ADHD reWired

Have you ever just wanted to sit in a closet for some quiet time to study and eliminate distractions? Listen in as Eric and his guest Merage Ghane discuss why she did this, and many other topics on this episode of ADHD reWired. Merage is a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student in the eighth year of her PH.D. She shares her journey through being turned down many times to Ph.D. programs to finally being accepted and then getting her ADHD diagnosis.

Merage shares the struggles she had in college with concentration, how her parents reacted to her ADHD diagnosis, and why she chose to research the topic of uncertainty for her dissertation. Merage also discusses her research, what she is looking for within the study, the details of the scenarios she puts her test subjects through and how this research plays out in real-world situations with the variables that can affect the analysis.

Listen as Merage shares why she initially started her research on individuals with autism and attention networks, what she is looking for with her research, and the hardest thing about managing her ADHD while going through the P.h.D program. Merage used her real name in this episode because even though there could be repercussions, the fact is that she has ADHD, and she doesn't want to hide it.

Merage and Eric discuss how magical the ADHD community is, and what takeaways from the alumni coaching group she finds helpful. Merage is showing everyone that people with ADHD can accomplish anything they set their minds too. She isn't letting her diagnosis slow her down, and neither should you. If any of this resonates with you, plug in and listen to this amazing woman.

You'll Learn:

  • [01:46] Merage, welcome to the show!
  • [02:37] Merage shares where she went to school and where she is now.
  • [03:27] She shares her story from almost being diagnosed with ADHD in high school to her college career.
  • [05:04] Merage speaks about grad school and taking time off to get married.
  • [07:33] Have you always had a resilient spirit?
  • [08:10] Merage shares when she was actually diagnosed with ADHD.
  • [10:00] Merage speaks about studying in a closet with a silence please on the door.
  • [13:08] When you were diagnosed were you struggling with classes?
  • [14:20] Merage chats about being a girl with ADHD and how many women are diagnosed.
  • [16:09] She shares how telling her parents about the diagnosis and their acceptance.
  • [17:56] Merage tells us her parents were immigrants and how that affected who she trusted as she grew up.
  • [20:47] Merage shares what her research is about and how she decided to research this topic.
  • [26:00] She speaks about the issues she is studying for her dissertation.
  • [26:58] What are you looking for with this research?
  • [28:33] Merage describes the scenarios she puts before her subjects.
  • [31:41] How does your research play out in real-world situations?
  • [33:03] Merage shares the variables she is looking at that can affect the outcome of her research.
  • [34:27] Merage says she takes a very dimensional approach to psychopathology.
  • [37:34] Are you looking at the day to day decision making?
  • [40:32] Merage shares why she started looking at individuals with autism and attention networks.
  • [42:45] They speak about social executive function and how emotions change often and move quickly.
  • [44:23] Merage chats about a 3-minute talk competition she took part in and why.
  • [45:28] What's the hardest thing for you while managing your ADHD through a P.h.D program?
  • [46:13] Merage shares why she decided to use her real name even though there could be repercussions.
  • [54:23] Merage speaks about being in some coaching groups and the relatable experiences people shared.
  • [56:18] Why did you want to join the coaching groups?
  • [58:21] She discusses the challenges she had finding room in her schedule for the groups and how flexible the supervisors were.
  • [1:00:56] What did you take away from the coaching groups?
  • [1:02:51] Merage shares how she has been sleeping and the fact that she isn't getting any natural light.
  • [1:05:02] What are some things from the alumni sessions that have been helpful?
  • [1:08:02] Eric speaks about the ADHD conference and how magical the ADHD community is.
  • [1:09:10] Do you have anything else you want to share with the listeners?
  • [1:11:24] Merage thank you so much for being on the show today!
  • [1:15:05 ] If you're a regular listener, consider becoming a patron and on our Patreon at
Direct download: 310_Decision_Making_and_uncertainity-Merage_Ghane.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

Breaking down the increments of time to organize behavior for people with ADHD is like driving in fog at slow speed. Listen to Eric and his guest Dr. Russell Ramsay as they discuss this, and many other topics on this episode of ADHD reWired. Dr. Ramsay is the co-founder and co-director of the University of Pennsylvania Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program and an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry in the Penn State Medical School. He is also the author of five books, including the recently released Rethinking Adult ADHD, along with many articles with issues relating to ADHD. 

How do we break down tasks to make them more actionable? Listen as Eric, and Dr. Ramsay discuss Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the difference between agency and efficacy, automatic negative thoughts, and core beliefs. Dr. Ramsay also shares that there are no trade secrets with coping strategies; the issue is with implementation and follow-through. Eric wonders if clients can be taught to change the questions they ask themselves and instead of being discouraged because all of something does not work, look and see if a part of it will work, look at the smaller picture. 

Listen in as Dr. Ramsay shares the difference between procrastination and front end perfectionism, along with general cognitive disorders in the general population versus overgeneralization with ADHD. Dr. Ramsay says that it is ok to start toward something with the end in mind, but remember to implement the next incremental step to reach the goal. 

Eric and Dr. Ramsay both share some extraordinary information about ADHD. Even though Cognitive Behavior Therapy sounds hard, these two break it down into layman terms so that we can all understand it. Small steps with realistic expectations can help you reach whatever goal you want to achieve.

You'll Learn:

  • [02:47] Dr. Russell Ramsay, welcome back to the show!
  • [03:09] Dr. Ramsay why are we rethinking adult ADHD?
  • [05:40] He speaks about the main cognitive theme in CBT [Cognitive Behavior Therapy].
  • [08:04] Dr. Ramsay discusses a scale that measures distorted positive thoughts.
  • [09:57] Do you know the difference between agency and efficacy?
  • [12:30] Dr. Ramsay speaks about automatic negative thoughts and core beliefs.
  • [15:45] There are no trade secrets for coping strategies we know they work, the problem is implementation.
  • [18:06] How do we break down tasks to make them more actionable?
  • [28:56] Dr. Ramsay addresses the overgeneralization of distortions in positive and negative ways.
  • [31:46] Eric wonders if maybe clients should be taught to change the questions they ask themselves.
  • [33:17] Dr. Ramsay says that writing is hard for everyone, so if you can sequence your thoughts conversationally, it can help you express things in a more precise way.
  • [34:20] Are there differences in general cognitive distortions in the general population versus overgeneralization with ADHD?
  • [37:02] Dr. Ramsay speaks about procrastination and front end perfectionism.
  • [38:03] Dr. Ramsay shares some areas of perfectionism that many people do not recognize and productive procrastination.
  • [41:04] What something you can do behaviourally even though it is not actionable?
  • [47:44] Dr. Ramsay discusses the unrealistic expectations of reality, lowering the bar of sufficiency.
  • [50:30] Organizing behavior across time towards an outcome that we want to achieve.
  • [51:33] Dr. Ramsay says to start with the end in mind but implement the next incremental step toward your goal.
  • [53:51] How long does it take for replacement thoughts to become automatic?
  • [56:39] Dr. Ramsay gives examples from a study of framing bias and remarks that framing a task so that it is actionable makes it seem more natural to accomplish.
  • [57:43] Dr. Ramsay, do you have any final thoughts for our listeners?
  • [59:28] Thank you so much for being on the show today.
  • [1:00:41] If you're a regular listener, consider becoming a patron and on our Patreon at

Find Dr. Ramsay:

Direct download: 309_rethinking_Adult_ADHD_Dr._Russell_Ramsay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

Have you ever heard anyone say, "lazy is learned helplessness brought about by a lack of skills"? This is just one of the topics we cover in our monthly Q & A session with guests Brendan Mahan and Will Curb. We are taking questions from you the listener about situations that you want to talk through. It doesn't matter if it's personal or professional, we are here to give you our perspective and see if we can help you find some answers. 

We start with a question about doing tasks when you don't feel well and how to hit a pause button around these tasks instead of a stop button. Getting accountability groups set up when you want to make sure you are accomplishing what you set out to do, how to ask a friend to be your accountability partner, and how to set up ground rules about what accountability is and isn't. It is always easier to have an accountability partner that is doing something similar or at least in the same ballpark as what you are doing.

A mom of a 7th grader asked the team how she should respond to his failing grades and his resistance to taking the prescribed medicines. Laura asks for tips on how to not beat yourself up over a failure to complete calendar tasks, and Jennifer from the U.K. wants to know if they have ever had someone on the podcast from an area where the resources are limited. Jennifer is also curious about the team's response to podcasts that are selling products to manage ADHD like essential oils as an alternative to medicines.

Listen in as we cover a wide range of topics, and we provide some creative takeaways no matter what stage you're in with your diagnosis. Listen in as we not only discuss your questions but also the struggle we still have dealing with our ADHD.

Your Resources:

You'll Learn:

  • [02:19] Welcome our monthly Q & A with Will Curb and Brenden Mahan.
  • [03:00] Madeline starts off with a question about getting tasks done when she is not feeling well.
  • [04:40] Will and Brenden give their feedback on what is a priority when they are not feeling well.
  • [07:01] Eric speaks about having the flu and the response he got when he couldn't get an episode out.
  • [08:50] Beware of the guilt, shame and anxiety feelings that can surface.
  • [12:08] Blake has an issue with his accountability and is asking for help.
  • [14:35] Eric asks if there are certain things he has found helpful in the past.
  • [15:45] What is the purpose of your need for accountability?
  • [18:05] They discuss setting up a daily task list and sharing it with someone.
  • [20:21] The follow up is a crucial thing with accountability. You need to report back to someone.
  • [23:21] Alexis is asking how do you choose a non-therapist to be your accountability partner?
  • [23:41] Eric speaks about needing to know what accountability is and what it isn't.
  • [24:29] Will says that setting up ground rules, in the beginning, is very helpful.
  • [26:20] Do you need an accountability partner to be doing something similar to what you are doing?
  • [32:02] Andrew feels either everything is great or everything is terrible and wants to know if they have any tips to help to level this out.
  • [33:57] Eric wants to know what time he is going to bed versus what time he is falling asleep and when he is waking up.
  • [36:34] Do you regularly? Do you eat correctly?
  • [39:08] When you have ADHD you have to think about your brain, do things that self-monitoring.
  • [40:20] A mom shares that her son is struggling with school and resistant to meds, she is asking for ideas.
  • [41:35] Brenden says that she needs to find out where the breakdown is at school and activate his school team to help figure this out.
  • [44:09] Do you know where the skill deficit is? What is going on right now?
  • [46:51] Brenden gives an example of how it feels to kids when they are trying hard, but the outcome doesn't show it.
  • [48:46] Laura wants to know how to manage the tendency to ignore your calendar to-do list?
  • [50:03] When you realize you haven't looked at your calendar, look at it, don't beat yourself up. Be more resilient, get up when you fall down.
  • [52:03] If you can only get one thing done today, what would that be?
  • [52:44] Will shares his tricks for getting back on track when he falls down.
  • [54:18] Don't beat yourself up because you missed a few days on your calendar starting with today.
  • [58:48] Jennifer wonders if they have ever had anyone on their podcasts from different areas like the U.K. about the limited resource.
  • [1:03:08] Do you have any tips for people looking for evidence-based resources on ADHD?
  • [1:05:05] Drug-free advertising for all-natural approaches for ADHD keeps people from trying the medication that could get their lives together.
  • [1:07:11] Brenden gives his insight into alternative ways to manage ADHD.
  • [1:10:30] Will believes that the more things claim to cure, the less it probably cures.
  • [1:11:26] Eric says that they support science and are curious about magic is what he believes is the consensus.
  • [1:12:03] Jennifer, thank you for your questions!
  • [1:13:16] Will and Brenden thank you as always.
  • [1:13:31] If you're a regular listener, consider becoming a patron and on our Patreon at
Direct download: 308_Jan_2020_Q__A.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am CST

Were you aware that suicidal tendencies are more common in people with untreated ADHD? Listen to Eric's guest, Roberto Olivardia, as he explains his findings and gives his insight into the research that supports these statistics. Roberto is a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. He also has a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he specializes in the treatment of ADHD and many other disorders. 

Roberto shares how he got involved with the study of ADHD and suicidality, and the research showing that individuals with ADHD have a higher risk of self-harm and suicide. explains the Roberto believes that people with ADHD sometimes feel like they don't fit in, which is why finding their tribe is so important. 

Feeling like you don't belong, and are a burden to the people you love, can be a catalyst to suicide. If this resonates with you, please don't hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 for help.

Do you have any thoughts of hurting or harming yourself? If you are worried about someone, don't be scared to ask them this question. Roberto informs us that asking the question can erase the stigma and let them know that others are having these kinds of thoughts, and it's ok to talk about it. Listening without overreacting is the first thing you should do and never simplify what they are feeling. But if you believe that they are in imminent danger, it's time to get help by whatever means necessary.

Listen to this in-depth conversation on the statistics of suicide and ADHD. Eric and Roberto give a roadmap on what to do and say if you know someone who might be following a path of darkness without any hope of finding the light. Suicide is a subject that should be talked about, so spread the word you never know who you might be able to help.

You'll Learn:

  • [02:57] Roberto, welcome back to the show!
  • [03:07] Roberto please fill us in on how you got involved with ADHD and suicidality.
  • [04:12] He gives us statistics on the number of people who die by suicide every year.
  • [05:52] Roberto shares how ADHD can impact the treatment when dealing with both issues.
  • [07:04] There is research that shows that individuals with ADHD have a higher risk of self-harm and suicide.
  • [07:24] Does that include people with ADHD but have never had depression?
  • [09:31] Roberto shares a study following kids with ADHD ages 4 to 6 for fourteen years showing how many of them had a plan for suicide during that time.
  • [10:32] Roberto describes the difference between self-harm versus suicide.
  • [13:02] He speaks about author Dr.Thomas Joiner a leading suicide specialist and his book 'Why People Die by Suicide.'
  • [15:57] Because people with ADHD are prone to impulsiveness, could there be a non-attempt attempt at suicide?
  • [18:34] Roberto tells us that many people who attempt suicide feel like they are burdens to their families and leaving will make it easier on them.
  • [21:06] If you feel like you are a burden or that you don't want to be here, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 to talk to someone about what you are feeling.
  • [27:01] Roberto shares a story where a client had rehearsed his suicide so often in his mind that he used it to self-soothing.
  • [29:40] Coping mechanisms can take many different forms, but you shouldn't be ashamed to tell someone about them.
  • [31:00] Roberto speaks about how he struggled in high school to find out where he fit in the world.
  • [34:41] How should someone respond if a loved one comes to them with thoughts of suicide? He says the first thing is to listen without overreacting.
  • [36:06] Praise them for being open and trusting you with these thoughts.
  • [37:31] Give them the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number 800-273-8255 and don't simplify it.
  • [39:57] If there is an imminent risk that they will follow through, it's time for them to get help as quickly as possible.
  • [41:39] Roberto shares that 50% of suicides are by firearms, 66% of gun deaths are suicides. 
  • [43:28] What are some lessons you have learned from people who have attempted suicide?
  • [45:00] If you have ADHD and major executive dysfunction it can be very difficult but there are ways and strategies to get through the challenges.
  • [47:56] Roberto chats about how important finding your tribe or community is because you are not alone.
  • [50:41] Roberto shares that non-suicide contracts do not work and are not effective.
  • [52:32] He speaks about occasions when churches wouldn't do funerals of people who died from suicide because of the stigma that lingers even today.
  • [54:22] Roberto wants listeners to know that there is help out there for anyone that has feelings of suicide.
  • [55:01] Thank you, Roberto, for being on the show, please come back again.
  • [55:47] If you're a regular listener, consider becoming a patron and on our Patreon at

Find Roberto:

Direct download: 307_Suicide_and_ADHD_-_Roberto_Olivardia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am CST