Parents and doctors have known about childhood ADHD – attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – for decades, but it is only recently that the medical field has started to recognize, diagnose and seriously study ADHD in adults. In this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, we explore what adult ADHD looks like, how it is diagnosed today and the many new treatments available to help those with the disorder live better lives.
The name attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a pretty good description of this common condition, but it can manifest in a few different ways. Some people only struggle with paying attention, some people can focus on tasks but are constantly fidgeting or dealing with excessive energy and some people exhibit both attention problems and hyperactivity. But for those who study ADHD, it is how these symptoms affect people’s daily lives that is most important.
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Tamara May is a senior research fellow at Monash University in Australia. She says that ADHD “affects the way our executive functions work. These are things like how we pay attention, how we sort of moderate ourselves, how we plan and organize, time management and how we switch attention.” As May explains, many people with ADHD are forgetful and bad at time management and these issues can affect many aspects of daily life. “It means that you underachieved academically or you had to drop out. It means that your interpersonal relationships are impacted, you can’t maintain friendships or you’re heavily relying on a partner to do all your organizing.”
Thankfully, as awareness of adult ADHD has grown, so has the body of knowledge on how to treat it, both with drugs and also with behavioral therapy. Laura Knouse is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Richmond in the U.S. and studies how therapy can help adults with ADHD. She says that, according to most recent research, the best nonmedication treatments “fall under this umbrella of something we call cognitive behavioral therapy. I like to simplify that and just say a skills-based treatment, a treatment that’s going to help you figure out how to structure your environment and how to structure your time and develop the strategies that you’re going to need to make your goals real, even in the presence of having ADHD in your life.”
In the full episode of the podcast, we talk in depth with Knouse about what these therapies are, how they work in concert with medication and what’s next for treatments. Then we end the episode with Tamara May, digging into how perceptions of adult ADHD – both within medicine and culture more generally – have changed in recent years, and what it means for those who have it.
We’d love to hear what you think about The Conversation Weekly podcast and are running a listener survey about the show, which should take about five minutes to complete. Thank you!
This episode was produced by Mend Mariwany, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can find us on Twitter @TC_Audio, on Instagram at theconversationdotcom or via email. You can also sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here.
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Dark side of Social Media Influencing
Dark side of Social Media Influencing
Do you follow influencers on social media? Do you always check their posts? Do you find you’re spending too much time or becoming obsessed with checking influencers’ accounts? And when you can’t check in, do you feel disconnected or lost?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you may have whats known as “problematic engagement” with social media influencers.
But don’t blame yourself too much. You are among the many who have been swept away by dazzling social media influencing. And this can be attributed to many features and tactics social media influencers employ that help keep them influential — like livestreams and polls on Instagram.
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As experts in social media and user behaviour, we recently published a paper that looks at followers’ problematic engagement with influencers on social media. Our paper is among the first to study which aspects of social media influencing may lead to followers’ problematic engagement. It is important to examine this context considering the significant volume and revenues of social media influencing — it’s a US$13.8 billion industry.
The issue of problematic engagement
Whether you are a fashion fan or want information on health and fitness — there’s an influencer to follow. And followers often gravitate towards them for their authenticity and content creation.
But less focus is put on the dark side of social media influencing. Influencers are motivated and often incentivized (through product and brand endorsement) to increase their power on social media and many are becoming more proficient in attracting and engaging followers.
Followers, on the other hand, can easily become attached and obsessed with influencers and their engagement can often become excessive and unhealthy. Problematic engagement with social media influencers is common among followers, but not well known or understood.
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We recently examined the factors and mechanisms that lead to problematic engagement. We focused on three influencer characteristics (physical attractiveness, social attractiveness and self-presence) and two follower participation attributes (participation comprehensiveness and following length) to explore their effects on the development of problematic engagement through the formation of follower attachments.
Based on attachment theory, we studied two types of attachments — parasocial relationship and sense of belonging, both of which are key in social media influencing. Parasocial relationship is followers’ perception of their one-sided relationship with an influencer and sense of belonging refers to the feeling of being an integral member of the influencer’s community.
We conducted an online survey of 500 Instagram users. The results showed that when followers develop attachments both to influencers (parasocial relationship) and their community (sense of belonging), this can lead to problematic engagement.
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We found that influencers’ social attractiveness has a stronger effect than other factors in building followers’ attachments. Following more influencers could reduce the impact of attachment to the community (sense of belonging) when it comes to problematic engagement, but not the effect of attachment to the influencer (parasocial relationship).
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Implications for influencers and followers
Our study warns of and explains problematic engagement to social media users.
We argue that social media users who are attracted to influencers can become easily attached and engage excessively. Users need to be aware of, watch out for and exert self-regulations to manage their interactions with influencers.
For example, participation comprehensiveness — which refers to the reasons for following and extent of followers’ participation (like watching, liking, commenting, sharing) — can lead to attachment development. This, however, can be consciously managed by followers themselves. One way of doing this is by making use of the phone’s functions and tools like setting daily time limits on Instagram or turning off notifications for the app.
Social media influencers should also be aware of followers’ problematic engagement. Although it may be in contrast with their goal of increasing follower engagement, they can focus on creating a healthy relationship with their followers.
For instance, influencers can openly talk about the issue of problematic engagement and show care for their followers’ well-being. This will help with sustainability of the relationship because studies have shown that social media users with problematic behaviour are more likely to stop using platforms after a while.
More research on the dark side of social media influencers is needed and we call for future research to focus on additional negative consequences such as followers’ anxiety, depression and the impact of following influencers on followers’ well-being.
Samira Farivar, Assistant Professor, Information Systems, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University; Fang Wang, Professor, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Ofir Turel, Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne
Who gets to decide when the pandemic is over?
Who gets to decide when the pandemic is over?
It’s been two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID outbreak a pandemic, and since then, people around the world have been asking the same thing: when will it end? This seems like a simple question, but historical analysis shows that “the end” of a disease is rarely experienced in unison by everyone affected.
For some, the threat is over quickly and a return to normality is eagerly anticipated. But for others, the continued threat from infection – as well as the long-term health, economic and social impacts of the disease – render official announcements of the end premature. This could, for example, include immunocompromised people, some of whom remain vulnerable to COVID despite being vaccinated.
Determining when a disease outbreak has ended is even difficult for global health agencies. The Ebola outbreak that began in 2018 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared over by the WHO in 2020, but subsequently flared up again. This revival was then re-declared over in December 2021.
In England, the government recently decided to lift all remaining COVID legal restrictions. But does this push towards “living with” the virus mean that England’s pandemic is over? And if not, who should decide when it is?
In the 24 hours following the announcement ending COVID restrictions, we conducted a survey to explore whether people in England believed the pandemic was over. We also explored whether they believed it was legitimate to end all COVID restrictions at this point in time, and who they believed should be able to decide when the pandemic is over.
In total, we surveyed just over 1,300 people. We recruited 500 participants who were representative of the population through the surveying company Prolific, while the remaining 800 were recruited via social media and university mailing lists. Blending these two methods meant that, while our sample wasn’t wholly representative of the public, it was diverse. For instance, 35% of participants were under 25 years old, 40% were aged 26-50 and 15% were over 50. It therefore gives us an interesting insight into how opinions may differ among the public.
Has the pandemic ended?
Of the people we surveyed, 57% disagreed that the removal of COVID restrictions indicated the end of the pandemic. In fact, only 28% agreed that the end of restrictions signalled the pandemic’s end. For most people involved in the survey, the end of the pandemic was still somewhere in the future.
We also asked people if they thought it was legitimate to end COVID restrictions. In general, the perceived legitimacy of ending restrictions was low. And while approximately 40% of people agreed that it was pragmatic to have ended restrictions in February, fewer than 25% agreed that it was the moral thing to do.
When we looked at what influenced people’s beliefs, we found that, in general, people were more likely to believe that the pandemic was over and that it was legitimate to end all restrictions if they believed that the physical and mental health threats of COVID were in the past. Additionally, those who felt that the crisis was over were generally younger and male. Many with this belief also felt that the crisis had lasted longer than two years and stated that they had often not complied with restrictions.
Interestingly, however, a number of other factors we looked at didn’t appear to be related to people’s beliefs about the legitimacy of ending restrictions. For instance, we didn’t find a link between people’s thoughts about lifting restrictions and their concerns about the social, economic, educational and employment consequences of COVID, or their engagement with the vaccination programme, or them having a close relative die from COVID.
Who should decide when it ends?
Half of our participants believed that it should be scientists who decide when the pandemic ends. In contrast, fewer than 5% believed that the government should decide. Belief that the government should decide also appears to be falling. When participants were asked to think back to how they would have answered this question 18 months ago, over 10% said that they would have said back then that the government should take the decision.
Critically, beliefs about who should end the pandemic varied between groups of people. Men were more likely than women to believe the decision should rest with the government. Unvaccinated people were more likely to believe that a public vote should be held to decide. And perhaps unsurprisingly, being vaccinated was associated with a greater belief that this decision should be taken by scientists.
Despite a long-held wish for the pandemic to end, our findings suggest many may feel it is far from over, and that the public may disagree over whether the government has the right to make this call. As the UK’s restrictions end, we face the possibility of widening inequality, as some feel they can return to “normalcy”, while others feel the pandemic’s endpoint still lies in the future. One of the newest challenges posed by the pandemic, therefore, is how we reconcile these differences as the country emerges from the pandemic.
Why Toxic Relationships are addictive?
Have you ever wondered Why toxic relationships are addictive? Or perhaps you may ask, Why are Toxic Relationships Addictive? This article will cover everything you must know about our topic today.
First and foremost, you should ask these questions to yourself, or perhaps try to evaluate if someone you know is going through these circumstances. And if so, please share this article with them.
Are you stuck in toxic relationships? It seems like you constantly find yourself in the same pattern with your romantic partner or even a friend or family member. You find yourself putting up with their bad behavior over and over again, but things don’t ever seem to change? Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? And why are these relationships so addictive?
Relationship and their Importance
The key to a successful relationship lies in how two people can work together. They complement each other’s lives, enabling them to reach success in ways that they could not have achieved on their own.
A good relationship is one where partners are willing to go out of the way for another person, putting their needs before their own.
This doesn’t mean a relationship must be all about sacrifice; it simply means that each partner prioritizes satisfying their partner and working as a team toward common goals. The good news is that a positive relationship brings many positive outcomes – but only if you handle it correctly!
What is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship is a destructive relationship. It often involves a victim who suffers repeated abuse or injustice at the hands of another person. For example, an abusive spouse, an emotionally abusive parent, or an emotionally manipulative friend. But it can also be used to describe any relationship that makes you feel bad about yourself in some way.
Why Toxic Relationships are Addictive?
People get addicted to things that give them pleasure and/or relief. In fact, humans have a well-established neurochemical response to many of life’s rewards – such as drugs, food, and alcohol.
It is imperative to understand that we, human beings are very complex creatures on the planet. There is no hard and fast rule, black or white, regarding our emotions and how we respond to a given situation.
You have come across someone in life who can change or adapt themselves quickly and others who cannot. For example, some people were chain smokers who decided to quit smoking and stopped one day.
On the other hand, you may have also seen a person who genuinely wants to quit smoking but fails all the time and cannot get rid of their bad habit.
Similarly, several people can smoke or consume alcohol, avoid eating fast food or perhaps always stick to their plans. But at the same time, some people just cannot stop and get addicted.
It is the same for people who are in Toxic Relationships. To understand why toxic relationships are addictive, we should think back a little to discover the reason behind the addiction.
How we behave in our lives depends on what we have been through in our childhood. A person who has grown up in a family where they saw chaotic relationships/ domestic abuse within the family may unconsciously adopt it as normal behavior. It could be normal for them as a part of life where couples/families go through these phases.
On the other hand, the same could be completely opposite for someone who has grown up in a family where they experience love and safety. It is easy to leave when they realize that they are in a toxic relationship.
Another reason why toxic relationships are addictive is manipulation by the abuser. They constantly make you feel that you are a lesser person, unworthy of love, or perhaps cannot survive without them.
It is easy for a person to fall into the trap of being less educated and not having financial independence skills. Deep down, they start accepting it as their fate and have what they deserve.
9 Signs of a Toxic Relationship?
Here are the 9 common signs which should trigger your alarm that your relationship is toxic.
1. If you are constantly worried about making mistakes in your relationship, there is probably something wrong with it. That’s because when two people genuinely love each other, they should trust and respect each other enough to handle their problems on their own instead of projecting them onto each other.
2. If you find yourself spending more time away from your partner than with them, then chances are you’re in a toxic relationship. When someone has truly become your best friend, he or she will be able to completely lighten up even your most stressful days without needing you to fix anything in return.
3. If you feel like your happiness depends on pleasing or impressing your partner all of the time, then something might be wrong. People who care for each other want each other to succeed both personally and professionally—and that’s why they never lose sight of their goals; they support those goals by encouraging one another from afar (or at least supporting one another as much as possible).
4. If you secretly think that someday things might get better if only you could change X about yourself or if only Y person would stop doing Z thing, I have some news for you: Your relationship is toxic!
5. If you feel anxious, scared, hurt, or angry much of the time in your relationship—even when everything seems to be going right—then it might not be suitable for you. A healthy relationship provides a safe space for two people to express themselves openly and discuss what’s going well and what isn’t working so well within their partnership.
6. If you don’t understand why but still can’t help feeling empty after being with your partner, then something must definitely be wrong with how y’all treat each other.
7. If you regularly feel jealous and insecure about how little attention your partner pays to you or spends with you, then something might be wrong with your relationship.
8. If you worry excessively about disappointing, upsetting, angering, or losing your significant other over silly things throughout every day of your relationship and/or during important moments together, then something is obviously very off-kilter in your connection with one another.
9. If you suspect that your emotions don’t matter to your loved one or if you’ve caught them repeatedly withholding information from you about personal plans out of fear that something terrible might happen—whether it’s related to their health, family life, finances, etc.—then it’s probably high time for a reality check.
Effects of Toxic Relationship on Your Life
Long-term mental and physical health problems: Long-term exposure to stressors in a toxic relationship can lead to increased anxiety, panic attacks, sleep issues, and irritability. Research indicated that people living in a toxic relationship are at greater risk of heart problems.
These stressors can also cause severe migraines, heart palpitations, and gastrointestinal problems. On the other hand, it will also destroy you emotionally and mentally.
Unworthy of Love
Quick Tips to deal with Toxic Relationships
Be Consistent – Whatever it is that you need to do to stay focused on yourself, whether it’s therapy or maybe even just a couple of nights out with friends, don’t be afraid to let your partner know and then be consistent about doing it.
Stick To Your Guns – It can be so hard not to give in when someone acts like they’re going through something rough; after all, we want our loved ones to feel supported by us. But keep in mind that getting into a toxic relationship and staying in one often means having a different set of priorities than you have for yourself, and that’s what needs to change if you really want to stick around.
Don’t Take The Blame For Something You Didn’t Do – It might be tempting to protect your partner from their own emotions (or hurt feelings) but remember that it isn’t your job to make them feel better. If there’s a problem in any relationship, both people involved should work together towards a solution…not pass off blame onto each other. Focus
On Yourself First And Know When Enough Is Enough – Of course, everyone wants to believe they’re capable of being nice enough, compassionate enough, and patient enough…but eventually, you run out of energy.
You may think about why toxic relationships are addictive. Still, we can quickly get into such a relationship because of our emotional low. Sometimes people fall in love with someone who is not suitable for them; instead of dealing with their lives and struggles, they get into a toxic relationship.
They often feel happy to have someone who will listen to them and talk about anything in life. So try not to seek sympathy from your partner; if you want to get out of the toxic relationship, be strong enough to face challenges yourself. Instead of getting addicted to negative energy, always look forward to positive things and positive people around you.
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