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Driven to Distraction

Every now and again I feel like I could use some guidance about living with someone with ADD. Since it’s a neurological disorder that some people truly believe in and others think is just a new-psychology term for inattentive, the literature on it is really varied. You get a lot of self-help books, and a lot of “how to” and tips books and a lot of “I’ve been there” books. This one is a very popular book that is one of three or four that my library had. I liked it.

The author is a well known psychologist who has treated many adults with ADD and who had ADD himself. He relates a lot of case studies of treating people, some who knew they had ADD and many who didn’t. Along the way he tries to dispell some of the myths about ADD -- that all ADD kids are hyper, that girls don’t get ADD, that ADD people can’t focus on things -- by relating stories of real people with ADD. Most of the people in his book turn out okay, which is sort of calming if you’re in the middle of some sort of ADD crisis when you read it. Also, most of the people in his book have received some sort of pharmacological intervention.

While Hallowell doesn’t think that all hyper kids should be put on Ritalin, he is an advocate of certain prescription medicines as being very therapeutic for ADD, to the point where he shrugs off anti-ADD-drug advocates as not being very in touch with reality. While this is not much of a problem, anyone tryng to cope with ADD themselves, or in their family, may find this book of limited use.