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DESR: “Does ADHD Emotional Dysregulation Ever Fade?”

Emotional dysregulation is a core facet of ADHD that is excluded from official diagnostic criteria and most symptom tests — a contradiction that is pushing researchers and clinicians to further investigate the connection. One such ADHD expert is Russell Barkley, Ph.D., who has coined the term deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) to describe this fundamental trait.

2 Comments: DESR: “Does ADHD Emotional Dysregulation Ever Fade?”

  1. Great article! Quick read and informative. A question: What would be the associated physiological cause of emotional blunting in relation to the stimulants? That is quite interesting!
    Any sources you could provide for reading?
    Thank you

  2. As a therapist who works with both ADHD and non-ADHD adults, in individual as well as couples therapy, I truly dislike pegging people with ADHD with the term “Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation”(DESR). All of my non-ADHD clients have problems dealing with their emotions as well — they just may do it in different ways than the typical ADDer. The last thing ADDers need is another way to be pathologized. I know Dr. Barkley is highly esteemed in the ADHD world and his intentions I assume are only benign, but frankly, the way he talks about ADDers is so unremittingly negative. Listening to Dr. Barkley, one wonders why on Earth any employer would want to hire a person who has it, and a neurotypical would have to be an absolute fool to date anyone with it!
    People with ADHD, generally speaking, are “extra-emotional” —,they have more juice in their emotional system. This does NOT have to be a negative. Probably more of the horrors have happened on this planet have been caused by people who refused to feel anything than from people who feel too much. But in a culture that doesn’t trust emotions especially when they’re expressed, it’s very difficult to learn HOW to put all that extra emotional energy to good use. But it can be done, by developing greater empathy and self-compassion, and by learning how to connect with your emotions in a way that brings people closer to you rather than driving them away. We ADDers —of course, I have it too — need to embrace our emotional nature and develop it into a strength, not make it into one more thing we have to control and hide in order to be more like some mythical “healthy” neurotypical.

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