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Defining Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

 

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When my prospects, who are adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), call me they usually know about one or two symptoms that affect them. They think that ADHD is about being inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive. While I learned a lot from my ADHD coach training, the lights went on when I read the following definition:

“ADHD is a genetic, neurological difficulty of engagement with life activities on demand in which an individual’s performance, mood, and energy level are solely determined by that individual’s momentary sense of interest, challenge, novelty, and sometimes, urgency.”

Understanding this can help relieve a lot of the blame and shame. ADHD is a genetic neurological difficulty, which means it can’t be “cured” and is not a moral failing.

The difficulty of engagement with life activities on demand explains why at times you can’t concentrate while at other times you’re able to pay such attention that you can’t “disengage yourself”. You may not be able to concentrate on paperwork but when it comes to doing something that you have a lot of interest in, you’re able to “hyperfocus”, that is focus on this interest in such a way that you do at the exclusion of everything else.

Finally, the last section: your “performance, mood, and energy level are solely determined by [your]momentary sense of interest, challenge, novelty, and sometimes, urgency” gives you clues as to how you can manage your ADHD. When a task is boring, you can create interest or challenge or novelty to make it more likely for you to accomplish it. For example, you could improve your chances of completing a boring task by listening to music or changing where you complete it.

Unfortunately most ADHD adults use urgency by waiting until the last minute to complete these tasks. This may have worked in individual programs when you were 16 or 17 but when you work with teams (most work environments work with teams) and as you get older, using urgency is not a healthy way to work.

Tell me what have you done to make a boring task more interesting? With your amazing create out-of-the box thinking, I’m sure the suggestions can be very interesting

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