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.
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