November / December 2013

Page 46


Keeping Cool this Yule When ADHD gets the blood boiling Special Contribution to Austin MD by Dr. Phyllis Books


he idea of a family serenely sipping hot chocolate around the fireplace during the holiday season, feeling all cozy and unbothered with the cares of the world, sounds pretty idyllic. If you are ADHD, or you are the parent of ADHD children, feeling calm amid the chaos is a daily challenge, not just during holidays. You may be questioning if there will ever be “peace on earth” in your house. The idea of enjoying each other’s company without constant interruptions or emotional eruptions, or just having the luxury of completing your own thought process, seems like a luxury.


A u s t i n MD m a g a z i n e . c o m

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Phyllis Books, and I’ve been working with ADHD individuals and families for almost thirty years. I’ve counseled families who deal with attention and focus issues, temper tantrums, meltdowns, learning and behavior challenges on a daily basis.

What makes holiday time more challenging? Holidays mean more time away from the structure of school, more time with extended family and friends, less routine…and lots more sugar. It probably means going to bed late, sleeping in, eating different kinds of

foods, going to parties, having sleep overs, visits from people you really like and obligatory visits from people you don’t especially enjoy being around.

How does lack of routine affect kids? Our brains and our bodies thrive on knowing when to expect a certain activity. It creates a structure, and freedom comes from feeling secure: knowing where the boundaries are. Food is one area where routines are disrupted during the holidays. Eating at the same time means the digestive juices start

images from Shutterstock