The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD

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The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD: An 8-Step Program for Strengthening Attention, Managing Emotions, and Achieving Your Goals


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“A superb book, an important book, a book that breaks new ground. Anyone who is interested in the treatment of ADHD in adults must own this. Rigorous in its research, accessible in its style, convincing in its argument, and novel in its premise, this book keeps its promise of offering a reliable mindfulness prescription. I hugely recommend this book!”—Edward Hallowell, MD, author of Driven to Distraction 

“A great many people stand to benefit from Zylowska's eight-step program. Structured to be accessible for its target audience, this supportive guide to managing ADHD through mindfulness offers a clear and detailed program for putting an effective treatment in the hands of consumers and is a great contrast to the many didactic, jargon-laden self-help books available.”—Shelf Awareness

Do you:

• Have trouble paying attention and staying on task?

• Suffer from disorganization, procrastination, or forgetfulness? 

• Have difficulty with restlessness or trouble managing strong feelings such as anger and frustration? 

• Struggle with self-doubt and difficulty following through? 

• In a way that causes problems in your relationships or your work?

If so, you may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—like an estimated 8 million adults in this country. 

Physician-researcher Dr. Lidia Zylowska has created an 8-step program for using mindfulness practice (attention and awareness training) to overcome the symptoms of ADHD. The program includes practices such as sitting meditation, body awareness, thoughtful speaking and listening, development of self-acceptance, mindful self-coaching, cultivation of a balanced view of thoughts and emotions, and more. 

Dr. Zylowska educates readers about ADHD, helping them to understand how their ADHD brain works and how they can use mindful awareness to work with their challenges. She also explains how the mindful approach can be combined with other treatments, including medications, to boost self-improvement.

This book is accompanied by an audio program of guided mindfulness exercises for successfully managing ADHD.

Lidia Zylowska, MD, is a psychiatrist specializing in mindfulness-based approaches to mental health. She is a cofounder and faculty member at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). A recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Fellowship, Dr. Zylowska also maintains a private practice in West Los Angeles, where she treats adults with attention deficits.



Ratings and Reviews

 great addition!, 03 April 2012
By robin may

Dr Zylowska has put together an eight point plan to integrate mindfulness meditation to improve focus and emotional regulation. Her book is grounded in research and is full of references looking at both ADHD and applications of meditation, but does not read at all like a textbook. She has structured her book in a way that has a flow to it, but also is broken up enough so one could read it in pieces- ideal for someone with ADHD who might not be able to digest it all at once. It provides data from studies well blended with personal examples which keep the material from being too abstract or intellectual. Though not a true workbook, it includes written exercises as well as a CD with guided exercises that one can practice on his or her own.

Her eight point plan includes breathing techniques, being aware of both your body and mind, listening skills, regulating thought, actions, and emotions. In each section she spends time presenting the theory and data behind why this element needs to be addressed and gives personal examples. She then moves on to teach how to apply these techniques in a step by step fashion. Much of it is broken into bullet points and sections which make the approach seem less daunting. Then she comes toward the end of the book to discuss integrating the tools presented to pull it together.

As a provider who has treated adults with ADHD, primarily with medications, this new book and approach to treatment seems a great compliment to the field. She does not discourage people to using medications if they decide that this might be helpful, but sees her mindfulness exercises as something one could do as an alternative or additive approach. I think it is great to incorporate new behavioral health tools and enhance one's self care. I welcome more research into this area for many of our mental health conditions.

 A book for everyone, 21 August 2012
By Lady MD (Phoenix, AZ)

Ever since I read "Siddhartha" in high school, I have wondered or scoffed at why I cannot connect with life like a Buddhist. I have been through lots of books, therapy, and drugs looking for answers. When a lecturer pointed out that mindfulness (and exercise) can change brain chemistry to the good, I was hooked. This book is not just for people with ADHD. People who think they have OCD, bipolar disorder, work, sex, or drug addiction, have lost their way, or find no meaning in life can benefit. We all get weird, disruptive, intrusive thoughts, and spend a great deal of mental energy spinning wheels out of gear. Mindfulness is my way out, and Dr. Zylowska speaks the message simply and clearly. She has well-referenced explanations, exercises, and tips that for me at least, really work. The CD is a great first step. Another CD I really enjoy is "Still the Mind," by Bodhipaksa, available from Sounds True. It's been my next step: once you can be mindful, and reduce the background noise, what determines your path?

 Pretty great, 22 March 2012
By friend of wally cleaver "cheesehead"

I'm a very lucky guy -- I started practicing mindfulness several years ago, thanks to the writings of the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) authors, specifically Russ Harris and Steven Hayes.

Who knew that someone would develop an entire approach to adult ADHD based on mindfulness? For me, this book has really provided the, uh, focus I need. It's chock full of practical exercises. If you have adult ADHD, you might think at first that it's a little loopy. But my advice is to be patient with yourself, take it slow, and enjoy the process -- as Dr. Zylowska says, do mindfulness playfully.

A tremendous resource.

 The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD, 04 July 2012
By surfer82

Book was good at providing simple steps to dealing with everyday ADHD problems. It seemed like the author knew what it was like to be inside the brain of an ADHD person. She wrote it with good intent.

 Awesome journey, 21 March 2012
By A. Dotterweich "David d" (mn)

I have only just begun the journey of mindfulness and I am struck by the wonder of this book!
It it so well written and inspiring. Dr. Zylowska really knows her field and speaks to so many.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve the quality of their life and start their own journey.

 A Mish-Mash of Mindfulness, 05 December 2012
By David Boswell

I am an adult with ADHD that uses mindfulness techniques successfully in managing my ADHD. I do not recommend this book.

Adults with ADHD are a new subset of the disorder but for a professional to publish a book directed towards this subgroup implies a rigorous and tested approach. I found this book superficial and unstructured in the presentation of mindfulness techniques. It does not connect the techniques with the functioning of the ADHD brain even though using it in daily life is addressed p.194.

Attention, intention and grounding seem to be used as the same thing on the included CD for Mindfulness of Sound, Breath and Body track 3. Perhaps the author left out defining mindful intentional focus when experiencing sensations to make the exercises "accessible"? Perhaps she assumes that the listener will filter the sensations after being told to be "Aware of all bodily sensation"?

The RAIN exercise on the CD, based on the technique by Jack Kornfield, glosses over the concept of acceptance and investigation. Perhaps she is referring to radical acceptance related to Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and not the eight fold path? Except the author includes the serenity prayer for acceptance? p.119 The author seems to sprinkle in a little pop psychology and mixes it with other established techniques at will.

To combine mindfulness with the polar opposite of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is just plain wrong p.123 even though it has been tried before. Re-phrasing and re-framing thoughts, emotions and behaviors is exactly opposite of clearly perceiving and being mindful of thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Perhaps we're supposed to be mindful of how we deny what is actually happening? Mindfulness does not have a functional definition so I expect more of this kind of contradictory mixing to continue.

I am further bewildered by the book's content on ADHD. One glaring example is the author treats hyperfocus and inattention as the same thing p.31. Outwardly it may appear the same but they are completely opposite, the former being so focused to exclusion of distraction and the latter being distracted and inattentive. I believe if the source of the external symptoms are not addressed then the treatment will be ineffective and compliance will be low.

It is my sincerest wish that mindfulness techniques will be widely adopted for the treatment of ADHD. I have personally benefited from Soto and Rinzai Zen practice and direct anyone interested in mindfulness towards those traditions.

 A must read for Adults with ADHD, 31 October 2012
By Scott Shapiro, MD (NY, NY)

I have already started recommending this book to my patients. Dr. Zylowska clearly describes the benefits of mindfulness. She also helps the reader incorporate mindulness into one's life.

Scott Shapiro, MD
Specializing in
Adult ADHD, Anxiety,
And Depression