Prescription Stimulants And Alcohol Dont Mix
If you take prescription stimulants, make sure that you never drink alcohol at the same time. Thats because mixing them with alcohol increases risk of heart problems, whether or not theyre taking the drugs in excess. There have been reports of young and otherwise healthy people who have suffered a heart attack because they took a small dose of stimulants and drank alcohol at the same time.
Cut Back On Your Obligations
For most of my life I have been a yes person. I tell people I will do something, or appear somewhere, even when I know I do not have the time or mental energy to follow through. Then I end up irritable and overwhelmed with my schedule.
I suggest you/me/we start to limit our obligations. Commit only to the causes, meetings and activities that really matter to you. Focus on giving your full attention to your family and your career.
Working Memory And Distractibility
The other really interesting piece of information I took from the Understood article was this:
The same part of the brain responsible for working memory is also responsible for attention and concentration. True story!
All of a sudden it is startlingly clear to me that not only do I have ADHD, but my terrible, no good, very bad working memory has been affecting me for my entire life. Hows that for clarity?
My next question, and hopefully yours is, what can we do about it?
Let me tell you, there is an absurdly easy solution to your poor working memory: Monotasking!
Yep, I said monotask. Not multitask. The opposite of multitasking, actually.
I first heard about monotasking from Carla Birnburg. How had this idea never entered my consciousness? Everyone with ADHD should be monotasking.
Let me give you an example of what happens when I try to multitask:
- First I pull out the ingredients to make a meal for my family.
- While doing so I hear my phone ding that I have a social media message.
- I check my phone while turning on the oven.
- I get sucked into Facebook writing a long response to a community member.
- As I finish my response I realize I forgot to respond to an email from my mother so I start that.
- Now its 85 degrees in my kitchen because I was trying to cook, email and Facebook at the same time.
The above is a true story, it happens like twice a week in my house.
Here are my suggestions for how to improve your working memory by monotasking.
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A Cocktail Of Substances Leads To Complications
Misusing prescription stimulants does not occur in a bubble. Compared with medical users and nonusers, adolescents who report nonmedical use of prescription drugs also engage in binge drinking more often. They also have lower academic attainment and a higher likelihood to screen positive for other substance abuse.
This is deeply troubling to those of us who study drugs various effects on the brain and body. Co-ingestion of prescription drugs and alcohol is linked to higher blood alcohol concentrations that cause fatal overdoses, increased risk for liver and heart damage, impaired driving and traffic accidents. Indeed, emergency room visits due to nonmedical use of stimulants tripled from 5,212 visits in 2005 to 15,585 visits in 2017, due to negative side effects including nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, and cardiovascular or psychiatric problems.
Unlike opioids, the motivation to misuse stimulants is not to check out, but rather to check in at superhero scale. Nonmedical stimulant use is primarily to increase wakefulness, having been used for decades by individuals whose job description includes sleep disruption. For emergency workers, military and shift workers, long periods without sleep can cause life-threatening lapses in attention. But these extreme scenarios bear little resemblance to the desired benefits by college students, who report popping pills to improve intellectual performance or to party longer and drink more.
Adhd Treatment Isn’t Just About Meds And Memory Issues Are One Reason Why
My partner has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and is starting meds, which have been good at improving his focus and concentration and impulsivity; in general, he has more of a calmness, less buzzy and all over the place, which is fantastic. What hasn’t changed one bit is his ‘working memory‘ as he calls it, so he still forgets instructions, doing things, pickups, etc. He’s still awful at making arrangements, and if he remembers to make them at all, he’ll book two things for the same time.
This all impacts me in a big way, of course. Do meds help with memory issues?
Meds and memory
ADHD meds dont specifically help memory in the same way that they immediately impact focus. In fact, working memory is tough to improvethe best strategies are actually behavioralputting a strict reminder system in place and a good calendar. On this last, there are a couple of different camps. Some suggest that a well-organized paper calendar with a “to-do” area is best because it is paper and easy to see all at once.
My experience is that most with ADHD don’t carry a large paper calendar with them, making this less useful in practice than theory. Better is a bullet journal combined with an electronic calendar that has an audible reminder alarm for events. If you hate electronic calendars, then use that large paper calendar in the same way you would the electronic one
But its not quite that simple
What about computer memory training?
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Examination Of Component Temporal Dynamics
Task engagement analysis involved parameterizing the timecourses to provide estimates of the association between component timecourse and experimental design. The Sternberg Encoding/Maintenance and Retrieval conditions were represented by convolving trial onsets with a hemodynamic response model. This is analogous to a conventional âSPM-typeâ analysis of âactivation,â with greater Î²-weights typically representing greater amplitude of distributed networks’ general hemodynamic responses. Î²-weights showing the relationship of each component to experimental conditions were examined to determine to which task conditions each was activated . Figures depicting ICA timecourse data averaged over either Encoding/Maintenance or Retrieval were constructed for visualization of task-associated positive and negative signal change patterns.
Prescription Stimulant Use In Adhd
It is estimated that about two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD receive pharmacological treatment and the majority of medications used are stimulants . The prescribed use of stimulant medications to treat ADHD in children age 18 and younger rose steadily from 1996 to 2008, from an estimated 2.4% in 1996 to an estimated 3.5% of US children in 2008 . Overall, prescription stimulant use among 6- to 12-year-olds is highest, going from 4.2% in 1996 to 5.1% in 2008; however, the fastest growth rate occurred among 1318 year olds, going from 2.3% in 1996 to 4% in 2008. Prescription stimulant use remained consistently low in the West than in other US regions and in lower racial/ethnic minorities.
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A Review Of Working Memory Training In The Management Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- 1Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Physiology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- 2Public Health Sector, General Directorate of Health Affairs in Najran, Ministry of Health, Najran, Saudi Arabia
- 3Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders among children. Working memory deficits underlie many of the behavioural symptoms of ADHD. Alongside psychostimulant medications, strategies to improve working memory may play an important adjuvant role in the management of ADHD. In this study, we review the role of working memory deficits in ADHD, the evidence surrounding working memory training strategies in the management of the condition, and the factors affecting the success of these strategies in alleviating ADHD symptoms. More specifically, we review several non-pharmacological interventions that target working memory deficits in ADHD, with special emphasis on cognitive working memory training. We conclude that the development of evidence-based interventions such as computerised cognitive training could provide an alternative or adjunct to the use of psychostimulants, especially in cases where side effects are a major issue.
Focus On 1 Task At A Time
If you are a list person, and many of us with ADHD are list people, only focus on one task at a time. In fact, limit your list as much as you can. I prefer to keep my list to 3-4 items per day.
Choose the task you want to start with and focus on that. Do not even look at your list again until you are finished with the first thing on your list. Trust me on this one.
Factors Potentially Influencing The Effect Of Working Memory Training
Several factors are known to influence the outcomes of CCT interventions, including characteristics of the training plan , as well as individual differences in age, cognitive abilities, biological factors, personality factors, motivational factors, and emotional factors . Awareness of the role of these factors may help optimise CCT strategies in the future.
Prescription Stimulants Do Not Improve Working Memory
If youre thinking about taking prescription stimulants to improve your memory and do better at work, heres something worth considering. Stimulants may help with your memory, but only when rote learning is involved. As far as working memoryour ability to simultaneously hold and manipulate different pieces of informationprescription stimulants dont do much for it, according to various studies.
Are you convinced that prescription stimulants do more harm than good?
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Be The Man With A Plan
In other words, if you know you have an important meeting at work, and a conference with your childs teacher in the afternoon and you are not sure how you are going to pull dinner together plan ahead!
Keep a planner with you at all times. Use your paper-based planner to help you form a muscle memory each time you write down a task/obligation. The physical act of writing will help to improve your working memory, as will the visual representation of your schedule on your calendar.
Then use a calendar app or Google Calendar to create a calendar for yourself. The key is to use something, anything, that will give you a visual and auditory reminder. We all know we need reminders.
Which Med Improves Executive Functioning And Working Memory
My blanket answer is that it depends on person and med.
Its no easy thing and it isnt something you can test for
I did so much better on zyprexa than Risperdal or abilify. Theres no reason why but it works. Others do better with either or!
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Cognitive Enhancing Drugs And Supplements
Cognitive enhancements ;have been extremely controversial in academia and scientific circles. In addition to questions of long-term health effects, many have posited an ethical dilemma, stating that cognitive enhancement is a form of cheating by artificially boosting ones brain power. Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall and nootropics such as modafinil have been shown to enhance cognition in many people taking it.; Currently, the majority of cognitive enhancing medications are prescribed for people with ADHD or other neuropsychological disorders .
I am not here to make an ethical or medical judgment on the use of cognitive enhancementsbut science has shown that it does provide a modest increase in memory and does boost overall cognition.
Other than prescription drugs, there is a booming field in brain supplements . ;Companies are finding ways to supplement the brain with minerals and vitamins needed for optimal performance. ;Brain supplements is still in its infancy so there arent too many scientific studies out there about how well they work in improving working memory.
Abusing Prescription Stimulants Can Lead To Mental Illness
The New York Times once featured the story of Richard Fee, a 24-year old aspiring medical student who suffered from addiction to prescribed stimulants. The people close to Fee reported that he had developed very serious mental-health problems, and had been experiencing hallucinations and paranoia. He ultimately took his own life.
According to various medical literature, the side effects of mental illness and psychosis are caused by methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta, two of the more popular prescription stimulant brands. The ingredient is said to have triggered terrifying hallucinations in a 15-year-old and depression in a 7-year-old.
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What Is Working Memory
Before you can go ahead with enhancing your working memory, you need to know what it is all about first. Psychologists define working memory as an individuals ability to keep and manipulate in mind several facts in a short period of time. It is viewed as a cerebral workstation where a person can store info for later use in mental exercises. It gives you the opportunity to make use of the other parts of the brain that are otherwise unengaged. Working memory differs per person, but the universal belief is that it improves with age, especially during childhood. In a population of 8 year olds, about 3 of them have the working memory of 4 year olds, while 3 more have that of 11 year olds .
Mental arithmetic is one of the many applications where working memory is used. It is also utilized in remembering a phone number when you do not have a paper to jot it down, or recalling spoken directions to an unfamiliar place.
To further illustrate what working memory is, here is an illustration provided by Brainscanr that shows the relationship of all cognitive tasks in relations to working memory:
As you can see, working memory has a strong connection in the prefrontal cortex, more so than the connection to the anterior cingulate gyrus.
Icipants And Clinical Characterization
Eighteen children/adolescents with DSM-IV 314.01 AD/HD-Combined subtype of normal IQ were recruited via physician referral and community advertisements. Potential participants were excluded for history of learning disability, neurological illness, lost consciousness >30 minutes or significant medical conditions. AD/HD and other psychiatric diagnoses were evaluated using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia . Participants with comorbid psychiatric/substance diagnoses other than Oppositional Defiant Disorder were excluded . All were regularly treated with methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine/amphetamine combination prescribed by personal physicians, at doses judged to be clinically effective by each family. Participants/legal guardians gave written informed assent/consent before study participation using procedures approved by Hartford Hospital’s Institutional Review Board. Participants received monetary compensation for their time. Sample demographic and clinical characteristics are reported in .
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Fluid Intelligence And Crystallized Intelligence
In Psychology, two kinds of intelligences are recognized. Postulated by Raymond Cattell and developed by John Horn, they are fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Cattell and Horn define fluid intelligence as a persons ability to solve problems and think logically amidst new situations, without calling the need for acquired knowledge. It is important in most aspects of life, especially for logical problem solving
Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, governs an individuals capacity to use knowledge, experience and skills. It makes use of long-term memory, that is why it is defined as a persons cumulative intellectual prowess. Forms of crystallized intelligence include general knowledge and ones vocabulary.
Summary And Interpretation Of Results
Earlier research has failed to distinguish whether stimulants’ effects are small or whether they are nonexistent . The present findings supported generally small effects of amphetamine and methylphenidate on executive function and memory. Specifically, in a set of experiments limited to high-quality designs, we found significant enhancement of several cognitive abilities. We found a small but significant degree of enhancement of inhibitory control and short-term episodic memory. Effects on working memory were small and significant in one of our two analyses. Delayed episodic memory was unique in showing a medium-sized effect. However, both working memory and delayed episodic memory findings were qualified by possible publication bias.
Theoretically, the relatively more pronounced effects of delayed episodic memory, in comparison with short-term episodic memory, suggest that stimulants may be affecting most potently memory consolidation in comparison with encoding or retrieval. This conclusion is consistent with previous proposals but, again, qualified by the possibility of publication bias.
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Forget About Those Over
A recent survey found that about 25% of adults over age 50 take a supplement to improve their brain health with the promise of enhanced memory and sharper attention and focus.
The problem? There’s no solid proof any of them work.
“The main issue with all over-the-counter supplements is lack of regulation,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, associate medical director at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The FDA doesn’t oversee product testing or ingredient accuracy they just look out for supplements that make health claims related to the treatment of specific diseases.”
In terms of brain health, this means a supplement manufacturer can claim a product helps with mental alertness or memory loss but not that it protects against or improves dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. “This way manufacturers don’t have to back up any claim that their product is effective or even safe,” says Dr. Marshall.
Potential Adverse Affects Of Chronic Stimulant Use
ADHD is now recognized as a chronic disorder that continues into adulthood; therefore, some individuals take stimulants such as MPH and d-AMP for years. The medical literature provides abundant data to support the potentially positive effect of stimulants for the majority of children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD, and stimulants have been considered to be relatively safe . However, reports of adverse events in conjunction with the use of these drugs have raised concern about their safety.
Unfortunately, there are few long-term studies on the use of stimulants for the management of ADHD; therefore, the precise long-term effects either adverse or positive remain unknown. A recent study suggests that the chronic use of stimulant medication to treat ADHD in children does not appear to increase the risk for high blood pressure in the long term, but it may have modest effects on heart rate. The MTA study found that stimulant medication does not appear to increase the risk for abnormal elevations in blood pressure or heart rate over a 10-year period; however, the effect of stimulants on heart rate can be detected even after years of use . The effect on heart rate may be clinically significant for individuals who have underlying heart conditions.