Tag Archives: non-fiction

The Mastermind Beyond ADHD: Interview with Author Jeff Emmerson

(First of a 2-Part Series)

I’ve been involved with many fascinating book projects over the years. However, none are as potentially impactful socially as Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and Thriving, the book I wrote with Canadian ADHD expert Jeff Emmerson to be released globally by Rowman-Littlefield on August 16. You can pre-order it on Amazon.com.

Beyond ADHD is a critical book for our times. In the last 30 years, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has gone from a rarely diagnosed disorder to an industry hundreds of billions of dollars in size, fed by all sectors of society. It involves:

  • Ten percent of the North American population;
  • Concerned educators, employers and parents who send fidgety or inattentive workers or kids to the doctor or school nurse’s office;
  • Overworked doctors that prescribe quickly from nine-point checklists;
  • Pharmaceutical companies (“Big Pharma”) eager to sell powerful prescription drugs that impact the patient’s biochemistry (often negatively);
  • A compliant (until recently) media slanted heavily toward “diagnose-and-prescribe”, writing articles that spread the idea you can only treat ADHD with drugs;
  • An equally compliant educational system, employees on the lookout for disruptive or hyperactive kids — and, in some cases, using approved course materials provided by Big Pharma, which promotes ADHD as a lifetime disorder, versus something we can get beyond;
  • A U.S. Congress so heavily lobbied by Big Pharma (532 of the current 535 members received campaign contributions) that they won’t move to quash Big Pharma’s grip on pricing; and
  • A public so gripped by busyness, technological and social stimulation that their neurological systems are overloaded. Many assume it to be ADHD or another mental health disorder diagnosed as fast as, well, a prescription can be written. If this dynamic sounds like a part of America’s woeful prescription drug story, well, it is.

Beyond ADHD Author Jeff Emmerson

Those are the departure points for Beyond ADHD. The book revolves around Emmerson’s life and experiences, instructive and harrowing at times, but also a cautionary tale into why you don’t diagnose someone with ADHD and give them powerful prescriptions in 15 minutes (the average time one spends in a doctor’s office before getting this diagnosis and prescription!).

I first met Emmerson via Twitter in late 2012, his chosen platform for discussing ADHD and mental health issues. What a platform it is, with more than 700.000 highly engaged followers, including medical, mental health and social health experts who worked with us on Beyond ADHD. He also has a large video blog audience, and more than 15,000 LinkedIn followers. After a difficult first 35 years of life, Emmerson was diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. In 2015, he met with Michigan-based neuroscientist Dr. Timothy Royer, who shattered the diagnosis after considerable testing — which led to this book.

With four weeks until Beyond ADHD releases, I decided to interview Emmerson, to give you a taste of his forward-thinking perspective, one that brought me right to the table to co-author this book. In this first part of our interview (part two will be posted Friday, July 21), you can see in Emmerson’s answers numerous options, causes and ways of working with this that, frankly, are woefully underused.

WordJourneys: What inspired and motivated you to create Beyond ADHD?

Jeff Emmerson: My own journey through the mental health system. Or, to be more specific, how I was diagnosed with ADHD after a suicide attempt in 2011 and what I discovered when my intuition told me to dig deeper into other possible reasons for the symptoms and battles I’ve faced for many years. I saw a desperately failing diagnostic system that made rushing to diagnosis way too common. I knew I had to speak out so that others might be able to avoid the “murky waters” of misdiagnosis through deeper understanding of just how faulty ADHD diagnosing is for millions.

WordJourneys: What are the three biggest issues with the way we currently diagnose and prescribe ADHD?

Emmerson: Number One: Not ruling nearly enough out first through a collaborative, inter-disciplinary team approach that treats ADHD/ADD as a diagnosis of exclusion (not the other way around);

Number Two: Not making other interventions (instead of simply medication) just as high of a priority (such as behavior therapy, brain training, nutritional counseling, looking at alternate learning/schooling options, physical activity, creative outlets, trauma at home being assessed, etc.);

Number Three: Not digging deeper after a diagnosis is made, and/or assuming that medication use needs to be permanent. Self-resilience and accountability must be held to very high standards as part of treatment. In other words, treat the whole person, not simply diagnose, medicate and leave them to their own devices without on-going support and education into self-reliance and growth.

WordJourneys: Why is ADHD diagnosed at such a high rate now? Do we really have that many afflicted adults and children, or is it something else?

Emmerson: My deepest fear (and gut feeling) is that so-called ADHD (in millions of cases) is a band-aid diagnosis made because we simply don’t have the knowledge, research or resources to dig deeper and actually address some key contributing issues no one talks about: chemicals in tap water, air quality, societal “norms” industry-wise, increasing tech addiction, poorer sleep quality, and many other root causes for symptoms. Instead, we use stimulant medication to see if it “works” and leave it at that (assuming ADHD and making it a potentially permanent diagnosis on someone’s medical records, a whole other issue for several reasons).

WordJourneys: The education system has played an increasing role in getting kids to ADHD diagnoses. Is this a good or bad thing — and why?

Emmerson: This infuriates me, and here’s why: Some kids may benefit from diagnosis and treatment, but factors such as date of birth (what time of the year a child is born), learning differences, root-cause factors for ADHD-like symptoms (many of them) and other issues are way too easily turned into a rushed ADHD diagnosis. Frankly, much of our education system is antiquated and obsolete in relation to the technological age we’re living in, so we need to hold education policy makers to task, just as much as we weed out children who seem to be acting out in any number of ways. After all, some of the world’s most innovative and creative people disliked conventional school very passionately. We need to do something about this desperate need for wholesome, 360-degree learning to become the norm (to start with, anyway).

WordJourneys: What are the challenges facing doctors and mental health professionals in treating the whole person, rather than just the ADHD?

Emmerson: Resources. Funding for thorough, holistic care is scarce in the United States, especially in the mental health realm, and there is heavy pressure to reduce that even further. What’s even bigger is that investments in education toward self-awareness, resilience, and extra-curricular activities, and incentives for families to stay healthy both physically and emotionally, are dwindling away. The unfortunate reality for many healthcare professionals is that insurance companies and profits for medical practices push more and more patients to be seen in shorter and shorter time-spans, resulting in rushed, insufficient care. Profits can still be made while taking the proper time to treat patients holistically and fully. We just need to help the system evolve and incentivize providers in new ways that benefit all.

(Part 2 will appear Friday, July 21, on The Word Journeys Blog.)

To pre-order Beyond ADHD

 

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A Change of Pace: New Blogs, Author Interviews, The Legacy Series Magazine Release

• Word Journeys Media

• Blog Interview with Author August McLaughlin on Dec. 12

• The Legacy Series Magazine Releases Nationally on Dec. 10

For the past five years, we’ve presented a wide variety of topics on the Word Journeys Blog. Much of it revolved around the writing profession, practice and book publishing industry, but we also wrote blogs on culture, travel, surfing, running, and many other topics.

Starting in January, we’re going to expand our reach — while more tightly focusing this blog. Our new blog, Word Journeys Media, will focus on industry-specific topics for writers, publishers, literary agents and others. It will be tied to the new wing of Word Journeys, which will specialize in promotional, publicity, marketing and consultation services for authors.

Among the Word Journeys Media services will be the 360 Book Publicity Suite. We’re partnering with Innovative Properties Worldwide to present this sweeping press release and publicity service for authors that connects their new books with up to 300,000 media, online, blog, book review and industry destinations — a reach most publishers can’t match. It also provides deep social media connection and establishment of the author as an expert on their subject in the eyes of the media. More on this in a special announcement blog next week. Write me at ryehling@wordjourneys.com if you’re interested in learning more.

• • •

Meanwhile, the Word Journeys blog will offer more author interviews, book reviews, and pieces that celebrate life and the writing lifestyle. We’ve just become a part of a number of major book blog tours, so get ready to meet some of the authors who are producing the latest fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles.  I was inspired to take this approach by Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, who hosts a weekly radio show, “Notes from the Field with Michael Shrieve,” that features, well, conversations with other musicians. His recent interview with Rush drummer Neil Peart was truly extraordinary.

We will begin our greater focus on authors next Wednesday, December 12, when we sit down with August McLaughlin, author of In Her Shadow, a psychological thriller that releases in January. This interview is part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. August recently contributed to The Legacy Series Magazine, which I edited. August is an exceptional writer with one of the most entertaining and informative (and, at times, spiciest) blogs, “Savor The Storm” 

So be sure to stop by The Word Journeys blog on Wednesday to meet August.

• • •

The other big event next week is the release of The Legacy Series Magazine: Celebrating Technology & Innovation. It releases on newsstands nationwide on Monday, Dec. 10. In the year since I took on the editing job for this publication, I have learned so much about our relationship with technology, how the craftiest and most visionary innovators turn their ideas into reality, and just how far we’ve come in technology — and still have to go. To paraphrase IT expert Mary Meeker’s take on the status of mobile apps, we’re still in spring training.

As one who was born in 1959, the year the transistor first started shipping, I’d have to say we’ve come pretty far. In fact, if you told someone in 1959 that they could watch TV on their computer, or text, or run one of more than 1.4 million applications off a portable palm-sized phone, they’d say two words: “science fiction.”

The Legacy Series Magazine is a fun, fun read. We feature incisive, expert-driven looks at the future of publishing, social media, filmmaking, cloud computing, tablets and much more. We built this issue around the legacy of the late Steve Jobs, who as Apple’s CEO revolutionized and/or redefined eight specific industries with his inventions, products and innovations — the most since Thomas Edison. The more I learned about Jobs from those who knew him best, such as Ken Segall, bestselling author of Insanely Simple and the man who came up with the “i” branding concept for Apple products, the more deeply I appreciated what Jobs did for our lives.

We talked with a lot of industry experts. My favorite conversations took place with Chris Voss, host of the Chris Voss Show and a Forbes magazine Top 50 Social Media influencer; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, co-star of Shark Tank and co-owner of Magnolia Pictures and AXS-TV; Jeanniey Mullen, executive VP of Zinio, the world’s foremost distributor of digital magazine content; Beth Comstock, senior VP of GE and the mastermind of the hulu.com TV website when she headed the digital division at NBC Universal; Dr. Gustavo Rabin, author of Becoming A Leader; and Craig Perkins, winner of the 2012 iPhone Film Festival. You’d be amazed at the cinematic quality iPhones have!

You can pre-order a copy of The Legacy Series Magazine, and receive 50% off the newsstand price.  Go to www.legacyseriesmagazine.com and visit the online store to place your order.

• • •

Finally, I’d be remiss in failing to mention two holiday gift ideas that I had a major hand in creating:

“The Champion’s Way,” which I co-wrote with Dr. Steve Victorson, offers a unique insight into the 11 characteristics all great champions share in common — whether sports champions, business icons, chart-topping entertainers and musicians, or champions in other walks of life. Our revised edition includes an update from the Summer Olympic games. You can order it by going to our website at http://thechampionsway.com.

“The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Enhance Your Writing Life.” I compiled and wrote this book to offer 366 unique, story-driven writing exercises that are guaranteed to increase your range and versatility, whether you’re a middle school student, teacher, or professional writer. There are exercises for virtually every fiction and non-fiction genre, along with “workouts” for poets, screenwriters, lyricists and essayists. I compiled the exercises developed during 10 years of teaching writing workshops, and added some fun asides you will find on every page — inspiring quotes, author birthdays, and much more. You can pick it up by going to http://www.penandpublish/writetime.

 

 

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