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  #1  
Old 10-01-05, 09:59 PM
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Attention Variability Disorder

http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian...gh/111/ADD.htm


Sorry for the popups on this site..but this article is written, in such an inspiringly, simple manner...I absolutely loved his creativity !
Nova


The cause of Attention Deficit Disorder has been ascribed to, depending on your source, a neurological disorder involving the frontal lobe of the brain ( MRI scans confirm this ), a particular undiscoverd personality type, genetic hunters/farmers (Are You a Genetic Hunter? ), Attention Variability Disorder, inner ear infections. Some have suggested that ADD is simply extreme boredom intolerance.


The rest of this site is about possible other explanations there might be for ADD. I have no doubt ADD exists, but like many ADDers, I feel that ADD is merely symptomatic of another type of mental system altogether. Its like there are right-brained people, and there are left brained people, but then there is also the scat-brained people who don't fit conventional ideas of how descriptions should be like and thus are treated negatively.




Here are some Traits of ADD not commonly known by the layman.






Some Traits of ADD Not Commonly Known.








  • ADDers hyperfocus. That is to say, either they are just simply not interested in something and thus cannot pay attention even if they force themselves to, or they're really interested and get so into the subject that all else ( including meals and personal relationships ) gets crowded out of their lives for the duration of their fascination. What captures their attention is usually something that is intensely stimulating to them. Overexcitabilities may account for this.







  • ADDers multi-task. Now the tendency for ADDers to not stay interested in any task ( who would want to really ? ) for long means they switch around tasks, working in short spurts and bursts of intense creative energy. As soon as their energy / attention span starts to lag, they switch to another task that will engage them just as intensely. Their ability to multi-task seems related to their high need for stimulation.







  • ADDers are tenacious. If you're tenacious, you have persistence and perseverance right ? And persistence and perseverance should lead to success in whatever area of life, attention deficit or not. Well, this here is just one more reason why many ADDers are successes. ADDers spend a major part of their time in metacognition ( which is explained in the previous page ), or in introspection, wondering why they just keep screwing up. Perhaps they know for sure they can do it if they just keep trying. One thing's for sure, ADDers never give up.





  • ADDers are extremely intuitive. There's a good reason why this is so. ADDers are easily distracted, so what information there is that gets through comes in large confusing quantities. That means their cognitive mind has to slow their activities down so they can clear the confusion. Otherwise just to keep up with the normals, they have to be quick and accurate about the data that they use. What it boils down to is that ADDers rely a lot on their intuition to make decisions. This is perhaps one aspect of why ADDers are usually creative. When they have an idea and implement it, they aren't just trying it out to see if it works. They know even before it takes off if its a good idea or not.






  • ADDers have a lot of energy. Hey, this might not be such uncommon knowledge. One of the most common forms of ADD is ADHD, that's with Hyperactivity Disorder. That's where the energy comes from, that's what most people see, the hyperactive side. However, most people don't see the good side of this. Nicola Tesla, who assisted Edison in his many inventions and patents, and Edison himself, slept very little... They preferred to take catnaps during the daytime. Lotsa scientists and inventors are ADD, usually with a hyperactive component. All that energy when put to use can really be a great thing.






  • ADDers have global perception. ADDers are very perceptive people, and they see all sorts of things that normals don't. They have ears and eyes that constantly scan the environment, looking for special or interesting things to latch onto.






  • ADDers are extremely curious. I've realised that a lot of what ADDers do wrong is caused by having too much energy and no productive way to expend it. Thus many ADDers channel their energies into exploring diverse fields of knowledge, and are often individually expert in a wide range of them.






  • ADDers are intense. ADDers are more aware than normals of the fleeting-ness of life on Earth ( see sidebar for my memory problem ). Every experience has to have its maximum meaning and content squeezed out of it. This intensity is pretty darn scary, and can especially be damaging to the ability to form relationships. Life with an ADDer is unpredictable and spontaneous. The intensity they bring to any enterprise ensures success if well used. "Gotta have it" might well be framed inside every ADDer's office.


    More and more children are being diagnosed as ADD nowadays. This may be due to increasing attention given to the disorder in the journals. Lots of children however, may simply be highly creative ( these wouldn't sit still to be bored ) or gifted ( ditto ). In fact a very high percentage of highly creative adults and gifted persons are diagnosed ADD. I believe that ADD is a group of narrowly defined surface traits for something that goes deeper and is more meaningful than just the genetical-neuro-biological connection implies.


    Whatever. There are a lot of people in the world who have ADD traits and are treated differently, mostly negatively all their lives. This prevents the fulfillment of the potential for making truly great contributions to the world, which every ADDer possesses. Here are some great examples of ADDers made good.


    These are my experiences while growing up (I don't claim to have finished doing that though) When I first read DSM IV, I found that I did not really match closely to the criteria. This is not surprising, since the DSM IV for ADD is written with children in mind. It was on surfing on to the sites above ( and reading and identifying with their experiences ), that I found that Adult ADDis very similar to my experiences :


    trouble with follow through
    impulsiveness
    sense of underachievement.
    constant search for stimulation
    hypersensitivities
    cognitive/physical restlessness
    fast extreme mood swings


  • childhood history ( signs and symptoms were there. Report cards said to "Be more attentive in class." & "Will do well in subjects that interest him" from primary to secondary school)


    In addition to these neuroses, I have this problem with my memory ( follow the memory links ). I have what you might call Flash-memory. My short term memory is very poor, and I'll frequently walk into a room intending to get something, only to reach there and have forgotten what I wanted.


    This happens regularly with different tasks. Another example is I might walk into the kitchen to get an apple from the fridge. Somehow, I will return with a glass of milk, and will continue working without even realising the mistake until some minutes later when I take my first sip of milk - "Hey, didn't I want an apple ? " Of course, this is how I developed my taste for certain strange combinations of foods ( such as apples with milk ).


    I get * numnesia ( forget the sequence of numbers if i remember them in the first place, reversing them etc...) all the time too. I always forget to post letters even if i have them in my pocket. And my brain is always abuzz with ideas that compete for attention, each having the possibility of being a gem. Now I realise everybody has had this to some degree, but i get this almost all the time, with perceptible effects. I zone out in the middle of conversations.


    What I didn't ever realise till ADD came to my attention ( hmm... ) is that this attention problem ( or is it a memory problem ? ) is so prevalent in my life. I particularly vividly remember, when in school, the band had a performance at a beach, and loading up the truck ( instruments, music, stands) I forgot to load my own instrument ( a french horn by the way ) because I was distracted by somebody. So I had to take a cab back to school, to get it. Then when i got back to the performance with my horn, I discovered that my music scores had also been left behind. This sounds like absent-mindedness at first, but isn't the root of absent-mindedness inattention to detail ?


    I also tend to totally shut out external stimuli when I'm working, a common feature of hyperfocus. A person might speak my name six or more times before I notice, even if I'm not working ( when I'm lost in my own thoughts ), and the thirteenth time I would respond because the snubbed person would have resorted to swearing to get my attention. I usually notice before that though. This problem is so bad I've gotten audiograms to test if my hearing is impaired. Results said my hearing is fine.


    There's my depressions, although it'd be fairer to call them extreme mood swings. I can never be at ease being very happy, because I know from experience somewhere ahead of me, there's a huge pit of gloom waiting. Now depression has quite often been diagnosed in many patients where the underlying disorder is ADD. All of them grew up being labelled "slow", or "dreamy" or worse, because of their inability to focus. They usually know they aren't all these remarks, but come to believe it because there seems to be no explanation for their poor performance in school or at home.


    And then finally there's my hypersensitivities. One example is smell. Cigarette smoke, well pretty much any smoke gives me immediate stomachaches, as do some perfumes. I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen to normal people.
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    Old 10-01-05, 11:01 PM
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    A very positive piece and thats about the only positive thing I can say about it.
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    Old 10-02-05, 01:45 AM
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    I thought it too...LOL! Sometimes it's a 'good' thing to get
    'all views'...doncha think ?
    You make me smile so...
    Nova
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    Old 10-02-05, 03:26 AM
    stori813 stori813 is offline
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    This thread was very easy to relate too.
    I think it also show's why ADDer's find themselves misunderstood a lot.
    ADD is a different way of being and doing things.
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    Old 10-02-05, 07:27 AM
    Bob1951 Bob1951 is offline
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    Nova,

    Great stuff. I'm printing it so I can study every nuance.

    Dang good.

    Bob

    PS Oops. Ctrl+A selects the whole page not just post with focus. Live and learn.

    Last edited by Bob1951; 10-02-05 at 07:32 AM.. Reason: Ctrl+A
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    Old 10-02-05, 10:08 AM
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    Its positive, but it glosses over the depression, the feeling left out, the isolation, the lack of completion and the destructiveness on the individuals personal and career lives.

    Balance is important too, otherwise we would think that this was not a disorder at all, and had no issues with being ADD. I think no issues is a fantasy we would all enjoy if it were true. With a little balance, i think we would see that ADD is not just all these positives, there are quite a few life shattering negatives that need to be solved sol that people can lead healthy lives. Its not just perception of ADD that has to be solved or changed, as that will still not have enough effect on the incomplete careers, incomplete degreees, broken relationships, depression, and all the other symptoms.

    Jon
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    Old 10-02-05, 08:26 PM
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    I think it glosses over all the negative aspects because other people do an adequate job of covering them. There are many who suffer from the negative aspects so much that for them it outweighs any positive perspectives, but I don't think that's really a balanced way to look at things. If ADD really is a situational disorder, with a combination of positives and negatives that actually amount to a fair trade-off (or something close to it), then the positive aspects really are what need to be the objects of focus.
    :soapbox: (:foot?
    Looking at my experience, I find that the depression and failure are more or less the direct result of certain downward spirals brought on by a failure to recognize and make use of the positive qualities.

    Hyperfocusing: Interest is just one part of it. Even the things I usually find interesting I avoid when I am under high distress, because under such stress I become most interested in doing whatever will help me lose the stress. When my mind is at peace I can do almost anything, even some things that are technically boring. As long as a task is approached without thinking of it as a chore, I can get into it and usually finish with no problem. Under high distress I can't focus on anything, but when I have peace of mind I can hyperfocus. In a stress-filled environment (i.e. everywhere) this is definitely a disadvantage. Would it still be a disadvantage if I learned to manage my stress better?

    Multitasking: When I'm tired of doing one thing, I do something else. What could potentially be an excellent way to get through tedious but necessary tasks is all too often misused as an excuse to avoid them. This is unquestionably a disadvantage, however with the stress management above combined with time management, that could be different. As with hyperfocusing, it's easier to do a boring task when I am sufficiently relaxed to convince myself that it's not a chore. And it's easier to convince myself of that when I can break it into a bunch of 5-10 minute segments sandwiched between something much more interesting. I don't manage to do this often, but I really should. And if I did, my tendency to multi-task would hardly be a disadvantage anymore.

    Tenacity: I hate giving up, even in cases when I probably should. When I screw up, I don't know when to cut my losses. On the other hand, there are occasions when I'm glad I'm still doing something after refusing to dump it. I suppose this is one of the more unchangeable parts, but at least the positives and the negatives are both easy to find.

    Intuition, Energy, Global Perception, Curiosity: All of these are good, the only problem is finding opportunities to put them to good use. When these traits are not exercised I tend to feel less satisfied with myself and more distressed, which throws things out of whack as described above.

    Intensity: This is one trait that I find to be the most dulled when I'm depressed. Or at least what is intense is my frustration and guilt, nothing useful. It comes back down to stress management here.

    So, in closing, I find it upsetting when people insist on calling ADD a disorder, in the sense that negatives outweigh the positives, no exceptions. Over the summer I have come to believe it is a gift, albeit a difficult one. Though ADD has caused me more than 14 years of hardship, I have survived it. Over the years, my parents, teachers, and friends have given me a lot of bad advice that nearly deceived me into thinking I was somehow disabled, as I was punished for not following their idea of how to get myself back on track. Their solutions placed little importance on stress relief, it was all about time management and the principles of delayed gratification, as if they thought that would make me feel better. Since I couldn't manage to keep to the schedule, of course it didn't help. But after stumbling around on my own and reading these forums, I think I have made progress in finding what are really the most important skills required in making use of my ADD. Stress management being the most important.

    Of course, everything I just said could turn out to be wrong.
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    Old 10-02-05, 09:28 PM
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    Well..I, also, refuse to keep harping on the negative aspects of any 'human glitches'...there's more than enough reference material, anywhere you look, that pertains to the negative issues involved with having ADD/HD.
    Since I never 'follow suit'...it's only expected of me...to post the positive, more than jumping on the negative bandwagon...which is too high, anyways..since I'm only 4'9", LOL!
    We all know the downfalls, and the hardships that are involved...I just think we need to be reminded of how amazing we are..since our attention span allows us to forget that, quickly, also.
    Nova (who is hyperfocusing on this quest to find every positive article about ADHD available)
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    Old 10-02-05, 09:39 PM
    Gourmet Gourmet is offline
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    Thank you Nova.....welcoming all to the "real world."
    Let's be best friends
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    Old 10-02-05, 09:43 PM
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    Nova,
    I love reading these "positive things" you have been finding for us to read. It gives me warm fuzzies.
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    Old 10-03-05, 02:25 AM
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    Neat article -- I like the positives! In the midst of reading all the good stuff -- I discovered there is another French Horn player in the neighborhood (who also obviously likes CS Lewis). Now that is good stuff!

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    Old 10-03-05, 02:36 AM
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    Lol!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jaycee
    Nova,
    I love reading these "positive things" you have been finding for us to read. It gives me warm fuzzies.
    As long as they're not 'slippers', LOL!
    Nova
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    Old 10-03-05, 11:26 AM
    ifso215 ifso215 is offline
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    Nova... three of your threads have gotten the head a-swirling again like it hasn't for a while...

    The page you took the start of this thread from is fantastic, the author's wit is very stimulating... the meandering intuition.

    "Attention Variability Disorder" piqued my interest. I was diagnosed based almost entirely on a TOVA test and my subsequent improvements when meds were administered. Initially, I straddled the ADD/"normal" line on three of the four scores, right around the 1.3 standard deviation deficiency. "Variability of Attention" was what really gave me away though... I was more than four standard deviations below "normal!!!"

    With the scores organized like IQ scores, my variability was a 36 when "non-ADD" levels are 80 and up... "Attention Variability Disorder" should be the label I have...
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    Old 10-03-05, 11:52 AM
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by healthwiz
    Its positive, but it glosses over the depression, the feeling left out, the isolation, the lack of completion and the destructiveness on the individuals personal and career lives.

    Balance is important too, otherwise we would think that this was not a disorder at all, and had no issues with being ADD. I think no issues is a fantasy we would all enjoy if it were true. With a little balance, i think we would see that ADD is not just all these positives, there are quite a few life shattering negatives that need to be solved sol that people can lead healthy lives. Its not just perception of ADD that has to be solved or changed, as that will still not have enough effect on the incomplete careers, incomplete degreees, broken relationships, depression, and all the other symptoms.

    Jon
    While I agree with you whole-heartedly, I think we know the public has seen more than a fair share on attention to the negatives. Also, we live the negatives everyday! I it great to see ONLY the positives highlighted for a change.
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    Old 10-03-05, 02:02 PM
    Moody Blonde Moody Blonde is offline
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    Great post!!
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