Q: I recently self-diagnosed myself as having ADHD. I don't see any testimonials about brain retraining healing people completely from ADHD. What has been your experience?
A: ADHD has a lot to do with regulation of the limbic brain as well as the nervous system, and therefore can be helped through brain retraining programs as well as nervous system interventions. The Safe and Sound Protocol, for example, was originally designed for use with children who had autism and ADHD. I have also witnessed positive changes in individuals experiencing ADHD through brain retraining as well as through regular meditation practices. The repetition of trying to sustain focus and redirecting focus back to something (like one's breath or a mantra) helps to create alternative pathways in the brain that enables more sustained focus of attention over time. It may be difficult to do at first, but every time you are able to catch the distraction and redirect, you are adding a new layer to the foundation for sustained attention. Start with small periods of time (2 -5 minutes) and work your way up.
Q: Is focal dystonia "limbic"? I've heard practitioners mention it can only be addressed through brain spotting and trauma release exercise (TRE) and I'm curious on your thoughts as I'm torn between those two practices and brain retraining rounds. To me the focal dystonia feels a lot like chronic tension but it's tough to say!
A: I do believe there is a limbic component to all forms of dystonia, including focal dystonia, and I have witnessed improvements in people through brain retraining. I'm always hesitant when someone suggests that a condition can only be ameliorated in a certain way, as it has been my experience that there are usually a number of different paths that ultimately lead to the same outcome. If I were in your shoes, I would consider throwing myself wholeheartedly into the brain retraining for a while (several months) and then reflect on your progress and determine at that time if another course of action is warranted.
Q: What is the best way to release the rushing tendencies? It feels like an addiction to the adrenaline being released and I find it hard to slow down once I'm in the rushing pattern.
A: Many limbic system retrainers struggle with this, as it is very much a neurochemical addiction to the stress hormones produced. Our brains have adapted to higher levels of that neurochemistry, meaning we have more receptor sites in our brains to take up the associated neurochemicals. It can actually feel really good to be on that adrenalin high and we can feel off when we are not. As a result, our system gravitates towards creating those conditions over and over. We know it isn't good for us and isn't sustainable and yet we find ourselves repeating the pattern.
Joe Dispenza talks about this concept of neurochemical addiction to certain emotional states, and how we go through a withdrawal process (much like any other addiction) when we try to alter our neurochemistry. This process requires us to understand what is happening, to think greater than how we feel as our brain tries to draw us back into old ways of being, and to know that if we can hold our ground in new ways of being eventually the brain will adapt and we will no longer crave those old states. As you are navigating this process, it is helpful to have a go-to to help calm your nervous system. It could be a meditation, a short round of practice, a mindful walk, a breathing practice along affirmations that you tell yourself, a calm creative endeavour, or anything else that you find helps your system to regulate. Pick a certain practice and use it repeatedly, not just when you are really struggling but other times of the day as well. The more you use it, the more effective it will be in interrupting the adrenalin response when you are in it.
Also, reflect on whether there are certain times of the day, certain activities or mental thought processes that tend to easily trigger the adrenalin response. Once identified, we want to start intervening just prior to those times or as soon as you notice the initial signs of rushing. If we can identify some of the key triggers and start intervening before they become full blown, we are cutting that stress response off at the pass and it will help us to change the neurochemistry of our brains more quickly.
Until next time!
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Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com