I, like Dr. Barkley, think it is bad to say that ADHD is not a disorder.
However I disagree with him that there is “nothing positive” about ADHD. The danger I see with that attitude is it could be used to force or coerce people to take ADHD medication. The patient should be free to decide if they find some positive aspects to the disorder.
It also seems to be a blunt contradiction to the ideas expressed in “ADD & Loving It”memzakMember
First of all I think Dr. Barkley is thinking not just about the milder cases but also the people that are more disabled than most. These are the people that are so disabled that they are living with relatives because they can’t support themselves or are homeless or in prison because of their ADHD. For every Ty Pennington there are 10s if not hundreds that are in prison or failing so badly at life that they commit suicide rather than continue. The problem in the US at least is that most Doctors are NOT recognizing ADD in adults so it is hard for an adult to even get diagnosed much less medicated. We have to fight to get the help we need.
Medication is not a cure-all anyway. It is a crutch to help you develop the skills to work around your weaknesses. Even then there are some who are so bad that they will always be on medication in order to function.
As to being a contradiction to “ADD & Loving It!?!”, Patrick states himself that he is not loving it but he has accepted it as part of who he is and with his wonderful wife to support him, he is one of the fortunate ones who is doing well.
The only positive I have ever seen in my own ADD is the thinking “outside the box” that OCCASIONALLY puts me ahead but mostly sends me around the corner and down the block when I need to be somewhere else.
One note on Dr. Barkley, he had a fraternal twin brother that had severe ADD. He nearly died of infections because he would forget to take care of himself and died in a car wreck. He has personal experience with what it can do to someone’s life. Watch the full lecture on http://www.caddac.ca/cms/video/teens_adults_player.html where he speaks on two subject matters.Shadow NexusMember
There was a great topic called “awesome adhd”, but it disappeared. Can the admins explain this?
From what I can see, there is lots that is great about every person who has ADHD (or any other difference) but that doesn’t mean there is anything positive about their ADHD.
Caper, have you always felt like that? I’m hoping I’ll get to that stage. At the moment I feel like it’s held me back, given me endless years of stress and confusion and made everything 3 times harder than it seems to be for most people.
I like that I’m spontaneous and being chaotic myself means that I’m good with little kids. I’m glad that I can be distracted by a brightly coloured bird or that I’ll stop to feel the wind on my face. But the truth is that the spontaneity means that I go to the cat rescue for a kitten and come back with 5 of them, or my son asks for a fish and I buy 5 fish tanks! The chaos that makes me popular with the kids drains me and I end up exhausted when I try to sift through the rubble. And the brightly coloured bird I stop to watch means I’m 30 minutes late for work.
I’m new to this, and as yet undiagnosed, and if it is ADHD I’m going to be so happy because it all makes sense of my chaotic, confusing life and I’ll be very comfortable with an ADHD diagnosis. I don’t want to change who I am, but I do recognise that, whatever the problem has been, it has been a major one that has made my life an uphill struggle.
I absolutely agree though that it should be up to the individual to decide whether they find positives in their ADHD – and I certainly hope that I’ll get to that stage.
Tiddler, it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve realized I might have ADD. I have an appointment with my family doctor, and if he can’t discover whether I have ADD, I’ll get a referral to one who can (so I can get a prescription for methylphenidate instead of getting it from friends).
I probably also have aspergers (EQ=7 SQ=60), which means I analyze EVERYTHING. This helped when I got bored as a kid (school, church, etc) and had to sit still as I would look at how the seats were built, or what kind of lights were on the ceiling, etc. i.e. what gets my attention is something new to learn or a problem to solve. I don’t have a problem with buying too much stuff, as I spend a lot of time analyzing first, and also trying to figure out how I might use something I already have (I never throw anything away).
There is only one thing I really don’t like about ADD, and that is my low frustration tolerance to interruptions when I am focused. I have hurt people in the past in those situations. That is why I want medication. I don’t like the forgetfullness (i.e. where did I leave my robertson #2 screwriver), but with computers (auto bill-pay, electronic calendars, etc) I can get by quite well.
It gets complicated when there’s another issue too, doesn’t it! My husband is ‘a bit aspie’. I love that side of him, actually. He’s very rational and steady and he can help calm and focus me.
You sound like my son – he has to know how everything works and always needs a problem to solve.
I can’t think of ANYTHING postive about it. EVERY SINGLE skill or ability I have, I’d have anyway, sans ADHD simply because I’m very high IQ, the traits run in our family for accomplishment and achievement, and I’m the ONLY one in the family who is not living up to our ancestry thanks to ADHD.
This is ONE area where I agree with the doctor
I’d be that talented and able anyway, ADHD didn’t add to my abilities or skils, instead it prevents me from USING them and getting thigns DONE IN TIME.
3 marriages, wasted money, job troubles, hundreds of unfinished projects that would make me a super-hero should I ever get them done, but ADHD is preventing it.
This that call it a gift either have it *VERY MILD*, or don’t REALLY have ADD/ADHD and just think they do.
If they walked just a single day in our shoes, they’d quit saying “it’s a gift” as that’s simple BS and I can’t stress that enough.BibliophileMember
I agree with billd and memzak. ADHD has only gotten in the way of my own abilities. It has led to impulsive, poor choices, emotional tirades that has lost friends, and many other negatives.
ADHD is not a gift. It describes a condition where the brain does not function as it should and thus a disorder. It also goes along with wonderful comorbidities quite often, e.g. depression/dysthymia and anxiety, which compound the problem.
I agree that aside from medication and coping strategies, there is really nothing to bring us up to typical neural behaviour, but that does not mean we have to call a spade a heart, instead of the spade that it is.
I like my ability to come up with ideas, not always good ones or on topic, but it doesn’t help me get the work done at home or in the office. Also, I am envious of those with proper emotional regulation as that too leads to problems.
caper – I’d like to know a positive – what has ADHD done FOR me? how has it made my life more stable, allowed me to progress, keep a great job, not offend folks?
What has it added to my skills – keeping in mind ADHD didn’t give me an IQ of 130, but it DOES prevent me from using it well…..
I’m a great troubleshooter and champion auto-tech – how has ADHD aided in that?
I guess i fail to see positives. It’s certainly no gift – it has led to nothing but trouble for our family and my youngest son who I’ll never see again.
librarian – do you come up with ideas because of, or in spite of?
I have great ideas but can’t get them out – and if I do, few listen thanks to ADHD.
I suspect I’d have the ideas regardless – how did ADHD put them there?BibliophileMember
I meant that impulsive thinking does allow a lot of ideas to come up that might not occur to someone who was focusing on the task. This is only good for brainstorming, coming up with innovative approaches. It also means a lot of tangential, unrelated stuff is brought up as well, but sometimes good ideas can come out of that stuff too. The ADHD gets in the way of implementing every one of those ideas though as you cannot self motivate a task for any length of time. If it is a short task and you are really excited and do it right away, sure it gets done, but if its long-term…not likely.
Sure my intelligence, knowledge-base, and personality will factor my abilities, but I do think that inhibition in this one respect (and ONLY this one respect) can be a plus. I can’t think of any others though.
You would not want someone with ADHD defusing a bomb because they cannot control their hyperfocus.
I tend to combine the Hartmann and Barkley school of thought. ADHD is a serious impairment in modern society, but that does not mean it’s a defect. If ADHD were the norm, we would live in a very different world. Or, conversely, if the world were more chaotic, ADHD would be a better mindset. In this world, though, it’s a challenge to overcome for the vast majority of ADDers, and saying otherwise is going to do more damage than good.
I disagree with Barkley when he says that success is always in spite of ADHD. ADHD enhances some abilities (like brainstorming, creative problem solving and non-linear thinking), but it impairs others that involve convergent thinking, normalized focus and repetitive tasks. People who succeed with ADHD tend to live life in a way that avoids the bureaucracy and leverages their hyperfocus, emotional capacity or creativity.
I don’t know whether Phelps has severe or mild ADHD, but normal people don’t win 16 Olympic medals (the next highest has ; and the thought that he would have won more without ADHD strikes me as absurd. The same for Branson and the other examples of successful ADDers.
These are people at the peak of their fields, leading and revolutionizing. To say they would have done more without ADHD is not credible. Thye may have had an easier life, they may have been less troubled in their personal life, but at the cost of their creativity, determination and passion.
That’s not to say that if you have ADHD and you haven’t won 16 Olympic medals, 4 SuperBowls and climbed Everest before you’re 20, you’re doing something wrong. These people grew up in a different environment, had access to treatment or coping mechanism that were healthy for them and overcame the shortcomings. That’s not going to be true for everybody.
To me, ADHD is like getting a Queen-Seven off suit in poker. You can play it right and still lose 99 out of 100 times. But once in a while, the flop comes up QQ7 and you hit the jackpot.
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