By Jessie Sholl, Experience Life
An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from ADD, the majority of them undiagnosed. Once considered a childhood disorder that’s outgrown by adolescence, it’s now known that 60 to 70 percent of children diagnosed with ADD continue to experience it as adults.
Characterized primarily by excessive distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness, ADD can wreak havoc in one’s personal and professional life. Too often, substance abuse, serious depression, job failure or a broken marriage are the wreckage left in the disorder’s wake.
“Traffic accidents are eight times more common among those with ADD. The prisons, divorce courts and unemployment lines are full of people with undiagnosed ADD,” says Edward M. Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center, a clinic specializing in the treatment of ADD in New York City.
“Having ADD can be a curse,” says Hallowell — who speaks from personal experience, having both been diagnosed with the disorder himself and raising two sons with ADD. But, he notes, it is not a life sentence. With the right knowledge, skills and strategies, ADD can be a unique gift that helps people thrive.