The ABCs of ADHD

The ABCs of ADHD

ADHD is comprised of positives and negatives, as you’ll hear Ned describe in this mini podcast. He talks about the triad of symptoms that define ADHD and how each negative trait can be turned into a positive. After all he says, “What is creativity, but impulsivity gone right!!”

Do you agree with Dr. Hallowell? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned takes their supplements every day. Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife. That’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com. Bright is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Today, and in subsequent episodes, I’m going to sort of give you a mini course in ADD, the ABCs of ADD, if you will. I still call it ADD, because it was ADD when I learned about it, but technically it is all ADHD now, what it is and what it isn’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let’s start off with the term, itself, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a terrible term. Just say that right off the bat. This is not a deficit of attention at all. We have an abundance of attention. I say we because I have the condition myself. We have an abundance of attention. Our challenge is to control it. I don’t see it as a disorder. I see it as a trait. Can it be a disorder? Yes, it can ruin your life, absolutely no doubt about it. ADHD at its worst can ruin your life. But it can also be a superpower. I know many entrepreneurs, talented artists, creators, writers, who say their ADHD is the key to their success.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The goal I have with myself and all the people I treat, is to unwrap their gifts; develop, identify, promote their talents, and in so doing, reduce the damage done by the downside, to the point where I’ve given it a different name, because ADHD is so dripping with pathology. I call it VAST, V-A-S-T, variable attention stimulus trait, V-A-S-T. That term was suggested to me by a woman who work in public radio in San Francisco. I just, I love the term, variable attention stimulus trait. It is a fascinating condition, because it’s composed of positives and negatives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Most people who know about ADHD know about the negatives: distractibility, impulsivity, hyperactivity, the hallmark triad of symptoms. But if you take each of those negatives and turn it on its head, you get a positive. What’s the flip side of distractibility? It’s curiosity. That’s why we don’t let something go. Well, what’s that over there and what’s that over there and what’s that over there? We’re endlessly curious. We’re constantly wanting to go wherever our curiosity leads it. The ADD mind is like a toddler on a picnic, it goes wherever curiosity leads it with no regard for danger or authority.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The second one, impulsivity … That’s so bad, right? Well, no. What is creativity, but impulsivity gone right. You don’t plan to have a creative idea. You don’t say, “It’s 2:00, time for my creative idea,” and lay it like an egg. No, creative ideas pop. They come unexpectedly, unbidden, unlooked for. They’ll interrupt you in the middle of dinner. They’ll interrupt you in the middle of your sleep. They’ll interrupt you while you’re taking a shower or they’ll entertain you while you’re being forced to listen to a boring lecture or a boring conversation. This impulsivity, creativity depends upon. In order to be creative, you have to have a leaky braking system to slow you down. You’ve got to be able to get interrupted, to be spontaneously disturbed by some new idea.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then the third element of the triad of symptoms that define ADD, hyperactivity … You get to be my age, I’m 70 years old. It’s called energy. I’m really glad I’ve got this little turbo pack on my back. Think of this condition as a trait that can be onerous and terrible, but if you learn how to unwrap the gifts embedded in it, it can become a superpower. That’s the true nature of this condition, positives and negatives, and the goal being of course, to maximize the power of the positives and minimize the damage done by the negatives. Okay, that’s my first in these series of short introductory talks about ADHD or ADD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I want to once again, thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their Omega-3 supplement for years, and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, a Harvard medical school graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy, and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business. Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code Podcast2020 at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, that’s going to do it for today. Remember to check out Distraction on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Please reach out to us with your ideas for show topics or questions you have at [email protected] That’s the word [email protected]st.com. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The wonderful, beautiful, talented Sarah Guertin is our producer, and the equally wonderful, talented, and I hesitate to say beautiful, Scott Persson is our sound engineer and editor. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabright, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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