I am excited to introduce you to Roya Kravetz of ADHD Success Coaching who is one of the 2015 ADHD Awareness Book Project contributors. Roya will be sharing more tips and stories in the October release of Wacky Ways to Succeed with ADHD.
Time after time the career coaching clients I work with tell me the same story: they have been choosing the wrong jobs or positions all their lives. These are all bright, talented, creative individuals, but they dread going to work every day and eventually end up either resigning or getting fired! Some have been diagnosed with ADHD a long time ago and some were just diagnosed recently. However, almost all of them have this one thing in common: they don’t know enough about their personality, work habits, strengths, weaknesses, or their values, to pick out a job or career that suits their talents and interests.
In many cases, my clients have read a job description and impulsively applied for the job based on one or two words they found interesting. Because they are intelligent and highly qualified, they are usually offered the position. However, what they are not aware of are the real job tasks and responsibilities that, in many cases, include enormous amounts of paper work, organization skills, and deadlines!
Why does this matter? Well, because all of those things require strong Executive Function skills, which ADDers often struggle with. As a result, once the honeymoon period in the new job is over, they start getting bored and overwhelmed, and realize they are doing things that don’t interest them. They procrastinate on their assignments and can end up in a very bad position.
On the flip side, this often leaves supervisors extremely confused since they can see how bright and creative the employee is as he struggles to be productive in the new role. Therefore, supervisors may come to the conclusion that the employee is just lazy and only wants to do the things that he enjoys! For the ADDers, this might look just like what they went through with their teachers and professors in high school and college.
I have seen this situation happen over and over again, therefore I have some advice for the individuals with ADHD who are looking for a career or job:
- Make sure you work with a professional in order to find out more about your personality, strengths, values and work habits.
- Do an informational Interview with a person in HR or if you know somebody in the firm even better. Write down all the questions you have about the job description and make sure you go over them during the interview.
- Make sure that the answers you received coincide with the job you are being interviewed for. Do not hesitate to ask the person who is interviewing you the same question or questions if you have any doubts. Make sure that you are very clear about your job description and in many cases whom you would have to report to.
- Last but not least make sure that the job that is being offered consists of you working at least 80% if not more with your strengths and maximum 20% of the time with your weaknesses. Of course you will need tools to work around your weaknesses and acquire the art of delegation later on.
Roya Kravetz is a Board Certified and ICF credentialed life coach who specializes in ADHD coaching. Roya has a multidisciplinary, multicultural, and strength based approach. You can learn more about Roya and her coaching practice at www.adhdsuccesscoaching.com.
Daily, I take my vitamin B’s, vitamin C, but vitamin D?
A couple of years ago a routine blood test showed that I had very low levels of vitamin D. You know, that vitamin that is produced automatically in our bodies when we are in the sunlight? Having lived in sunny California for over a decade, it was one of the health concerns that I had never worried about. However, my low level of vitamin D seemed to concern my doctor… a lot. Apparently research is now uncovering that the importance of vitamin D goes well beyond bone growth, a healthy immune system and calcium absorption. It is starting to be appreciated as an essential micronutrient in the overall wellness of our brains especially in increasing our impulse control, pro social behavior, memory and planning…ADHD symptoms anyone?
Which got me thinking – if I could have vitamin D deficiency living in what most would agree is one of the “vitamin D capitals of the world,” then what about all those people with ADHD who lived where the skies were not always so sunny?
Well, it seems that my vitamin D deficiency is not unusual, even for people in California. In order to get enough vitamin D the “natural way,” you have to live at latitudes below Los Angeles and risk thirty minutes of sun exposure, without sunscreen, twice a week. Something we can bet that the American Academy of Dermatology wouldn’t recommend. So it’s not surprising that approximately 70% of the U.S. population have low vitamin D levels (Patrick & Ames, 2015).
So what’s so important about Vitamin D and ADHD?
Vitamin D was found to be significantly lower in children and adolescents with ADHD (Goksugur, et al, 2014). In our body, vitamin D increases the level of an antioxidant that helps prevent damage to neurons in the brain (similar to how it’s thought that Omega-3 fatty acids seem to improve brain function in people with ADHD). It also helps increase the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain which we know help in the treatment of ADHD and the reduction of ADHD symptoms. Finally, vitamin D is also known to boost the production of another brain chemical called Acetylcholine which helps us maintain focus. As we know inattention and lack of concentration are two of the main symptoms of ADHD.
How to get your vitamin D levels tested
If you are wondering if you have enough vitamin D, check with your doctor. Your doctor can order a test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD). Even though there is still some debate as to how little is too little vitamin D, most experts agree that anyone with a 25-OHD level of less than 15 ng/mL or 37.5 nmol/L needs more vitamin D.
How to get more vitamin D if you need it
Ideally, enough direct sun exposure would provide us naturally with all the vitamin D we need. However, considering the risks, it’s probably a better idea to get vitamin D from either foods or supplements.
There are three vitamin D super foods:
- Salmon (especially wild-caught)
- Mackerel (especially wild-caught)
- Mushrooms (exposed to ultraviolet light)
Other food sources of vitamin D include:
- Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
- Tuna canned in water
- Sardines canned in oil
- Milk or yogurt — fortified with vitamin D
- Beef or calf liver
- Egg yolks
- Orange juice (fortified with Vitamin D)
- Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (fortified with Vitamin D)
Currently, Boston University vitamin D expert Michael Holick, MD, PhD recommends a dose of 1,000 IU a day of vitamin D for both children and adults – even if you are getting plenty of safe sun exposure.
The vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily — more if they get little or no sun exposure.
Do not give your child vitamin D without having your child’s blood levels tested.
As always, I recommend that you talk to your doctor about supplements and dosages.
It seems all vitamin D is not created equal
Nutritionists recommend taking vitamin D supplements in the form of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight.
Can you take too much vitamin D?
Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing and nearly all vitamin D overdoses come from supplements. Vitamin D is “fat soluble” vitamin, which means extra amount of this vitamin isn’t just eliminated from the body and it can accumulate and become toxic. If you are taking too much vitamin D, it can cause an abnormally high blood calcium level, which could result in nausea, constipation, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, and even kidney stones.
Again, always be sure to keep your doctor in the loop when it comes to any supplements you may be taking so they can help you monitor and account for it in your overall health plan.
Does vitamin D interact with other medications?
Yes, it seems it does, especially with steroid medications such as prednisone. Always, always…consult with your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements.
There are still many unknowns when it comes to what causes ADHD symptoms. As we continue to search to put together the part of the ADHD puzzle, it seems that we might just be starting to appreciate the role that vitamin D plays in overall mental health, including ADHD.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments.
Goksugur, S. B., Tufan, A. E., Semiz, M., Gunes, C., Bekdas, M., Tosun, M. and Demircioglu, F. (2014), Vitamin D status in children with attention-deficit–hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics International, 56: 515–519. doi: 10.1111/ped.12286
Rhonda P. Patrick And Bruce N. Ames. Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior. FASEB Journal, February 2015 DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-268342
DeNoon, Daniel J. (2009) The truth about vitamin D how much D do you need Retrieved February 27, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/the-truth-about-vitamin-d-how-much-vitamin-d-do-you-need
Klein, Sarah. (2014). 7 signs You May Have A Vitamin D Deficiency. Retrieved February 27, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/29/vitamin-d-deficiency-signs-symptoms_n_5200408.html
Ahh Valentine’s Day. A whole day traditionally devoted to celebrating love. And as it is quickly approaching, my thoughts turn to relationships, all sorts of different ADHD relationships, and how ADHD can be a test for even the strongest connections.
When I work with adults, often the focus of our coaching sessions turns to a request for the best ways to handle conflicts with partners. I often hear these concerns:
“I’m tired of always being late. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get there on time. I feel awful and he gets so disappointed and angry with me.”
“We got into a huge fight last night. She says I don’t listen to her and zone out in conversations. It’s not that I don’t care, but the problem is – she’s right.”
“I can’t believe I did it again. I missed our anniversary. I had it on my calendar, even left myself a note, but I completely spaced out about the date again.”
When one half of a relationship has ADHD, small adjustments in communication and expectations can make a world of difference. Here are some strategies and tools to try so your Valentine’s Day and everyday is harmonious and loving:
1. Post it, post it, post it. Lists can be a valuable time and relationship saver. You can use the basic post it note, sync your phones so they share messages and reminders or use dry erase paint on the kitchen wall – just make sure the list and reminders are in a prominent place so they can be seen and updated often.
Side notes– For non-ADHDers – Stay calm and caring if you verbally cue your partner to do something. ADHDers – remember, reminders are not meant to be nagging nor judgmental. They are merely attempts to help keep everyone on track and aware of what needs to be done.
2. Be clear and concrete in your communication. Don’t just say you are going to work late. Try to set a time range that you plan to leave the office. Then set your watch to go off ten minutes before that time so you can wrap things up or call to say you will be later than expected. It may save many dinners from being cold or tossed in the trash with an angry hungry spouse waiting for you.
Side note – for non-ADHDers, ask for clarification. If your partner says they will come by after work, ask what that means…right after they get out at five, after they go home and change, sometime around dinner, etc. That way you both clear on the expectations.
3. Schedule planning meetings. Whether you connect in the morning to review the day’s events or sit down on Sundays to map out the week, make sure you review the list and calendar together, updating what needs to be done and cross checking any scheduling conflicts.
4. Before you launch into emotional discussions, ask if the other person is available to listen. This ‘availability’ means that the other person is in a place to focus and attend to what is being said. Limit other distractions and keep the conversation short and to the point. Ask the listener to repeat what he/she heard to determine if what was heard and absorbed is correct.
5. Know each other’s love language. Each one of us has a way we show and experience love. If your spouse feels love through your helping around the house, then start a conscious practice to finish that to do list. Or if they feel connected to you when you spend quality time together, schedule dates and attention. If feeling appreciated means giving your Valentine a thoughtful gift, be sure to keep a stash of paper and bows for those occasions. Your conflicts may not even be ADHD related, but merely misunderstanding of how you express and feel loved.
Each of these tips can be applied to any ADHD relationship to increase connection and reduce misunderstanding, whether that is professional, personal, parental or romantic.
I wish you all a wonderful, loved filled ADHD Valentine’s Day!