Forming Your Opinion About ADD

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  The child who constantly interrupts, fidgets, disrupts, or is lost in daydreams, stands out from the rest of the students and is often referred for ADD screening.  

The adolescent who had good grades until junior high and then lost all motivation, resulting in a significant drop in grades, is often screened for ADD.

The teen who seems to spin out of control, experimenting with new found freedoms more than his peers, is often screened for ADD.

The college student, away from home for the first time, free of the structure provided by family and high school, becomes overwhelmed by the demands and, unable to provide his own structure, falls apart, is often screened for ADD.

 

The newly married who find themselves totally overwhelmed with the responsibilities of  marriage, owning a home, and the reponsibility of employment, is often screened for ADD.

 

The new employee, in his first job out of college, who can't get control of his finances, and finds his bank account in the red month after month, is often screened for ADD.

Please don't misunderstand. It makes sense, in each of the cases described, to consider the possibility of an Attention Deficit. However, with the need to address whatever behavior it is that first calls one's attention to it, the good that comes along with ADD is often overlooked. ADD is by no means all bad. Like most things in life, it has its bad and its good.  When propperly diagnosed and treated, ADD can be managed and put in its place. However, when ADD is under-treated, or untreated, the negative traits often dominate and the ADD leads the individual instead of the individual leading the ADD. In one case, the person is a Victim of ADD and in the other, the person is the Master of ADD.

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  • No one ever inquires about my services because their child is more clever than the other children.
  • No parent has ever called my office because their child is funnier than the other children.
  • No teacher has ever referred a student  to me for a screening because the child has a different perspective of the world than most.
  • Doctors don't diagnose children ADD because they are more creative than their peers.
  • Employers do not refer their employees to Human Resources to discuss the possibility of ADD because the employee thinks outside of the box.

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T.V. shows tend to refer to ADD in a pejorative or demeaning way.  If someone is upset, they are told to take a "chill pill." If they're forgetful, the script calls for them to be referred to as "ADD boy."  T.V. shows, comedians and talk show hosts routinely makes negative references to taking Ritalin. It is no wonder then, when someone is told they might have ADD, a common initial reaction is to run as far away from the diagnosis as possible. The overwhelming message society gives about ADD is that it is at best, a joke, and at worst, a fabricated condition by those who want to take the easy way out by popping pills instead of taking responsibility for their actions. These beliefs are ill informed, based on the wrong information and a lack of information. Such views should be consider for what they are: ill informed opinions, not facts. These wrongful messages do much damage to individuals struggling with this very real condition, and a disservice to society at large. Many people never get the help they need and consequently, live painful lives. Because they didn't know better and were influenced by an attitude, opinion or misinformation, many are led to believe the wrong messages about ADD. The end result is a large segment of society who do not receive treatment and suffer a life of mis-steps.

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Everyone has a right to their opinion. But only the ignorant form an opinion, and speak it out loud, without ever having done the appropriate research to back it up. Hearing something on a T.V. show, the news, reading about it in a magazine, newspaper or on a website, does not make it fact. To form an educated opinion on ADD be sure your information comes from peer reviewed journals. Peer reviewed journals are the most reliable source of accurate, factual information. If you are considering a question that will impact the rest of your life, or the life of a loved one, you might as well go directly to the most accepted, reliable source rather than make your decision based on another's uninformed opinion. Consider what is at stake.

To be clear, no matter how well respected it is, a magazine is NOT a peer reviewed journal. Therefore, magazines are a good source of other's views and opinions, but are not always reliable sources of facts.

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Once you have learned the facts about ADD, consider speaking with several people who are well versed in the condition, either professionally or through their own personal experience. If you're speaking with people about their own ADD experience, be sure to find people on both sides of whatever question is of most concern to you. (Is ADD a real condition or not? Should I take medication or not?) Listen to the stories they have to tell. Then, fairly and objectively, look at what you know about their situation, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are they happy?
  2. Are they respected?
  3. Are they liked by others?
  4. Do they appear successful?
  5. How do they perform at work?
  6. Do they have good social skills?
  7. Did, or do, they do well in school?
  8. Do they have any substance abuse issues?
  9. Do they always need to be the center of attention?
  10. Are they frequently criticized, or made fun of, by others?
  11. Are they moody, or difficult to be around, on a regular basis?
  12. Do they always seem to have a problem or be complaining about something?
  13. Are they frequently late, seemingly uncaring about the impact on others?
  14. Are they able to sustain long term relationships with friends and and in marriage?

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If you answered mostly YES to questions 1-7 and mostly NO to question 8-14, then that is someone who has figured out how to do things in the best way for them and maybe there is a lesson to be learned in the choices they made.  However, if you answered mostly NO to questions 1-7 and mostly YES to questions 8-14 you have found someone who has not yet figured out how to deal with their personal weaknesses. It might not be a good idea to follow their lead.

There is a lesson to be learned here as well. Consider your answers for each person and whether or not that person takes medication for their ADD. The knowledge you gain from this exercise can provide a valuable contribution to your  understanding of ADD, it's treatments, and their effects.

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Hopefully, proper research, and the exercise above, will provide the information you need to make an informed decision of your own. If not, or if you  are not likely to read peer reviewed journal articles, please go to The Facts About ADD for information compiled from various legitimate resources.

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For more of the Positive Aspects of ADD visit GrADDitude Attitudes. Clicking on this link will take you away from ADD Coach Services. Please use your back browser to return to this site.

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