Tag Archives: Depression

ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Depression on the Rise

Created May 10, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The inability to pay attention is a symptom of EOP (Emergency Oversimplification Procedure). My theory of Acceleritis postulates that the amount of question-producing stimuli experienced by the average person per day has been increasing ever since the start of written language. This produces information overload and the tendency to hasty closure – making up one’s mind too fast. It also causes reduction in considering the ultimate questions because we are too busy keeping up with the pace demanded of us by those around us, including media. The natural awe and wonder at life and the universe every child feels, fades away.

Do you let people complete whole sentences without jumping in to say something?

In EOP, one has little patience, because everything is happening too fast, and a part of oneself that wants to do everything perfectly is perpetually frustrated by this. Which makes us rush others to complete their thoughts.

Many people who have not yet been formally diagnosed as ADD or ADHD also have it.

In a recent New Yorker article, writer Nathan Heller cites a study by medical software company Epic which found an over-all tripling of ADHD diagnoses between 2010 and 2022, skewing even higher among younger people.

Inability to sustain attention doesn’t necessarily get optimally controlled by drugs, which often have side effects that bring down individual effectiveness in other ways. Metacognition would be a more successful medical strategy. Meditation could be more effective than medication in the long run. The optimal combination might include a gradual reduction of the drug and finally its removal.

50–70% of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also have ADHD according to the American Psychiatric Association:

“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are both associated with internalizing problems like depression and anxiety, and the two often co-occur. A recent study found that ADHD is more strongly linked to depression than autism. ADHD traits are also a stronger predictor of depression symptoms than autistic traits.

Youth with ADHD and autism are at high risk of experiencing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in young people with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) like ADHD and ASD. Depression in NDDs can be more severe, have an earlier age-at-onset, and have a worse prognosis than in the typically developing population.

Some factors that might be driving the relationship between ADHD and mental health problems include: Genes linked to ADHD, Stressful life events, Environmental factors, and Social cognitive factors.”

Gallup in May 2023 reported that in 2017, 18-29-year-olds in the U.S. were about average in terms of being diagnosed with depression, but by 2023 that level had increased +68% in just six years, to over one in three people in that age group. The whole population is experiencing an increase in depression. Metacognition is not just a nice to have anymore. It is a must.
Rising trends: lifetime and current depression rates

Today science is finally looking objectively at the use of psychedelic drugs for their potential benefits in dealing with medical problems of cognition and affect. The Harvard professors who brought this up in the 60s spelled out the necessary setting and mindsets necessary for such experiments to have the most beneficial effects.

Millions of people today are using cannabis, MDMA, psilocybin, etc. mostly for mood elevation, and can be taught to also use them for self-reflection, under medical guidance respecting the setting and mindset best practices established by the former Harvard professors, much-maligned Timothy Leary and much-beloved Richard Alpert (Ram Dass).

Use of drugs is not a necessity for the achievement of self-awareness, even for those with neurodevelopmental disorders. To demonstrate that semantic and semiotic interventions without chemicals can have beneficial effects, you might try reading parts of this free booklet, The Navigator, from The Human Effectiveness Institute to someone you know who is having any kind of hard time.

Another exercise you might suggest to a person suffering from any of these variations of extreme EOP is to try doing this exercise:

    • Get out along in nature.
    • Find a flower (or any interesting object).
    • Contemplate it.
    • Maintain eye contact with that object.
    • Gently focus your attention upon it.
    • Allow it to permeate your mind.
    •  Notice what you notice about it.
    •  Sustain this attention for at least one full minute without checking the time.
    •  If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the object of contemplation.
    • When you’ve had enough of the object, keep your eyes focused on it for a little while longer while using your peripheral vision – without moving your eyeballs – to see how much of the background you can see to the left, to the right, up, and down.

This exercise will also begin to bring attention under your conscious control.

Love to All,

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The Supreme Depression

Powerful Mind Part 37
Created November 17, 2023

Read Powerful Mind 36

We call the economic depression of 1929-1939 “The Great Depression”. I call the psychological depression period we are now in “The Supreme Depression”.

From my readings, it appears to me that the current Supreme Depression is far more psychologically damaging to the human race than was The Great Depression. In The Emotional Life of The Great Depression, John Marsh (Oxford Press, 2019) describes the negative feelings evoked during The Great Depression as despair, fear, panic, righteousness, and anger, all of which had been chronicled by many historians. It was the righteousness and anger which Hitler and Mussolini manipulated to bring themselves to power.

However, Marsh also adds that there were positive feelings during that period, mostly after 1932, three years into the ten-year depression, as a result of the election of FDR, and they were hope, awe, and love. From our observations about our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, we know that the economic depression made us stronger in many ways.

Our current Supreme Depression is similar but different. The economic situation is cloudy and volatile, but there has been no market crash affecting the USA, our economy here is still standing, and many people’s incomes have kept steady with inflation, while many people keep getting richer, although it’s also edge city for many people in America. In the rest of the world, economic conditions are worse in many places and better in a few.

Moving from economics to psychology, however, the modern world has never seen such widespread doom and gloom thinking, hatred, cynicism, gullibility, and willingness to give up personal freedoms in exchange for perceived greater physical safety. The Great Depression was a walk in the park by comparison, and yet enabled so-called “strongmen” to almost take over the world. The Supreme Depression could enable the new crop of charismatic tyrants to enslave us. Many influential journalists and politicians worldwide assume that dystopia is here to stay and will soon be consolidating its grip everywhere, there are now new digital media that make it easy to have a screen and perhaps earpods washing one’s mind with negativity for nearly every waking minute.

Everyone knows that polls can be wrong, especially when they are taken a year ahead of the election they are trying to predict. Nevertheless, poll results are a guarantee of attention, because everyone is so attached to the political party propaganda war and frightened of the outcomes. What people say in surveys has a low degree of predictivity of their actual behavior. The response rate to polling surveys is generally under 10% and sometimes hits a high of as much as 13%, meaning that the random sample that was predesignated is not random anymore, 13% of us willing to take part in polls are (mis-) representing the other 87% of us. Even people in the research business who know these things are drawn as if by an addictive substance to reading the poll results.

Negativity is such a powerful influence that it doesn’t need absolutely continuous access to your mind in order to poison your attitude. Negativity even for only 10% of your waking minutes can ruin your day and your life, let alone the constant diet of negativity which has become our lives.

Chaim Oren reports that a rabbi once told him “Optimists and Pessimists are both right.” Meaning that the pessimist is going to experience exactly what he or she expects, and so is the optimist. We draw to ourselves whatever our mind projects onto the world. As I’ve pointed out here perhaps too many times, even the greatest physicists agree that our consciousness affects the probability waves of matter and energy around us and how that magma manifests as definite and concrete events in our timeline. Our mind sharpens possibilities into actualities that we experience. Allowing our minds to be constantly poisoned by negativity is absolutely self-defeating, not to mention unpleasant.

What can we do about this, once we have become serious about opening our minds to the greater possibilities of our own life?

It might seem like a hard pill to swallow, but we can actually turn off the negative noise. We don’t have to read or watch the negative news. We don’t have to stay on a social media page that offers no solutions only problems and invective. We don’t have to be hooked on downers for the rest of our lives. Paraphrasing Tim Leary, now would be an ideal time to “Tune In (to our true selves), Turn On (our subtle inner guidance systems), and Drop Out (of the negative media inputs that only weaken us).”

There is of course the fear of missing out. How can we be good conversationalists if we don’t know the latest events? Isn’t that burying our heads in the sand? If you enjoy the news then continue to tune into it at your usual times, but if you find yourself getting into a negative mood, be aware of it and of your freedom to switch away.

GPT4 and the other new LLM (Large Language Model) AIs can come in handy here. Ask your favorite AI to summarize the latest news events that might point to positive outcomes ahead. Ask what new solution ideas to world problems were announced today. You can stay well-informed and decide which articles to read based on using what I call a Hate Filter, that is, asking an AI the right questions, designed to keep you in the know and inspired by new discoveries and solution ideas, not trapped in a bubble of hopeless cynical negativity. If you are pessimistic about the world, that will not translate into your being able to make the most of your opportunities in life.

You don’t have to let everything in, you can let love and joy in without reservation, and filter everything else out, not allowed in, rise above it!

The way to take charge of your new life which starts right now is to stop allowing yourself to be given these daily injections of hypnotic suggestions that bring down your effectiveness and immune response. Use that time to contemplate and plan your new life, to meditate and apply metacognition to rule your mind castle, and to use media to find the ideas and knowledge and fun that relate to your purpose and meaning in life, to your gifts and passion work, to the dreams and aspirations that you used to have, the subjects that have always fascinated you, and to ideas that once inspired you that you have put aside. Not all of them may still be relevant to you, but some will be and will give you new surprises and whole new canvases to paint your life on.

We are still conveying the groundwork for Key #10. More to come in the next post on this Key to inner clarity.

May your Thanksgiving be bountiful with reasons to be grateful.
And let our lives be full of both thanks and giving.

My best to all,