“To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.” ~ Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
Driven to Distraction
In a culture riddled with distraction, where instant gratification is the norm, and countless parties are vying for our attention at any given moment, focused concentration on any particular task has become elusive to so many.
Through technology and corporate marketing that is strategically designed to capture our attention and trigger our rewards systems, coupled with the complexity of everyday life, many may be wondering:
Do I have ADHD, or am I simply distracted?
With all the complex sociological factors at play, combined with suboptimal physiology driven by environmental and lifestyle factors, the line between everyday distractibility and clinical ADHD can be blurred.
Key Distinctions Between Everyday Distractibility and ADHD
ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects attention, focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It has strong genetic links and is primarily tied to the binding and metabolism of dopamine, among other factors.
Genes such as DRD2 and DRD4 are well-studied to affect dopamine binding and are correlated with ADHD.
Individuals with low dopamine binding from one or both parents are at a higher risk of presenting with ADHD, addiction, and other mental health conditions.
Genes such as COMT, which encodes for the COMT enzyme, can affect ADHD risk as well.
COMT affects the metabolism of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
Variations of COMT, that lead to faster metabolism of these neurotransmitters, have behavioral associations with impulsivity, increased context switching, and hyperactivity.
ADHD is a chronic and pervasive condition that can significantly impair daily functioning and can be diagnosed by a trained medical professional.
Distraction, however, is a common and often temporary experience that typically does not lead to the same level of lifestyle impairments.
ADHD persists over time and across different settings, while distraction is usually temporary and more easily resolved.
ADHD symptoms generally start in childhood and persist into adulthood, particularly if undiagnosed or not managed early on.
ADHD affects a person’s overall cognitive and behavioral functioning across different contexts, such as in personal finance, career, and relationships.
Distraction is often correlated to specific tasks and activities or even temporary states of mind.
ADHD is a chronic, pervasive neurological condition with strong biological and genetic correlations.
The treatments for ADHD tend to require a more clinical approach and often include, but are not limited to, some of the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Organizational skills coaching
Interventions for distraction can often be managed by simple strategies like:
- Taking breaks
- Removing distractions
- Turning devices off
- Using mindfulness techniques
ADHD has many complex genetic, biological, and environmental factors, whereas the causes of distraction may be due to external stimuli, fatigue, stress, or other temporary life factors.
Next Steps to Reduce your Distractibility
Suppose you need help with attention and focus beyond what seems to be easily correctable with lifestyle interventions or a change of context. In that case, you may want to seek professional help from a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Some professions that may be involved in the assessment and diagnosis of ADHD include clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, or psychiatrists.
If you know that you have been diagnosed with ADHD or simply struggle with focus and concentration, a multifaceted approach, including addressing physical and psychological factors, is often required for management.
Working with a Functional Naturopathic Doctor or MD can make a huge difference in addressing some biological factors contributing to inattention. Certain nutrient deficiencies or inadequate sleep, hydration, or movement can contribute to either ADHD or everyday distractibility.
In managing ADHD, many do well with a combination of therapy, neurofeedback, and lifestyle or nutritional interventions. This may or may not be combined with medication, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences.
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you regain your health and focus.
To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!
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