Dear Energy Drink Junkies,

Did your parents ever say that you can do anything once you put your mind to it? Do you need to be “in the zone” to produce? Yes? You may have inattentive ADHD. You possibly didn’t get diagnosed with ADHD as a child because you were not hyperactive. It is like the difference between grand mal seizures and petit mal seizures, one of which is very visible, with a lot of body involvement, while the other occurs only inside the brain but is still a real thing according to brain scans and patient impacts.

Dr. Daniel Amen teaches about several different kinds of ADHD and what regions of the brain are impacted. Many in the inattentive tribe have low activity in their frontal cortex, and scans show the activity in that region to decrease with attempted concentration when not stimulated by subject matter. Dr. Ruby Payne teaches using a hand model of the brain, with research showing the impacts of economic class environments on different regions of the brain in her presentation of Emotional Poverty.

The harder you try to pay attention, the sleepier you get. In some types of ADHD, Dr. Amen’s brain scans show activity decreasing with forced concentration. This is where the energy drinks come in. They stimulate increased activity in your frontal cortex and make you function as normal. It is terribly unfair and highly genetic. One of your parents is probably ADHD as well, and you may want to be mindful of the possibility in your children. Relax; it’s not cancer. There are things you can do without getting on medication. You may not like this: exercise, specifically cardio. Ignore the cliché “you will feel better after you work out,” but 20–30 minutes of cardio every day increases the diameter of the blood vessels feeding your brain, which increases function.

Pay attention to what you eat. Have you ever seen a kid with ADHD run around a birthday party after cake and ice cream? Food impacts ADHD. Ice cream may not be the food, and running may not be the result, but fast food, fried food, preservatives, and additives impact your brain performance more than other people if you have ADHD. Educate yourself in life hacks for ADHD. A popular one is to pair a dreaded chore with something that holds your interest. I used to listen to audiobooks while I folded clothes, but then I only folded clothes when listening to audiobooks, and John Grisham wasn’t writing fast enough. (That was pre-Internet.) I should probably be folding as we speak…

Energy drinks are not a sustainable solution. They are too hard on your organs, and they create the tolerance you’ve probably noticed. There are several supplements Dr. Amen suggests, and I use 4,000 units of fish oil daily. You want the “tasteless” fish oil pills. Trust me.

The good news is that you are not the only one. Life does not have to be this hard, and your doctor can refer you for ADHD evaluation if you need more support. Dr. Ruby Payne’s presentation of Emotional Poverty is outstandingly “ADHD friendly” and is presented to accommodate all learning types and attention spans, no energy drinks provided.