An ADD Woman with Lacy Estelle

I Have a Secret to Tell You

March 11, 2024 Lacy Estelle
An ADD Woman with Lacy Estelle
I Have a Secret to Tell You
An ADD Woman with Lacy Estelle: Growth
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Ever wondered how screen time affects ADHD and dopamine levels? In this episode of An ADD Woman, Lacy Estelle shares a personal secret and discusses her decision to get rid of her family's gaming system in an effort to help her son struggling with ADHD. Lacy dives into the neuroscience of ADHD, the impact of screens on dopamine production, and how reducing screen time may help re-sensitize the brain's reward centers. Join Lacy as she shares her insights and experiences, and stay tuned to hear how this decision unfolds for her family.

Resources:
Healing ADD (Revised Edition): The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD, by Dr. Daniel Amen

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[0:00] Hey guys, welcome back. This is Lacy Estelle with An ADD Woman, and today I'm going to let you in on a secret.

[0:12] Welcome to An ADD Woman podcast. I'm your host, Lacy Estelle.
This is the podcast where we talk about all things to do with ADHD from a Christian woman's perspective.
I'm so glad you're here, and I can't wait for you to realize all the amazing things that God is doing in your life.


The Decision to Remove the Gaming System


[0:33] And today I'm going to let you in on a secret. And this is a pretty big deal, going to be a really big deal in my house.
But they don't know it yet, and there's only one of them here.
I'm going to say it kind of quiet. So I'm going to whisper this.
I'm going to get rid of our our gaming system.
Yes, the entire thing. Just so you know, it's a PlayStation Pop.
My kids also got laptops for Christmas, so I don't know how far it's going to go.
I will say I'm also considering digging out Oculus that we have and getting that as well.
And I'm going to tell you why. Because I think it's important.
One of my children is struggling immensely in school rate.
Immensely. And, you know, one thing that a lot of people will say with ADHD is, oh, yeah, well, you can focus when you want to.
And I really don't, I don't really like that statement because I was told that all through my teen years, and it made me feel really stupid.
And I really don't think that with all the research and everything, I will say that's what it looks like, but that's not really what it is. So...

[1:49] The normal reward center in the brain has an abundant amount of dopamine.
And when you do something, something as small as, you know, pick up after yourself or you clean things or you, you know, if we're talking school student, you know, you do homework, you get it done.
It feels really good. Now, we who have ADHD, we still have that, but it's nowhere near the abundant amount that it is for our neurotypical counterparts who can recognize that getting homework done, that feeling feels so good that they want to, you know, maintain it.
So one of the easiest ways, and it seems really simple, to help your dopamine centers to kind of, I guess, to resensitize yourself to dopamine.
And I don't really like the idea that we can resensitize ourself or that ADHD is just that you have overabundantly bombarded your system with really superficial dopamine, I should say.
I know, guys, I'm using these really awesome, awesome scientific words.
But what I'm saying is, in this day and age, we are bombarded with things that give us dopamine all the time.
Our phones, TV, even computer screens, gaming is a huge one.
Social media is a huge one.


The Impact of Dopamine on ADHD


[3:10] All of those things, really. they can hijack our dopamine receptors and give us so much dopamine that it makes it really hard especially for those of us with adhd who have struggled changing attention you know we we get into something and we're like no we gotta we gotta stay doing it especially when we start to get this huge surge of dopamine receptors going off in our brain that our brain is usually starving for in in general.
This is also why we will overeat.
We might engage in promiscuous sexual activity.
All of those things contribute to an abundant amount of dopamine.
But it's not dopamine that we want.
It's addicting dopamine. I'll put it that way.

[3:50] Now, this same dopamine is the same stuff that your brain will create if you go and get on a stimulant medication, but it's in a therapeutic dose and it's being overseen by your dog.
So it does make it slightly harder to abuse it.
But for those of us who are naturally prone to tripping ourselves into this dopamine chase and cycle, you can definitely still become addicted even to your prescription medication. You can start to abuse it, take too much of it.
I think that there is a very, very fragile balance between our perception of what being a productive human, okay, being a, I don't want to say normal person, but like a more functional and what that actually looks like.
And so sometimes when we are given, you know, this quick dopamine, we can fall into the trap of we have to have it all the time or we have to have more of it to continue to function.
But we're actually chasing like this idealistic version of ourselves that's not really realistic either.
Right. And I know that I talk a lot about that in other episodes.

[5:04] About how, you know, we have to really change our perception of what progress looks like and how God can play a role in our problems and the things that we take as huge character flaws are really just, they're just things, right?
But we can focus more on what God has in store for us and how God wants to shape and mold us and literally let Jesus take the wheel and things can get better, but they can't get better if we're constantly chasing this ideology of ourselves and what that looks like.


Struggles in School and Consideration of Homeschooling


[5:37] I'll come back to that in another episode, but I need to kind of go back to what I was originally talking about.
I'm going to get rid of it. They have no idea. They're going to cry.
I know this, but there's a reason for this.
So again, my oldest son, not even just my oldest son, but one of my children specifically, my oldest son, is struggling immensely with his grades.
Now, he has had an uphill climb for years. He was diagnosed late.

[6:07] All of his testing in school showed that he can do the work if he works really, really, really hard, probably four to five times as hard as his peers.
But, you know, he can do it. So they basically kind of were like, yeah, he's capable, so we can't really give him any sort of interventions.
So once he got a diagnosis, then he was able to get interventions.
But even at that, they still only wanted to give him kind minimal.
Well, now he's had some issues where he's wanted to go off medication and he wanted to go back on medication. Now he's been off medication for a while.
When I say he's struggling, he is struggling massively.
When we talked about it, he basically was like, I don't know, maybe I should just be homeschooled.
And to me, that was frustrating because I felt like I have told him a few times, if this doesn't work, then I'm going to homeschool you. but not because I felt that homeschool would be easier.

[7:01] Actually, I think homeschool will be much, much more difficult, especially for a child like him.
He, granted, he wants to sleep in as late as possible, but he also wants to stay up all night. He kind of wants to have his cake and eat it too.
And while I was totally a kid that was the same way, I also didn't fall back on the foundation of like what my parents had kind of set for me.


Reflecting on Personal Experiences and Influences


[7:23] I was very rebellious and I was very determined to do things my own way even if I wasn't 100% sure that they were the right way plus then you add on top of it I had a major influence in my life who was allowed to basically do whatever he wanted and like an adult when he was 17 and that was so I'm gonna get rid of this and there's a few key reasons why I knew this information but it wasn't you know it doesn't stick with me there's so much information to know not just about about ADHD, but just in general, right?
And so our brain picks and chooses what it wants to hold on to.
And when you have ADHD, you don't get to pick and choose what you want it to hold on to.
I knew screens were bad, okay? I knew that they were definitely bad for ADHD, but I didn't realize how old.


Revisiting Dr. Daniel Amen's Book on ADHD


[8:06] So I'm revisiting the book, Healing ADD by Dr. Daniel Amen.
And if you've listened to my podcast for any length of time, I hope you know that I do believe in the field of neuroscience. science.
And I do believe in the field of neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry specifically.

[8:22] Which basically means that I believe that psychiatry should be looking at the brain.
Now, I know that psychiatry didn't start out as a field where you looked at the brain.
Neurology and psychiatry and psychology have all thought that they were all different.
Psychology and psychiatry were behavior-based and symptom-based, and neurology was brain-based.
But the more research we do, the more advanced we become.
I think the more we recognize that neurology, psychiatry, psychology, they're all just different faces to the same coin. I guess.
I don't know about you. I don't have a three-sided coin.
They're all different faces to the same diamond, I guess. Either way, I think that they're all studying the same thing.
They just look at it from different points of view. And with that said, so I've been revisiting his book and I actually have an older copy.
I have the new copy. I have the revised edition with the seven types.
This is old enough to still say the six types.
So I know that it's considerably older, but I lent that one out so I only have this but I came across where he's talking about.

[9:30] Some of the most difficult things when it comes to dealing with ADHD and screen and in this day and age you know at this point where he's talking about this I was like you know that's that's interesting but gosh it's so much worse now you know like when he wrote this book I think the The worst we had was TV.
He doesn't even really talk about computers too much, except for when he gets into his neuroscience-based testing.
But he mentions about how there is something called entrainment.
And we have learned that entrainment, basically, it's an ability for a screen to pull you in.

[10:16] Suck you in and if you have ever you know looked at or watched turn on a documentary okay turn on a documentary and you think to yourself like i'm never gonna watch this is so boring it's documentary about like how's it made have you ever seen the show how is it made you turn that on and you can't turn it off you don't even know why i don't even know why you can't stop watching it's the same thing you guys this is the same thing with tiktok if you don't think that tiktok has has not only has a social media component algorithm to it as to like what it shows you, but the fact that when you flip the screen in the video and you flip it, that is a cue in your brain and your visual stimuli to produce dopamine.
So yeah, it's addictive.

[11:02] And if you've ever looked at a screen through a camera, I know everybody has their cameras are their screens these days, right like you can't but if you've ever done that you'll see that your computer screen on a camera like if you're trying to videotape um it has this rolling blinking like but you don't see it unless you put it on a camera as a kid i remember trying to take a picture of something on the tv and i couldn't take a picture because the screen was rolling kind of reminds me of those old film strips right because that's how we have movies film strips would play and they play so fast you you wouldn't see that those film trips were actually a bunch of different pictures.
Well, screens these days are actually, they're made.
And social media, videos, all the video formats, especially even like movies, are made in a way to draw our brain in and draw our attention.


The Effect of Screens and Activities on ADHD


[11:59] Now, here's the thing. Now, he talks about, in his book, he talks about when you use your brain, the more you use your brain it's like a muscle the more you use your brain the stronger it becomes the more it can do but the opposite is also true he says the less you work the less you work it the weaker it becomes repeatedly engaging in what he calls no brain activities such as tv, decrease a person's ability to focus now adhd is not caused by us looking at screens too much That's not what I'm saying. And I don't want you to take that away from this.

[12:36] ADHD is a problem with the chemicals in our brain.
And what's amazing about Dr. Daniel Ehman that he has found is that there can be seven different types, which means that your brain can be firing different things at different times.
And you're going to present with the same symptoms as a lot of other people with ADHD.
Maybe you'll have a few minor ones that are slightly different. For the most part, it's going to be, you know, you're going to have these core symptoms and then you might have a couple that play into you lean one way or you lean another way when it comes to his seven different subtypes.
But none of those subtypes are caused by too much TB.
But if you think about it, an alcoholic's symptoms of alcoholism are exacerbated by alcohol.
If somebody has an allergy, my bonus are she's actually allergic to the sun.
I know that sounds crazy, right? Right. But she's a redhead and she has this specific genetic disorder, I guess, that makes it so that the first few times she's out in the sun or she gets she gets too much sun, she gets hot.

[13:45] She has to put this cream on and probably Kelly if she knew I was sharing this information.
But I feel like most people know it or if anybody knows her, they know it because we have to buy her special bathing suits so that she's mostly covered.
And she's diagnosed with that. So I wouldn't go stick her in the sun.
You know, like I'm not going to be like, oh, yeah, that's OK.
Just I know you're allergic, but you're fine. It's OK. Just go ahead.
Go out there. You're good.
Like I get people that tell me all the time, I know you don't eat gluten and dairy and stuff like that, but you probably just have a reaction to it because you don't eat it. Does that even make sense?
Because like, do you really hear yourself? Because like I stopped eating it.
Then I tried to eat it again after I stopped eating it the first few times and it caused me great pain. Great pain.
Why would I think that if I continue to ingest it, that that's going to go away?
That pain was always there.
The byproduct of exposure was always there. I just didn't recognize it until I took it away.


The Allure and Impact of Video Games


[14:41] So that's why I'm getting rid of our PS5. Because I truly believe that even though my children love it, and they enjoy it, and they have friends on there, and they play games all day.
And I will tell you, like my oldest, he's like ridiculously good at video games.

[14:59] Ridiculously good. Really. And I know you're thinking, oh yeah, every kid is good at video games. No.
He's really good. He could have probably been in a Fortnite tournament or some other tournament.
He plays games. He beats them. He goes on to the next.
Right now, he's playing. He's obsessed with this Roblox game on his laptop.
And he has in it, he gets to become a police officer.
He's worked himself all the way up to like senior commissioner.
And he's done that in like two months.
And I don't even know police rankings. rankings but I know that like he's told me about every promotion he's gotten and he's not gone more than like a week and a half without getting some sort of promotion and to get that promotion he has to conduct all these trainings and he has to do all these things okay again dopamine that's what this is that's what he's chasing and I get it and so he can get it really well from a screen and he feels really good and he feels super accomplished right but I need for him to start to feel that with the schoolwork.
And he literally can't. His brain is going to be so numb to something that seems so boring to him that he's not going to be able to force himself.
Even if he wanted to, he can't force himself to do the work because his brain is literally shutting off.
Now, I'm not saying that getting rid of the PlayStation 5 or I limit his ability to play video games on his his laptop, which I will be doing.

[16:23] I'm not saying that's going to reverse this. It's not necessarily going to reverse it.
What I am saying, though, is it may make his brain a little more sensitive to even that little bit of dopamine that gets released when you do things like go for a walk outside or exercise or, you know, anything.

[16:45] You know, you think about balance. Sometimes, like like let's take like money for instance i know dave ramsey says if you you're having money problems you have your bills so you have your outsourcing and then you have your income one of the fastest ways to grow your income okay is actually to lower your bills and then he also says one of the other fast one of the other not so fast ways to grow your income is actually grow grow your income while you lower your bills.
You can make that gap as big as possible.
When you get a little bit of extra money, it can feel like you get a lot of extra money, right?
Or when one of your bills ends up less than what you expected, oh my gosh, all of a sudden you're like, oh, we've got some extra cash.
We can put more in savings. We can do things like that.


Balancing Dopamine Levels and Potential Solutions


[17:34] You know, all those things. Well, the idea is with your chemicals in your brain, if I can lessen, Okay, let's say over here is the amount of dopamine that he needs to be able to just get through his day, normal stuff. Okay.
And then this is the amount of dopamine that she gets from video games.

[17:56] As this raises, this doesn't actually get lower, okay? Because let's say it's already low. He has ADHD.
But as I raise this, it makes it that much harder for this part of his brain to even try to rise to this level. Does that make sense? I know.
I'm this awesome neuroscientist, which you all know that I'm not. I'm not a doctor.


Considering Pursuing a Degree in Neuropsychiatry


[18:18] I'm not a neuroscientist. I'll tell you. If you pray, if you listen to my podcast and you pray, I would really appreciate it if you would pray for me, discernment and clarity as to whether or not I should go back to school and pursue a degree in neuropsychiatry.
It will take me forever, you guys. It will take me forever.
And that's why I've put it off because I love talking about it.
I love reading about it. I love applying it to my life because it's so relevant.
And I have thought for a long time that I could could just continue to do this and this would be okay.
And I do still plan to continue to do this even if I do go back to school.
But the more I get into it, the more I feel like it's much harder for me to make an impact in this field without a medical degree.
And I really think that that's what I would prefer to do.
But again, please pray about it for me. Pray specifically for me and my My husband have clarity and wisdom about it.
That this is the route God wants me to take. That he would just open all the doors.

[19:21] So yeah. So that's my little secret guys. That's my little secret.
And I can't wait to send you or to upload another episode in two weeks.
I'm going to tell you how it all goes.

[19:35] I already am anticipating. And so if you think, if you're thinking to yourself, oh, maybe I should do that.
Just know I'm already anticipating what I would consider withdrawals.
And they are going to be just like, you know, like a drug addiction withdrawals because they have done studies now that say that video gaming can be as addictive as things like cocaine. I know sugar can.
And when I got off sugar, oh, I was angry and irritable and crabby and I had a headache and I felt like crap.
So fully expecting for this to be a rough few days.
Thanks so much, everybody. Thanks for listening. Talk to you guys soon.
Thank you so much for listening.
What would really help me more than anything, if you feel inclined, is please leave me a five-star review wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that's Spotify, Podbean, Apple Podcasts, all the like.
It really helps for the show to show up for other people that maybe they need to hear it.
Thanks again for being here. I appreciate you so much.

[20:35] Music.

Introduction
The Decision to Remove the Gaming System
The Impact of Dopamine on ADHD
Struggles in School and Consideration of Homeschooling
Reflecting on Personal Experiences and Influences
Revisiting Dr. Daniel Amen's Book on ADHD
The Effect of Screens and Activities on ADHD
The Allure and Impact of Video Games
Balancing Dopamine Levels and Potential Solutions
Considering Pursuing a Degree in Neuropsychiatry