The New York Times had an interesting article 5-13-14 by Dan Goleman. He provided a brief, but very concise, summary of current ADHD statistics, concerns about medication (eg, it’s effectiveness tends to wear off), and interesting thinking about use of mindfulness training, including meditation, to help people with ADHD. He notes, “Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all signify lapses in cognitive control. Now a growing stream of research suggests that strengthening this mental muscle, usually with exercises in so-called mindfulness, my help children and adults cope” with ADHD.
He goes on to quote a researcher from UCLA, “There are no long-term, lasting benefits from taking ADHD medications….but mindfulness seems to be training the same areas of the brain that have reduced activity in ADHD.” This researcher, a psychologist, is also quoted as saying that mindfulness training gets more at the cause of ADHD, compared to medication. Goleman goes on to discuss, briefly, research that indicates that mindfulness training seems to help the brain circuitry for sustaining attention and quotes a researcher who states that meditation enhances “the ability to self-regulate your internal distractions.”
Of course, viewing mindfulness/meditation as training in these ways is not new- but using them as a treatment for ADHD, and doing research that finds that it is actually helpful, IS new, and – I think- exciting. It supports expanding the practice of psychology into this area, and also support the ongoing revision of the role of medication.
The full article is available online.
Richard Sethre, Psy.D.