Sunday, October 14, 2007

ADHD - a Medical (Not a Moral) Issue

ADDitude magazine cover

ADDitude Magazine was full of good stuff this month - many touching on a common theme.

Here's a quote from Dr. Ned Hallowell, talking about how important it is to "understand yourself in medical, as opposed to moral, terns. Before they were diagnosed, most adults with ADHD carried in their hearts what amounted to a 'moral diagnosis' of being 'bad' or 'irresponsible.' When you replace that moral diagnosis with the correct medical diagnosis, you can start to lift the burden of self-condemnation."

Along with this we have the reader poll asking, "What was your primary emotion upon learning that you or your child has ADD?" The answers were
- 56% relief
- 16% regret (at not knowing sooner)
- 13% optimism
- 9% sadness (their unique qualities are a "disorder")
- 6% shame

And author and speaker Jonathan Mooney writes of his classroom experiences as a child with ADHD.

"... I felt that I was bad, almost morally defective. That feeling ate away at my sense of self like battery acid. In fact, it ruined it. As I grew up, and put my early schooling into perspective, the narrow definition of how schoolchildren are supposed to behave came to infuriate me."

"My second-grade teacher, named Mrs. C., would stop the class, point at me, and say 'Jon, what is wrong with you?" In that moment, the myth that good kids sit still - and bad kids don't - labeled me as a kid with a problem."

"In my elementary school, the entire class got a clear message: Stop being yourself or get out of the classroom. Many kids take that lesson and get out of school for good. You can't change who you are, and you shouldn't be asked to."


MarySees said...

Hi Jeri! I've downloaded Hallowell's book Driven from Distraction to my iPod. The first day I listened, I thought, "Hey, this quiets the negative voice in my head!" The second and third day, I got depressed and listless. I hope I can work my way through the book. I believe I have a bad case of ADD. I probably always had it. I am 61, and have been an underachiever for at least 20 years, and I have probably had ADD my whole life.

Knowing it's a medical issue doesn't help, because I have no health insurance. I already take medicine for hypertension and low thyroid, so I really don't want any more medication. Too many books don't help, because I can seldom get all the way through a non-fiction book. I have no trouble with fiction that I like. If it's entertaining, I'm gung ho! If it might save my life, I can't get through it.

I used to get cleaning and organizing done, because I would get so angry, the adrenaline would help me. Now I don't even have the energy to get angry. Caffeine doesn't help anymore, if it ever did.

I am stuck, unmotivated, indecisive, and listless in central Texas.

MarySees said...

I meant to also say, that the first day I was listening to the book, I actually got some work done because of it quieting the negative voice.

My husband has ADD, too, but he has coped by totally structuring his life. He is a little obsessive, too, so maybe that is why he was able to do this. He was diagnosed when he was young.