect many aspects of their lives, from their behavioral and cognitive abilities to their mood and mental wellbeing.
Attention Deficit Symptoms
ADD and ADHD affect one’s behavior and can cause aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions.
ADD and ADHD can cause a range of emotions too — from unpredictable anger, anxiety, and boredom, to excitement. It can also cause drastic mood swings that leave others as well as the sufferer confused. With the bombardment of symptoms seemingly attacking them from all sides, it is easy to see why ADD and ADHD patients commonly suffer from depression and learning disabilities. The good news is that while ADD and ADHD can follow you into adulthood, there are natural ways to adjust the behaviors that increase the risk for struggles with ADD and ADHD.
While it's true that normal childhood behavior is frequently misdiagnosed as an attention disorder, it's also the case that ADHD often goes unrecognized throughout childhood. This was especially common in the past when very few people were aware of ADHD. Instead of recognizing your symptoms and identifying the real issue, your family, teachers, or others may have labeled you as a dreamer, goof-off, slacker, troublemaker, or just a bad student. Alternately, you may have been able to compensate for the symptoms of ADHD when you were young, only to run into problems as your responsibilities increased. The more things you’re trying to juggle —pursuing a career, raising a family, running a household—the greater the demand on your ability to organize, focus, and remain calm. This can be challenging for anyone, but if you have ADHD, it can feel downright impossible!
Typical conventional treatments for ADD and ADHD can range from medications to therapy. Various therapies such as ADD and ADHD support groups, or anger management have proven to have beneficial results. One prescription drug that conventional therapists have been pushing is an antihypertensive drug that is designed to limit the number of stimuli that are presented to the body, thereby allowing it to naturally focus on the task at hand, but like all drugs, unwanted side effects may present themselves. So are there other options?
Consider Natural Options
Prescription medications can be costly and have serious potential side effects. There are, however, natural solutions to consider when looking to get relief from ADD and ADHD symptoms. Natural remedies for ADD and ADHD can help us to "uni-task," while not taxing our neurons. Uni-tasking means focusing on and completing one task at a time. Natural options have also been proven to help aid concentration while promoting a happier mood and more positive mental state. When treating ADD and ADHD naturally, it is important to monitor your daily activities in order to keep track of what is working and what is not.
Exercise is Key!
The benefits of exercise are not solely limited to physical appearance. Exercise also has been proven to improve brain function by helping with focus and memory. By increasing endorphins within the body, it also enhances moods. Additionally, exercise has been proven to have beneficial results on patients living with ADD and ADHD. With as little as a 30-minute walk every day, you could elevate the critical brain levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Get Out Into Nature
Nature can also provide healing benefits to almost all aspects of human life. Many people suffering from ADD and ADHD have reported finding relief through gardening, biking, or just spending time in the park. These can all help provide relief from symptoms of fatigue, neuron zapping “noise” and oversensitivity.
Take a Multivitamin
Sometimes the simplest answer can be the most beneficial. A high-quality multivitamin, with the right micronutrients can help provide support for managing ADD and ADHD symptoms, by helping to increase dopamine levels, boosting the immune system, and supporting key neurotransmitters.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish and healthy oils. These are important to the development and maintenance of brain and nerve cell functions. Since the body is unable to create omega-3 fatty acids it must rely on an outside source for these nutrients. These omega fatty acids have demonstrated in studies to improve patients’ hyperactivity, impulsivity, attention, visual learning, word reading, and working/short-term memory symptoms.
One natural option showing promise in studies is Curcumin. Researchers are exploring Curcumin’s many potential benefits supporting brain health, improving digestion, boosting immune health and fighting inflammation in the body.
If being experiencing sensory overload and being overwhelmed by tasks have kept you from feeling vibrant, happy, and productive, then understand that you are not alone. An increasingly large number of adults are now functioning with and being diagnosed with adult ADD and ADHD.
But there is good news! There are multiple paths to naturally address some of ADD and ADHD’s debilitating symptoms. Don’t struggle with mood swings or lack of concentration more than you need to. You can find reprieve and better confidence and productivity using various natural options, such as only focusing on one task at a time, exercising, getting out in nature, eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and adding high-quality support supplements to your regimen. You may be able to escape the fog of ADHD to some extent by taking these natural steps. Seek relief from your symptoms and see what your full capabilities are today.