I’ll tell you a story about a friend of mine – and I can assure you it is not me. The resemblance and similar age to me are purely a coincidence.
My friend was about fifty-nine years old when he was diagnosed with ADHD. The first ADD-related book he read was “Healing ADD by Daniel Amen”. He was reading it to learn how to help his son who struggled with ADD problems. The son never really got to the addiction stage like his dad but really liked video games and found it was a good place to go when the pressure got to be a little much.
My friend started reading this book and quickly learned that the son got his problem from his dad. My friend had most of the signs and symptoms that the book speaks of but the main ones were inattention, anger, depression, anxiety, negative thinking and inability to focus when trying to pay attention. But my friend didn’t really think he had a big problem, more like a little problem. An annoyance.
Everybody has small problems or annoyances, right?
My friend was grumpy sometimes. Well maybe a little more than sometimes because it turned out that he had depression. He could be irritable to the point where he was unapproachable – especially by family members. It seemed that his condition was manageable when involved with authority figures, a higher level manager or someone he was trying to impress, a client, or when stopped by police. He also had road rage.
The anxiety was when he couldn’t stop his brain from thinking or racing, especially if someone or something would cause some worry about today or an event that had yet to occur or might never occur. Sometimes he might think of an incident he may have been involved in or maybe an incident he imagined might happen. Or, his thinking might race on through a scenario that never occurred and then he would be unable to shut it down, just thinking over and over. Sleep or focus was often a challenge.
Sometimes, the lack of focus while reading, talking, or listening to someone would leave my friend wondering what he heard or be suspicious of what he heard. Paying attention had always been a challenge right from the first day of school since he usually missed instructions which made it hard to learn – he could not do what he might not have heard or seen.
Impulsive behavior sometimes involved the wrong behavior based on not thinking something through before doing it. Once he bought a motorcycle, traded in the old one, signed everything and was driving home before realizing what the long-term effect might be – like with his wife. There were times what seemed like a good idea at the time became quite the opposite.
My friend didn’t have to wonder too much to realize where his son had picked up his problem behavior since it is known that alcohol or drug damaged ADD genes are passed on for at least a couple of generations in previous family lines. Who knew that stuff could cause lasting damage? I mean, you don’t feel ADD problems when you’re partying.
Both my friend and his son attended a clinic in Washington State and had SPECT Imaging Scans done on their brains and they learned that there were a lot of similarities in the areas affected and similarities in certain behaviors. There were a lot of differences as well due to years that my friend self-medicated, which led to areas which appear in a scan as inactivity in the brain. Self-medicating can also be with prescription meds which, like booze and recreational drugs, make you feel better but don’t repair damaged brains.
Let’s also take a look at football and hockey players who have had their bell rung at least once. Injured athletes present with many of the same symptoms as ADD, which indicates they may have been ADD prior, or damaged their brains through concussions – which are whiplash-like injuries – or from getting their bell rung. You don’t need a whack on the head to have a concussion, you just need your brain bounced around inside your skull, which is hard and rough on the inside and can damage a soft jelly-like substance, like a brain.
There are seven types of ADD as defined by Daniel Amen in, “Healing ADD”:
Type 1: Classic ADD – Inattentive, distractible, disorganized, hyperactive, restless and impulsive.
Type 2: Inattentive ADD – Easily distracted with low attention span but not hyperactive, instead appears sluggish or apathetic.
Type 3: Overfocused ADD – Excessive worrying, argumentative and compulsive: often gets locked in a spiral of negative thoughts.
Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD – Quick temper and rage, periods of panic and fear, mildly paranoid.
Type 5: Limbic ADD – Moodiness, low energy. Socially isolated, chronic low-grade depression, frequent feelings of hopelessness.
Type 6: Ring of Fire ADD – Angry, aggressive, sensitive to noise, light, clothes and touch; often inflexible, experiencing periods of mean unpredictable behavior and grandiose thinking.
Type 7: Anxious ADD – Anxious, tense, nervous, predicts the worst, gets anxious with timed tests, social anxiety and often has physical stress symptoms such as headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms, conflict avoidance.
Unfortunately, many doctors treat ADD as though it only needs Ritalin or Concerta and one of these symptoms may respond to this type of blanket drug coverage but if there are more types of ADD involved other problems may arise, as happened with my friend’s son. Also, sometimes a diagnosis such as Bi-Polar arises which requires a different treatment.
ADD has been misdiagnosed six out of ten times, so is it any wonder there is confusion about ADD?
A lot of people look at ADD and ADHD as a curse but it can become a blessing because – when managed correctly – you get an incredibly fast thinking brain that can help you solve any number of problems in life and business or help you become an incredible athlete.
I believe we only have to look at some of our youth today who struggle with school, put things off, are disorganized, have trouble staying focused, are easily distractible and say or do stuff without thinking it through. Many are easily recruited by peers or similar personalities into improper conduct as they have no direction of their own and they just don’t fit in with others.
It is just a matter of learning how to harness this power to your advantage so as to manage the problem areas. We, at Dynamic Discovery, have been successful at showing our ADD clients how to turn this apparent weakness into a great strength.
We can also arrange testing for ADD or ADHD, provide assistance with developing resources related to career counseling or identifying and developing future directions.
Check out my book on ADD and watch for our new ADD workbook.