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ADHD Scoring Points: How to Convert High Energy into Winning with Mind Power


Dr. Christine Silverstein


children and parenting

Dr. Christine M. Silverstein's innovative Hypno-Coaching programs, ”Winning Ways for Teens,” “Operation Heal,” “Fertility Enhancement Coaching,” & “Winning Ways for Wrestlers,” assist clients to reach their ideal performances, using Mindful Toughness skillsets. She has presented her work on All Business Media TV & Radio interviews. As a gifted storyteller, in her latest book, Wrestling Through Adversity: Empowering Children, Teens, & Young Adults to Win in Life, she discusses the historical antecedents to our national mental health crisis of young people & provides approaches to overcome past traumas and become resilient in face of adversity.

ADHD Talking Points--A Perfect Storm is Brewing

According to the news article on February 12, 2024, by journalist Kate Armanini of the Chicago Tribune, 'a perfect storm' is brewing as she described how frustrations are mounting from shortages of such drugs as Adderall and other ADHD medications during a mental health crisis in the US. This is so as 50,000 Americans committed more suicides by the end of December 2023 than ever recorded.

Armanini interviewed Jennifer Howell, a mother of a 10-year-old boy, Linus, who is diagnosed as having ADHD and who has exhibited many behavioral symptoms of restlessness, impulsivity, and challenges focusing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated them. She described a scenario of how after the first doses of Adderall her son changed instantaneously within 24 hours, which she emoted was "enough to make us cry."

Armanini further added that the relief for Linus was short-lived when the US Food and Drug Administration announced that a nationwide shortage of Adderall left millions scrambling to attain the medication for Linus and others, and stated that there is no end in sight. The American Professional Society of ADHD, advocates for the disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, stated that "it is the single biggest crisis right now in clinical mental health." The incidence of ADHD in children was cited by Armanini as 9.8 percent of children aged 3-17. There was some speculation that working online during the pandemic seemed to change those with ADHD, which spiraled out of control even with adults, who were diagnosed with it as an accepted sequel to childhood inattention and impulsivity. 

Although initial manufacturing challenges of shortages have been resolved, there are long-lasting effects in that many pharmacies have unpredictable inventory and many patients are reportedly trapped in a storm from getting what is needed to perform at work, school, or to live their lives. 

Since only a 30-day supply is prescribed at a time, it presents challenges to parents, teens, young adults, and mature adults to gain access to Adderall and puts them in a position to spend large amounts of time to secure the drug, adding stress to the already stressful situations of those who have the anxieties of ADHD, Armanini claimed.

To some like Linus' mother, it is very real, which makes her feel that the system is not set up to accommodate people who are "neurodivergent," that is their brains work differently than others. When taking Adderall, Linus believes that his "neurons" are working and that he is "basically a genius." This belief of dependence on an addictive drug to perform better in the view of concerned experts, like me, falls under the realm of "learned helplessness," where you feel there is nothing you can do to help yourself to learn and grow on your own without the quick fix.

It has been hypothesized that Adderall somehow mitigates the symptoms of ADHD by increasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, that using Ritalin and Adderall is no different for children than taking aspirin, and no different than taking insulin for those with Type I diabetes. In addition, prescribers and users continue to believe that the use of Adderall will only positively affect those with ADHD and not non-ADHD users, which has been debunked. As a result, these "falsehoods" are now being questioned for their veracity by everyday parents, teachers, coaches, and healthcare professionals, alike.

ADHD Counterpoints--A Hard Rain's--A Gonna Fall

By looking solely through the lens of Armanini's news article and what the journalist presented to everyday people with ADHD--that is, professionals, adults, and students--about their time management, one can see that they are wasting an inordinate amount of days in search of Adderall during shortages when they could be learning how to empower themselves and their children to use their high energy more efficiently. This is especially true for mature citizens diagnosed with ADHD because the unproven dopamine hypothesis upon which the extended use of stimulants like Adderall in adulthood is predicated has been refuted, and its overuse is being recognized by US government officials. This is so because Adderall is a Schedule II addictive drug, under the Federal Drug Control Act, along with Heroin and Cocaine, all of which have been abused and misused, leading to an opioid drug crisis where more than a million Americans have succumbed to overdose deaths since 1999, necessitating other drugs like Narcan to revive them. In addition, Big Pharma is attempting to avoid lawsuits because of the resultant US drug crisis that is hanging over its head in the face of such catastrophes as the Oxycontin scandal and the liabilities that came with it.

Some experts who work with ADHD in children as young as two, teens, and young adults are beginning to scrutinize the use of addictive drugs when there are other viable behavioral health options available that are effective long-term, especially when learned early in life. They are beginning to take a fresh look at the research that discredits the dopamine hypothesis in Adult-ADHD, and the idea that taking addictive drugs in childhood is tantamount to taking aspirin or insulin, as what we were led to believe. They are beginning to see that those children treated solely with addictive drugs and not in combination with innate Mind Power through behavioral conditioning, fare better long-term than those treated with medication alone.

There are those who are beginning to know that persons who are incessantly searching for addictive drugs could be already addicted to and dependent on them and may be already suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Take for example, Linus, in Armanini's case story, who cannot think of himself, with his diseased ADHD brain, as being a genius and reaching his potential without the use of Adderall. Drew, a 21-year-old cited by Armanini, stated that he cannot drive safely without taking his med that he started early in grade school.

People are beginning to ask questions about what they see in the Nightly News and what they want us to believe. As in Bob Dylan's song, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," they ask: "Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?" His answer in the lyrics are, "I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it... I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken... I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children."  Then the boy is asked again, "Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?"










ADHD Case in Point: Stigmatization and My Lived Expereince

So what did I see as a darling young one? In my book: Wrestling Through Adversity: Empowering Children, Teens, & Young Adults to Win in Life, I wrote that I was born with high octane energy in my veins. When I was three, I could scale a telephone pole and learned how to roller skate on my own. By the time I was 10, I imagined I was Mighty Mouse and coached myself to win the local skating race and the Queens skating championship and placed at the NYC finals. By 11, I used my pogo stick as a means of transportation across town, and even at a red light, I bounced up and down while waiting to cross the street.

It brought a smile to my face, and I was happy being me, as I used my natural energy wisely. But in school, my teachers told my mom "I had ants in my pants," implying that something was wrong with me, even though I was an A student.

In grammar school I was thrown down cement steps without a railing to hold on to. I was spanked in front of my classmates for entering the cloakroom through the entry door. For talking "too much" in class, my knuckles were hit with a ruler until they bled. In high school I was called dumb in math and was put in the last row, last seat to show it. In music class I was forced to wear a "dunce cap" to signify how stupid I was. I was not disruptive in class to warrant such punishment. I never told my parents about these abuses because I was embarrassed.

Although ADHD back then was not a formal diagnosis, my teachers believed I had it, but my family never thought of it as a disease nor as a mental disorder. It was considered by my parents as a benefit and as the "normal" energy of a highly spirited child.

In today's world, with the high prices of gasoline, we can now be conservationists. We do this by viewing those blessed with such precious commodities as a natural energy resource rather than as a diagnosis. Rather than viewing ADHD as a prison sentence within the stigmatization of a small special needs classroom or through asylum walls of our own making in the world of stimulant drugs and addiction, we envision hope for the future in a remodeled mental healthcare system of the 21st century.

ADHD Power Points: A New Mental Health Paradigm that Empowers

The medicalization of childhood ADHD began in1798 when it was recognized as inattention and was called a hyperkinetic disease. During Victorian times, crying and teething babies were given cheap OTC opium, called a "Poor Child's Nurse," to shut them up. Based on societal conceptualizations at the time, by 1937 Benzedrine, a stimulant drug, was used to curb childhood misbehavior, and it became a booming industry for drug companies from which to profit.

By 1954 Ritalin was first marketed. It has been promoted as a Godsend to teachers and as a treatment for despairing parents who felt helpless seeing their children as outcasts but never learned how to help them.

In 1998 the hottest topic of how children were running on Ritalin arose at a conference on the subject, in which Dr. Lawrence Diller wondered if there was still a place for childhood beyond drug usage and questioned whether ADHD was merely a "disease of the brain," like neuroscientists were saying.

Experts like Marilyn Wedge in her 2015 book: A Disease Called Childhood, questioned if something was wrong with children or with adults and spoke about how adults empathically transmitted their anxieties to their kids in the case of nature vs. nurture, as in Linus' mom's case who had "horrible anxiety" to find drugs for her son. As a child counselor, Wedge suggested talking to kids vs. taking drugs, which was unpopular then and still is today.

Thom Hartmann, who in his 1998 book, Healing ADD, stated that simple exercises will change daily life for those who have a different perception in a "neurodiverse" world. He suggested such exercises as finding your calm and power center, healing your wounds, and turning strengths into ADHD "Hunter" assets, as characterized in the November 2023 article on "Woman the Hunter" in Scientific American. I relate to this article about female evolution because of my lived experiences with navigating my world of ultra-refined energy and because I possess a high percentage of Neanderthal DNA found through genetic testing.

Thomas Armstrong wrote in his 2017 book, The Myth of the ADHD Child, that the world of these children are awash in a sea of negativity. He spoke about 101 ways to improve children's behavior and attention without drugs, labels, or coercion of those commonly diagnosed with ADHD.

In an article on "Universal Design for Learning (UDL)," in the Teachers College Record, the author, Valerie Zelenka, wrote about a diverse program that addresses the needs of students with and without ADHD in the classroom that does not limit universal interventions to specific learners or neurodiverse populations of students as in the past.

ADHD Scoring Points: How to Convert High Energy into Winning with Mind Power

Although highly energetic as a child and into adulthood, I never took addictive drugs or participated in any school program for ADHD. Instead, at age 10, the same age as Linus in Armanini's story, I began developing my own program for winning in sports that I now call Mindful Toughness skillsets--much of which I use today in my professional work--by converting my high energy into Mind Power to win in life.

This was accomplished by winning skating races, by earning high honors to graduate from Columbia University with a doctorate in education (EdD), and by working as an RN since the age of 19. As a Peak Performance Coach and clinical hypnosis expert for 28 years, I have worked to help children, teens, and young adults to move from the "learned helplessness" of ADHD and substance misuse and abuse to helping them to help themselves during the growth and development of their brains so they bounce back from adversity.

These Mindful Toughness skillsets, best when learned early in life and continued throughout the growth and development of the brain into adulthood, are portable, drug-free, economical, innate, and as free as the air you breathe, once learned. They are described in my book in Chapter 5: "Your Mind is an Amazing Place to Live" as well as in case stories of how I helped young people with ADHD and non-ADHD achieve success in sports, in the classroom, with hobbies such as gaming, in science programs, in social situations, and later in life in the boardroom after college.

Unlike other programs based solely on cognition and on what you should do, these Mindful Toughness skillsets--using a whole-brained holistic approach with integration of both the left and right brain--help young people and adults to access the power of the subconscious mind where all knowledge is stored, which include:

1. Self-Hypnosis that is self-induced, self-directed, and self-guided to access Mind Power and to get in the Zone

2. Breathing Easy converting energy into scoring like Mighty Mouse

3. Progressive muscle relaxation and muscle readiness to score more

4. Mental Rehearsal by using the senses and the language of dreams to see us win

5. Goal Setting directed towards winning holistically in Mind, Body, and Spirit

6. Development of Plans of Action to improve outcomes for performance goals

7. Positive Self-Talk for changing negative thinking into positive words

8.  Feedback Loop Analysis to assess progress and fine-tune actions to improve

This Hot Topic contains references to my book, Wrestling Through Adversity: Empowering Children, Teens, & Young Adults to Win in Life and are taken from excerpts in Chapter 8: "ADHD: Where did the Ants in my Pants Go?"

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