Attention Deficit Disorder
ADD is another very common disorder that is under-diagnosed or under-treated in our society. It has always been looked at as an academic disease for children who are hyperactive. In fact, not all patients with ADD are hyperactive. The DSM IV had come up with 2 different types. One with hyperactivity and one without hyperactivity. We now know that it is not just a childhood illness. In fact a lot of times ADD does not manifest it self until college years or may be manifested later in life when the ADD is challenged. A person may have learned to cope with their ADD at younger ages but as things get more complex; their coping strategies may break down and lead to problems.
Some patients with ADD can manage to control the symptoms while they are in school because of the structured environment and support from the parents with school work and not until they go to college does the ADD manifest itself and become a problem.
So what are the symptoms of ADD?
Unfortunately again that can create a lot of confusion for patients since the DSM IV focuses(mostly) on the symptoms during childhood but not how ADD manifests itself in adult life.
Some symptoms of attention problems.
- Forgetful in daily activity (i.e. late for appointment or meetings). Shows up to important meetings forgetting important material for the meeting, misplaces things like cell phones, driving license…etc
- Lacks or avoid tasks that require organization skills. Avoids or dislikes paperwork. Late fees for credit cards or bills
- Inability to pay attention or sustain focus in class or important meetings. Day dreaming when supposed to be focused. Gets easily distracted. Difficulty maintaining focus while reading and may have to re-read books, even when interested in the material. Does not to seem to be listening when spoken to.
Some examples of impulsivity.
Impulsive job changes, interrupting other people when they are talking.
So as you see ADD can be a highly distractible illness and not just an academic illness for children. It can affect the patient’s social, occupational and academic life.
Adverse effects of ADD on Relationships
Because relationships depend upon communicating and feeling acknowledged by the other person, when patients with ADD get distracted and don’t follow through with their partner’s request, the partner feels disrespected. Imagine you have a significant other who feels like you do not listen to him/her or do things opposite to what he/she asked you to do because of lack of attention. Many relationships are adversely affected because of one partner having untreated ADD.
How ADD interferes with recovery.
- Untreated patients with ADD have a lot of frustration due to their illness and continue to get negative feedback from others. This increases stress and can lead to relapse on addictive substances.
- Also ADD can affect the patient’s self esteem and how they see themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself you might fall into that train of thought which goes like, “Why bother trying? I can not get anything done right.” If this is not challenged, it can lead to the core belief of low self esteem.
- Another problem is the impulsivity which can be a major factor in not being able to resist the craving for a drug and interferes with the ability to maintain sobriety.
Some of the theories about ADD state that the brain does not secrete enough dopamine( a brain messenger chemical). Patients with ADD may try to seek activities that force the brain to secrete more dopamine in order to feel normal, including such behavior as drug use, which is known to increase the level of dopamine. They may also seek extreme athletic activities which produces a lot of physical thrill. For more information we recommend Driven to Distraction MentalHealth.com.