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June 04, 2007

Thoughts on a Rainy Day

       Hi there, y'all!  I'm still trying to learn how to use this Blog.  Thanks for your posts.  And please give me feedback.  You can email me directly at ehallowell@aol.com

         It's raining here today in Arlington, Mass., where I live.  Here are some random thoughts on ADD and life in general from me to you:

  • Who of you has the best new name for ADD?  I'd love to hear from you if you do. 
  • I am glad the positive parts of ADD are fianlly being recognized by more people.  It is rare to find a person with ADD who is not particularly creative, spontaneous, energetic, and sensitive
  • The diagnostic language tends to emphasize only what's wrong.  "Impulsive," for example, is used as a pejorative.  But what is creativity, but a kind of impusivity?  No one plans to have a creative thought.  They just pop---impulsively
  • Rainy days can make anyone sad.  That's why we all need each other.
  • Is it me, or are people actually getting friendlier?  I know, I know, that's a ridiculous observation.  But I have noticed it.  Must be the beginning of my dementia.
  • My daughter graduates from high school June 9.  I can't believe it.  She was born only yesterday.
  • Thank God for kids.  My three have kept me young, honest, happy, and broke!  But raising them has been by far the best thing I have ever done in my life.  And thank God for my wife, Sue.
  • Blogs are fun!  Now, if only I could learn all the cool stuff I don't know about how to use them...
  • The Red Sox will win the Workd Series this year.  And don't tell me I just jinxed them.  It's fun to be bold.  Especially for a Red Sox fan.
  • The best sports blog out there is Curt Schilling's
  • What's the best mental health blog?  Anyone know? 
  • I think fish oil is the best supplement you can take for ADD.  And it is good for health in general.  But my primary care doctor told me he was worried that we will start to deplete the oceans of fish. 
  • I was on the Laura Ingraham radio show the other day.  I don't care what your politics are, you have to agree she is one smart, dynamic lady.
  • My friend John Ratey is working on a book about exercise and how it helps the brain.  Dynamite book by a dynamite guy.  His top advice?  Keep moving!!!


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There are actually great omega-spectrum oils that don't come from fish, if you're worried about overfishing. I actually take omega oil supplements that come from flax, sesame and everning primrose oils (When I remember. *blush*).

You're right, though. I've found omega oils and b-complex supplements incredibly helpful for ADHD.

Thank you for blogging, Doctor! I've been saving up to buy your book, but it's great to read your writings here!


Who of you has the best new name for ADD? I'd love to hear from you if you do.

My boyfriend calls my ADD "the gerbils". He claims that watching me in the midst of a "severe ADD attack" is like watching our pet gerbils in the cage. I'll work on something ferociously for several minutes, and then due to some odd personal prompt, will suddenly switch activities.

(And I tend to agree with him. The little buggers are always running at 95 mph, and seem to have no structured gameplan ;)

Ned Hallowell

Thanks, Jenn! I love it! the gerbils!

Jenn (again)

Hey there! I was wondering if we could put in for requests for blogs? A "How Not To Make Your Significant Other Kill You In Conversations and Other ADD Tips" would be nice.

My pearl of wisdom? Try not to attach yourself to anyone with OCD. I go to sleep some nights expecting to be smothered in my sleep for the damage I've done to the house.


"It is rare to find a person with ADD who is not particularly creative, spontaneous, energetic, and sensitive."

Wow, what a wonderful thing to hear from a Doc! That just made my day. Thank you so much.


Some ADD related terms i've collected:

AADD: Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder

NADD: Nerd Attention Deficit Disorder (written about by Rands -- http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2003/07/10/nadd.html)

ADT: Attention Deficit Trait (coined by you i believe)

DAD: Distraction Addiction Disorder. (mine, i think ;-) )

Fascinaddict -- a portmanteau word that captures a different aspect.



Dr. Hallowell, I hope you are enjoying your summer however, I am anxiously awaiting your next post!


AOD: Amusing Others Disorder

Friends are always giving a concerned and slightly amused look.

But, hey, it made sense to me!

Betsy Davenport, PhD

We have met several/many times, I'm in Portland, Oregon. You spoke to my daughter when visiting our fair city when I had forced her to come and hear your talk. Having wailed and flailed about coming, she then did not want to go home early when it was already past her bedtime.

But, here's the thing: she will be 15 in two days and when 11, she commented on something I quoted you as saying about ADD, and she cast her eyes heavenwards and said, "Oh, Mama, he's nuts. ADD is the scourge."

Well, that's kind of funny, but I rather agree with her. I have been asking for a decade for someone to show me any kind of reliable (as in, scientific, obtained by scientific method), that proves people with ADD are any more creative, intelligent, all that good stuff you love to tell us.

So far, no one has shown me any. The way I figure it is this: people who are smart and funny and creative tend, just like people who are not-as-smart, less successful and oh, maybe in prison or the principal's office, to hang out with people who are LIKE THEM.

So for you -- bright, creative, witty, successful -- to assert what you do based on your experience (yes, with thousands, who can pay) is misleading in the extreme.

I am no curmudgeon. But I think ADD is the scourge if you actually want to be at the play before the curtain goes up; pick your kid up from school before the headmistress-who-doesn't-believe-in-ADD is annoyed with you, again; have enough cash because you remembered when the bank closed and actually broke away from the thing you were having a ball hyperfocusing on.

Any fun I may have with it, I could just as well -- or better -- have if I were yukking it up while completing a project I have grown stale on; it might be a present for someone who has been the recipient of a few too many promissory notes. These notes were place holders all through my childhood for the presents we were trying to make to demonstrate in the material world how we felt about each other in our heart of hearts. They are still standing about, and the handiwork has been thrown in the trash heap long since. I can do loads of things, if only I could do them. I feel very sad about it.

I can't see how it's creative to have a totally great idea, unbidden, come into your head. No credit or virtue acrues to the person who is smart or attractive or has interesting thoughts, if they didn't do anything to get them except be born that way. None of them results from any volitional process. I believe to be creative means to make something that was not yet there before one started. What good are all those ideas if they can't be harnessed? What good is a rapid brain if you can't catch hold of its activity long enough to make something of it before it's already over the horizon?

Impulses? They are just that. Some effective, some not. But most people don't want to hear every thought that comes into my head. Neither do I. But I've got to listen to it all day and night and it's rather in the way of doing the laundry as well as writing a book.

I admit I was pleased as punch when I read that Russell Barkley had spoken in October at the CHADD conference and asserted with the authority he richly deserves that AD/HD is associated with absolutely no special traits whatsoever. He was clear enough to point out that its handicaps do not define the person, but that any exceptional qualities owned by the person with ADD would have existed without the ADD.

Thank you for your time. I read some of your books, bought some others, and haven't read them all by any means. I think you are a very nice man. I think the charming aspects of ADD are a myth and while it may be harmless to many, it's a myth that can serve as one more distraction from getting on with the hard job of making one's life more effective.

It also smacks of the person who feels kind of crummy about himself trying to one-up everybody else in order to gain standing.

My daughter, who also suffers from a debilitating anxiety disorder had this to say less than a year ago: "Well, I have plenty of self confidence. None of this has anything to do with it. When my brain freezes, or my anxiety washes over me, I can't do things, but it's not to do with confidence. And self esteem? How could I have gotten this far without a lot of self esteem?"

I agree with her, absolutely. Further, I have no shame about having ADD, but plenty of sadnesses about what I have been unable to accomplish as a result of it. Sorry, you'll never get me onboard that train. It is a grim ride, too much of the time.

Dan R


I'm a new poster here.

I read your email carefully, and really appreciate that you had the courage to challenge Dr. Hallowell's point-of-view here on his blog. I think that he will welcome this sort of discussion.

I must say that I disagree with your argument that ADDers don't possess unique strengths and talents. I do agree that harnessing them is extremely difficult- and that a life with ADD is hard- but the strengths are there

Anyways, I really appreciated your post and wish you luck. Stay positive!

Jan B.

How about Attention Distraction Dilemma as a new name for ADD? We preserve the ADD acronym. We acknowledge the hyperfocus and distractibility elements of ADD. And, we call it a dilemma instead of disorder.

Peregrine Neel

For me ADD stands for Adventure Deficent Disorder.

Christine M.

Re: Who of you has the best new name for ADD? I'd love to hear from you if you do.

I say: Why change a good thing ... especially when its just 'catching on'.

Mary Tomasi

I'm not sure what name ADD should be changed to, but I do believe we need to get the negative connotation out of there. When most people hear the term "deficit", especially in the diagnosis Attention Deficit Disorder, they automatically think the worst and they cannot see the "gift".

Sohail S

I think those "charming aspects" of ADD are Not myths. The fact that they they remain after some medication does not mean they wouldn't exist if there were no ADD. Actually through development ADD causes a lot of learning which include different habits of thought and developing different habits and views about the world, which are indirectly linked to the disorder. Many habits and thought patterns are to a great extent formed or consolidated by learning and not as direct physiological impairments. So, if ADD is vanished, consequences of those learnings and many traits of personality may remain or be chosen to remain. That is why coaching is needed for consciously getting rid of the "non charming" effects.


Do we need a new name for ADD? Pshaw. Everyone knows ADHD stands for Aptitude for Driving Her Distracted: "her" being the mother, teacher, girlfriend, coworker, wife, whatever.



Our family are all 'turbo brains' (we love that name). Like Raevyn posted above we too are taking non-fish EFA oils, called Udo's 3.6.9 blend (except my son who prefers pills because they have no taste). See (http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Sitemap.htm). The best thing is, this company also makes Omega 3 laced chocolate bars with organic chocolate. Wow.
I agree Curt Schilling has a great blog. We are a big baseball fans in our family but it's mostly watching Little League. We've worked hard with my son's catching and throwing and now he's pitching or otherwise in the infield. I don't think a young turbo brain would last long playing the outfield.
This year we started using one of the ADD balance boards. It really helped my son both in school and on the diamond. Both his marks and batting average took off.
ADD and sports mix so well, at least when you know what to be looking at. Training right, eating well, and keeping in the routine of practice. Just keeping that turbo brained well tuned.
Thanks for your blog and other writings Dr. Ned.


Hey there!
The link above to the Flora Health website doesn't work, but if you type in www.florahealth.com you will get there. It's worth a try. That website is FULL of great information!

I have read Udo's book, "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill" and there is such great information in it. We had been using Udo's Oil for years, but for some reason I completely forgot about it...my turbo brain moving too fast to remember to buy Udo's again!...anyway, I'm glad I looked at that website, because it has been a good reminder.



Hello all!

I'm new to this blog and just about to call it a night but couldn't help but add my two cents worth before I did.

I have yet to read through these postings but I am extremely exited to do so nonetheless when I have a little more time to spare.
As for personal thoughts...I'm elated that Dr. Hallowell began this blog. I've been looking for a firsthand 'sharing' outlet but had yet to find one out there that seemed at all practical.

Anyhow, as for new 'names'...I just read a book by Jerry Seiden that captivated me. It is titled "Born Losers or Leaders? A Positive Spiritual Perspective on ADD." It's a wonderfully insightful take on what Plato (of all people) summed up of the 'guardians' in his [The] Republic. It's a got a great positive spin on what the world calls a disorder....and frankly only because it hasn't the insight to see as/what we do (says Seiden). I agree!

Check it out!

Good night and blessings to you all!


ADMD- attention deficient/motivational disorder. A client was trying to convince us that she was dx'd with it. The social worker and I decided that while it wasn't a real disorder it fits so many of our clients.

Blodimir Sonobovich Yelsmlaugh

My sister-in-law, whose grandson was the first in my family to be diagnosed with ADD (I was the second at the age of 62), sent me your words. They have been very welcome. I have been very creative all my life, thought without remuneration for any of it except in tiny amounts for this and that. Wordplay is a favourite pursuit; since I "acquired" ADD I have been looking for Something Ubiquitously Beneficial To Rectify Attention Cop-outs Terminally (SUBTRACT) in order to cancel out the ADD. Your website belongs in this category. So does Gabor Mate's excellent book: "Scattered Minds" (Random House Canada, 1999).

C.S. Taylor

Buon Giorno,

First time blogger. I recently finished "Driven to Distraction", great book, and it has helped me understand a little more about this thing called ADHD.

I was diagnosed a little over a year ago. I'm better today than yesterday. I try to focus on today because 'tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own' as wise as that is however I don't always look forward to tomorrow.

If ADHD has given me one benefit it would be perseverence, this I say thank you to ADHD. The one aspect of it is the difficulty to learn from my mistakes.


C.S. Taylor

C.S. Taylor

I have a new name for ADD, ISD (Intense Stimulation Deficiency) because those with ADD lack sufficient stimulation to hold their interest.

Perhaps we're on a different level then those without where we do our best, others have a deficiency.

Hopeful thinking.


I had a question about how to handle a child with severe ADHD without meds? I have two who have been diagnosed with ADHD and one diagnosed with dyslexia with another one I believe has dyslexia but I am trying to get her in to be tested. Any suggestions on how to handle the severe ADHD child without making her feel as if she is different and not a bad kid?

Chris Chapman

Not sure if a new name is appropiate as it seems to me the most bandied around is the 'Walter Mitty' persona. Now that guy really had ADD.

Only a few more months and i shall be sporting a brand new academic qualification, me masters. Wow, never ever thought it would be possible.

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