There are three lines of ground-breaking scientific research that we believe point in new, exciting directions for supporting those grappling with ADHD:
- Brain changeability. We used to believe the brain patterns were fixed and set in place for life. But neuroscientists now understand that the brain keeps changing throughout the life. If that’s true, in what ways can we help the brain move in a better direction? This opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities that we’ll be discussing.
- Risk factor research. It turns out there are hundreds of studies pointing to modifiable lifestyle factors that not only predispose inattentiveness and hyperactivity, but also maintain and shape it on an ongoing basis. We’ve worked hard to gather and summarize these, so you can review them as part of making a plan for cultivating new growth in your own attentiveness – or that of someone you love.
- Mindfulness. One experience that helps the brain change in positive ways and reduces inattentiveness is mindfulness. So how do you learn that, especially if it’s so hard to pay attention in the first place? Encouraging and supporting this kind of mindfulness training in your own life, your own home and on your own schedule, is a key part of our approach as well.
And listen, we’re not making this up! Researchers at UCLA in 2008 have found tangible, measurable, significant effects on attentiveness that occur in even one 8 week mindfulness class (see Zylowska, L, et al. “Mindfulness meditation training in adults and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – A feasibility study. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2008, 11(6):737-46).
Since that time, many additional studies have confirmed this. As summarized by Dr. Donna Nikander in 2015:
- “Brain imaging of the prefrontal cortex has shown structural changes showing increased attention abilities in ADHD individuals following mindfulness training” (Flook et al., 2010; Davidson et al., 2003; Hölzel et al., 2011; Lazar et al., 2005).
- “Studies in adults with ADHD show improved attention, focus, and inhibition of automatic responses—major deficits among ADHD individuals—as a result of mindfulness meditation” (Van der Oord, Bögels, & Peijnenburg, 2012; Van der Hurk, Giommi, Gielen, Speckens, & Barendregt, 2010).
We saw this for ourselves after conducting our own randomized-controlled study of teenagers in a mindfulness class in 2012 in collaboration with Davis Behavioral Health, where we found mindfulness measurably helping teenagers improve in attentiveness, while decreasing in depression/anxiety.