ADD is so misunderstood. It is commonly thought just to be about distraction. What is often missed is that it’s not just about breadth of attention – or selective attention. It’s about depth of attention – the ability to really concentration. Many patients are surprised once they’re better. Looking back, they realize how scattered and superficial their attention was. They often think that they hid it real well. They pretended to listen – and thought that no one else caught on. Once they could really focus and sustain concentration, they realized that nearly everyone noticed the change. They were hearing from bosses, colleagues and supervises that they were more focused and productive. They began to notice themselves that they could get more done and could do it better. They seemed more in charge of their own mind. They could manage their brain. They could shift gears more easily –and focus on tasks that were important, but not intrinsically interesting. They actually got their taxes done more quickly. At the Center for Attention – we are in the business of improving lives. For me, it is not just a quick fix, a generic treatment. The process involves actually getting to know our patients, spending time with them. Listening and thinking. Listening to the story of how they, or others, first noticed their ADHD when they were children. To listening to how it affected them in high school. Hearing the story of things falling apart in college when they could no longer get by cramming. Hearing the familiar theme of a life shattered by chaos, of goals unmet and opportunities missed. It is not all tragic. ADHD people have special gifts. They are frequently creative, often funny, and usually the life of the party. They can think outside the box. In fact they don’t much like boxes. But when too many things don’t get done, or take too much effort to do – life bogs down. At the Center for Attention, we are expert at assessment and treatment of the complex cluster of problems that are associated with ADD. Difficulty with focusing often impacts the ability to learn – to organize and prioritize. People with ADD have a hard time beginning and sequencing tasks that they don’t want to do. They struggle with motivation. They get distracted before completion. Problems with ADD are often associated with difficulties regulating mood and meaning disappointments. When thoughts are scattered and mood is unstable, life becomes very hard to regulate. Problems with learning can be due to difficulties with distractibility, or with difficulty processing sensations, accessing memory and staying focused long enough to resolve a complex problem.
Robert D. Hunt, M.D. Center for Attention 2129 Belcourt Ave. Nashville, TN 37212 (615) 383-1222