ADHD, Emotion, and Dr. Russell Barkley

When it comes to emotions, the focus seems to dwell on the negative. Sometimes as I’m coaching those with ADHD, I see them as very passionate about things and they’re full of emotion, but this passion often rages out of control. So, is there a positive side? A few years ago, I interviewed Dr. Russell Barkley ( on Attention Talk Video to get his perspective as a researcher on the subject. In our discussion, he explained that in some circumstances these emotions may actually be beneficial.

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ADHD and Emotional Self-Regulation: Fight, Flight, or Freeze

The response in all living things when they are threatened is fight, flight, or freeze. Fight back, run like heck, or play dead. It’s an innate instinct for all species because it’s really all about survival. When we feel threatened, the fight, flight, or freeze response is automatic. The brain spontaneously goes into that mode. When it comes to those with ADHD, regulating emotions is something they already have trouble with, and when that response kicks in, it can be quite problematic.

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ADHD Tip: Getting Your Thoughts Out & Organizing Them

If you have ADHD, you may find yourself often struggling with getting things organized, especially organizing your thoughts. I like to see the bigger picture to help me understand how it all comes together. With that in mind, my demonstration on Attention Talk Video offers a simple method to organize tasks and thoughts that have helped me. Continue reading “ADHD Tip: Getting Your Thoughts Out & Organizing Them”

ADHD Couples: The Parent-Child Relationship

In couples’ relationships where ADHD is involved, all too often there is a parent/child dynamic between the partners. What this means is that, usually, it is the non-ADHD partner who takes on the parent role, the one who seems to be the manager or who takes charge, whereas it’s the ADHD partner who is somewhat irresponsible, inconsistent, less competent, and more childlike. In our interview on Attention Talk Video, marriage and relationship consultant Melissa Orlov ( shares insight on how couples can work together toward a transition where they learn how not to step on each other’s toes. Continue reading “ADHD Couples: The Parent-Child Relationship”

Exactly How Did You Do That: The Value of an ADHD Recipe

Some time ago, I talked with Dr. David Nowell ( about observing how we do things. What I mean is that, for most of us with ADHD, we are not aware of how we do things, like getting to places on time, making a relationship work, or sticking to a workout schedule. But to get the same results each time, we can use a very simple technique, which is asking “How exactly did I do that?” One example is Grandma using a recipe that enables her to make the same delicious cake again and again. So, it occurred to me that knowing our personal recipe for success is just as valuable. Continue reading “Exactly How Did You Do That: The Value of an ADHD Recipe”

Attention Deficit Disorder: Meet the Neurotransmitters

Sometimes you just need to put a face with a name in order to remember something.  It is also helpful if that face has characters that represent what the face is all about or helps you remember more about the face.  Linda Roggli, the ADDiva, is very creative. She put a face on the names of the key neurotransmitters that impact those with ADHD. The cartoon faces really help bring a context to each neurotransmitter. Continue reading “Attention Deficit Disorder: Meet the Neurotransmitters”

ADHD: Is Dopamine Something You Can Feel?

Booyah! Is that what dopamine feels like? Dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter and, in a way, ground zero in the context of ADHD.  Think of your brain like Pavlov’s dog.  If you push a lever and don’t get dopamine, you find another lever, and so on and so on till you find a lever that gives you dopamine.  At that point, the problem is not pushing the lever but, rather, not pushing it. Continue reading “ADHD: Is Dopamine Something You Can Feel?”

ADHD and Thoughts: The Jigsaw Puzzle in Your Mind

Those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have lots of thoughts. Some thoughts go to the puzzle they’re working on in their mind; some thoughts might go to a puzzle they might be working on in the future; and other thoughts they don’t know what to do with In this video, ADHD coach Jeff Copper uses a jigsaw puzzle as a metaphor to help you begin to witness the real challenges of ADHD in putting thoughts together to solve puzzles and problems. It helps explain why many have lots of difficulty letting go of things and struggle with the mental part of their minds. If you would like to be able to see more tangibly what’s happening to manage it, watch this video. []

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ADHD and Emotions: A Visual Metaphor for Context

ADHD is a self-regulation and working memory challenge. Two things that those with ADHD need to regulate are attention and emotion, according to Dr. Russell Barkley. Yes, according to Dr. Barkley, emotions are as much a part of ADHD as attention. The words “emotional self-regulation” are just words. Often it is easier to “get” what the words mean with a visual metaphor.

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