Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurological condition that affects how your brain processes and pays attention to information. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is considered a developmental disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have difficulty staying focused on specific tasks or activities, are easily distracted by other stimuli, and are often hyperactive.
Some people with ADHD may seem hung up on certain ideas or thoughts because they have difficulty shifting their focus and regulating emotions.
Adults with ADHD
Adults tend to struggle the most with: finishing tasks, staying on task (focused), remembering details, being attentive, and lack of drive or enthusiasm.
. The reason for this is that adults are often distracted by other things. For example, it's easy for them to be tempted away from their tasks by social media or television if they aren't
Continue reading to learn what we believe is the best treatment combination for adults with ADHD.
Children with ADHD
Children with ADHD usually have similar symptoms as adults but may get labelled as "Not interested in school" or "class clown", this is usually when they go undiagnosed.
Education catching with with ADHD
More and more teachers and education institute are becoming aware of ADHD and can often pick up on children who may have this disorder.
Children with undiagnosed ADHD are frequently bullied in school because of their focus or attention problems, which then leads to low self-esteem and depression.
This is an important detail that we will address in more depth later, but if you think you or someone close to you has ADHD, please seek a treatment evaluation. The correct treatment can be life changing for people.
You've heard of ADHD
Do you have a friend with ADHD?
We all know a person with ADHD: they might be our best friend, family member or co-worker. They may have been diagnosed at an early age or only recently in adulthood.
It's not always easy to figure out what treatment is best for someone with ADHD but there are many options available today that can offer relief and hope.
In this post we'll explore the different treatment options available and how each might work to help manage symptoms of ADHD. We'll also discuss some of the pros and cons associated with those treatments so you can make better decisions about your own life and future based on reliable information!
ADHD treatment option diagnosis
There are different treatments for ADHD in adults. You'll first need to get a diagnosis from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist who assesses your symptoms against the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Treatment for ADHD mostly involves medication, education, skills training, support groups and counselling from a health professional. Sometimes a combination of these is the best treatment.
These treatment options can help manage many symptoms of ADHD. But they do not cure it. You may have to try a few things before you find what works best for you.
Talk with your doctor about whether you should take medications for ADHD. He or she will tell you about the benefits and risks of each medicine.
Some ADHD medication is addictive and can have side effects, which is why have regular follow ups with your doctor is vital.
How does ADHD medication work
ADHD medications help the neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, work better in people with ADHD. Medicines called stimulants improve these brain chemicals. Stimulants are thought to function by boosting dopamine levels in the brain.
Dopamine "feel- good"
Dopamine also known as the “feel-good” hormone, dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that's an important part of your brain's reward system. People with ADHD
Hormone & Neurotransmitter
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. Stimulant medications enhance focus and concentration while reducing impulsive and hyperactive behaviours for many people with ADHD.
Sometimes people need stimulant medicines like methylphenidate or amphetamine, but other medicines may be prescribed too. The stimulants help balance chemicals in the brain which make a person feel better.
Long and short acting simulant medication
There is a variety of medication options including long acting options such a Lisdexamfetamine, sold under the brand name Vyvanse or Ritalin LA Methylphenidate hydrochloride which can help control ADHD symptoms throughout the day.
Some people also use non-stimulant medicine like Atomoxetine Hydrochloride, sold under the brand name Strattera to help with symptoms of inattention and impulsivity.
Are their side effects to ADHD medication
Someone people will experience side effects from stimulant ADHD medication, which is why your doctor will monitor how you respond to the medication and adjust the dose accordingly.
Combination approach to treating ADHDA holistic approach that includes medication, talk therapy, peer mentoring, nutrition, exercise, and education on how to handle symptoms is a better option than just relying on one strategies to assist someone with ADHD because it provides them with a wide range of life skills.
Some people do better on a combination of psycho-stimulant medication, which is why you doctor may recommend this approach. Taking long acting medication and short acting medication for example.
Consult with you doctor regularly about you ADHD treatment
You doctor will carefully consider the pros and cons of combining these medications, including how these medicines might affect your health over time. However, it's important to understand that there is no one-size fits all treatment plan.
You and your doctor should discuss all the options and choose a treatment strategy that works for you.
There is no one medication that's been proven to be more effective than another so if you have tried one medicine and it did not work it's possible a different one might.
Treatment outcomes for ADHD
It is not simple to treat ADHD. Remember to keep your doctor updated on your progress so they can assist you in managing the problem effectively.
Your doctor may also recommend other treatments, such as behavioural therapy or a support group to help you improve your quality of life.
Alternatives to tradition ADHD treatment options
Adults who have not been successful in reducing their symptoms using traditional methods should consider an alternative strategy to manage their symptoms, such as a diet, exercise, brain training neurofeedback, and occasionally supplements.
Research on treatment outcomes for ADHD
A systematic review of 351 studies were done on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD. Some of the outcomes measured were: an academic outcome, antisocial behaviour, driving outcomes, obesity rates, occupation outcome, services use outcome and self-esteem.
Long term treatment outcomes - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
The following was found: (1) without treatment people with ADHD had poorer long-term outcomes in all categories compared to people without ADHD
The researchers found: (2) that psychotherapy, combined with medication for ADHD (ADHD + therapy), resulted in improved long-term results when compared to untreated ADHD. However, these improvements did not cure the person of ADHD symptoms.
Adult ADHD counselling includes:
Cognitive behavioural therapy
This is a type of counselling that teaches you skills to help you manage your behaviour and change negative thinking patterns into positive ones. It can help you deal with life challenges, such as school, work or relationship problems, and it can also help address other mental health conditions such as depression or substance abuse.
"Are you struggling to focus in your work or daily life?
"It may seem daunting at first, but this course will provide you with insight into what your specific needs are as an individual who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
The course will teach you about different tools and strategies that are just right for improving your focus and attention span- all while managing other responsibilities such as taking care of kids or working full time."
Take Action to Succeed
This course will help you learn to manage symptoms, set goals, and make changes that will keep your focus where it belongs--on the things that are most important to you. If this sounds like something worth investing in then click on the link below and enrol today!
ADHD Symptoms and struggles
Inattention: Can be defined as the lack of attention to a task or action. This is often displayed in symptoms such as forgetting things, losing items, and not listening when spoken too directly. People who have this condition tend to make careless mistakes during work or other areas of life.
Hyperactive or Impulsivity: There are many symptoms that could lead to a hyperactive or impulsive person. Some of the common ones include:
It's scary, most people never know they have ADHD
We can help: Treatment ADHD online format
Now it's your turn!
By applying these techniques daily, you can transform your relationships, career, mental health and overall happiness...all while living a more fulfilling life than ever before!
The ADHD Ambition course is a powerful resource for anyone who needs help getting their priorities straight so they can stop procrastinating and start taking action toward their big goals.
Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd,
and Create Balance Psychotherapy & Counselling VIEW HERE.
Shannon has a clinical interest in treating trauma, PTSD and ADHD.
He has a lived experience of ADHD and is a passionate advocate for those affected by it.
He is accredited as an Mental Health Social Worker AMHSW,
psychotherapist and registered EMDR practitioner. Associations below.
Australian Association of Social Workers
EMDR Association of Australia .
Psychology Today Profile
Towards the end of this period of unfortunate luck, Shannon decided to set time aside for self-care and go for a hike with friends in Gippsland. He was so looking forward to it. But the weather was wild and the track was steep. Shannon slipped and twisted his ankle and knee, requiring him to hobble 6km, including two deep river crossings, back to the car in the pouring rain.
Over the past few months, the bad luck began to lose its surprise. It was almost expected. But he continued on with his responsibilities - from running the business to supporting his family. So, how did he do this when every day was a struggle and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel?
He prioritised self care. One of the methods he identified as a relief from his stress was by walking his dog around the neighbourhood for 40 minutes each day. The fresh air, the time alone and the exercise helped to calm his body and mind and to give him energy to face the next challenge.
Another strategy for dealing with his stress was by talking to his partner and a friend. By sharing his worries, he shared the weight of these concerns and relieved himself of the mental and emotional burden he was carrying. Talking to others helped him to process his experiences and gain new insights into his circumstances, his options, his plans and his goals. Talking to a friend was particularly helpful, as an objective third party. Shannon would not have hesitated to talk to a professional if he felt that he needed further support, as he knows all too well the life changing power of therapy.
Shannon is passionate about laser therapy - both for the relief of pain but also for the relief of mental health challenges. When injuring his ankle and knee, he immediately started treating himself with laser and noticed a rapid rate of recovery. His physical health was important to his mental health, as his injury was preventing him from engaging in the therapeutic walks that he needed daily. Shannon also utilised the laser therapy to support his overall mental health, by using a systemic treatment and some targeted auricular therapy.
If you are going through a hard time, know that it most likely won’t be forever. Simplify your life by limiting anything unnecessary and focussing on the things that lift your spirits and energy. If everything continues to overwhelm you, reach out for further support, from a friend or a professional. Perhaps even look into laser therapy to see how it could improve your current wellbeing.
There are many, many different therapies out there. Most therapeutic approaches can be broken into four categories.
(1) Behaviour therapy
Perhaps the most widely known therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). It views mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as the result of faulty thinking and cognitive distortions. By correcting those distortions and by adapting our behaviour, symptoms will decrease and our goals can be achieved.
CBT does not prioritise the client, but rather the issue, which CBT would see as faulty thinking. CBT is often seen as the gold standard of treatment for anxiety and depression. During treatment, the therapist will take a very active role in achieving short-term goals, as agreed upon with the client, to prevent relapse and overall symptom management. This is done through a process of psychoeducation, regular homework tasks and goal setting.
However, CBT is far less effective for treating issues relating to emotional regulation, attachment, trauma, addiction and relationship issues, where a more in-depth approach is needed. An approach that prioritises the client-therapist relationship to create deeper level change.
Psychodynamic Therapy & Psychoanalysis
This therapeutic approach comes from the work of Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalysts. It is rooted in the unconscious and in understanding the past to manage more effectively with the present.
In psychodynamic therapy, the therapist takes on more of a role as an observer, rather than a facilitator. The work is long term and the relationship between the client and the therapist is emphasised. Psychodynamic and psychoanalysis is concerned with a deep rooted change in thoughts, feelings, and behaviour by linking into the unconscious and subconscious mind, rather than short-term goals and symptom reduction. It is therefore an appropriate therapy for longer-term concerns, including trauma, attachment and personality issues.
Humanistic Therapy (Person-Centered and Solution-Focused)
Humanistic therapy focuses on the positive attributes that a person has, including their personal characteristics, their strengths and their overall drive to self-actualisation. The therapy focuses on the here and now and on the client being able to take an active role in the therapy process. It is an approach that is heavily based on the work of Carl Rogers.
The most contemporary therapy approaches are integrative and combine elements of all or some of the above. By combining these elements, integrative approaches create a stronger whole and are effective treatments for more complex problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, addictions, emotional regulation and attachment issues.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Schema Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are integrative approaches.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) commonly involves the rapid movement of a client's eyes, taxing their working memory and enabling them to reprogram their brain. It is a form of psychotherapy that was recognised as an effective way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has since been adapted to treat a range of other concerns.
EMDR is a unique approach, as it uses bilateral stimulation. This is often achieved through the therapist using their fingers or a pointer to guide the client’s eye movements back and forth. Therapists may even utilise a light travelling side to side across a bar. As well as visual bilateral stimulation, EMDR can also use tactile and auditory stimulation. Clients may be facilitated to feel different sensations that bounce within their hands or hear different sounds that are bounced within their environment.
EMDR is an integrative approach that combines elements from CBT, humanistic and psychodynamic therapies in a unified whole. It focuses on the client as the centre of the process. Much like in psychoanalysis, there is also an element of free association. For example, during an EMDR session, the therapist will often ask the client, “What are you noticing now?”
The main idea behind EMDR is that when someone experiences trauma, that trauma memory goes into an isolated part of the brain and to a separate memory network. When a trauma memory is successfully processed in EMDR, it then becomes fully integrated and joins another memory bank network. In essence, the idea behind EMDR is that unprocessed and unintegrated memories can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Schema therapy is long-term psychotherapy that was created out of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of personality issues and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Schema therapy combines elements from attachment theory, psychoanalysis, humanistic therapy, as well as CBT. The core idea behind schema therapy is that everyone has needs as a child and when those needs go unmet, often chronically, then ‘schemas’ develop. Schemas are a way in which we view the world and other people. They contain beliefs, feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations.
In response to not wanting to feel the emotions that these schemas trigger, we develop coping styles or survival methods that are effective when we are a child but have become less effective as an adult. Schema coping is often most notable in relationships or in response to relationships and interpersonal situations.
Schema therapy, similarly to psychodynamic therapy, is focused on deep level change and a connection between understanding and working through the past to better cope with the present.
The therapy relationship in schema is central to the treatment and blends between humanistic and attachment. During schema therapy, the therapist meets the unmet needs of the client. This is achieved through the therapy relationship, as well as through a range of experiential techniques, including chair dialogues, parts work, imagery work and behaviour pattern-breaking.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is a treatment that was designed specifically for borderline personality disorder and highly suicidal clients. It is used in both group and individual therapy. DBT is a behaviour therapy, in that it works on the client having the skills and the tools to be able to deal more effectively with an environment that is triggering and often pulling them into crisis. DBT is a skills-based therapy and highly psychoeducational, as well as combining elements of Buddhism and existentialism. Two of its core principles include acceptance and change as principles that co-exist. DBT is a highly structured therapy, similar to CBT. It utilises an active and engaging therapist, similar to a teacher, and is split over four modules: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT is an integrative Cognitive Behavior Therapy. One of the core ideas in ACT is building psychological flexibility. ACT in essence is about embracing our difficult thoughts and our feelings, instead of trying to get rid of them or feel guilty for experiencing them. ACT uses many elements of mindfulness, as well as cognitive techniques to illustrate how our thoughts only have meaning once we give them that. ACT uses six processes to build psychological flexibility: defusion, acceptance, contact with the present moment, the observing self, values and committed action.
When looking to start therapy, it can first help to understand a little about some of the main approaches that are out there and which ones you feel may be best suited for your needs. You may also consider whether you think therapy might be a long or a short term process and any barriers you might have that hamper your ability to commit to therapy. A typical length of therapy in Australia is for ten sessions with a Medicare subsidised Mental Health Care Plan. However, therapy will often extend beyond this in order to address deeper change. Create Balance utilises a range of therapeutic approaches to suit your needs and prioritises integrative treatments such as EMDR.
SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL (Isolating from groups/loved ones)
We all need our downtime and our time alone to reflect or recharge; however, if you notice you are spending more and more time alone and feeling the need to be away from others, then this may be a sign that you're not doing so well. If you find this is the case, one of the most helpful things to do is to reach out to others and let them know how you are feeling. This can also help to reignite the lost feelings of connection with other people.
MOOD CHANGES (Irritable, Sad, Manic)
One of the telltale signs that we should check in with our mental health is if we notice our moods changing more frequently and in any extreme. For example, if you are known to be a calm and collected person and you notice yourself snapping at your friends or your partner, then this could be a sign of irritability and something within your environment that is causing a change to your mood and mental wellbeing. Mood changes of concern do not have to only include anger or frustration but other sudden changes could be a warning sign, such as becoming very flat and low, or moods and behaviours of the other extreme, such as extreme elation to the point of mania.
Our diet has a massive impact on our mental health and how we are feeling can sometimes be displayed in our eating habits (whether we are eating more or eating less) in any significant capacity. Eating more may be a sign of ourselves self-soothing and a way of avoiding painful thoughts and feelings associated with an underlying trigger. Eating less may have to do with control and restriction or may indicate issues with self-esteem.
It is well known that Create Balance uses EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help clients recover from trauma. What’s your favourite thing about using EMDR with clients?
EMDR is at the forefront of modern trauma treatments available. It was originally designed for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but has been adapted for many other mental health concerns outside of a strict PTSD treatment protocol.
My favorite thing about EMDR as a therapist is having the ability to be able to shift how a client views a negative belief or the impact of a trauma memory more quickly than traditional talk therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). EMDR is unique in both its application, using bilateral stimulation, whether that be a light bar, eye movements, or other methods, as well as in its integrative approach. EMDR is constantly being evolved and it is a really exciting time for the therapy as a whole.
EMDR uses rapid eye movement (bilateral stimulation)
For clients who have engaged in other therapies and undergone treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Schema Therapy is often an extremely rewarding experience. In Schema Therapy, there is a great deal placed on the therapy relationship as part of the healing, rather than the main emphasis being on changing irrational beliefs or thoughts. The therapy relationship takes the form of guidance, support, boundaries and building emotional regulation; similar to building a secure attachment with a primary caregiver.
EMDR and Schema is more than "talk therapy", it gets results
The change phase in Schema Therapy combines behavioral and experiential change, including imagery rescripting, parts work and chair work, that culminates in leading to changes in clients' behaviours outside of sessions.
What is your therapy process?
My process is tailored to each client and their goals. My process involves a period of assessment, including EMDR and Schema questionnaires to help identify any significant memories or themes/beliefs that may need to be processed or addressed. After which, a formulation will be shared with the client and goals defined for therapy. The time this takes depends on the needs of the client.
How can clients get the most out of therapy?
Clients can get the most out of therapy by understanding that therapy is a journey, by having regular or semi-regular sessions if possible, while understanding that things take time. There will be ups and downs. It's a commitment. Clients will also benefit from therapy by being open to work on things, as well as to give feedback to their therapist when they're not happy with something. Clients will also get the most out of therapy by continuing the work outside of the sessions.
What do you enjoy most about being a therapist?
I don't think there is any other job like it. I feel honored to be able to help people and go on the journey with them, and to use therapies like EMDR and Schema with my clients.
Psychotherapist, Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling
Schema Therapy is a powerful and integrative therapy that draws from a range of approaches, including attachment, psychoanalysis, cognitive and emotion-focused.
A core element of Schema Therapy is building a healthy attachment and focusing on the therapy relationship. This is achieved through imagery rescripting, where childhood memories are rescripted or reprocessed by the therapist meeting the client's core emotional needs.
Since schemas and coping styles were developed early on, the coping strategy that was effective in childhood has now become maladaptive in adulthood. This maladaptive form of coping in response to schema activation often brings people to therapy.
Schema Therapy is built on the idea that we have core emotional needs in childhood that often go unmet. The more that we have these needs go unmet, the more likely it is we will develop schemas (an entrenched emotional belief) associated with that need. In response, we develop coping styles to stop the schema from becoming activated or triggered.
Schemas and their coping styles will often show up in relationships and interpersonal issues, around core themes of abandonment, subjugation, perfectionism and emotional connection.
Schema Therapy is an evidence-based treatment that is effective for personality difficulties, chronic depression, trauma-related difficulties, relationship issues, anxiety, and more.
The goal of schema therapy treatment is to strengthen the healthy adult mode and to rely less on maladaptive coping in response to schema activation and to get core emotional needs met.
I am passionate about using Schema Therapy with my clients at Create Balance as a way to create true change.
Due to restrictions easing and end of year festivities beginning, many of us are feeling obligated to schedule catch ups with family and friends. But after being so isolated for the majority of the year, a suddenly busy schedule of social engagements can be quite overwhelming and exhausting.
Stepping back into ‘normal life’ may even sharpen our awareness of the losses we’ve experienced throughout the year - confidence, motivation, relationships, security, finances or even the lives of loved ones. So it’s no surprise that many people will also be feeling nervous, anxious, lost or lonely.
After such a difficult year, it is important to ensure you maintain balance and don’t burn yourself out. We’ll share some ideas with you, to lighten your mental load, reduce stress and anxiety, help you ease your way back into a social life with friends and to survive the Christmas lunch with family.
- Learn to say no. It’s a powerful word, which you have every right to use, without explanation. Use it to prioritise your mental health. Say no to that catch up you’re not ready for. Say no to hosting Christmas at your house. ‘No’ may even be an investment towards your ability to say ‘yes’ at a later stage, when you’re ready.
- Delegate and outsource. If you are required to host an event, don’t do everything. Write comprehensive lists and then be specific about what you require from others. If there is something that you’re responsible for, think about how you can limit your involvement. If you’re required to bring dessert, don’t make it - buy it. That way you will save much needed time and energy for yourself and you may even help support a local business!
- Create a budget. It’s so easy to spend money during the Christmas period but financial stress can severely affect mental health. If you plan your finances, your spending won’t come with guilt or anxiety. Think about cheaper alternatives to what you would usually do. Drink non-alcoholic beverages, dine in parks with a picnic, make your own presents or source them second hand.
- Schedule self care. Self care is not selfish. It is an important investment. You need to ‘fill your cup’ before you can give to others. Go for a walk and listen to a favourite podcast. Have a bath with extra bubbles. Get your nails painted. Paint a picture. Binge watch some TV. Whatever makes you happy. Do it as regularly as you’re able.
- Exercise and eat well. It’s especially difficult to maintain a balanced diet and find time for exercise during the silly season. And many of us let our healthy habits slide during the lockdowns. But exercise and eating well do play a significant part in our mental health and general wellbeing.
- Find a fun way to fit in physical activity and invite a friend along to double as a catch up. Go for a swim in the ocean, consider a dance class or try a new challenge like rock climbing.
- To make eating well something you feel motivated to do, plan your meals so that you don’t resort to unhealthy options. Try new recipes that excite you. Get your hands on all the fabulous fruits that are in season this month. Have veggie sticks and dip available at all times.
- Avoid overindulging and practice mindfulness. Sugar, alcohol and other drugs are enjoyable in the moment but may end up leading to undesirable consequences for you. Be conscious about what you consume and consider mindful consumption. For example, if chocolate is your weakness, utilise all of your senses to enjoy the experience. See the shininess, smell the sweetness, feel the smoothness, hear the crack and taste the richness. After spending several minutes consuming one chocolate, you may find that you will have enjoyed it as much as you would have if you’d scoffed down five of them. Yet you won’t feel guilt and you won’t crash down from a sugar high later on.
- Adjust your expectations. During the festive season, we’re bombarded by advertising that depicts happy, well groomed families, surrounded by mountains of food and towers of presents. This is not reality. And it is not something we should strive for. What is most important are relationships, and spending time with people we love. However, that being said, we can’t choose our family and Christmas day can often be filled with tension. Check your expectations and recognise that attitudes and behaviours won’t be different, just because it’s Christmas. In fact, it’s possible that some family members may be even more ‘stuck in their ways’ after lockdown. Be ready for it and plan how you will respond. Role playing conversations can be a good strategy so that you go into the day with confidence.
- Share your emotional and mental burdens. Don’t suffer in silence. Let people know how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Chat to friends, family members or a professional. Talking is a great way to release the stress and anxiety you may be experiencing. And the person you confide in may be able to offer a unique perspective or solution to the problems you are facing.
We hope you have a safe and peaceful holiday period!
If you have a loved friend or family member who you know is not travelling so well, make sure you check in with them over the Christmas period and let them know you’re there for them. Also, if you’re considering getting them a gift, think about giving them something that will support their mental health. You may even like to consider these gifts for yourself because we all need to treat ourselves after the year we’re all had. Check out our great ideas below.
We’re a little biased but we think that a session of laser therapy is a wonderful gift for someone struggling with their mental health. We are passionate about using the innovative technology of photobiomodulation to support conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, ADHD and more. Usually we would recommend multiple targeted sessions for the most effective support but did you know that we offer ‘systemic treatments’ which can potentially assist with relaxation after just one session? It involves placing one of our tools on your wrist for a short period of time to allow light to penetrate your body’s systems and to give you a boost of energy or to help you relax.
Journaling is a fantastic strategy to support and maintain mental health. Putting thoughts onto paper can be a great way to relieve emotional and mental burdens. Journaling can help clarify thoughts and ideas, as well as assist in the development of reflection and expression. These may be important first steps and skills for someone who is hesitant about seeking professional help. Journaling can also help identify patterns of thought and behaviour, enabling assessment of how positive or negative one’s mindset or self talk might be. Reading over past thoughts and experiences may also lead to the recognition of potential triggers. Although it is beneficial to add to the journal daily, there are no rules to journaling.
We love these handmade journals from The Boho Suitcase in Geelong. To make you feel extra good about the purchase, each product has a homegrown, recycled, repurposed element to them. Good for you, good for the world.
Self-talk is a significantly influential factor when it comes to one’s mental health. Negative self-talk can have a compounding detrimental effect, but positive self-talk can have a compounding effect of empowerment. Once someone is able to think consistently positively and is able to act as a champion for themselves, they can begin to believe and embody the positive messages they are receiving. While it can be hard to break the pattern of thinking negatively, it is possible. For assistance with shifting to a positive mindset, it can be helpful to be surrounded by positive messages to read, repeat and eventually believe.
We love these beautiful quote cards from ByTanya, a Geelong local artist. And to make the purchase even better, a percentage of her profit is donated to The Tolle Foundation which was inspired by her own experience with anxiety.
Our lives are hectic. Each day seems to get busier and busier. There are work commitments to fulfill, family relationships to nurture, a house to clean and maintain, a social life to engage in, a healthy body to preserve and if you’re lucky, personal interests to pursue. For many of us, it all gets quite stressful and overwhelming and we find that there are rarely many opportunities to stop, to be still, to be mindful and to let go. Shannon Bowman, the Director of Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling has had a very busy year, with the business growing rapidly, the launch of a new sister business and a toddler at home. His choice of self-care has been to book himself in for a ‘float’, allowing his body and mind to unwind in a spacious tank filled with salt water.
Shannon loves The Wellness Studio in Geelong, who state that, “Floatation decreases stress hormones, replenishes neurotransmitters, and releases endorphins. The unique environment encourages deep relaxation and provides a zen-like afterglow that can last for days.”
With so much time spent indoors this year, we’re all craving some time amongst nature. Perhaps it’s not just because it’s “anywhere but home” but it may also be because studies have shown that spending time in green spaces has a positive influence on mental health. Not only have plants been shown to boost self esteem, lower stress, improve memory and increase creativity but there have been studies that indicate beneficial outcomes for people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD and dementia. So why not bring more plants into our homes?
We love the amazing plants available at The Forest Collection, a local Geelong business. Our favourite plant is the Snake Plant. Not only is it super duper easy to care for but as The Forest Collection states, they “aid in cleaning the air by removing toxins and replacing oxygen! They also continue to produce loads of oxygen through the night, unlike a lot of other plants.” What a champion plant.
The sense of smell is closely linked to memory. We’ve probably all had the experience of being transported through time and space with a particular scent - maybe it was the smell of ginger biscuits taking you to your grandmother’s house or the smell of sun baked gumleaves taking you to your favourite camping spot. So why not use that ‘super power’ to regularly transport yourself to your happy place. A scented candle can be a great way of doing that. If you’re not able to find a candle with the scent of ‘sun baked gumleaves,’ consider consciously linking a chosen scent with joyful experiences. First choose a scent, such a lavender which is known to have a calming effect, and then burn the candle while you do something you enjoy, such as taking a bath or reading your favourite book. After doing this regularly, you can use the scent as a strategy to calm or lift yourself during times of stress, anxiety or depression.
We love the candles from Shirley J Collection, which are handcrafted in Armstrong Creek.
Exercise plays an important role in maintaining balanced mental health. It releases chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin that improve mood and are great for relieving stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. But for many, the idea of ‘going for a run’ is not an appealing thought. However, it’s important to remember that there are so many different ways of being active and so many activities that won’t even feel like the slog of exercise.
We love the idea of grabbing a friend and getting over to Geelong’s The Rock Adventure Centre and Industry Boulders. Climbing and bouldering doesn’t involve continuous strenuous activity, which appeals to us. There are lots of breaks for problem solving between bursts of big effort. We also love that we can achieve a huge sense of accomplishment by climbing to the top of a wall, for example.
Many mental health conditions, such as anxiety, bi-polar, PTSD and addiction, come with persistent, chaotic and negative thinking. And it can be hard to drown out the noise. However the creativity and concentration involved in completing a craft activity can help to create a calm and focused mind. The repetitive nature of many craft activities can even feel meditative. When finished, there can be a great sense of accomplishment and a big boost to one’s self esteem.
We love Geelong’s Hooray Hoop and their beautiful embroidery. We’d love to stitch a positive affirmation or a symbol of hope onto a hoop, to always remind us of our aspirations.
Director of Create Balance Laser Therapy
- Tingling down the right side of my neck
- Numbness that moved up and down my neck and the right side of my face
- Pressure in my right ear
- Constant aching and throbbing pain
- Headaches almost daily
- Restricted movement (neck could not move far to the right)
- Weakness (my head felt heavy all the time)
With my health declining and stress levels rising due to the pain I was in, I tried many different therapies. I spent thousands of dollars in an attempt to fix my constant neck pain. Here’s is a list of what I tried:
- Chiropractor- This helped loosen my muscles but did not change the pain.
- Osteopathy - This helped loosen my muscles but did not change the pain.
- Neck traction - This did not help.
- Acupuncture – No noticeable difference for pain but it did help with mood and energy.
- Physiotherapy – This helped my body’s range of movement but it did not help my pain.
- Yoga and Qi gong - This helped with my mental health but it did not change my pain.
At the end of 2016, I was feeling hopeless and in constant pain. I experienced headaches most days. I was busy studying and working, but it was becoming extremely challenging. Every chance I got I had to lie down because the pain was too much to handle. Some of my coping strategies were:
- Lying down as much as I could
- Using a special pillow
- Holding my head up with my arm to reduce the load
- Wearing a cervical collar
- Researching and trying new therapies all the time
- Attending doctors’ appointments, getting X-Rays and an MRI
In November 2016, I began exploring another therapeutic approach; one which showed promising results in all the peer reviewed research. It was called Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Cold Laser Therapy. It is now known in the medical field as Photobiomodulation (PBM).
Photobiomodulation laser therapy has shown to be an effective approach to reducing pain for both acute and chronic injuries. Laser therapy is a safe, painless and non-invasive therapy and is changing the way that painful injuries are treated.
Initially I had doubts about getting results from laser therapy because I had tried so many other options and nothing had worked. I completed 12 sessions of laser and to my surprise, my pain reduced from debilitating constant pain (6-8 out of 10 pain all day, everyday) to having NO pain, with only a little flare up every now and then, which was hardly noticeable.
I’m now a huge advocate of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), Cold Laser Therapy and Photobiomodulation (PBM). I have first hand experience of this life changing therapy and I am passionate about supporting others who also experience chronic pain. I sourced one of the best laser systems in the world for my clinic - the Physio Laser from RJ-LASER in Germany - and I am so pleased to be able to help make positive changes to the lives of my clients. Please reach out via email or call the clinic if you have any questions about how laser therapy could help you.
What were your expectations, ideas and hopes of fatherhood before the birth of your daughter?
When planning to have a family with my partner, I was worried about the thought that we wouldn’t get pregnant and that it might be a difficult journey because we needed to do IVF. However, we were really lucky to get pregnant on the first go, so that was exciting. But I know that many people try for a long time, so we felt very fortunate.
Once we were expecting a child, I was really looking forward to being a father but I was also pretty nervous. There were moments where I was wondering about how I would cope with the lack of sleep. I wondered about how I would be able to juggle everything - family, work, a social life and my hobbies.
I’m a passionate snowboarder. I always hoped that my daughter would be a snowboarder too. Now that she’s here though, I don’t even mind if she’s a skier. We had planned to go to the snow this year but obviously couldn’t, due to COVID. But maybe we’ll get to go next year and then we’ll see whether she’s a skier or a snowboarder.
Another one of my hopes for fatherhood, and probably the most important hope, was that I would be a great role model for my daughter. I did have some concerns though, that I wouldn’t have the energy to always be my best self and I worried that my fatigue might affect the way I was around her.
Were your expectations, ideas and hopes realised upon becoming a father?
The lack of sleep is a real thing and it definitely impacts your mental health. My partner recognises that I need enough sleep for work and I’m grateful that she does most of the hard-yards. But I still do struggle with getting enough rest. It is definitely one of the challenges of being a father.
One of the big things that I realised about being a new parent is that you have to look out for your partner. You have to make sure you’re there for them and have their back because teamwork is really important when raising a young child.
I have also realised the importance of making sure you tend to your relationship and repair any disagreements as quickly as possible. You need each other and the worse the stress is, the harder it’s going to be for both of you.
Now that my daughter is here, I realise how privileged we are to have been successful with IVF. Science is amazing!
I have also realised that I love something more than my dog Freddy, which I didn’t think was even possible.
Has there been a particular moment that really made you feel like a dad?
I really feel like a dad when I get home from work and my daughter is waiting for me. She gets so excited and waves to me through the window.
Other times that have made me feel like a dad have been when she comes over and sits on my lap and gets me to read her a book. Or 10 books in a row. Or sometimes even 10 of the same book in a row.
What advice would you have for other new fathers?
It’s really important to take care of your basic needs as a new dad, like trying to get enough sleep, enough exercise and to eat healthily. This will give you the energy to look after your child, your partner and yourself.
Maintaining your mental health as a new father is also so important. There are so many new challenges that you have to face and with declining mental health, it can be really really overwhelming. Getting help early is so important for new fathers (and for new mothers) because early intervention is going to help with better outcomes. When things get too hard you could consider speaking to a friend, a loved one or even a professional. I got professional help myself when I was having troubles after becoming a dad and it helped so much.
How has fatherhood impacted your mental health?
Early on, just after my daughter was born, I was having a hard time. We moved from Melbourne to Geelong. I was starting up a new business. There were so many new responsibilities as a new father. There were lots of things happening for me. So my anxiety got worse and so did my depression. I got help from a professional and now I feel so much better. Life is a lot more balanced now and I feel like I can manage all the things that are going on.
What have you done to preserve your mental health as a new parent?
Telling my partner how I feel more often has really helped preserve my mental health. I’ve made sure that I take time out when I need it. I’ve made sure to exercise regularly, even if it’s only for a few minutes each time. I’ve come to realise that small changes and habits can equal big results.
What can you tell us about postnatal depression in men?
Postnatal depression in men can be common. Men’s roles change big time after the birth of a baby and as guys, we often try to do everything for everyone and that can come at a cost.
There are many factors that may increase the likelihood for postnatal depression in men. There is the obvious sleep deprivation. They might have to work longer hours to try to provide for their family. They’re not the main focus of their partner anymore, with the little one needing most of the attention. Guys can actually grieve over the sense of the freedom that they perceive they have lost. They might find they lack meaningful social connections because family life has become the primary focus. All of these factors may contribute to a man’s altered sense of identity and his physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, which may include the experience of postnatal depression.
What are the symptoms of deteriorating mental health?
There are many symptoms of deteriorating mental health to look out for. They will be different for everyone but common symptoms include aggression, mood swings, anxiety, eating too much or too little, using drugs or alcohol to manage feelings, concentration issues, lack of motivation, isolating yourself and avoidance. As I said, this is not a comprehensive list but these are just some of the things that could stand out.
When should men seek support for their mental health concerns?
I think everybody should be regularly checking in with their mental health, whether that’s through a professional, a friend or a loved one. It’s a good practice to consistently check in with yourself and not wait until you’re in crisis. Mental health is like physical health - it needs consistent work. It’s best to be proactive and reduce the need to be reactive.
How can men seek support for mental health that is negatively impacting their lives?
Speaking to friends or family about how you’re feeling is a good first step to accessing help. There are many different services that men can access when they’re having a hard time. One service that you can access straight away is called MensLine. It’s a 24/7 helpline for men going through challenges and you’re able to remain anonymous, which may make some men feel more comfortable. Accessing a counselling service will also be beneficial. Create Balance is of course available for face to face or online appointments.
Remember that opening up to the people that you love, telling them how you’re feeling and what’s going on for you is the hardest step. But it opens the door for change and it’s so worth it when you start to feel like your old self again.
You can schedule an appointment with Shannon by calling 0434 415 575.