Do I Have ADHD?

This site is being upgraded and added to continuously. Feel free to visit again and browse. I have ADHD so the order of material may be confused. If you have ADHD, you know that!

NEWS ITEM   (Based on an article in ADDitude magazine)

At last there is a more formal recognition that ADD/ADHD can include an extension of the Fight/Flight response. This protective response to threat or danger extends into Fight/Flight/Freeze in many people (and of course some animals). However in ADD/ADHD it extends into Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fib.

Lying is not just naughty-child dodgy adult, it is an ADD/ADHD defensive response coupled with another defensive component which is Fantasizing. Some take this further. Lying, which is almost involuntary in some, hazes 'moral' rules and results in deception and theft to further create a safe and defensive state.

The ability to fantasize is very valuable and needs guidance. Children and teens need a home where they feel safe and can tell the truth which means a place where  they have a high awareness  of acceptance not to mention love.

Dr Hallowell has introduced the acronym VAST to our understanding. Variable Attention Stimulus Traits.
This takes understanding away from 'disorder' into an acceptance that many people have symptoms of ADHD but not severe enough for diagnosis. We all have a range of behaviours. When some behaviours or a number of them vary too far from 'normal' these may be indicators of a problem in VAST or ADHD. The Hyperactive component is usually brain activity and for some people also expressed as physical behaviours.

Much of our understanding of ADHD comes from the study  of children. Adults need to take a broader view. 

The general characteristics are:
1. An 'interest based' nervous system. We are good at things that interest us but mostly unable to transfer that focus to things  that don't interest us in the way that people without ADHD can.
2. We have emotional 
hyperarousal. We tend to experience emotions and br guided by them more than others.
3. We tend to 
suffer from Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria RSD. Dysphoria is a weight, a burden dragging us down. It varies in degree from person to person. We are born or acquire a high sensitivity to rejection and this is reinforced by experience as we grow. (Some psychiatrists want play with definitions and statements about depression, and say that dysphoria is short lived. Ignore them. It can be; it can be an ongoing awareness  that has to be managed.)Our brains are very good at disguising RSD. We are aware that we should engage in an activity which may involve rejection but we don't do it because our brain finds some other activity we undertake to divert us from the risky activity.

Do I have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADD or ADHD)?

Any of this familiar? A long history of: Procrastination, distracted, restless, overwhelmed, daydreamer, forgetful, failed personal development, don't finish things, poor self-confidence, losing or misplacing things, crashed out of MLM, undecided, low self-esteem, perform below potential, don't seem to have a future, depressed, late, thoughts all come at once . . . . . .

If much of it applies to you, read on.

ADD or ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder/ Hyperactive Disorder. It is a very poor name for a disorder that affects many people. It was given the name because it was first classified to give a name to disruptive hyperactive children (berserk monkeys!) who didn't attend to the teacher in class.

 It is estimated that there are over 200,000 Australians over forty with ADD, mostly undiagnosed. Some have found their own ways of coping, most have not.

ADD is now known to describe the condition of a wide range of adults and children who have non-conformist attention. The frequent focus on difficulties with attention tends to hide the skills and talents that ADD people have. Properly managed, they are a benefit, often way out ahead of people with out the "disorder".

Many people have found ADHD to be a benefit. These are some of them: Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Magic Johnson, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Clemens, Bill Gates. The list is huge, and covers every area of human activity.

 (I think that ADD really stands for Attention Deviously Dynamic because we do our thing better than other people, in ways they never thought of! Part of this program is "Discover your Gifts".)

There is a questionnaire BELOW to help you decide whether you might be "one of us".

 If you have been diagnosed with ADD (includes ADHD) or believe that you may have this condition or similar attention or organisation problems, I provide hypnosis & coaching support to help you manage your life better.

As this form of assistance only works for those who want help, I see adults, or teenagers who themselves want help (generally 14 years plus). The work I do requires a strong personal desire to take charge of one's life. Teens under pressure from their parent don't come into that category.

 However, you can do a great deal to assist yourself to find ways to build a successful and happy life. This site is dedicated to helping make that happen.

 In many cases younger children  need to see a therapist who can work with the school if necessary. There will be some guidance for parents who need help in managing an ADD child on this site.

 I don't diagnose, medicate or treat disorders. My expertise is providing support using hypnosis and neurolinguistics in a training setting. This is a very effective way of creating a framework for your life that works.

 If you would like my assistance you can contact me to discuss this through Skype at  dalbeville.

This is a fee for service arrangement.

 David Townsend


As the symptoms of Adult ADHD vary, and some hyperactive people are not aware of rejection, this is a simple overview.
Adult ADHD is characterized by:
1. Interest based nervous system.
Over-ridding high levels of distractibility is a focus on things that interest you, regardless of importance or priority.
2. Emotional hyperarousal.
ADHD is often misdiagnosed as a mood-disorder. AHDH moods tend to be more intense than normal but resolves faster then normal. People with ADHD need strong inner support - personal strength and wher possible good external support.
3. Rejection sensitivity.
ADDers tend to be more sensitive to any criticism or rejection. As many are born with a genetic sense of isolation, the negative feedback growing up can be felt acutely. This also creates a sense of failure. The ongoing feeling is called disphoria - a heavy weight on life. Internally this can make someone a people pleaser, or have them opt out of activities to avoid the possibility of the feeling. Externalized it can cause violent rage.
A further result is the development of personal beliefs that you are a failure, so you don't do anything which would interfere with this belief, hence non-completion of tasks and procrastination.

So then you notice that the distress you feel is false. The feelings seem real enough but they are malfunctions of a part of you. THEY ARE NOT YOU.  Your real self needs to over-ride them and you shift into a higher level of function. You do whatever needs to be done to to express your real self. 

Many people with ADHD have concept of some way that they ought to be which they never seem to reach, which they can't, of course, because that would prove that they weren't failures. It is much better to be a Venturer, an Explorer, moving through life discovering what is there and often  creating whatever is worthwhile as you travel.

                  (The majority of this section is derived from work by Dr William Dobson MD)

Delivered From Distraction
   Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
by Edward M Hallowell and John J Ratey. Ballantine Books 2006


 This questionnaire helps to indicate whether you may have ADD [includes ADHD]. It is not a diagnosis.

It is also used in the clinic for other attentive problems. A differently phrased questionnaire is used for teenagers and children. I suggest that you print this off and complete it. Tick any traits that seem to run through your life. If you tick 15 or more, ADD is probable.

 If you tick under 15 you may still have ADD or some of the "symptoms". It is a varied condition. If there are problems that stand out, like procrastination or lack of organisation, you may still wish to come into coaching to deal with those specific problems, whether you think that you have ADD or not. The coaching focuses or providing the resources for specific needs, not putting you in a ‘disorder’ box.

 Here are the questions: Does this apply to you?

1. Constantly distracted - by thoughts or what is going on around you.
2. Spacey or daydreaming Have trouble concentrating.
3. Don't notice anything except what you are concentrating on.
4. Focus totally on something that interests you and nothing else.
5. Overwhelmed by thoughts all coming rapidly.
6. Overwhelmed by all the things you have to do so you are stuck.  Can't decide what to do.
7. Unable to make decisions about the future. Don't have a future.
8. Poor short term memory, forget appointments, shopping lists, etc.
9. Mostly late, or always very early.
10. Saying inappropriate things in conversations. "Funny man or woman."
11. Doing inappropriate things.
12. Taking on more than you can handle.
13. Easily bored. Have to do something, have to move all the time.
14. Doodle, scribble, write to stay attentive in meetings, class, lectures.
15. Can't stay focused reading [not dyslexia or reading problem].
16. Don't work well in a team or group.
17. Do everything at the last minute.
18. Can't prioritise, sort into useful order.
19. Clutter everywhere, and always lose things.
20. Procrastinate, put off doing things.
21. Can't get started, even on essentials like bills, work projects, essays, reports.
22. Can't start because  you might not do it right. "perfectionism".
23. Don't complete tasks you start.
24. "Black and white thinking". People or situations are either good or bad.
25. Low self-esteem.
26. Anger and blame directed at yourself or others.
27. Perform below your potential.
28. History of broken relationships.
29. Not doing what you undertake to do.
30. Thrill seeking or high risk behaviour, may include addiction.

 You don’t have to be diagnosed with ADHD or ADD to benefit from the material, if you have a tendency in this direction feel free to use it!                                                     


Some resources for ADHD


“Attention Deficit Disorder”  by Tom Hartman with E. Hallowell and M. Popkin.  (1993 Underwood Books.) This sets out a very useful model to help understand ADD.

“Driven to Distraction”(1955 Touchstone Simon and Schuster) and “Delivered From Distraction”  (2005 Ballantine Books) by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey.  Reliable guides worth reading.

“The Disorganized Mind” by  Nancy Ratey  (2008 St. Martins Griffin) Fair.

“Getting Unstuck” by Don Kerson (2009 Greenpoint Psychiatric Press) A  very useful book.

“You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!” by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo (1993 Simon and Schuster)  A large book that tries to cover everything, and therefore not likely to be read through by someone with ADD. Written in a friendly American style and probably useful to dip into.

“4 Weekends to an Organized Life  with AD/HD” by Jeffrey Freed and Joan Shapiro (2007 Taylor  Trade Publishing). Requires a more structured life that I could cope with.

“Odd One Out” by Jennifer Koretsky (2007 ADD Management Group) A lightweight starting point. Short and reasonable.

“The Wayseers” by Garret LoPorto (2011 Media For Your Mind Press) LoPorto is different and makes you think. Hyperactive ADD social activist I like reading and listening to.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD
   By EILEEN BAILEY AND DONALD HAUPT, MD (A complete idiot couldn’t understand it!)

Answers to Distraction Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey

Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different PerceptionThom Hartman

 WEB,  many including
   Don Kerson, also has  and other sites with Dr Amen who has good material.  has references to excellent material and speakers.

 © David Townsend 2014