Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often a puzzling condition for young people and their families.
On the one hand, those who have ADHD may focus intently on one issue or task to the exclusion of all others. By contrast, they can find concentration difficult and sitting still to be impossible, so they jump from one thing to another, always in motion and seemingly never satisfied.
Part of the problem is that ADHD is a misnomer. The person with ADHD does not actually have a deficit of attention — they have an overload of attention, and are not as easily able to tune out internal and external stimuli as the rest of us. Focus, therefore, can appear hard to come by, as they are constantly distracted by all the things they are noticing.
Another issue is that there are many different types of ADHD. Hyperactive ADHD will manifest as b0uncing around and being unable to sit still. Inattentive ADHD will present as being “spaced out.” Combined ADHD will appear as both, individually, or all at once.
Many young people with ADHD do grow into creative, energetic, and successful adults, given the proper support and right environment. However, life can also present frustrating challenges for these individuals, contributing to learning disabilities and difficulty “fitting in” to a society that moves at a different pace and expects different behaviors. Depression often follows, as young people with ADHD feel discouraged, or even feel like failures.
At Red Mountain, we incorporate cutting-edge treatment modalities such as neurofeedback, mindfulness-based interventions which help increase attention and focus, and executive functioning coaching to help our students with ADHD to overcome their challenges and function at a peak level.
At Red Mountain, we understand the complexities of ADHD and the three different types, which include:
Because each type presents differently and has different interventions, a team has to really understand all three to treat the catch-all term “ADHD” effectively. At Red Mountain, we have that experience and knowledge.
The Red Mountain Response to ADHD
Recognizing that each individual’s experience of ADHD is unique, we approach treatment with a customized plan for each of our students. Many of our students with ADHD have been “made to feel wrong” because of the ways in which their ADHD affects their behavior, whether it is “dreaminess” or “being hyper.” This kind of negative response can lead to reduced self-esteem and may increase their anxiety about social situations.
We help our students to see that they are not “bad,” and that they can develop skills to work effectively with their ADHD issues in a safe environment. The Red Mountain milieu is emotionally protected, and our students are held to a high standard of supporting one another. It is a comforting place for those who have not felt understood in the past. In this environment, students with ADHD not only develop coping strategies to help them thrive in spite of having ADHD, but also learn to appreciate the gifts of ADHD — which often include creativity, a unique perspective on problems, and a quick sense of humor.
Using the key Red Mountain modalities of mindfulness, meditation, yoga and martial arts, our students have increased focus, heightened self-esteem, improved social relationships, physical and emotional health, and higher levels of self-efficacy. Individual and group therapy reinforce the positive impact of these methods, and we add exercise, nutrition, medication when appropriate, and executive functioning into the mix to create a very powerful modality of treating ADHD effectively.
Launching Into Life With ADHD
Mindfulness has proven to be especially effective in treating ADHD. When our students see themselves as struggling with motivation and apathy, and label themselves as less intelligent than they actually are, we point out that these are symptoms associated with processing difficulties brought on by ADHD. Over time, we help them to modulate the ADHD symptoms and patterns of negative self-talk through our clinical program and mindfulness training.
Students also address their issues through nutritional education from our full-time wellness coach, as well as regular exercise, since both exercise and diet are widely considered to be key components of recovery from ADHD.
We believe ADHD is a condition, not a curse. When our students learn to see it in that way, it begins to lose its hold on them, even though it may never go away. Individuals living with ADHD often are creative, energetic, intuitive, and possess excellent problem-solving skills. When our students begin to understand that they can manage the symptoms of the condition and bring out their true talents, it dramatically improves their chances for success in a world that is now open to them and ready to appreciate all that they have to offer.