New Faculty Spotlight: Kat Green

Many people look at a crying child and see a nuisance. Kat Green sees a chance to make a difference.

A new professional track faculty member of the Psychology Department in BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Dr. Green is excited for the opportunities that her position will afford her to influence the lives of children. “While my focus is on teaching, mentoring, and training,” she said, “I am also committed to supporting ongoing research, particularly in my areas of specialization and more broadly in anything related to improving outcomes for children and families.”

child-538029_1280Dr. Green’s areas of specialization include childhood anxiety disorders, preschool disruptive behavior concerns, and clinical supervision–disciplines which can have a tremendous impact on the life of a child. “I am interested in collaborating with students and faculty across departments to find ways to improve assessment for young children,” she said, adding that the disseminating of research into community settings will be crucial for her work.

For Dr. Green, it’s all about the children. “I’ve always been interested in working with children and families and finding ways to disseminate information about evidence-based interventions to [them] . . . I find that working with kids allows me to be a part of a broader team, including parents, other caregivers, teachers, pediatricians, speech and language therapists, and many others to help promote children’s success,” she said. Dr. Green graduated from the Department of Psychology here at BYU, with a bachelor’s in 2009 and a PhD in 2014. From there, she spent time at the Texas Children’s hospital before making the transition to a faculty position at BYU over the summer.

“BYU has an excellent psychology department and graduate training program,” she said, citing the school’s excellence as a main factor in her decision to return to Provo. “I was excited to have an opportunity to teach and mentor alongside great faculty and help prepare students to pursue ongoing training in the field. Speaking of her students, she says: “I . . . work with a great group of students. [They’re] the best part about teaching at BYU. I am always open to visiting with any students about questions related to clinical child psychology,” she said, “whether it be questions about graduate school, training, research or career options.”

Dr. Green and her husband have one baby girl, eight months old, whom they describe as “fabulous.” The Green family enjoys doing anything together, especially if it’s outside–“until it gets too cold,” Dr. Green quipped. “[And] since we moved back from Houston, it feels too cold already.”

 

Check out more of our awesome new faculty here and here!

When Marriages are Threatened by Addiction, Part 2

This is the final piece in a two-part series.

Overcoming any personal weakness takes patience, perseverance, and support. Defeating an addiction cannot be done alone.  If no action is taken to overcome an additcion, it will likely destroy one’s marriage and family.  But those same family members, as well as friends, religious leaders, and therapy groups all stand at the ready to help people out of addiction’s chains.  Here, we discussed how to recognize addiction, and what to expect from therapy for it.  Continuing to draw on research from several School of Family Life professors in their article “When Marriages Are Threatened By Addiction,” this piece elaborates on treatment as a method for overcoming addiction.

While a combination of different solutions is often the most effective, therapy is almost always a necessary component of addiction recovery.  Therapists are trained to help people cope and adjust to life weening from an addiction.  Therapists also have contacts to doctors and support groups to assist the addict in their journey to recovery.  In group therapy settings, others overcoming addiction can offer support and motivation to one another.  Therapy treatment should focus on:

  1. Abstinence
  2. Altering addictive patterns of thought and behavior
  3. Building spirituality

Abstinance is crucial for dangerous addictions, such as drugs and alchohol.  However, if someone is addicted to an activity or substance that is not appropriate to abstain from, like food, sex, spending, or work, these addicts should learn to exercise moderation.

Addictive patterns of thought include justification or entitlement towards the addiction. Jeffry H. Larson and LaNae Valentine, the authors of the article, elaborate: “People with addictions must learn to combat permission-giving beliefs suchas, ‘I worked hard today so I deserve to have a beer tonight,’ or ‘I can go on a spending spree or have an eating binge; I’ve earned it.'”  An important way to combat this type of thinking and action is to replace it with something constructive like learning a new hobby or a new way to reward yourself for a particular effort.  Bear in mind that big changes, like switching jobs, moving, or making new friends, may be necessary to help an addict.

Building spirituality has proven to be a healing balm to addiction, the authors note.  “Since addiction is fueled by a lack of meaning and purpose in life, the spiritual aspect of self-help porgrams can be an antidote,” says Washton and Boundy (1989, page 165).  There are many twelve-step recovery programs that offer group support, a sense of belonging, feedback, structure, a chance to help others, and mutual empathy, notes Larson and Valentine.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has adapted Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve-step program to center recovery through trust in Jesus Christ.  The program encourages faith, repentance, good works, and humility. There are also support groups for the family and friends of addicts where they can learn how to assist their loved one and cope themselves.

Breaking the Chains

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, know there is help and a way out. Decades of research, practice, and treatments have been successful for many former addicts.  “Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price,” encourages Elder Russsel M. Nelson.

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References

Larson, Jeffry H., and LaNae Valentine. “When Marriages Are Threatened by Addiction.” Ed. Elaine Walton. Helping and Healing Our Families: Principles and Practices Inspired by the Family: A Proclamation to the World. Ed. Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, and David C. Dollahite. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005. 96-100. Print.

Featured photo by Obra Shalom Campo Grande, on Flickr

The “Soul” Tourist: Is There Such a Thing?

When you vacation or visit places far from home, are you the kind of tourist that gets the kitschiest fanny pack money can buy and takes as many selfies as possible, or do you embed yourself in the experience and get to know the people? Do you think that it’s possible for tourists to have epiphanies—spiritual moments even—as tourists? This is a question that researchers have asked, noting that tourism can be large part of any state or country’s economy, and Daniel H. Olsen, one of our Geography professors, recently added to that discussion with a review of that research in a tourism journal.

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Researchers Stephen Wearing, Matthew McDonald, and Jo Ankor authored a study in which they explored how tourists can let the country go through them, rather than just going through the country. “These ‘moments of sudden and significant insight…[can] lead to…profound, positive, and enduring transformation through a reconfiguration of an individual’s most deeply held beliefs about self and the world’,” they say, summarizing some of the extant research on the subject. In other words, one can return from their journey with their self-identity fundamentally changed.

Since tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, and more than one-third of adults sampled worldwide say that they would like to take a humanitarian vacation, the creation of these kinds of experiences by host entities and the awareness of them by members of the public is important. Thus, Dr. Olsen elaborates on Wearing’s study by suggesting that the soul is a tourist identity, that a person who shifts from the visual stimulus of the “tourist gaze” to focus on “embodied experiences” is more likely to engage their soul in their tourist experience. While both researchers agree and acknowledge that religion can play a role in a tourist’s spiritual experience, Dr. Olsen asserts that interacting with body and spirit (the soul) will produce an even deeper experience than just an epiphany. It will help tourists embody their experience, rather than just look at an event or person. This kind of experience allows the tourist to see the deeper meaning and even understand the place and its people.

To have that kind of meaningful tourist experience, Wearing suggests that tourists:

  1. Be open to the differences in the people. This is enhanced when the trip entails unpredicted travel.
  2. Personal encounters with the locals. Face-to-face interactions with the people you’re visiting helps you to learn about their differences, and appreciate them.

Just as a missionary or a volunteer would think, tourists who want to have a deeper connection with the people they encounter are looking for more in their vacation that a cool fridge magnet.  Wearing suggests that, “Tourists are not passive consumers of either destinations or their interpretations, but are actively engaged in a multisensory, embodied experience whereby they have the opportunity to create new elements of self-identity” (p. 165).

Do you agree? Have you had a vacation that was more than a visit? What made it so?

 

References

Daniel H. Olsen (2016): Other journeys of creation: non-representational theory, co-creation, failure, and the soul, Tourism Recreation Research, DOI: 10.1080/02508281.2016.1261782
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02508281.2016.1261782

Wearing, S., McDonald, M., & Ankor, J. (2016). Journeys of creation: Experienceing the unknown, the other and authenticity as an epiphany of the self. Tourism Recreation Research, 41(2), 157–167

Jarvis, N. A. (1997). Taking a break: Preliminary investigations into the psychology of epiphanies as discontinuous change experiences (Doctoral Thesis). University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Photos compliments of Wiki Commons and BYU Photo

Students: Four Ways You Can Help Others This Holiday Season

For many, this is the Happiest Time of the Year, and for good reason.  The getting of presents is generally an experience enjoyed by all. But the giving of not only presents but also time and service can make the season much more meaningful. The true enjoyment of the season, however, is one that might take some time and a little bit of creativity to develop, but is truly worth it. Here are four ways that you as a student in BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences can help others this holiday season:

Support the Refugee Empowerment Club

This group, as we mentioned here, “…offers students the opportunity to become aware of the refugee crisis in Utah and around the globe.” Currently, there are 21.3 million refugees in the world, with more than half being less than 18 years old. There are things that students can do to educate themselves about the issue, right here on campus. Check out their Facebook page for information on their next activity. 14495385_615473538613308_7091328931985394175_n

Courtesy of the Refugee Empowerment Club

Do Your Family History

Just because they’re dead doesn’t mean we can’t serve them. The prophets and apostles have spoken on this and why it is imperative that we do it. Doing family history can also help you to be a better missionary. Furthermore, who knows what you might find?

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Participate in #LightTheWorld

For each day in December, the LDS church has challenged us to participate in an act of service. These range from helping the homeless to helping someone who is struggling. They’re simple, yet meaningful acts that we can all do.

light-the-world
Courtesy of LDS.org

Partner Up with Y-Serve

Y-Serve offers a vast amount of service projects. Programs include: International Network of Tutors of Languages, Cougar Coaches, Jimmerosity, and RAH (which comes with bowling.

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Courtesy of Y-Serve

Service doesn’t have to be grand or loud to be impactful. As Markus Zusak said, “Big things are often just little things that people notice.”

What will you do to help out this holiday season?

GIFs courtesy of giphy.com

Research Logs: Essential When Doing Your Family History

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These days, family history, as we’ve mentioned here, is less about finding information about people and more about organizing the amazing amount of information available to anyone who looks. Access to records has greatly increased in recent years, but it might be a challenge for some to keep track of the research they do to find a particular person or straighten out a particularly convoluted limb of the family tree, even with the many online tools and apps available. One tool that has proven useful for many in past years is logbooks. At their most basic level, logbooks are a simple means whereby people looking for their ancestors can record what searches have been done, what results have been found, and which documents are relevant to the question at hand. Peg A. Ivanyo, in her 2016 Family History Conference class for genealogy beginners said that they can contain notes, citations, stories, and even links to blog posts. But how exactly can they be helpful?

Research logs serve to make things easier. Jill Crandell, a history professor at BYU, says that research logs help to decrease duplication of effort and make one’s searches more efficient. Her own research log website, ResearchTies.com, serves to help people plan their research, catalogue their findings, and record their interpretations. Of research logs, she says, “[they] logs need to be detailed and kept consistently. If they are, the logs will prevent researchers from searching the same sources multiple times, documents will be organized and accessible, and research analysis will be higher quality. Find a research log format that works for you, one that you are actually willing to use to record your work, then use it.”

Many years ago, she was working on tracing a nomadic family who had lived in New York, Canada, and Scotland, with a common name. The man she was researching never identified his parents in any of his documents. To solve the mystery of who his parents were, Dr. Crandell turned to her research log. Through it, she was able to learn that this man had been traveling with other people who had moved to all of the same places as him. By studying the documents saved in her log, Dr.Crandell was able to further this genealogy.

The benefits of doing genealogy, to both the doer and the ancestor, are plentiful, and logbooks are some of the many tools available to anyone who has a desire to connect with those ancestors. Paul Cardall, the noted pianist who spoke at BYU’s most recent Conference on Family History and Genealogy, spoke of the relationship between family history and missionary work. As Mormons, we believe that families can be together after this life. Therefore, it is essential to strengthen relationships with all family members, both those who are alive and those who have died…for Mormons, genealogical research or family history is the essential forerunner for temple work for the dead.”

 

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What Tips to You Have for Doing Family History?

Students: How to Navigate Christmas FHSS Style

It’s that time of year again! Candy canes, ugly sweaters, and an endless barrage of Hallmark movies. You may be tempted to navigate Christmas like this:

wake-up

 

However, that’s not what Christmas should be; we need to be focusing on its true meaning. Try these steps instead:

wake-up-1

 

If you need help, BYU Speeches has some great material that applies to navigating Christmas:

How do You Navigate Christmas?

When Marriages are Threatened by Addiction: Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series about marriages that are threatened by addiction.

In 2013, 17.3 million Americans reported being dependent on alcohol, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While this was a decline from the 18.1 million Americans who reported such a dependency in 2002, it is still a large number.  The Institute also reports that the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs exacting more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care. Addiction is large and difficult problem. That being said, over the years, as it has developed as a problem and developed as a science, with its classification changing to one of disease rather than moral problem, more resources, research, and treatments are available now than have ever been offered before. Faculty in BYU’s School of Family Life, like Jason Carroll research its effects. Jeffry H. Larson is a licensed marriage and family therapist who formerly taught in and chaired the Marriage and Family Therapy program. He now teaches a graduate-level addiction and violence course.

He has researched extensively the effect of addictions on marriages.  In an article published in the 2005 book Helping and Healing our Families, he provides suggestions for spouses on how to recognize addictive behavior in others and solutions for overcoming these addictions.

chains-19176_1280Recognizing an addiction

“Addiction is defined as the compulsive and out-of-control use of any substance or activity that leads to adverse consequences in a person’s life and that produces unpleasant physical or emotional symptoms, or both, when the use of the substance or activity is stopped,” he says, quoting a definition provided in 1989 by researchers Washton and Boundy. Many of us narrowly label only a few things as addictions: pornography, drugs, or alcohol. However, by their definition, an addiction could be any substance or activity.  “Many who would never dream of becoming addicted to a substance like alcohol or nicotine may not realize that they are in fact addicted to work, stress, eating, perfectionism, or extreme care taking.” An addiction cannot be turned off.  Its claws are in deeper than a bad habit or a temptation.  Loved ones of an addict must understand that the addiction is slowly taking control of its victim.

These are some of the signs of addiction:

  • out-of-control behavior, or no sense of personal power to stop
  • Need to keep using more and more of the substance or activity to achieve the same level of relief or benefit
  • inability to decrease or eliminate the substance or activity, even if they desire to stop
  • Devotion of a lot of time in activities necessary to be able to satisfy the addiction

To overcome, both spouses must change

“Addictions damage nearly every aspect of marriage, including trust, roles, intimacy and affection, feelings, conflict resolution, parenting, and safety,” says Larson and co-author LaNae Valentine. Because the addicted spouse is slave to their substance or activity, they spend an increasing amount of time satisfying it.  Their sober spouse feels neglected and abandoned as a result.  Dishonesty enters the relationship.  Marriage’s foundation of trust begins to crumble.

But, with support and motivation, addictions can be tempered and eliminated.  Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Addiction to any substance enslaves not only the physical body but the spirit as well…. Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price.” Some of the solutions that Larson and Valentine discuss are:

  • detoxification: becoming abstinent may first require detoxification for individuals dangerously addicted to alcohol and some drugs (e.g. cocaine). [It] is available at most hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation clinics.
  • therapy: individual and group therapy should focus on breaking through denial and altering addictive behavioral cycles and addictive thinking patterns. For example, people with addictions must learn to combat permission-giving beliefs such as, “I worked hard today so I deserve to have a beer tonight.”
  • find fellowship: these can be offered through twelve-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, or Sexaholics Anonymous. LDS Family Services also offers Substance Abuse Recovery Groups, offering addicts a chance to find fellowship but also, perhaps, regain spirituality.

When Therapy is Chosen

Therapy for couples and, where appropriate, with children, can help save and strengthen family relationships weakened by addiction.  In therapy for the married couple, the couple will learn a variety of skills and behaviors to improve themselves, Larson says.  As individuals improve, the couple will be better equipped to work as a team to strengthen their marriage.  He says that therapists will help addicts and their families:

  • Accept and face the real problems and real issues. Emerge from denial
  • Stop any violent behavior and establish safe and healthy boundaries, with consequences for unacceptable behavior
  • Stop enabling cycles to help the addicted person suffer the natural consequences of addiction and eventually break out of denial
  • Stop blaming, controlling, or changing each other. Focus on self-improvement
  • Rebuild trust by learning to express honest thoughts and feelings
  • Care for and serve each other. This will increase affection and intimacy
  • Learn to work together through healthy communication, not manipulation
  • Forgive each other for the past
  • Establish more shared and balanced family roles with regards to parenting and household responsibilities
  • Have a plan in case of relapse. See a relapse as a learning opportunity, not a failure
  • Accept and live by the mantra that it is OK to be human, make mistakes, and disrupt the status quo

 

directory-466935_1280Personal Discovery Through Recovery

Addictions do not have to mean the end of a relationship.  Like other trials in life, an addiction can be a chance to grow and change for the better.  People often find themselves through their journey out of addiction. “My husband and I have actually communicated more and grown closer because of his addiction, says one women whose husband experienced addiction. “I think our marriage will be better once we work through this.” Another woman said of her journey out of addiction to eating: “My eating disorder forced me to look deep within myself, to come home, and to realize that there was something very beautiful and powerful that lay beneath all of the outward self-hatred and criticism. My enemy was actually my friend; she showed me parts of myself I never knew existed and taught me to love all of myself.”

If you or someone you love is grappling with an addiction, know that help is as close as you let it be.  You can overcome.

The suggestions given by Larson and Valentine in their article are just a few of many provided throughout the entire book, on the subject of helping and healing families, on subjects such as:

 

  • Breaking the Chain of Negative Family Influences
  • Financial Stewardships
  • Joys and Challenges of Marrying Later in Life
  • Mental Illness in the Family
  • Teaching Children to Sacrifice

References

Larson, Jeffry H., and LaNae Valentine. “When Marriages Are Threatened by Addiction.” Ed. Elaine Walton. Helping and Healing Our Families: Principles and Practices Inspired by the Family: A Proclamation to the World. Ed. Craig H. Hart, Lloyd D. Newell, and David C. Dollahite. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005. 96-100. Print.

A. M. Washton and D. Boundy (1989), Willpowers’ Not Enough: Understanding and Recovering from Addiction of Every Kind (New York: Harper and Row), 13.

 

 

Faculty News: Jonathan Jarvis on the Value of Education, Internationally Speaking

“I love teaching,” says Jonathan Jarvis,  a recent and valued addition to the Sociology Department in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. “I love interacting with students and discussing the topics sociology can help us understand about people and society. I really think it is a great way to engender empathy for difference (different people, different cultures). It’s especially exciting for me to talk about areas I am researching, like talking about education from an international perspective.”

Jarvis, Jonathan 02 1308-61 Jonathan Jarvis portrait August 27, 2013 Photo by Riana B. Bruce Goodsky/BYU Copyright BYU Photo 2013 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu   (801)422-7322
Copyright BYU Photo
All Rights Reserved

Dr. Jonathan Jarvis has lived and studied internationally, and is dedicated to helping others understand different cultures and ways of life.  “Living in Asia for 3 years prior to starting my graduate studies awakened me to a world with very different cultural practices than my own upbringing,” says Dr. Jarvis, “So much of culture is unseen or taken for granted, but going to a very different country made culture explicit. I was filled with questions about why people did things…that led me to sociology.”

Researching Asian Students Studying in Western Countries

He’s passionate not only about his teaching, but also about his research. He studies Asian students with high educational goals who immigrate to western countries, looking at factors that might contribute to why they have high goals and why they choose to “globalize” their education.   Regarding these students’ decisions, and the effects they have on their families, there are positives and negatives, which Dr. Jarvis researches. He also compares how countries preform educationally. Ultimately, he wants to determine if the globalization of education can be a “mechanism for upward mobility.”

Born in Canada and raised by Americans, Dr. Jarvis says “I went back and forth a lot. I think this also contributed to my love of sociology as I was always a little bit of an outsider observing (a Canadian in the US, but also an American in Canada).” Dr. Jarvis received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta. At BYU, he obtained his masters in sociology, and he got his PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He speaks Korean and French. He has several publications, with many more under review and in progress.  Dr. Jarvis has traveled across the States and the world to present his papers at professional conferences. Dr. Jarvis teaches the following classes:

  • Social Problems (112),
  • Deviance and Social Control (380)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (404). Next semester he will teach 380 instead.

In his free time, Dr. Jarvis reads, watches movies and sports, and spends time with his family.

Read more about another FHSS faculty member, also named Jon and interested in Asia, here.

 

Students: What Kind of Learner Are You?

What runs through your mind when you’re assigned a group project? For some, it’s excitement at the opportunity to cooperate, collaborate and learn with peers. For others, it’s viewed as a chance to slack off and get a good grade while their fellows shoulder the load. And still some don’t even register the difference–group project or individual, they’re going to do all the work anyway. How we respond to group projects is one indicator of what kind of learner we are. As sociologists have noted for decades, different students learn in different ways, and because these different learners are lumped into the same classes, not all teaching is optimal for all students. Researchers have worked at solving this age-old educational quandary for some time, and one of the latest to make headway is Ryan Jensen, chair of BYU’s Department of Geography.

Using what he’s termed “the Q-method,” Jensen (along with two other researchers) distinguishes between three different kinds of learners:

The Lone Pragmatist: Lone pragmatists don’t like group projects; in fact, they “prefer not to be involved in cooperative or group learning” of any kind, according to Jensen’s findings. They’re neither outgoing nor social with other students in their class, and they’re proactive and realistic in their approach to classwork. The lone pragmatist thrives when information is provided in a clear rather than abstract manner, and do well in an “I teach, you listen” classroom atmosphere.

The Explorer: Group projects are a bit more tolerable to the explorers, who, according to Jensen, “learn better when talking about new material with other students.” However, they’re still somewhat ambivalent about immersive group study. Explorers are visual learners, and appreciate learning in terms of concepts and theories (as long as the theories aren’t too abstract). They value sensibility over imagination, and exploring multiple ways to learn new things.

The Synergist: If you’re a synergist, you prefer to have things written down, not in maps in pictures, but in words. Synergists tend toward verbal learning over visual, and see themselves as detail-oriented. They’re also the most likely to be enthusiastic about a group project, perhaps because they “enjoy brainstorming as part of the group learning process.” Synergists try to make connections between their learning and the bigger picture; in this way, they better understand the details of why they learn what they learn.

Of course, no student falls completely into one of the above categories–each learner is individual, and grouping students into three pre-labeled factions instead of one would do little to personalize education. But in a 2013 study, Jensen provided some suggestions for how teachers could optimize their education to assist as many different learning styles as possible.

Ryan Jensen, Copyright BYU PHOTO 2007 All Rights Reserved (801) 422-7322 photo@byu.edu
Ryan Jensen, Copyright BYU PHOTO 2007
All Rights Reserved

“We propose adopting a balanced approach in which teachers create course plans to address the variety of learning styles present in their class,” Jensen says. One potential suggestion would be “moving from teacher regulation to student regulation in what [researchers] refer to as process learning,” or in other words, giving the students more leeway in deciding what projects would help them learn best. This and other optimizations allow greater chances for individualized learning; according to Jensen, this means that “instructors can think of using learning styles as a way of helping students gain satisfaction from learning and thus develop life-long skills by better understanding their own learning processes and preferences.”

ADDing Up: ADHD, ADD, and What They Mean for Everyone

Research shows that as of 2011, 6.4 million of children aged 4-17, 11%, have been diagnosed with ADHD. You probably know someone with it: a classmate, coworker, or friend. You may even have it yourself. Attention Deficit Disorders in one way or another affect us all.

A Student’s Perspective

The 2016 issue of Connections featured Information Technology student Richie Ramierez who has ADHD. He related the following story: “[I was] playing with lighters in [my] mother’s study room, at age 11. The room, filled with teddy bear stuffing (the highly flammable kind) turned into a fire hazard. ‘My mother called me so I left the room with the lighter and the whole room caught on fire.’” Is is these types of experiences, though not always to this extreme, that ADHD and ADD can lead to.

woman-1006102_960_720Ritchie continued to struggle with the disorder throughout his time in school. He says that his first year at BYU was especially hard: “…I was put on probation because I failed a few classes. I felt stupid because testing at BYU is crazy challenging. I got so depressed big time so the doctors put me on meds.” He then went to the University Accessibility Center where he was diagnosed with ADHD. Upon their recommendation, Ritchie began to take Aderol.

However, this was short lived; after one semester of improved grades, the student began to experience anxiety. His grades dropped. This prompted Ritchie to stop taking the medication. After several months, he was issued a prescription for Citalopram, which he still takes to help with his hyperactivity and anxiety.

Research

Ritchie’s story is just one of many; countless others struggle with Attention Deficit Disorders. BYU Psychology professor Rebecca Lundwall understands this and has a solution: “If we can identify significantly increased risk for a disorder via genetics, then we could do so at birth.” She proposes that by testing children for the disorder and others like it, we can alleviate, and in some cases, prevent it. For example, if you find that a child isn’t at the point where they can be diagnosed with anything but may reach that point sometime in their life, you can work with them then in order to prevent that. Dr. Lundwall says, “Diagnosis is often based on impaired functioning in school or home life. In many cases it would be best not to wait until the child qualifies for a diagnosis but to intervene before things get that bad.”

The professor is optimistic in terms of future research. She believes that within the next 10-20 years, we will have more knowledge so as to better treat those with the disorders: “Maybe my research will help treat the attentional symptoms of these disorders and, thereby, make these children’s lives better now and in the future and give their parents more hope and peace about the future.”

As for Ritchie, he has made peace with his diagnosis: “Everyone has a challenge. This one is mine.”

Do you know anyone with ADD or ADHD?

 

For more on Connections, check out: “New Insights Into Politics, Autism and ADD Diagnoses, Genealogy, and More: our Magazine

For more on health, check out: “What are the Costs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?