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ADD in Adults?

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ADD in Adults?

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.

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Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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12:17PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

I've been selected with the "gift" off A.D.D. for 9 years now. It is a curse but a curse that can be used for good. I had numerous people tell me lead singers and other famous people had A.D.D. We are a different breed. We see the world differently. Others may say we are weird or out casts. To people who don't know what A.D.D. is like, walk into a room full of teenage girls talking, all at once about different things, don't mean to offend anybody, than try to remember a number, while explain street names while saying your ABC's backwards. Okay, not that extreme but some may agree! It effects my relationships, sleep, and food intake. I'm currently trying to find a specialist to help with A.D.D. and my anxiety tied with it. To many pills!

11:05AM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

Great article. Thanks.

11:45AM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Really important and interesting topic---thanks. We have this in our family.

1:48AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

I have ADD. And it's hard to read a big wall of text. Some people think my short and direct answers are rude, but I can't focus on these big huge things.

Thanks for making the list easy to read.

5:53PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

PS, another quick thought: WHY do bipolars and ADD/ADHD's get into so darn much trouble? Because all that excess nervous energy constantly seeks TARGETS: stuff to expend the energy against; stuff to stop it, define it, direct it, contain it. This often fails to serve the person's needs adequately, and it often involves social situations and interactions that can be quite exasperating &/or tiresome for others. My heart goes out to all manics (and ADD/ADHD, PTSD, MAD, GAD and all the other cousins in that fascinating extended family.)

5:42PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

Interesting how "ADD" seems to be the term de jour for people who've always been called "Bipolar" in the past. Yes, there are some differences, notably the lack of depressive episodes... although the commonest form of bipolar (often called mixed anxiety and depression or MAD) is one in which the person is "up" almost all the time, rarely having an actual depressive slump.

Because of SO MUCH going on in their heads, both conceptually and emotionally, almost all the time, bipolars are extremely disorganized, restless, stimulus-seeking, tangential and distractible... i.e., everything described herein as "ADD."

Also, actually it's NOT so essential to "get an accurate diagnosis" as advised herein. In point of fact, VERY FEW people neatly "inhabit" a particular diagnosis. Instead, in actual practice, 99% of patients are a little of this, a smattering of that, a lot of this under certain circumstances, none of it under others.... No, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to get an accurate picture of exactly what problems the traits and tendencies bring into a person's life, establish patterns and triggers, learn tools and coping mechanisms and other avenues of control, and go from there. A diagnosis is just a starting point to get one "into the ballpark."

I've worked in mental hospitals for 22 years and I know what I'm talking about. Also I'm about 2/3 bipolar myself. Luckily saved by my father's genes. If HE'D been bipolar too? Yipe!

5:43AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Wow... thats 20 out of 20 for me... scarry.. never thought about ADD ... It does say if you suffer from anxiety you may display similar symptoms... now the question is this... Is my anxiety actually misdiagnosed ADD or is it actually Generalised Anxiety... 20 out of 20 on the ADD Symptoms and i've been like that for as long as I can remember.. all my school reports always said the same thing... Intelligent and could do well but lacks attention. lol... I did well in school in the end due i guess to a period of hyperattention lol ... I do wonder... Where i'm from you can't get diagnosed for anything properly so i won't bother going to fnd out.. i'll plod along as i always do... It has it's pittfalls but hey what doesn't...

4:44AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

I've only heard of ADHD, not of ADD.

3:48AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

Thank you for a very good article.

1:39AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

@ Jill C. I'm not sure where you got your "FACTS" but it seems obvious to me that you don't know nor have ever been close to someone suffering from ADD. I have a friend who fits the description perfectly and when he comes over it's like a psychological tornado hit and he is not even aware of what damage he has done. I can see it is not anything he can control on his own. i think you would not be so quick to say it is not an illness if you could experience it.

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