ADD/ADHD AND RETRAINING HOW THE BRAIN THINKS
Recent research indicates that not all ADD/ADHD symptoms fall into the genetic neurological, dysfunctional or disabled categories. Often children diagnosed as ADHD have experienced too much information in sound and picture images too rapidly for them to process. These are overloading their senses and are unable to process what these images represent at this speed. As a result they develop an excessive build-up of energy in the brain that causes the synapses to “rapid fire” and change the chemical balance required to keep the brain functioning normally.
Several things can create this imbalance of energy in the brain. A lack of sufficient DOPAMINE will allow the brain to become overloaded with images it cannot sort out or screen out. The normal chemical balance is then lost and the result is a build-up of energy that creates mood swings. The “rapid firing” of ideas overloads short term memory, confusion is created and the mind, overstimulated can shut down. Often headaches will result from this. The problem is incoming sound and visual images piling up over each other faster than they can be processed by the right brain. They are coming in so fast that they do not change from whole concrete images into the abstract language of the left brain. When this happens, the ideas cannot be transferred to the left brain for analysis. Not understanding and therefore not being able to store the incoming information causes a build up of energy in the brain that overstimulates the mind to such a degree that it chooses to shut down to protect itself from the electrical charges that may result in seizures.
If the brain is unable to process the new images, short term memory discards them and the student does not learn the lesson or analyze the questions asked. Overloading the right brain with the imagery of electronic games, action packed television shows or movies, flashing lights and screaming sounds of videos creates a constant state of discarding unfinished images, concepts and ideas as they enter the brain. If the student is experiencing this process often enough, they gradually RETRAIN the brain to think this is the normal way to learn.
Scientists have found that we can actually retrain the brain to do what we want. The constant use of electronic gadgetry is retraining the brain to think this rapid pace is how information should be taken in and the brain accepts the fact it cannot work the ideas out at this pace. Kept in this state of rapid input and discarding unused information, the mind reaches a state of over-stimulation that is hyper-visual, hyper-distracted, hyper-sensitive, hyper-viglilant and hyperactive.
The next stage for an ADD/ADHD student in this disturbing process is the highly emotional state of fear and anxiety. This becomes more pronounced if the main source of information is coming from electronic programming that uses violence, aggressive behavior, terrifying imagery and screaming sounds. To protect itself from damaging trauma, the brain produces the chemical CORTISOL which neutralizes and wipes out short term memory. The whole process of learning new information is then stopped at the very beginning of entry into the brain.
The energy created by electronic gadgetry spawns a frustration and anger that can affect others, as in school shootings and “road rage”. Or it develops a total feeling of helplessness and obsessive fear in the face of so much violence. As children do not have the maturity to ignore or control the negative energy, the result is hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, very short attention spans or shutting down of the mind. The child developes only a few seconds of concentration making him bounce from one activity to another and finishing none.
There are medical and natural solutions to help the ADD/ADHD individuals relax and find ways to balance the chemistry of the brain again so that they can function more normally. Generally those students who experience hyper-activity can find relief by stopping the use of electronics for entertainment and getting more physical exercise such as walking, running and sports. Physical exercise increases the supply of ENDORPHINS the body produces to help with this chemical balance. Vitamin supplements and a nutritious diet rich in amino acids, omega 3 and Vitamin B’s and daily periods of relaxation and meditation are also very beneficial in helping the brain function properly.
DYSLEXIA or being right-brained is often closely associated with ADD/ADHD students as they also tend to overdose on electronic gadgetry. They are people who enjoy experiencing life through lots of visual imagery because being right-brained, they think in concrete visual images. As with everything else in our daily lives moderation is best. Consequently, visual and auditory stimulation should be taken in small doses that will not overload the brain with “negative” energy.