Women and Girls With ADHD: Can Meditation Help?
Girls with ADD or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are often under-diagnosed. Without treatment they will most likely carry this problem into adulthood. Rather than exhibiting disruptive behavior, as is usually the case with boys, girls with ADHD experience difficulty focusing and paying attention.
Entering the workforce or finishing college can be especially difficult for a young woman struggling with ADHD.
Adult women challenged with ADHD can also go undiagnosed and often suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic disorganization and feelings of inadequacy. Many times they recognize their own disorder for the first time when learning about their child’s ADHD.
How Transcendental Meditation Helps
Recent studies1 found that students with ADHD who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reduction of ADHD symptoms within three to six months.
The TM technique is practiced for 15-20 minutes twice a day while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. It can be quickly and easily learned by anyone—even young children with ADHD. Growing concern about the side effects and health risks associated with ADHD medications—including mood swings, stunted growth, insomnia and heart problems—has fueled a search for safe alternatives.
Because this meditation technique is effortless and involves no concentration, controlled focus, or sustained attentiveness, there is no obstacle for people with challenged attention spans.
ADHD and the Brain
Scientists attribute ADHD to a lag in the brain’s natural development. Cognitive learning expert Sarina Grosswald, EdD, led pioneering research on ADHD and meditation. Dr. Grosswald explained that Transcendental Meditation works very differently from how the drugs work. “Meditation is not a quick fix. But, over time, TM allows the brain to create the neural connections that correct the underlying problem. The drug is an immediate fix, but when it wears off, the problem remains—the lack of brain integration.” The TM technique is a cost-effective approach that can be a lifelong tool for managing ADHD and it’s many challenges.
- Current Issues in Education. Volume 10, 2008, Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry 2011; 2:(1). July 2011
Relevant Scientific Research Findings on the Transcendental Meditation program
- Increased brain processing
- Heightened EEG coherence
- Improved beta/theta ratios
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased verbal fluency
Students with ADHD practicing TM showed improvement in executive function, indicating greater cognitive capability and self-control. Current Issues in Education 10(2), 2008.
Students with ADHD who learned TM showed increased expressive attention, increased accuracy, greater fluency of categorization, and increased flexibility in switching categories. Current Issues in Education 10(2), 2008.
Students with ADHD who learned TM displayed reduced stress, anxiety, and ADHD symptoms. Current Issues in Education 10(2), 2008.