The other day I received this request through my time management coaching website:
“I have a question: As an adult-diagnosed with ADD (I refuse to submit to the new DSM classifying ADD & ADHD as one, because I am not an ADHDer) and as the mother of three emotionally-challenged teen/adult daughters with ADD, do you have recommendations or materials specific to us?
My youngest is my biggest concern; she is 17, and should be entering her senior year, but because of ongoing emotional and psychological issues, she has just begun 9th grade. Actually, when I say just begun, I mean she’s wasted an entire year of schooling in 9th grade, and pushing her to move faster backfires. But clearly she is stagnant. Until recently, she refused to return to counseling, but fortunately, as soon as I get the water fixed in our home (we had a well collapse, and $$ has been difficult) that is our next move.
Clearly there are a lot of issues at play here, but I would be interested in your perspective, because, as I hope you understand, the ADD brain does not work like others. Telling us and giving us “strategy” tips, as my caring and loving friends have tried to do over the years, doesn’t work.
I am a registered nurse and until recently when health and life and age started to drain me, I have been motivated and accomplished; so I am not, at this time, as concerned about strategies for myself. I just want to get my beautiful, intelligent daughter(s) with amazing potential on the right track and moving forward.”
First off, can you hear the frustration and pain? Oh my goodness! You might have family, friends or colleagues who you have no idea are dealing with this. Secondly, can you hear this person’s resilience? Despite these major challenges, they’re persevering, which is absolutely key to getting through this!
Before I share my response, I wanted to comment on this particular line:
“I refuse to submit to the new DSM classifying ADD & ADHD as one, because I am not an ADHDer”
The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s the primary tool utilized worldwide by health care professionals as the guide for diagnoses and treatments. It’s also tied to the billing codes for health insurance companies. ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder) have gone through several name changes in the past few decades, currently with both being renamed/reclassified back to one term: ADHD.
Dealing with ADD or ADHD has already been tough enough, but to come to terms with your diagnosis and then have it re-labeled into something you had been told was different from what you had? Well, that’s just not helpful without coaching all of the previously-diagnosed people through the understanding and acceptance of this new label.
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal about what it’s called? If you have been told you have ADD and sought treatment from ADD specialists, then your brain tells you this is what you have, and seek help based on that label. So if you struggle with accepting the label, it will be very difficult to find the resources you need because all medical organizations and professionals change their terminology to reflect the DSM. If you search for the “old term,” you won’t find the resources. On the flip side of that, if you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, and suddenly you’re told that those diagnosed with ADD now actually have ADHD, and you believe there won’t be any differentiation, you have a similar wall to bust through. If you refuse to work with someone who has removed the ADD term from their website, and don’t give them the chance to explain, “I still understand you, I can still help you, I just can’t refer to it as ADD otherwise we can’t bill the insurance company,” or “I completely understand the differences between ADD and ADHD you’re describing,” you’ll never get the help, explanations and support you need.
With that in mind, here’s what I shared:
Strategies are always the solution to every challenge, but in this case, they must be strategies that are scientifically geared for the ADD or ADHD brain. (I understand you not wanting to go by the so-called “new label,” but temporarily setting aside your frustration with the re-labeling will be the best way to find the info you seek on ADD. – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315158)
Dr. Ari Tuckman is one of the leaders in the field of ADHD (since he’s medically licensed, he uses the new diagnosis label). I highly recommend you look into his website, videos and books for outstanding resources. While Dr. Tuckman’s specialty is classified as ADHD, he can point you to resources for ADD because of his thorough research and contacts throughout the mental health industry.
You can google:
interviews with Ari Tuckman
books by Ari Tuckman
Ari Tuckman videos
If you have an Amazon account, here are books he’s written or been involved with:
If you get on his email list, you’ll stay updated on mental health conferences he’s involved with, which usually offer a variety of topics: ADHD, ADD (a term they medically can no longer use, but in their discussions, they’ll cover the enormous spectrum of ADHD symptoms, which include those of the former ADD label), anxiety, depression, etc. This is an example: https://www.adda-sr.org/adhd-across-the-lifespan
You won’t get inundated; I receive maybe one email per month. What I like about all of these conferences is that they have doctors or scientists providing recommendations based on years of research, as opposed to flashy speakers with catchy phrases who haven’t studied the research. Many of these conferences are still virtual, so you can attend from any location.
In addition to Dr. Tuckman, here are a few other resources:
Child Mind Institute – https://childmind.org/article/what-is-the-difference-between-add-and-adhd/
CHADD – https://chadd.org/about/
ADDA – https://add.org/ (notice even the ADD Association now labels everything as ADHD)
ADD related associations – https://addadult.com/add-education-center/add-related-associations/
WebMD’s round-up of resources – https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/adhd-resources
I hope this helps you get further in your journey.
I wish you and your family the very best always.
Whether you have been officially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or not diagnosed but think you might have challenges with time management and concentration because of those conditions, it’s important to reach out to one of the previously-mentioned organizations to point you to resources that will help you with your specific situation.
Want more advice related to how to work with your brain instead of against it? Check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.