Tuesday, June 23, 2009


T-shirt expression:
“Some people say I have ADD, but they just don’t understand. Oh look, a chicken!”

ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but many shorten it to ADD especially when it refers to someone who has been diagnosed with it, but isn’t hyperactive.

One of my sons was diagnosed with ADD when he was in 4th grade. I suspected something was up when he was in 2nd grade and he began having troubles academically, especially on tests. After the initial shock of learning my son had a “disorder” I actually began to feel relieved that I could put my finger on some of the exact things that he/we were struggling with. At school he is a round peg trying to fit into a square hole.

My favorite book on the subject is “Driven to Distraction” by Hallowell and Ratey.


On pages 209-214 the authors list 100 questions to ask yourself if you feel that you or someone you know may have ADD. “The more questions that are answered yes, the more likely it is that ADD may be present.”

Here are some questions from the list of 100:

2. Do you have a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression, or manic-depressive illness?
3. Are you moody?
6. Do you tap your feet, fidget a lot?
9. Do you have a hard time relaxing?
14. Even if you are easily distracted, do you find that there are times when your power of concentration is laser-beam intense?
22. Do you change the radio station in your car frequently?
27. Are you always on the go, even when you don’t want to be?
28. More than most people, do you hate waiting in line?
30. Do you have a hair-trigger temper?
33. Do you feel like exploding inside when someone has trouble getting to the point?
37. Are you particularly intuitive?
44. Would you consider yourself an addictive personality?
52. Are you restless without action in your life?
53. Do you have a hard time reading a book all the way through?
66. Are you a maverick?
73. Do you work best in short spurts?
76. Do you find you often get depressed after a success?
81. Were you ever the class clown?
89. Did you have frequent ear infections as a child?
92. Are you particularly insecure?
95. Do you love to travel?
98. Do you get the gist of things very quickly?

To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question…

I’m not against medicating for ADD. But parents and students always have to weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages for making that choice. My son currently doesn’t take medication, but he has taken it in the past. When he was on ADD meds his grades did improve and he was able to focus better in school. The meds, however, gave him headaches and loss of appetite. So, we decided to stop them. His grades declined when he stopped, but his physical health improved, so that was worth the trade off for us. I’m not saying he’ll never go back on the ADD meds, but for now, this is the right decision.

Our local newspaper just ran a front page story on the rampant use of ADD medication on college campuses and the illegal selling of these drugs. See the link:

“More Students Using 'Academic Steroids' Despite Risks, Ethical Questions”:

And a friend just also sent me this link which is also related to this story.

“A Misuser’s Guide to Adderall”

Please also check out the books listed on the right side of this blog under the heading “ADHD” – they have been helpful to me and my family.


  1. The question should be: To medicate, not medicate, or meditate! There were 7 or 8 questions that I answered "it used to be yes, but now that I meditate it's no longer a problem". Of course, that doesn't work so well with 7 year olds....