Benefits (Yes Benefits!) of Having ADD/ADHD
People diagnosed with ADD may experience conflicting emotions. While there is a certain sense of relief in finally being able to put “a name” to a mental condition that has baffled them for years, there is also an awareness of the potential stigma that can accompany an ADD diagnosis. For many years, a diagnosis of ADD emphasized only what was wrong with a person, often creating feelings of shame, fear and self-doubt. The traditional medical model emphasizes pathology – what’s wrong and in need of remediation – but when applied to the mind, this approach can do a good deal of damage. The kidney doesn’t care if you call it sick, but the mind does! Telling people they have a mental disorder can actually create a bigger mental disorder – fear. Chronic fear can hold more people back in life than any other mental infirmity. Dr. Hallowell’s book, Driven to Distraction, with its emphasis on leveraging a person’s strengths to overcome their shortcomings, was a groundbreaker in the treatment of ADD. After all, identifying a person’s strengths helps unlock one of the most powerful tools he or she has to get better.
People with ADD tend to have many creative talents (usually underdeveloped until the diagnosis is made) and a highly original, out-of-the-box way of thinking. As highly intuitive people with a special “feel” for life, they can possess an almost “sixth sense” that lets them see straight to the heart of a matter instead of having to think it through methodically. Since impulsivity is one of the core symptoms of ADD, it stands to reason that people with ADD are more creative than their non-ADD counterparts. This is not spin control, nor is it an effort to paint a rosy picture of the potentially disabling side of ADD. Prisons, drug rehab centers, unemployment lines, divorce courts are full of people with undiagnosed, untreated ADD. But there is also a “gifted” side to ADD that packs the power to propel the child or adult who has it to success, even greatness. It’s all about tapping in to the “mirror traits” of the negative symptoms associated with ADD, which can become amazing assets.
Negative ADD-Associated Trait
- Hyperactive, restless
- Can’t stay on point
Accompanying, Positive Trait
- Sees connections others miss
- Totally involved in what he/she is doing
- Persistent, won’t give up
- Shows flashes of brilliance