What does it feel like to have ADD?
“ADHD is like a browser with 600 tabs open, each to a different website.”–adult with ADD
“No matter how clever the alien becomes at attempting to pass as an earthling, some telling awkwardness in his manner, some fatal expression of his true nature will, in unguarded moments, betray him for what he is: “different.”–Gabor Mate M.D. in Scattered
To say someone with ADD has a deficit of attention is a misnomer. People with ADD have a deficit of attention for something that does not interest them. They have an abundance of attention for many things. I think that has been called curiosity.
In his article, Secrets of the ADHD Brain, William Dodson M.D. states “ADHD is not a damaged or defective nervous system. It is a nervous system that works well using its own set of rules. Despite ADHD’s association with learning disabilities, most people with an ADHD nervous system have significantly higher-than-average IQs. They also use that IQ in different ways than neurotypical people. By the time most people with the condition reach high school, they are able to tackle problems that stump everyone else, and can jump to solutions that no one else saw.”
I don’t like calling ADD a “condition” either because that makes me think of illness. I prefer calling it a difference. I do think kids can have trouble functioning in school with ADHD if they are not helped to develop coping skills to adjust their temperaments and differences to the neurotypical, linear thinking environment. Teachers can make accommodations and modifications in the classroom and work load to help kids with ADHD engage and manage with their school work requirements.
” Far from being damaged goods, people with an ADHD nervous system are bright and clever. The main problem is that they were given a neurotypical owner’s manual at birth. It works for everyone else, not for them.” (Dodson)
I really like this. I am so glad that I attended school before they started drugging up the kids because they would have been pouring pills down my throat. I don’t know if I have any kind of condition that has a name (my wife and I just agree that my brain works differently) but it works, and I’m happy with the results.
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Thanks Dan. Many adults discover they have ADD when their kids are diagnosed. One of the first books written about ADD, “Driven to Distraction,” was in the early 1980s. So people did not know about it. I resist labels but I know that having a reason for why the kids are struggling and their behavior can help the kids feel better. They are not crazy or just not trying hard enough. I have read about the medications and that they do help kids and adults but the MD has to know a lot about the medications and how to adjust dosages.
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I think your last sentence is the issue – the MD has to know a lot about the medications. Some of them don’t seem to know anything beyond the drug company’s marketing material.
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I get nervous about the medications but I think it is a personal bias of mine too. I have read that some people with ADD do not get any benefit from medication while others say it really helped them. I have read it can take time to get the right dosage or the right combination of meds. That part worries me as well because I think it does take a doctor who is knowledgeable and taking the time. I don’t know how this works with people who do not have medical insurance or Medicaid who may not be able to afford the medications or have only certain meds approved by their insurance and not others.