Through vivid stories of the experiences of their patients (both adults and children), Drs. Hallowell and Ratey show the varied forms ADD takes -- from the hyperactive search for high stimulation to the floating inattention of daydreaming -- and the transforming impact of precise diagnosis and treatment.
This clear and valuable book dispels a variety of myths about attention deficit disorder (ADD). Since both authors have ADD themselves, and both are successful medical professionals, perhaps there's no surprise that the two myths they attack most persistently are: (a) that ADD is an issue only for children; and (b) that ADD corresponds simply to limited intelligence or limited self-discipline. "The word disorder puts the syndrome entirely in the domain of pathology, where it should not entirely be. Although ADD can generate a host of problems, there are also advantages to having it, advantages that this book will stress, such as high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm, and they are completely overlooked by the 'disorder' model." The authors go on to cite Mozart and Einstein as examples of probable ADD sufferers. (The problem as they see it is not so much attention deficit but attention inconsistency: "Most of us with ADD can in fact hyperfocus at times.") Although they warn against overdiagnosis, they also do a convincing job of answering the criticism that "everybody, and therefore nobody" has ADD. Using numerous case studies and a discussion of the way ADD intersects with other conditions (e.g., depression, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder), they paint a concrete picture of the syndrome's realities. Especially helpful are the lists of tips for dealing with ADD in a child, a partner, or a family member. --Richard Farr