Therapeutic audios for ADHD - unlock your potential
So in today's audio, I want to tackle the topic of emotional avoidance. We touched upon it in other audios when looking at procrastination. But I want to talk about avoidance more broadly, specifically, emotional avoidance, as it can cause lots of problems. And so many people have difficulties avoiding emotional responses. And we do that in many different ways. If you think about it in relation to procrastination as a behaviour, if you think about the five areas model, if we procrastinate, we're going to generate more negative thoughts, aren't we, which lead to secondary emotions, shame or guilt, low-mood anxiety. And that might lead to further behaviours, which lead to sort of spirals, which can be really quite unhelpful.
So that's quite obvious. But what other forms of avoidance are there, in relation to negative emotions. A really common one is cognitive avoidance, and that is trying to suppress negative or scary or unhelpful thoughts in some way. I'd like you to, outside of this audio, engage in a little experiment with yourself, just take a moment and sit quietly, and close your eyes and say to yourself, for the next minute, I'm going to think about whatever I want. But I must not think about white elephants. And just take a moment to see how possible that is.
Now, probably what you're going to realise apart from a stubborn few of you who no doubt will have found a way to sort of block it all out, most of you will find that you'll think about nothing other than white elephants, or you'll be thinking about something and white elephants will pop in. That's because there's a huge body of research, which tells us that the more we suppress a thought, the stronger it comes back, which is why CBT has made its name really off trying to invite thoughts, learning to accept them, like leaves on a stream they're just flowing on through. Rather than trying to suppress them where of course we'll build a dam of leaves, won't we, which will clog us up in some way. So thought suppression is really common as an avoidance strategy. And usually very unhelpful and detrimental in some way.
Then there's physical avoidance isn't there? I mentioned it earlier in relation to procrastination. But there are many ways we physically avoid. So let's say I'm feeling low and my friends keep going out. And I keep avoiding going out. Now, yeah, that might reduce my anxiety in the moment. But it's going to, as a behaviour, it's going to feed negative thoughts about the behaviour, isn't it? So I might then feel guilty or feel ashamed, or have anxiety about, you know, maybe some fears around what people think about the fact that I'm not going. So avoidance, generally, as a behaviour is very likely to lead to more negative thinking.
So it's like a false economy, it might feel like it helps in the moment. And we need to be careful about that, because as a pattern because our brain can learn, oh, that's how I stop anxiety. That's how I stop those negative feelings, I can stop it by just not doing it. But hopefully, you've realised that that's really unhelpful and usually comes to bite us on the backside later down the line somewhere. And another form of avoidance, emotional avoidance is dissociation, where we learn to disconnect from our emotions.
I'm going to do a series of audios on that so I'm not going to touch on that much now, other than to say that if you dissociate from your feelings, you're less likely to process the information. And again, it tends to come back to bite you in some way. So, yeah, I just wanted to get you thinking about all of that. And remember to try and do the exercise for a moment to think about wherever you like, just don't think about white elephants.
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism are two distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. They can share some of the same symptoms, and individuals can now be diagnosed with both autism and ADHD. There is ongoing research exploring the relationship between the two disorders. ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, while autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulties with social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. However, both conditions can involve difficulties with attention, executive functioning, and emotional regulation. For example, both people with ADHD and autism can have difficulty managing their time. Research has found that individuals with ADHD are at an increased risk for developing ASD, and vice versa. In fact, studies suggest that up to 30% of individuals with ASD also have ADHD. Additionally, both conditions are more common in males than females. Where an individual does not meet diagnostic criteria for both, it is still possible to have subclinical traits. For instance, somebody with only an ADHD diagnosis, may still somewhat struggle with social cues - albeit not to the same degree as people with autism. One reason for the overlap between ADHD and autism may be due to genetic factors. Studies have identified several genes that are associated with both conditions, suggesting that there may be shared genetic risk factors. Additionally, prenatal and early childhood environmental factors may contribute to the development of both conditions. Another potential explanation is that ADHD and autism may be different expressions of a common underlying neurodevelopmental process. This could mean that both conditions share a similar neurobiological basis, but present differently based on other individual factors such as age, gender, or environmental experiences. One area where the two conditions differ is in their social and communication difficulties. While individuals with ADHD may struggle with social interactions and communication, these difficulties are more severe and pronounced in those with ASD. Additionally, individuals with ASD may have more restrictive and repetitive behaviors than those with ADHD. It's also worth noting that individuals with ADHD and autism may respond differently to treatment. While stimulant medication is a common treatment for ADHD, it may not be as effective for those with autism. In fact, some studies suggest that stimulants may worsen symptoms of ASD. However, there are other treatment options available for both conditions, such as behavioural therapies and accommodations to support executive functioning. While the relationship between ADHD and autism is complex, it's important to recognize that these conditions are distinct and require individualized treatment approaches. A comprehensive evaluation by a trained professional is necessary to determine whether an individual has ADHD, autism, or both. This evaluation typically includes a clinical interview, behavioural observation, and standardized assessments. If you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of ADHD or autism, seeking professional evaluation and treatment can be a helpful step towards managing symptoms and improving quality of life. While these conditions may present challenges, with appropriate support and interventions, individuals with ADHD and autism can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
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