ADHD and YouTube

If you’ve been surfing ADHD videos on and on and on for hours, you have to realize that you’re struggling with something, and that’s the issue of self-regulation. I’ve often spoken about dopamine being the reward neurotransmitter, and that’s what’s driving this behavior. It’s your brain’s perpetual search for dopamine. The issue is whether you can pay attention to things where you don’t get dopamine.

Many people are struggling with it because the videos you’re being served up with hit certain algorithms that lead you into the next one and the next. The only way to manage this is to be aware of it and either prevent yourself or put something in place to inhibit that behavior. I find more and more people coming to me who want coaching for this. It’s an addictive behavior, and if you’re not aware of that, there’s not a tip, trick, or strategy that can help. It’s a mindset you need to help work your way through it.

Watch my video, “ADHD and YouTube,” to learn more, https://youtu.be/sP3ZrX3_1P0. I hope it gives you something to think about to motivate your self-regulation.

Transcript:

Welcome everybody to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, ADHD and Attention Coach, Jeff Copper. I got some fun content today. Before we get into things, I want to share with you a website, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a great website where you can go to get evidence-based and evidence-informed information. Just go to www.chadd.org.

So with that, today I’m here to talk to you about ADHD and YouTube, and oh my God, I’m coaching a lot of people who are struggling with this right now. At the end of the day, what I want you to think about, we’ve done a lot of shows on ADHD and motivation, or the notion that ADHD is an issue of self-regulation.

We’ve talked a couple of times about, at the end of the day, dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter. It’s a reward and it’s the underlying basis for motivation, goal focused behavior, et cetera. And dopamine actually feels good. There’s some other shows on that, but bottom line is, if you’re getting some dopamine from something, then you pay attention to it. Your issue is paying attention to things where you don’t get any dopamine, so let’s think about this.

YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet, as I understand it. YouTube has an algorithm, they’ve figured out what you like. So when you sit and you watch a video, when you’re done, they know what to serve up as the next video that would be appealing to you. Think of it like a drug.

And I’m using this to be a little bit out there, but really to drive my point home. It’s almost like you’re taking crack cocaine and they give you more crack cocaine and more and more. And so when you get on YouTube, you start watching some videos, and they keep showing you something that’s of interest, that’s of interest, that’s of interest, and before you know it four or five hours has passed and you haven’t gotten anything done.

And I get phone calls from people who want coaching on this, and literally they have succumbed. I had one person say, “I’ve just given up. I mean, YouTube is serving me these things and I’m paying attention to it.” And I’m like, “But you know when you open the app, before you even start, you know you’re going to have a hard time stopping.” That is the issue of self-regulation, and that is the core challenge of ADHD.

I’m doing this video for a few reasons. Number one, I’m grateful for you for watching my video, but also, if you’ve been surfing ADHD videos on and on and on and on for hours, you’re going to realize that you’re struggling with this because the ones that you’re being served up with hit certain algorithms and stuff that leads you into the next thing. The only way to manage this is to be aware of it and either prevent yourself or putting something in place.

Of course, I’ve talked to people before that put timers and all kinds of stuff in place, and they just ignore that because they’re having a great time with whatever they’re doing, which makes it difficult to coach.

There’s no tip, trick or strategy that I can devise where you can’t override it unless you prevent yourself from yourself. So with this video, I really just want to bring your awareness. If you’re spending a lot of time on YouTube, realize is that Google, YouTube have figured you out and they’re serving some things up. And if you’re going to manage yourself, it’s probably going to take more than just an alarm to do it.

It might take some application software where you don’t have access to it certain times. It might take somebody to basically have admin rights to your computer and your phone and whatever, where you’re actually, as a child, and somebody else can program it and you can’t do anything.

Again, what this video is about is to bring awareness to what many, many people are actually struggling with it, and I’m starting to find more and more people coming to me who want coaching for this. And I’m like, “It’s an addictive behavior, and if you’re not aware of that, there’s not a tip, trick or strategy, it’s a mindset that you need in order to help work your way through that.”

I hope this is gotten you to pause and think a little bit. Please send comments, I welcome that, wonder what you think. Are you off to the next YouTube video and you don’t have a chance to leave a comment, or are you going to have to think? Again please, if you haven’t subscribed right yet, hit the subscribe button, we release a video each week, trying to help out there in a constructive way, as constructive as we can. So with that, we hope you learned something. Catch us next week for another great edition of Attention Talk Video. Take care.

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