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June 18, 2008

5 Simple Concentration Building Techniques

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Hi Dr. Hallowell! I am a 22 year old female living in southern TN. I am currently on disc 2 of your Delivered from distraction book. I had to stop listening long enough to send you an e-mail telling you how much I appreciate this book. I couldn't find the right place to email or the page u tell us your e-mail on so .... comment it is! I have just started the book and can't put it down. I am so hyperfocused it's unreal. But I'm loving every minute of it. You explain why I always feel so "out of it" even when I'm inthe middle. I don't have to feel bad that I am the way I am. I just started meds to try to control the ADD. But now I'm starting to see that I don't have to stop all of it. Just channel it and control the parts that stop me from doing that. I can't wait to end this e-mail and get back to the book... sorry that sounded rude. But I imagine you know what I mean. I just had to thank you for the time and astounding effort you put into this book. Which is even more amazing considering you deal with ADD too. You are an inspiration to me and a long awaited relief from all the guilt and pressure and humiliation i have felt because of this... i donno if i want to call it a disease anymore.. this maybe adaptation. Thanks for it all and listening to the rambling.. I know i am but i can't stop or go back to spell check so please forgive me.


Hi Dr. Hallowell,

I'm a 26yr old woman living in Los Angeles. I recently read Delivered from Distraction after years of suspecting I had cognitive and emotional difficulties. First, I'm touched by your emphasis on development of talents over remediation. That said, I'm not sure what i'm particularly good at, and for the past 2yrs i've been bogged down by the disorders. I identify w/the performance inconsistency, distractability, impulsiveness, and lack of general life organization/direction you describe. I also suspect that I have dyslexia or some other learning difficulty, as well as issues with anxiety.

I want to get my life going. I feel like drifting Kathryn and it's driving me nuts. I graduated from a good college, and I feel i'm just wasting my self and my parents' investment in my life.

You mention many wonderful centers for support and treatment in your book, but, understandably, they all seem to be on the east coast. Can you suggest doctors or centers in southern California I can contact about diagnoses and possible treatment? Any DORE-type centers on the west side? You mention Daniel Amen is located in Irvine for SPECT and qEEG scans - does his center provide other services?

Ideally I would make an appointment at your center. The reality is I'm currently situated in LA. My life experience with doctors, however, has been discouraging (i've always felt dismissed by types you seem to warn against at the end of your book), so I ask you for any guidance on how to proceed. I really need to meet the right person.
I intended to email you after reading DD, but I can't seem to find an email link/address anywhere on your site. So I'm posting. If you could email me your thoughts, recommendations, etc., I would greatly appreciate it.


grace moy

dr. Hallowell,
can you recommend a book you have written that explains very simple on what ADD is and the issues from them. the reason I ask is I'd like to give it to my husband to read and I too wld love to really understand it. My 12yr old does things that just drives us as a family crazy I really dont know if its his mental being since he has global delays or if its really his ADD... Plus I am seeking a therapist for him and for the family....

greatly appreciate any feedback..


Dr. Hallowell, I am going thru a horrible time. I am 61 and self diagnosed with ADHD (later confirmed by three nueropsychiatrists)
Since, I was born in 1947, no one knew about ADHD so I raised thinking that something was very wrong with me. If there is such a thing as negative self confidence I have that.
At night, I get this horrible restless feeling (like my skin does not fit) and I cannot concentrate on anything. I often feel like I just cannot tolerate this restless feeling one minute more. What can I do to get some relief?


People, if you are reading this, that means you have come to the right place. Delivered from Distraction lead me to Dr. Hallowell's teachings a year and a half ago and I have been the better for it. In some ways life has gotten harder, but in other ways -- particularly with my family -- things have gotten better.

Knowing what to focus on is hard for us isn't it? Once the issues are pointed out, believe me, it's not easy to face, but it's easier than constantly wondering what the heck is going on and saying again and again, "Why do I keep finding myself in this same situation?" Oh . . . and the feelings of utter helplessness and self-loathing despite compliments from those around you that say you are a good person -- a productive, creative person.

It gets better. And it takes work.

Stay the course, even when there seems to be no way out or even a course to stay on. Believe in yourself, fiercely, when it seems hopeless. Take a deep breath. Now, let it out. Really breathe fully and look at what is right in front of you. Commit to it for one second. If you can do that, then commit for 2 seconds. Sometimes that is our only building block and sometimes minutes seem too long to commit to.

You can do it.

You can.

There have been times where you know you have succeeded. You can succeed again -- brilliantly. In some ways you might hate yourself for being your worst enemy. Let that emotion pass. Let go of it. Don't fight it. Because you also know that you are your own best friend. Be a friend to yourself right now and -- as Dr. Hallowell wrote -- go with your good side. Don't fight your bad side, just let go.

It is hard. Sometimes it is the most difficult thing to just concentrate long enough on the simplest task. The simplest thing! You can do it. And there is more than one person out here who knows how you feel, how you think, and that you can get through it to the next thing.

You can do it.

You can. And you will.


Dr Hallowell wrote, "I remember in the fifth grade I noticed my math teacher's hair in a new style and blurted out, "Mr. Cook, is that a toupe you're wearing?"

Now THAT'S funny!

I've been reviewing old medical records today from an ADD/LD evaluation that took place nearly 15 years ago. At the time, I was just starting post-secondary education. I was struggling with school, and looking for answers as to why academic success has always been hard for me to achieve, even when I put efforts towards my studies.

Throughout my primary education, I was constantly "distracting others" or "talking in class," but I have always been able to navigate minefields in regards to pushing my teachers over the edge. My parents weren't called in, and I was able to peacefully coexist under the radar. I'm a girl, so I just didn't display the same kind of hyperactivity as did some of the boys...

okay, so, there were a select few pedagogues who were simply cruisin' for a brusin'. Not literally, but they were just ripe for the pluckin'. You know, the quaggy authoritarian types who idly threaten with their long rows of chalks marks that extends across the board onto the next line? Maybe a tear was shed-not proud of that one...okay, perhaps there was a meeting with a principle that resulted in a young math teacher being coached on his personal hygiene needs because, seriously, how are we supposed to learn in that kind of environment?!

But overall, I avoided trouble, and most teachers (perhaps not those particular individuals) enjoyed me and my presence in class, and I didn't tear through the room or fly through the window...well, until high school, that is, and then I just simply climbed out of them.

My point: the observations made in the afore mentioned summary assessment, while concluding that I suffered from no learning disorder or ADD, has only made me more convinced that I do, indeedy, fit the bill. Not only have I spent the past 15 years investigating every other possibility in a variety of settings, but I'm also older now, much more organized, and MUCH more disciplined. But yet again, I've found myself experiencing similar roadblocks, only now I'm embedded in a large research university trying to fit myself into that itsy bitsy insey winsey academic box.

And while I may sound grossly defiant (such was the diagnosis), I'm not that defiant...necessarily! My parochial education just simply honed my skills. I'm quite concerned about the feelings of others, which is probably why, despite my impulses, my instructors never really called my parents into the matter. I'm a compassionate, sensitive person...with a tinge of liberating brattiness. Furthermore, I'm the one who sought out and has pursued treatment, even after believing in what appears to be a misdiagnosis. I've been out there in the world ever since relatively peacefully coexisting among the masses, now going to graduate school, despite my tendencies...and my inability to do sustained, complex work (...breathe...).

So, in short, Dr Hallowell, it's nice to meet you again. In pursuing treatment (again!) I found your article, "What's it Like to Have ADD?" which led me to this site. Oddly enough I bought your book ~15 years ago...nope, never read it, although I did page through. Funny how these things sometimes work...

Susan Abrams

I've read several of your books and have learned a lot. I'm 63 and was diagnosed with ADHD 2 weeks before my 63rd birthday. Do you know how it feels to know its too late to fix all the things that have screwed up my life? I've had to retire without a pension and even though I have multiple physical and medical problems - I'm forced to work 3-4 days a week to pay my bills - I'm a nurse who has lost approx 15 jobs over the years - I've been bankrupt twice - I live in clutter - About 20 yrs ago someone reported me to child services due to the mess I lived & I almost lost my daughter. I realize that no-one heard of this disorder when I was a child (& doing badly in school) but years later - I saw at least 5-6 therapists who diagnosed me with depression and not one suggested I might have this disorder. Last Sept - when I was first diagnosed, I started Vyvanse which seemed to work well for me but I still had job problems - I was afraid I was going to be fire - once again - and so I quit my job Dec. 29 and applied for retirement benefits and started to work for a nurses registry - I now work for one pt at a time - usually in their home. But - this cause me to lose my medical insurance - I had to stop the Vyvanse and can no longer see the psychiatrist- the state turned me down for medicaid and said I made too much money- they dont realize I support 3 adults - (my daughter has BPD and her boyfriend - probably ADHD - he has been misdiagnosed with BiP d/o) neither of them work. Thanks for listening. S. Abrams

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