Monday, March 12, 2007

The ACA ADD Connection Pt. 3

The parallels between ACA/ACOA and Attention Deficit are startling. Consider how closely these ACA "Common Characteristics" also describe symptoms of ADD:

ACAs over-react to changes over which they have no control.

*Many ADHD people have an inability to tolerate change, especially an unexpected change of plans. For such people, even a minor change in routine can he highly disruptive.

ACAs lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternate behaviors or possible consequences.

*Children and adults with ADHD may be impatient and impulsive, often disregarding the long term consequences of their behavior.

ACAs have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end.

*Life for people with attention deficit may consist of a series of uncompleted tasks.

Low self esteem often plagues both ACAers and those with ADHD.

*From the book Overload- Attention Deficit Disorder and the Addictive Brain

What's Wrong With Your Brain?

ADHD and alcoholism are associated with imbalances in brain chemistry with research suggesting defective genes as a reason. People with ADHD have at least one defective gene that makes it difficult for neurons to respond to dopamine, a key neurotransmitter regulating attention and feelings of pleasure. The University of Massachusetts has estimated that 40 percent of ADHD children have a parent with the condition.

Missing feelings of well being can be compensated for by taking mood altering substances like alcohol and drugs, eating, excessive sexual activity, spending and risk taking.

The Upside

On the positive side, people with ADHD often notice things in the environment that others do not readily perceive. Because of their inability to "tune out" external stimuli, they may be able to detect and circumvent danger or potential problems before others even notice them.

This "hyperawareness" also gives them the capacity to experience both awe and ecstasy in a way that is unknown to those who can only experience one thing at a time. Those with attention deficit often find heightened beauty in nature, art and music. They may detect nuances of color, sound and feeling others are unaware of.

Because of their ability to empathize, they can have a special affinity with animals. ADHDers often have a highly developed sense of humor.

Next time we'll take a closer look at neurochemical deficiencies that cause ADHD and can lead to addiction.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


sparky said...

Thanks great topic but a sad one!

I have been studying alot of the actual damage to the developing childs brain done by what causes PTSD. It is all quite scarey and overwhelming at times.

The good news for me is that I also know society "As A Whole" also was sort of the enabling,para-alcoholic and allowed my abuse to occur.

Today I know and believe in the solution.

Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

sparky said...

Although surely I did some brain damage with drugs and alcohol starting at such a very young age,9.

I have also realized that alot of what I thought about the way my brain did and did not work was all brain damage from usage.

Today I know alot of my problems were directly related to underlying depression/anxiety-PTSD and perhaps ADD combination, sadly I still don't trust most doctors enough to allow them to make yet another mis-diagnoses.

Thankfully decades later society as a whole is getting a tiny bit better, but surely has lots more room for improvement and/or simply educating society as a whole with what we do know more about today would be a great improvement.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting to me. I am ADD and ACOA and recovering alcoholic. I have always had the hyperawareness, and it has plagued my life, but its also like a superpower. I have health anxiety because I can feel every little thing going wrong in my body. It also creates a constant feeling of tension and overall anxiety that most other people don't experience- which is why I quickly became addicted to alcohol; as it eased the hypersensitivity which resulted in great euphoria.

Ajeet Singh said...

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