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Denial and Dissociation

Two common reactions to the experience of ADHD are Denial and Dissociation. They range from minor states to severe conditions.


Denial is the refusal to accept reality, acting as if some situation doesn't  exist. It may be a painful feeling or awareness of an event in the past, a present circumstance or a future probability. Frequently it is a denial of consequences. The addict either consciously or unconsciously ignores the future of their addiction, the procrastinator hides from their failure to act (often with awareness which increases anxiety). The person fails to act in their own proper self interest for their future well-being.


Dissociation happens when a person disconnects from the real world for periods of time, either by forgetting, or creating a different "reality" which my be fantasy untroubled by unbearable feelings or memories. Childhood abuse, whether emotional, physical or sexual, is often a cause. This means that  fr a time they are not consciously aware of uncomfortable feelings or situations.


The solution , of course, is to live in reality. But the obstacles  are what created the problem in the first place. We are back to the complex of fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, childhood experiences, etc, shaped by genetic ADHD and ignorant nurture.

It is best to deal with our problems one at a time, solving the original causes where possible. There is help for this on this site and the internet and listed books. Some people can manage this by themselves, others need help. If you go to a therapist, make sure that they either have ADHD or understand it and treat it. Many therapists from psychiatrists down, counselors  and teachers have no clue as to what ADHD is like.


Immediate gratification is a human problem. More so for those of us with ADHD.

Our emotions want us to feel OK right now. The longer term effects of self-satisfaction in the moment are ignored. For a cigarette now forget cancer later. For extra food now forget obesity and dementia later. For an alcohol now forget hangover, social  chaos and brain damage later.

Part of the solution is changing the association of the stimulus awareness. If we are feeling disturbed and our brain gives us a picture or thought of a chocolate bar, its time to do some deliberate brain training. Our brain needs to take us to solving the stress, perhaps some exercise or breathing. The chocolate bar is not there. And we have a knowing that we are moving towards healthy weight and a better, fitter and longer life - oh, and decreasing the risk of dementia.

 © David Townsend 2014