Delivered from Distraction

Advice for adults who have ADHD, "but don't know about it and, therefore, get no help for it."

Delivered from Distraction

Take ADD for what it is: an opportunity to make life better.

Five Steps to a Joyful Life

Connect. You can do this through family, friends, work, pets, nature, religion, or yourself. A balanced, connected life leads to a sturdy kind of joy that hard times cannot easily strike down.

Play. Immerse yourself in an activity - gardening, skiing, stock trading - in which you forget who you are and where you are. The opposite of play is doing exactly what you are told.

Practice. Once you find an activity in which you can play, do it over and over again. Practicing "play" is practicing what you want to do.

Mastery. People with ADD often suffer from low self-esteem. If you practice "playing," you will get better and see progress, an antidote for lack of confidence. Self-esteem will take root and begin to grow.

Recognition. As you gain mastery, people notice and value what you're doing. Recognition consolidates the self-esteem and connects you to the people who have recognized you.

NOTE: Put concerted efforts into steps 1 and 2. The rest will flow.

by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D.
Ballantine Books, $25.95
Purchase Delivered from Distraction

According to Edward Hallowell, M.D., and John Ratey, M.D., authors of the bestselling Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction, the 1990s were dubbed the "decade of the brain" because so much groundbreaking research was done. It was a no-brainer for these experts on ADD to use that science as fodder for their new book, Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder.

The book is aimed at adults with ADHD, since "millions of people, especially adults, have the condition, but don't know about it and, therefore, get no help for it." There are chapters on "Sex and ADD" and "What Kind of Mate Is Best If You Have ADD?" and a laundry list of helpful tips for grownups on the go.

Hallowell and Ratey, both of whom have ADD, know their audience well. They recognize that "many people with ADD just don't read" and "that's also the problem with this book; it's a book!" So they offer an introductory chapter, "The Skinny on ADD: Read This If You Can't Read the Whole Book." It quickly and accurately informs readers about the latest thinking and treatment for ADD. The abridged audiocassette and audio CD editions are perfect for aural learners.

The authors elaborate on new and, in some cases, controversial, diagnostic methods and treatments. These include QEEG (Quantitative ElectroEncephaloGram), which gauges brain wave patterns; the SPECT scan (Single Proton Emission Computerized Tomography), which measures blood flow in the brain; nutritional supplements; and cerebellar stimulation, exercises for the brain that Hallowell believes helped his son embrace reading.

More inspiring than the science of diagnosing and treating AD/HD is the belief that the condition is a "potential blessing - with emphasis on the word potential. The goal is to sculpt AD/HD into a blessing." The book advocates shining a light on a person's hidden strengths and potential talents - finding the buried treasure. Hallowell and Ratey offer a five-step program for enabling the individual to build on his/her strengths [see "Five Steps to a Joyful Life," right].

However you dip into Delivered from Distraction - as a longer read or to cherry-pick some of the tips - you'll profit from the advice it offers. The authors' message is clear: "No matter how old a person is, if she has ADD, she has more talent than she thinks she has... . Take ADD for what it is: an opportunity to make life better."

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