View Full Version : Treatment with supplements for overfocused ADD?


Flowinpeace
02-06-17, 04:18 PM
Hi everyone!

I recently got diagnosed with ADD and I strongly identify myself with the overfocused subtype.

I'd like to try natural supplements first before ever taking medication again (18 years ago I was misdiagnosed with bipolar I and was on lithium for 14 years - so I got many side effects for nothing!!!).

Are there any overfocused ADDers out there who take supplements to control their ADD? What are your experiences? And if you have your symptoms under control, which supplements and what doses do you take?

I'm 5.7 feet tall, weigh 130 lbs and currently I'm not on any medication.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ANSWERS!

dvdnvwls
02-06-17, 06:26 PM
There isn't an overfocused subtype. Those subtypes are essentially a promotional gimmick for one particular doctor, because they don't hold up under scientific scrutiny.

Fuzzy12
02-06-17, 06:47 PM
By over focus do you mean that you hyperfocus? That you can't tear yourself away from unproductive time wasting pursuits?

I didn't find any supplements useful for any adhd symptoms though a good multi vitamin helped me a bit with energy ajd mood. Some people have had decent results with omega 3.

The only thing that helped me with almost all symptoms was stimulant medication. However hyperfocus and procrastination are two things which were impacted the least by meds. Behavioural strategies worked better for those. However I could only implement yhose strategies with medication.

Fraser_0762
02-06-17, 06:52 PM
Over focus isn't actually a subtype. But as Fuzzy points out, you can "hyperfocus". This is when your interest in something is so intense that you can't peel your attention away from it, even when you know you need to be concentrating on other things.

The best treatment for this type of problem are usually SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) which are commonly prescribed for OCD.

Stimulants would be best avoided for this type of problem.

Flowinpeace
02-06-17, 07:02 PM
By over focus do you mean that you hyperfocus? That you can't tear yourself away from unproductive time wasting pursuits?

I didn't find any supplements useful for any adhd symptoms though a good multi vitamin helped me a bit with energy ajd mood. Some people have had decent results with omega 3.

The only thing that helped me with almost all symptoms was stimulant medication. However hyperfocus and procrastination are two things which were impacted the least by meds. Behavioural strategies worked better for those. However I could only implement yhose strategies with medication.

The 'overfocused subtype' is an unofficial subtype of ADD, as described in Dr. Amens book 'Healing ADD'. For people with this type, the core ADD symptoms are compounded by tremendous trouble shifting attention and the tendency to get “stuck” in negative thought patterns and/or behaviors.

sarahsweets
02-07-17, 11:49 AM
The 'overfocused subtype' is an unofficial subtype of ADD, as described in Dr. Amens book 'Healing ADD'. For people with this type, the core ADD symptoms are compounded by tremendous trouble shifting attention and the tendency to get “stuck” in negative thought patterns and/or behaviors.

Unofficial is the operative word here.

dvdnvwls
02-07-17, 12:04 PM
Unofficial is the operative word here.
... "Unofficial" in this case meaning "cooked up by Dr. Amen as a way of selling books and drawing attention to himself". The evidence for it is nonexistent.

Cyllya
02-09-17, 02:03 AM
The 'overfocused subtype' is an unofficial subtype of ADD, as described in Dr. Amens book 'Healing ADD'. For people with this type, the core ADD symptoms are compounded by tremendous trouble shifting attention and the tendency to get “stuck” in negative thought patterns and/or behaviors.

That sounds pretty much the same as the "primarily inattentive presentation." ("Overfocused" is probably a slightly less inaccurate term for it than "inattentive." I think it's called "inattentive" because ADHD kids are often inattentive to the specific stuff their authority figures want them to attend to. Also, authority figures think when a kid does one type of activity in one place for a while, he must have been "focused" the whole time.)

Alas, supplements only seem to help much when the problems are caused by nutritional deficiencies. I've heard a lot of good anecdotes about fish oil though. And caffeine, which can sometimes be called a supplement, can be a little helpful just because it's actually a stimulant drug.

Flowinpeace
02-09-17, 11:46 AM
That sounds pretty much the same as the "primarily inattentive presentation." ("Overfocused" is probably a slightly less inaccurate term for it than "inattentive." I think it's called "inattentive" because ADHD kids are often inattentive to the specific stuff their authority figures want them to attend to. Also, authority figures think when a kid does one type of activity in one place for a while, he must have been "focused" the whole time.)

Thanks for your answer Cyllya, but by overfocus I meant obsessive thoughts as in OCD. I tend to get locked into negative thoughts, having the same thoughts over and over again. So I'm basically searching for a supplement treatment that can improve both my ADHD and OCD symptoms.

sarahsweets
02-16-17, 06:58 AM
Thanks for your answer Cyllya, but by overfocus I meant obsessive thoughts as in OCD. I tend to get locked into negative thoughts, having the same thoughts over and over again. So I'm basically searching for a supplement treatment that can improve both my ADHD and OCD symptoms.

I am not anti-supplement but I look at them as just that- supplements. I take meds and supplements and they are both helpful.

Fraser_0762
02-16-17, 07:03 AM
... "Unofficial" in this case meaning "cooked up by Dr. Amen as a way of selling books and drawing attention to himself". The evidence for it is nonexistent.

I think you can accuse all of them for that to be fair.

20thcenturyfox
02-16-17, 10:29 AM
Hola, Flow, and welcome.

I don't share the dogmatic attachment of my fellow posters to the 2 + combined DSM classification, which I might describe as having been "cooked up by bureaucrats to cover the ground without actually illuminating it," either theoretically, etiologically, or treatment-wise. And whether in terms of symptoms or impairments, many experts have noted the DSM criteria continue to be woefully inadequate to describe the ways ADHD presents in adults.

At least Dr Amen has made an attempt to observe and distinguish some symptom clusters, correlate them to a recordable imaging technology (which I hope will eventually become part of the public record), and advocate a full range of more or less self-evident healthy lifestyle changes, as well as the controversial supplements people tend to "focus on."

No, there is no peer-reviewed evaluation or replication of Dr. Amen's classifications, let alone his claimed results. But AFAIK there is no peer reviewed support for the DSM classifications either. Does anyone think that any of the current work going on in genetics, epigenetic gene expressions, autonomic function, imaging, or tests of cognitive performance is tending to support the 2+combined DSM model of ADHD? Or will it more closely resemble Dr Amen's 5 or 7 symptom clusters? Only time will tell.

And supplements? Well, obviously they don't help everyone. Do they help anyone? Some may guess not; I would guess so. Sharing and figuring out what worked for whom is one of the great potential benefits of a forum like this.

But to get back to OP's question, more threads on this can be found under Misc Treatments & Approaches or Scientific Research way at the bottom of the page. You do have to pick through the forest of "No Scientific Validity" posts to find posts where people actually share their experiences with supplements. Maybe searching the thread (or even the whole forum) by supplement name would help locate more actual experiences.

Johnny Slick
02-16-17, 05:58 PM
Since ADHD meds are stimulants, I'd imagine that "supplements" that act as stimulants would probably also help. I think that makes the lines extremely blurry between self-medication and supplement but if you really, really want to stay away from doctor-approved medication for some reason that's probably a good place to start. So, like, caffeine or guarana, that kind of thing?

Little Missy
02-16-17, 07:34 PM
Maybe I missed it, but what did Dr. Amen say to do?

20thcenturyfox
02-16-17, 09:27 PM
Maybe I missed it, but what did Dr. Amen say to do?

Taken from ADDMag, referring to Type 3 "Overfocused" (not to be confused with Type 2 "Inattentive"), each with a more detailed symptom cluster described therein, Amen says
The treatment for this type is not ADHD stimulants, which, when taken by themselves, usually make a person more anxious and worried. We use supplements or medications that boost both serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin-boosting supplements include 5-HTP, saffron, L-Tryptophan, and inositol. When we use medications, we use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People with Over-Focused ADD do not do well on a high-protein diet. It will make them mean.

Fuzzy12
02-16-17, 09:28 PM
It will make them mean? ?? :eyebrow:

Fuzzy12
02-16-17, 09:30 PM
Taken from ADDMag, referring to Type 3 "Overfocused" (not to be confused with Type 2 "Inattentive"), each with a more detailed symptom cluster described therein, Amen says
The treatment for this type is not ADHD stimulants, which, when taken by themselves, usually make a person more anxious and worried. We use supplements or medications that boost both serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin-boosting supplements include 5-HTP, saffron, L-Tryptophan, and inositol. When we use medications, we use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People with Over-Focused ADD do not do well on a high-protein diet. It will make them mean.

Here's the post again in case anyone missed it as it's the last post on their page too.

Little Missy
02-16-17, 09:33 PM
Here's the post again in case anyone missed it as it's the last post on their page too.

No mutton for you! :)

sarahsweets
02-16-17, 10:19 PM
Taken from ADDMag, referring to Type 3 "Overfocused" (not to be confused with Type 2 "Inattentive"), each with a more detailed symptom cluster described therein, Amen says
The treatment for this type is not ADHD stimulants, which, when taken by themselves, usually make a person more anxious and worried. We use supplements or medications that boost both serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin-boosting supplements include 5-HTP, saffron, L-Tryptophan, and inositol. When we use medications, we use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People with Over-Focused ADD do not do well on a high-protein diet. It will make them mean.
Legit question:
Does Doctor Amen have medical training?

sarahsweets
02-16-17, 10:25 PM
Taken from ADDMag, referring to Type 3 "Overfocused" (not to be confused with Type 2 "Inattentive"), each with a more detailed symptom cluster described therein, Amen says
The treatment for this type is not ADHD stimulants, which, when taken by themselves, usually make a person more anxious and worried. We use supplements or medications that boost both serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin-boosting supplements include 5-HTP, saffron, L-Tryptophan, and inositol. When we use medications, we use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). People with Over-Focused ADD do not do well on a high-protein diet. It will make them mean.
Legit question:
Does Doctor Amen have medical training?

Nelson1967
02-23-17, 08:26 PM
Some are non Stims over focused can be Aspergers too or Autism too

yol1219
09-08-17, 03:59 AM
Hi,
I am predominantly Overfoccused type and what I used to treat it ( but stopped ) was 5HTP ( 200mg ). It will stop most of it cold turkey. 5HTP is like a natural and minor anti depressant. Do not listen to these people about it being a fake diag or Dr. Amen being a quack. I took the supps he recommended and most of the symptoms stopped. But for me, I like being this way as a I found natural ways to combat it and ways to use the Overfoccused to my benefit.

sarahsweets
09-13-17, 05:06 AM
Hi,
I am predominantly Overfoccused type and what I used to treat it ( but stopped ) was 5HTP ( 200mg ). It will stop most of it cold turkey. 5HTP is like a natural and minor anti depressant. Do not listen to these people about it being a fake diag or Dr. Amen being a quack. I took the supps he recommended and most of the symptoms stopped. But for me, I like being this way as a I found natural ways to combat it and ways to use the Overfoccused to my benefit.

It may help you but calling it an antidepressant puts it inline with actual antidepressants with actual evidence and studies supporting their efficacy. Not saying "studies" means absolute just that I dont want people to be confused.

Lunacie
09-13-17, 12:27 PM
Legit question:
Does Doctor Amen have medical training?

Apparently he does.

Some of his education was at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa OK. I wonder if
that's where he learned to chase the money. My opinion of Oral Roberts himself
would earn me an infraction if written about here.

Aside from my personal opinion, none of the national medical organizations
validate Amen's claims: not the American Psychiatric Association (APA), or the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), The American College of Radiology,
the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, or the National Alliance
on Mental Illness (NAMI).

PoppnNSailinMan
09-13-17, 02:19 PM
Apparently he does.

Some of his education was at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa OK. I wonder if
that's where he learned to chase the money. My opinion of Oral Roberts himself
would earn me an infraction if written about here.

Aside from my personal opinion, none of the national medical organizations
validate Amen's claims: not the American Psychiatric Association (APA), or the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), The American College of Radiology,
the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, or the National Alliance
on Mental Illness (NAMI).

I did a little more research about Amen. He got his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in 1982. The university opened its medical school in 1981 (only a year before Amen got his degree) and then closed it in 1989 due to severe financial difficulties. So it was probably not one of the top ranked medical schools. Amen did his residency in general psychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC and his residency in child and adolescent psychiatry at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

Amen is certainly controversial, especially for using SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans to help in making psychiatric diagnoses. The SPECT scan is, according to one article I was reading about Amen, "a relatively inexpensive cousin of PET scanning (positron emission tomography) with lower spatial resolution." The author of this same article calls Amen a "neurohuckster" and quotes Jeffrey Lieberman, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association and chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons as saying, "In my opinion, what he’s doing is the modern equivalent of phrenology." Phrenology was a popular pseudoscience in the early 19th century that said that a person's mind was determined by the shape of his/her skull, particularly its bumps.

Dr. Charles Parker who has a lot of useful stuff about ADHD at his blog site, CorePsych, has worked with Daniel Amen and is also very interested in doing SPECT scans.

sarahsweets
09-13-17, 09:05 PM
I did a little more research about Amen. He got his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in 1982. The university opened its medical school in 1981 (only a year before Amen got his degree) and then closed it in 1989 due to severe financial difficulties.
So you can get a full medical degree from a school thats only a year old?

PoppnNSailinMan
09-13-17, 10:58 PM
So you can get a full medical degree from a school thats only a year old?

I was wondering about that, too, after I posted. Looking back at the Wikipedia article where I got the information, I discovered that I had mixed the dates up between Oral Roberts University School of Medicine which opened in 1978 (or 4 years before Daniel Amen got his medical degree instead of only 1 year before) and the university's City of Faith Medical and Research Center hospital which opened in 1981.