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dandman1 posted:
I'm Dan & I'm 47. Although I have not been officially diagnosed yet, I probably will be soon once I go through testing. Ever since I was a kid, I've had the 'classic' symptoms with concentration, getting distracted easily, and paying attention. At 5 years old, I was called hyper and recently found out that instead of walking to wherever, I would run. In grade school, when it came time to takes tests/quizzes, I had to be placed in a separate room. Even today, I can't simply block out the background noise and only pay attention to what's going on right in front of my face. I've also had problems with anxiety due in large part to moderate/severe childhood stuttering & all the teasing/mocking that goes along with it, which I've largely overcome.
Although I don't exhibit the hyperactivity, I'm affected by it more when it's time for bed and can't find that switch to turn my mind off and wake up, on average, at least a dozen times during the night. Having both asthma and sleep apnea doesn't help either.
I know that quite often medication is the first step in controlling the symptoms. However, I'm curious as to what, if any, alternative treatments might help, aside from exercise. I HAVE been exercising on a regular basis since December 2013, but, want to know what else might help. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
Gina Pera responded:
Hi Dan,

First, congratulations for making the connection from your lifelong "classic" challenges to ADHD. It sounds like a fit, but of course a physical evaluation (to rule out other causes) and a psychiatric examination are in order.

re: Sleep. Actually, sleep apnea and asthma are both associated with ADHD. The physiological pathways are uncertain but perhaps they share the dopamine challenges.

For some people, a low dose of stimulant medication at night helps them to sleep. For others, it might exacerbate co-existing anxiety.

For symptoms of this nature, ones that you have dealt with your entire life, I would say that any "alternatives" that might have worked would have occurred to you by now.

Of course, a good diet is important -- fewer refined carbs and sugars, protein in the morning with good fats, and smaller meals throughout the day to better regulate blood sugar. Adequate nutrition in terms of vitamins and minerals is important, too. So, look into a good multivitamin/mineral.

Getting good sleep can be a challenge for people with ADHD not taking medication. And those not taking medication really vary in the alternatives that might work for them. One person's "peaceful meditation tape" can be another's "exercise in agony."

I've written more about sleep here (where you can read many comments from adults with ADHD):

I hope this helps,

Gina Pera, author
Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?
dandman1 replied to Gina Pera's response:
Hi, Gina. Coincidentally, I AM trying to eat better, lose some weight & exercise more to see if it helps with decreasing the severity of my sleep apnea. Since December, I've been doing yoga 2-3/week and using an older model Total Gym at home for 30-45 minutes.
Since mid November, I have been TRYING to get used to using CPAP which, of course, isn't easy. Since the OSA was first diagnosed July of 2007, I've gained about 50-60 pounds which I'm guessing is the reason why it took a turn for the worse this past summer and the oral appliance I'd been using stopped working. So, yes, the diet is something i AM trying to improve. I'm currently weighing 165 which IS considered to be overweight for a 5'5" frame.
Regarding the ADHD, how is it that the OSA and asthma are associated?
As far as my anxiety, since mid October I've been seeing a therapist every 2 weeks. Upon his suggestion, I saw my GP last Tuesday, which was my 2nd visit, and he suggested I DO follow through with testing. I currently have my initial appt with a psychologist on March 17th. So, until then, this is still 'unofficial'. I do have a general physical scheduled for March 14th.
Regarding my initial question about 'alternative therapy', I have not tried anything because until recently, ADHD was never considered. Since January, I've using a Fitbit One, an activity monitor that also records sleep patterns. Using this data, I'm waking up on average 25 times each night and getting about 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep per night. This is typical since childhood and have always tended to be a 'light' sleeper.
Any other info/advice you can provide will be a help. Thanks.

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