ADHD - Processing Speed
August 4, 2013 4:27 PM   Subscribe

Greetings all, I realize that this is not a medical forum, but I have been struggling with ADHD and a slower processing speed for most of my life. At times it has been somewhat manageable due to medications but right now it is not. This issue affects every aspect of my life and I wish that it did not. If I could solve my memory and processing speed issue, I'd be willing to wager that I would have a good shot at turning around my life. Has anyone struggled with this sort of stuff? If so, what has worked for you? I've read that biofeedback has worked for some people but it is very expensive and not an option right now. I have also been told that doing things like crosswords and sudoku can be of benefit and I am not very good at either one of those. I apologize, but if anyone has any solutions that has worked for them with regards to improving their memory and processing speed, please let me know regardless of how outlandish it might sound. Ultimately, the big goal is to be able to become an efficient learner and to be able to play ball in the same park as everyone else, but to this day, that has not been the cards that I have been dealt. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
posted by nidora to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever worked with a skills-oriented counselor/coach/therapist/variousnames? Despite popular connotation, therapy doesn't always have to equal weeping while discussing childhood memories or what-all. It can also be very pragmatically oriented skills-building. It's a shame that this kind of help is so under-advocated to folks with ADD-- it's easier and more profitable to prescribe a pill, but at least for me, counseling has helped to maximize the benefits of meds while on them, and provided a much stronger base foundation of self-support while off. Another thing I highly, highly recommend is a support group, though they're unfortunately not too common. It's so edifying to talk through all the crappiness with other people who struggle with the same issues and actually. get. it. (I realized my own internalized prejudice re neurodiversity when I entered a support group with some trepidation, nervously envisioning a group full of wacked out, minimally-functioning crazies out of some kind of Victorian sanitarium. Nope! Of course they were just like me-- smart, passionate, funny people with not all their shit together.)
posted by threeants at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Also, give conscious thought to how to play, in your everyday life, to your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Assuming you're an adult, the prospect of undergoing a radical personality change altering what types of things you struggle with and what types you excel at seems slim. And that's fine. I bet you're great! I'm not saying people can't improve in areas that challenge them, but I am saying it's easier to stack the deck in your favor than to learn a new card game in a language you don't speak. For example, I am really bad at planning my time (to any potential employers reading this, this is just a funny joke haha haha I am amazing at time management k?) but very good at speaking extemporaneously and performing under the gun, so I try to put myself in situations workwise and otherwise that will rely more on the latter than the former. And that weakness and that strength are actually sort of inverse to each other-- I developed my skill, in part, as a coping mechanism for the deficiency of my weakness. A lot of ADD weaknesses have these inverse silver linings, I think. For example, you perceive that you have a "slow processing speed"-- has this maybe allowed you to be more thoughtful, more considered about your work? Have your struggles with memory led you to devise strong external capturing methods for information? Et cetera.
posted by threeants at 5:04 PM on August 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also also, as a low-level resource, I've found the ADD Forums to be an interesting and somewhat helpful read. It's additionally the only place I've seen online that has Real Talk about various aspects of different ADD meds and doesn't have any noticeable contingent of folks just using the drugs recreationally.
posted by threeants at 5:31 PM on August 4, 2013

I process information far better when I'm learning if I draw pictures of it, diagrams and so forth. I try to apply the same organisational techniques I need to run my life in terms of learning too, but I don't do so well on that. For example, lists of things I need to revise, points I need clarified. But the pictures - that's key for me. Absolutely key.
posted by b33j at 6:36 PM on August 4, 2013

Hi, I just finished reading this book, which basically posits that the executive functions that those with ADHD struggle with happen outside of conscious control, and medication really is key. Which sucks, because I've never found a medication that works for me. I'd be extremely happy to hear opposing points of view to this theory, but wanted to suggest maybe working with new or different med combos.

(As an aside, the book is freakin' expensive, so if you're interested in reading it you might want to consider the library.)
posted by whistle pig at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2013

I have a colleague who says she was tremendously helped by craniosacral therapy. Here's a link. Good luck!
posted by acridrabbit at 8:04 AM on August 5, 2013

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