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Long Term/Abstract Thinking Issues

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#1 whiteelephant

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 05:40 PM


Hi all,

 

I wanted to tap into the collective wisdom on how to improve some lingering cognition issues that make my life a bit difficult.  Officially, I have diagnoses of add, anxiety, depression.  My VIQ is significantly higher than a comparatively low PIQ.  Since I was young, I remember not being able to focus well, couldn't recall the main detail of stories, but I'd then overfocus to compensate.  I've gotten better with concrete, structured tasks over the years and can survive in the settings. 

 

Apart from just task management, the big frustration is when trying to apply/anticipate how my interests translate into near and far term preferences and options.  Career-wise, I can be interested in the outcome of work, but then get very frustrated/bored by the process.  Sometimes, it feels like I either haven't thought through and kept in mind the essential details of some options, and instead got interested in some sporadic details.  I can get very motivated by instances and moments, but can't always recall/regenerate that excitement/enthusiasm into a larger focus.  So I was in research, and thought about going into psych research, but found that I found the data cleaning and conceptual inconsistency really tedious.  Same about health services research.  So while I've worked hard and achieved in the classroom, this hasn't translated to proportionate outcomes in achieving the same financial/life returns since I get stuck not advancing in any career.

 

Sometimes when I think about something abstractly, I'll have to read up on all the details just to get the context.  Otherwise, I can't infer the specifics.  Some people can just jump to a less time consuming starting point. 

 

Is this a lack of ability to think abstractly,  an executive function issue or something else?  Is this an executive function issue that matches ADD, something more like NVLD or something else?  What might help?

 

Exercise and good diet help me manage my mood, anxiety and energy.  Nothing has really touched this long term/abstract thinking issue.  Currently, I am on 2 mg Intuniv, 75 mg pristiq.  I take magnesium.  I was found to have a vit c deficiency and HPHPA imbalance and just finished a course of intermittment high dose probiotics and vanco.  Which doesn't seem to have done too much.

 

One ADD specialist says this sounds like an inability to keep a mental template in mind and recommended strattera.  This has helped me read books and get to the basic meaning much better.  But not necessarily manage that kind of directed focus.

 

I read research on internal directed attention, which suggests that the default mode network and the frontal/parietal cortex play significant roles.  But little research is done on how abstract/complex/open ended the thinking is.  Would self directed goal setting fall into divergent thinking?

 

I've done a lot to try to manage my issues wholistically.  I work with an ADD coach, tried different medication/supplement approaches (mind you this is hard when you can't always think strategically) and tried CBT/ACBT/MCBT.  My issues don't fit neatly into one box. 

 

Stimulants help with getting things done, not with being able to get to the essence of an abstract thought.  But honestly, only concerta didn't make me excessively too nervous and hyperfocused.  I was on wellbutrin, which helped to an extent, but that made me nervous.  I was briefly on memantime.  I could think at least in terms of strategy, but it made me anxious after awhile.

 

 

 


Edited by whiteelephant, 13 January 2019 - 05:43 PM.


#2 Mind_Paralysis

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:55 PM

Hmm... are you sure you're thinking about ABSTRACT thinking here? As far as I know, what one usually talks about when it comes to abstraction in psychology/behaviour and neurodevelopmental disorders is more along the lines of CONCEPTUAL abstraction:

 

"Conceptual abstractions may be formed by filtering the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, selecting only the aspects which are relevant for a particular subjectively valued purpose. For example, abstracting a leather soccer ball to the more general idea of a ball selects only the information on general ball attributes and behavior, excluding, but not eliminating, the other phenomenal and cognitive characteristics of that particular ball.[1] In a type–token distinction, a type (e.g., a 'ball') is more abstract than its tokens (e.g., 'that leather soccer ball')."

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Abstraction

 

Conceptual abstraction is generally impaired in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

 

The fact that your IQ scores shows a great disparity in certain fields, as well as the fact that you mention how MEMANTINE helped, does make me consider something... Perhaps you also have threshold AUTISM?

I.e Atypical Autism, the type that scores not quite as high in autistic score-points as the regular high-functioning autistic - i.e Aspergers. (atypical is not aspergers)

 

As you're probably aware, there's evidence of the NMDA-network being impaired in Autism (hrrm, in ADHD as well, though...), so that could be why you had some improvements from Memantine. NITROmemantine, memantine's far, far mightier cousin, actually showed significant effects on autistic rat-behaviour, in a few tests. : o

Sadly, it was deemed too risky, what with the nitrate-groups in it - those can cause cancer.

 

 

Anyways, perhaps you can more carefully single down on what kind of issues you have, if you compare whatever you find hard, with various disorders which reduce cognition? Like this here - it describes different TYPES of Autistic problems with abstraction:

 

Research Shows Three Distinct Thought Styles In People With Autism

https://www.forbes.c...le-with-autism/

 

  • Visual thinkers, who are often poor at algebra.
  • Verbal thinkers who are good at talking and writing but they lack visual skills.
  • Pattern thinkers such as Daniel Tammet, who excel in math and music but may have problems with reading or writing composition.

 

I suppose the low-functional autistic folks have impairments in all three domains? That would certainly explain the immense difficulties the most ailing ones are afflicted with.

 

My main point is this: could it not be fortuitous for you to try to break down the impairments/strengths you specifically have, in a similar manor? Perhaps you might then be able to pinpoint more accurately how to use technological tools to help you with these problems, or perhaps find some sort of brain-training regimen that could help you to get better at such tasks.


Edited by Mind_Paralysis, 13 January 2019 - 06:57 PM.

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#3 whiteelephant

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 12:38 AM

Thanks for your reply.  I am trying to identify which researched issues my own symptoms best align with.  It has not been easy.  Conceptual abstraction is a better term for it, but I don't know how much research is done on this process.  Even with the nuances of executive function, most research just examines the larger attention deficits.

 

Brain training only, if at all, improves working memory.  There've been n of one instances, like Barbara Arrowsmith, where they've remedied neuropsych differences.

 

I certainly would welcome input on what kind of issue this aligns with the most.

 

Most disorders don't boil down to one simple pathway, but unfortunately that's how most of the drugs have been researched.  Given that I fall in no one particular category, it has been hard to figure what biological/intervention pathway to target.



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#4 Mind_Paralysis

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for your reply.  I am trying to identify which researched issues my own symptoms best align with.  It has not been easy.  Conceptual abstraction is a better term for it, but I don't know how much research is done on this process.  Even with the nuances of executive function, most research just examines the larger attention deficits.

 

Brain training only, if at all, improves working memory.  There've been n of one instances, like Barbara Arrowsmith, where they've remedied neuropsych differences.

 

I certainly would welcome input on what kind of issue this aligns with the most.

 

Most disorders don't boil down to one simple pathway, but unfortunately that's how most of the drugs have been researched.  Given that I fall in no one particular category, it has been hard to figure what biological/intervention pathway to target.

 

No prob's mate - I'm in the same boat meself.

 

Anyways, you've actually got somewhere to start - you say you reacted cognitively favourably to MEMANTINE? But it caused anxiety/emotional instability? Could you then not perhaps return to Memantine, but try and find some way to make it more tolerable?

 

I.e, perhaps an SSRI, like Sertraline, could be added to your regimen, and you would then be able to resist the anxiogenic side-effects of Memantine.
 

I see you're already on DesVenlafaxine (pristiq), but it's quite doable to switch to another. (except if Pristiq helps you a lot, you may not need to change it at all)

 

How does this regimen sound?

 

18 mg Concerta

2 mg Guanfacine (intuniv)

75 mg DesVenlafaxine (pristiq)

4 mg Memantine







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