During his 200-meter butterfly gold medal victory at the Summer Olympics, as he unexplicably out-touched Croation swimmer Milorad Cavic with a thrusting wing-line stroke at the finish, Michael Phelps couldn’t see more than a few meters in front of himself during the last half of the race. His goggles filled with water, a major frustration for any of us doing laps in a pool, much less while you are trying to win gold.

So how did Phelps react to the adversity. He counted strokes to gauge just where he was in the pool, when to anticipate the flip turn for the last 50-meter length, then at what point to hit the after-burners for the mad dash and splash to the touch panel at the finish. Swimmers typically count their strokes during long hours of training, in part to know exactly how they are progressing and in perhaps even larger part because it occupies the mind and eliminates boredom.

Oh, yeah, Phelps set a new world record in that watery-eyed event.

You likely know that Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD ADD as a 9-year-old. He took a stimulant medication for three years. Remember, this was a decade ago when diagnosis typically always followed closely with a prescription. Phelps himself asked him his mom, Debbie, who has received plenty of touching air time in the last 10 days, to go off the meds. Debbie struggled with the decision but Michael’s prowess in the pool was already clear to coach Bob Bowman, so the 12-year-old middle schooler Phelps thrived in a highly structured regimen of practices and meets.

Cure Hyperactivity Naturally and End ADD/ADHD Without Drugs!

Some people might be holding their heads in amazement at Phelps’ eight gold medals in eight tries in Beijing, then openly or secretly thinking in the next breath, “how can he do this with ADHD ADD?” But practitioners and researchers in the field connect the Golden Success to hyperfocus, which is the tendency for children and adults with attention deficit disorder to extraordinarily focus on what interests them. That focus can become so laser-like that the child or adult seems oblivious to the world around them.

That hyperfocus has light and dark sides. It might be funneled to become a star in an Olympic sport—and there are others in these Games and past competitions—but it could also materialize as hours in front of a video game. Phelps, in fact, came to practice once this past year with a sore shoulder, admitting it was because he has played hours of the Tiger Woods golf game on his Wii (this video system allows you to swing or move along with the sport being played). Coach Bowman was upset and, knowing Phelps almost like a second father, he made it clear: Do that again and I am coming to remove the game console.

Here’s an important point about ADHD ADD that stems from discovering that hyperfocus is common among patients. Think of the disorder as exactly that, a disordered attention span rather than the oft-used but incorrect determination that

ADD means short attention span in all things.

When you begin to apply hyperfocus to the geniuses you know in life or recognize from history, it creates a different notion of what Phelps and others with ADHD ADD can accomplish. Of course, whether you are a parent of a diagnosed child or an adult recently determined to have been living with the disorder, it requires consistency and creativity in equal measures to put hyperfocus to its best use. One warning from practitioners: Don’t pick the activity you want for hyperfocus. The person with ADD needs to gravitate to that activity. A parent can expose a child to various activities, maybe, but do it over time and without pushing in any one direction.

Here is a short excerpt of what Debbie Phelps’ said to the excellent magazine, ADDitude, about keeping her champion son Michael on his amazing path. The details offer hope to anyone fitting an ADHD ADD diagnosis into everyday life and future dreams:

During their drive home, she told him that sportsmanship counted as much as winning. “We came up with a signal I could give him from the stands,” she says. “I’d form a ‘C’ with my hand, which stood for ‘compose yourself.’ Every time I saw him getting frustrated, I’d give him the sign. Once, he gave me the ‘C’ when I got stressed while making dinner. You never know what’s sinking in until the tables are turned!”

Debbie used various strategies to keep Michael in line. Over time, as his love of swimming grew, she was delighted to see that he was developing self-discipline. “For the past 10 years, at least, he’s never missed a practice,” she says. “Even on Christmas, the pool is the first place we go, and he’s happy to be there.”

Debbie also made sure to listen to her son. In the sixth grade, he told her he wanted to stop taking his stimulant medication. Despite serious misgivings, she agreed to let him stop — and he did fine. Michael’s busy schedule of practices and meets imposed so much structure on his life that he was able to stay focused without medication.

If you know someone with ADHD/ADD – tell them about this blog post!

For the best Natural Remedy Report on Treating ADHD Naturally, visit www.TreatADHDNaturally.com

Michael Phelps ADHD Home Remedy

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing . He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.