Attention Disorders

INATTENTIVE & HYPERACTIVE-IMPULSIVE

Left with an unnourished brain, ADD/ADHD can wreak havoc in your life—disrupting everything from school grades and family life when you’re younger, to your love life, financial stability, and even addictions when you’re older…

Attention Disorders

“He was up… then he was down. His moods were terrible. He could not sleep, and he did not eat much. Jesse was 14 and 86-89 pounds. He was very mouthy…. we could not say or do a thing right. His marks in school were terrible, he was flunking everything, and even with a tutor he was still not passing, and it certainly was not the tutor’s fault as she was doing everything she should and then some.

I was very frustrated, at wit’s end, had no idea what to do to help him. But I knew the drugs were not working for him. I knew there had to be something better…. but what… where. I had no idea and no idea how to find whatever would help him…”

You know these kids: the ones who can’t sit still, the ones who never seem to listen, who don’t follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, the ones who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. There’s at least one in every classroom, and that one may be yours, because attention deficit disorder (ADD) affects people across the spectrum of race, class, gender, and age.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Most of those children with ADD / ADHD don’t outgrow their disorders; rather, they become disorganized, inattentive adults. If you’re an adult with ADD / ADHD, your symptoms may be holding you back at work, impacting your relationships, and keeping you from accomplishing your goals. Happily, once you recognize the signs and symptoms of adult ADD / ADHD, you can begin to address your areas of weakness and make your strengths work for you. This means that Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a neurological condition that makes it difficult for people to inhibit their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve movement, speech, and attentiveness.

There are three subtypes of ADD / ADHD:

1. Predominantly inattentive;
2. Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive;
3. Combined: inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive;

Of course this means children with ADD / ADHD don’t all have the same problems. Some are hyperactive, while others sit quietly (with their attention miles away). Some put too much focus on a task and have trouble shifting it to something else. Others are only mildly inattentive but overly impulsive. Still others have significant problems in all three areas.

CHILDREN — Signs and Symptoms of ADD / ADHD:

Now and again, every child is absent-minded, restless, or impulsive. These symptoms point to ADD/ADHD when they’re the rule and not the exception.

Symptoms of inattention:

It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: When they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. (The hard part may be pulling them away to the next activity.) But if a child with ADD isn’t viscerally engaged by an activity, the attention of that child will quickly seek out a different activity or something else to think about. Some other symptoms may include:

— Being easily distracted from a task, lesson, or conversation;
— Difficulty keeping the mind on any one thing;
— Getting bored with a task before it’s completed;
— Skipping over details;
— Making careless mistakes;
— Difficulty listening when directly addressed;
— Difficulty following instructions or finishing tasks;
— Disorganization and forgetfulness;

Children with ADD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skipping necessary steps in procedures. They often have difficulty learning new material. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children.

Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity:

Youngsters with hyperactive or impulsive symptoms of ADHD seem to be always in motion. Sitting still can be very difficult for them. They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. They may also do one or more of the following:

— Fidget and squirm or have trouble staying seated at all;
— Move around constantly, often running or climbing inappropriately;
— Have difficulty with quiet, sedentary activities;
— Talk excessively;
— Blurt out answers before questions are completed;
— Speak tactlessly or inappropriately;
— Exhibit difficulty waiting;
— Interrupt or intrude on others;

We expect very young children to be easily distractible and hyperactive, it’s the impulsive behaviors — the dangerous climb, the blurted insult — that often stands out in preschoolers with ADD/ADHD. By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. By the time children reach school age, those with ADD/ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

ADULT — Signs and Symptoms of ADD / ADHD:

ACTIVATION

FOCUS

EFFORT

— Procrastination; difficulty getting started on projects;
— Excessive disorganization and messiness;
— Inability to prioritize tasks;
— Underestimating the time needed to finish a task;
— Inability to screen out distractions;
— “Zoning out” when others are talking;
— Randomly skipping from topic to topic in conversation;
— Reading words over and over in order to grasp the meaning;
— Difficulty sustaining effort over long periods of time;
— Starting multiple tasks, but never completing any of them;
— Missing deadlines;
— Trouble going to sleep at night and staying alert during the day;

EMOTION

MEMORY

ACTION

— Procrastination; difficulty getting started on projects;
— Excessive disorganization and messiness;
— Inability to prioritize tasks;
— Underestimating the time needed to finish a task;
— Inability to screen out distractions;
— “Zoning out” when others are talking;
— Randomly skipping from topic to topic in conversation;
— Reading words over and over in order to grasp the meaning;
— Difficulty sustaining effort over long periods of time;
— Starting multiple tasks, but never completing any of them;
— Missing deadlines;
— Trouble going to sleep at night and staying alert during the day;

Left with an unnourished brain, ADD can wreak havoc in your life—disrupting everything from your career to your social life, love life, and financial stability.

ADD / ADHD in the workplace:

ADD / ADHD can be a big stumbling block on the road to career success. The symptoms of disorganization and inattention, in particular, pose problems in the workplace.

— Be chronically late to work;
— Miss or forget deadlines and meetings;
— Have a hard time organizing projects and delegating work;
— Have difficulty completing projects on time;
— Spend hours at work, but get very little done;
— Get distracted by trivial tasks, while neglecting the most important ones, and;
— Have trouble paying attention in meetings or in conversations with your boss and colleagues;

ADD / ADHD can put a strain on your relationships:

The chaos that surrounds the disorder is particularly hard on romantic relationships. The spouse or partner without ADD may feel resentful if he or she is the one who has to take care of the entire household. Things like planning, organizing, cleaning, bill paying etc. And you may resent your partner’s constant nagging to tidy up, get organized, and take care of business.

Friends and family members may also take it personally when you tune them out, forget conversations or commitments, speak a little too bluntly, or keep them waiting.

The ADD / ADHD symptoms of procrastination, disorganization, and impulsivity can interfere with good money management, including:

— Forget to pay bills;
— Run up huge balances on your credit cards;
— Cannot save money;
— Are unable to follow through on long-term financial goals;
— Shop impulsively;
— Have difficulty keeping financial paperwork in order, and;
— Fail at budgeting and recordkeeping;

The impulsivity of ADD / ADHD can extend to suffering from overeating, obesity, disordered eating, or one or more of the following:

— Eat snacks throughout the day, rather than eating at planned meals;
— Be unable to stick with a diet;
— Have intense cravings for carbohydrates and caffeine (in coffee and chocolate);
— Eat a lot of fast food and “junk food” (cookies, chips, soda, fries, ice cream);
— Ignore hunger signs, waiting until you’re too hungry to plan a healthy meal and then eating whatever you can find;

At a still deeper level, scientists have learned over the last decade that the majority of people with ADD / ADHD and the alcoholic share the same genetic disorder.

In now understanding alcoholism as a genetic deficiency, there is extensive evidence that ADD and ADHD could possibly be an early sign of adult alcoholism.