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ADHD Experts: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Diagnosed

Receiving a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be overwhelming, confusing and liberating. Now you have a name for your longtime struggles.

But you also might have many questions, such as: Where do I go from here?

Below, clinicians and coaches who have ADHD reflect back on the days they were diagnosed, revealing the insights they wish they would’ve known.

Don’t wait to get diagnosed. If you think you have ADHD, get a proper evaluation.

“I first suspected I had ADHD 10 years ago, but tried the hard way to deal with my symptoms on my own. Newly diagnosed this year, at 37, I realize all the time I wasted trying to figure myself out, without ever fully understanding the brain wiring I've been working with,” said ADHD coach Andrea Nordstrom, RPN, PG Dip. CBT.

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Introducing The Impact of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction has become the notorious new concern of the past decade. But it’s a serious issue that impacts many people’s lives. There are many misconceptions about sex addiction and what sex addicts’ lives are really all about.

I thought it was about time we brought this disorder out into the light, to remove the misconceptions about it, and help more people get treatment for sexual addiction.

That’s why I’m please to introduce our newest blog, The Impact of Sex Addiction with Dr. Linda Hatch. This blog will examine sex addiction and the impact it has on spouses, families, and others who deal with psychological and addiction problems in someone they care about. If you know someone with a sex addiction problem, this blog will likely help.

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Best of Our Blogs: July 31, 2012

It's difficult to avoid wading in the pool of self-pity. This is especially true if you have legitimate reasons why you deserve to. Maybe you're grieving the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship or you pre-diagnosis.

Once you're in the water, it feels nice even if nice means being sad, disappointed, or bitter. The desire to step outside of self-pity, while necessary for happiness, feels cold and scary. After a while people can grow more accustomed to feeling down than they do feeling hopeful or happy in their lives. They might seek out sad songs, movies or books. Or gravitate toward people with sad stories to commiserate with. But while it feels good to be in the same boat with others, doing so will never get you out of the rut you're in. It will just lead to more of the same thing you've already been feeling-despair and a sense of hopelessness.

As someone who has been on that dreary path, I can vouch for the beauty of being more positive. And contrary to what others may think, it's not about being fake, Pollyanna-ish or delusional about the truth. It's simply about living a life filled with happiness, health and hope. And who wouldn't want to live a life like that?

If you're ready to stop playing that sad music, scroll down to read our posts. You'll discover how music can play a prominent role in your psyche, how hope can help heal you, and as an added bonus this week, you might even feel inspired to make positive changes in your life.

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How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Relationship

“Autopilot is the big enemy of relationships,” according to Marsha Lucas, Ph.D, a psychologist, neuropsychologist and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love: Creating Vibrant Relationships Using the Science of Mindfulness.

That’s because our earliest experiences with relationships -- the ones with our parents or caregivers -- have a big influence on our later relationships. Without even knowing it, our early wiring tends to do a lot of the talking (and acting) in our adult romantic relationships, she said.

In her book Lucas cites a quote from Louis Cozolino, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who studies neuroscience:

“Because the first few years of life are a period of exuberant brain development, early experiences have a disproportionate impact on the shaping of our neural systems, with lifelong consequences.”

In fact, Lucas said, most of the wiring in the brain areas that affects relationships is laid down by the time we’re 18 to 24 months old.

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Is Love Losing its Meaning?

What is love?

This is a heavily debated topic. People often try to define love in terms of romantic euphoria; however, the word "love" generally is used so loosely that its meaning can become diluted. The truth is, "love" often is used to describe other emotions or strong feelings. Using the word "love" just saves us the trouble of having to figure out what we’re actually feeling. We can say we "love" anything, but what does love really mean to us?

Let’s take a look at the various ways that we label "love."

1. I LOVE chocolate.

This is "food tastes yummy" love. When we eat something that tastes overwhelmingly good, we get a physical and emotional satisfaction and that keeps us present as we eat.

Food could be love of a sort, but chocolate won't text to say it misses me during the day.
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A Surprising Happiness Booster? Cleaning My Office

One of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm.

Clutter seems like a trivial matter, but I always find that I feel more serene and cheerful if my apartment and office aren’t too messy.

Along those lines, I’ve learned from my happiness project to be wary whenever I have the urge to “treat” myself, because often my treats don’t make me happy in the long run. For instance, one of my “treats” is to let piles of papers, clothes, books, and dishes pile up–which ends up making me feel less happy.

In fact, when I want to calm myself, or cheer myself up, I often take an hour and clean my office.

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How I Create: Q&A With Author & Artist Christine Mason Miller

I’ve already had the honor of interviewing Christine Mason Miller, a writer and mixed-media artist, for several pieces for Psych Central. (See here and here.) I love her take on creativity along with how she lets creativity infuse all areas of her life.

Miller is the author of the recently published book Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World. She loves to travel, wander and explore, whether on her...
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New York City’s Sugary Drink Ban Misguided, Stupid

New York City's Board of Health is considering a ban on any sugary-laden drink greater than 16 ounces. The thinking behind this ban is simple -- if people won't control their own intake voluntarily, we -- e.g., the government -- will do it for them.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the ban in May, and since Bloomberg appoints the health board, you can imagine which way they're going to vote on the issue.

The ban is misguided for numerous reasons, but primarily because the ban is really only going to affect what cup sizes a consumer can purchase. Which is just plain stupid. If you still want 32 oz. or more of any sugary drink, you simply buy two 16 oz. cups. Or if you're dining in at most fast-food restaurants, you have access to self-service drinks -- meaning you can get as many refills as you want.

Government -- no matter how righteous the cause -- shouldn't go down the slippery slope of trying to regulate citizens' nutritional intake. While the underlying rationale might make some sense ("People's obesity is costing us money!"), it's simply ridiculous to assume such a ban would have any measurable impact on the underlying health problem.

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: A Real Sufferer Cherry-Picks the Best Anxiety Management Techniques

Have you ever done a Google search for "anxiety management tips"?

You will find a bewildering number of results. Over 4 million, in fact. (Protip: if your anxiety stems from information overload...well, searching for anxiety management techniques on this massive internet of ours might make things worse...right?)

So...if you're looking for effective anxiety management techniques, where should you start? What should you click on? Do you click on the very clinical-looking PDF document from a large university's psychology department? Do you check out the tips on a local therapist's website? Do you check the Psychcentral Library? The NIMH website? Should you read something written by a doctor? A psychiatrist?

I'm neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist. I'm just a plain old anxiety sufferer like the rest of you. Why should you care about what I have to say?1


Now, let me say this: I think there are some fantastic resources out there that are written by mental health professionals. Many of those resources are right here on Psychcentral. A therapist's perspective on anxiety management and recovery is invaluable.

But earlier this week, a few of my Twitter followers were left a bit stymied by
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Anxiety and Panic

Find Stress Relief by Spotting Your Emotional Needs

Julie Hanks, LCSW, a therapist and blogger at Psych Central, works with many clients who are besieged by stress. What her clients typically discover is that they aren’t necessarily overwhelmed by stress, they’re overwhelmed by their emotions.

“As [my clients] learn to unpack the anxiety, they discover that their worry, stress, and sense of impending doom is the not just anxiety, but the culmination of years of unprocessed emotions of all kinds,” said Hanks, who's also a media contributor and private practice consultant. “Anxiety is often the label that clients have given to the experience of being emotionally overwhelmed.”

So the key is to get to your core emotions. It might be tricky to identify these emotions, Hanks said, but doing so lets you know what you really need to feel better.

She offered these four tools to spot your core emotions.

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Best of Our Blogs: July 27, 2012

I attended a talk today by The Descendants author Kaui Hart Hemmings. She inspired us with information on the things everyone wanted to know, like what it's really like to work with George Clooney. But she also talked about the process of writing. She said like anything else, writing takes practice, work and self-discipline. It's just another thing that those who don't write take for granted. And the same could be said about your mental health.

Every morning you wake up alive, well and breathing. We're given a fresh start to change things, an opportunity for a new beginning. But most of us don't see it that way. We fill our days up with the things we still need to do, the chores, the errands the unyielding to-do list. And then we wonder why we're so unhappy.

If that sounds like you, maybe this week's posts will remind you that your health and happiness are worth investing in. Maybe it will convince you to step outside your comfort zone, to venture into the unknown, to take care of your mental health, and to finally learn about social collaboration so you can TCOB or take care of business. Just scroll down to get started!
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Introducing A Counselor’s Observations

How to solve life’s problems is not always obvious. In fact, we often get “stuck” in life, mired down by our past, our experiences, and how we’ve always done things. While most of that works for most of us most of the time, it stops working when our life stops moving forward and instead goes into neutral, wheels spinning.

That’s where counseling and psychotherapy come in. They can often help a person get un-stuck in life, or offer solutions to problems in a way we just hadn’t considered before. A therapist or counselor can’t provide a person with the answers to their problems. But they can provide the tools necessary for a person to find their own answers.

That's why I’m pleased to introduce our newest blog, A Counselor's Observations, designed to help people better understand the solutions and coping skills available to them.

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