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Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Category: ADHD

Living With ADD – A Workbook for Adults by Roberts and Jansen

living with add

An estimated 3 to 10 million adults in the US struggle with the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD.) If you’re among this group, this interactive workbook will enable you to identify the personal problems caused by your condition and develop skills for coping with it. Learn how to assess yourself and the ways in which ADD affects your daily life. Then, work through exercises structured to help you deal with self-esteem issues; find out how to change distorted thought patterns, manage stress, and develop a structured approach to starting and finishing tasks. Final chapters offer specific suggestions for handling common problems at work and school, dealing with intimate relationships, and finding support.

 

Thanks to New Harbinger Publications for this review copy!

While LIVING WITH ADD is a book designed to help the individual struggling with ADD symptoms better understand his or her own situation, I believe that this book would be better sold as a “couples therapy” book than a “self help” book. Kyle and I read this book together, and it did much more to help us understand each other than it did to help me understand myself (to be fair, that may have more to do with my having read multiple books on this topic than with any quality inherent to the book itself).

LIVING WITH ADD follows a format of:
• Introducing a problem faced by ADDers – mood swings, for example
• Describing different ways in which people with ADD typically handle or experience the problem
• Asking the reader about his or her own experience with the problem being discussed, prompting him or her to write and answer directly onto the page
• Providing advice on how to limit the negative impact of the problem on the reader’s life

The idea of this workbook is to help the ADD’er work through frequently encountered problems related to ADD. You don’t have to follow the chapters in order, which may bring joy to an ADD’er’s heart! What’s important is that the reader take the time to think about the exercises and answer truthfully. The questions are both probing and simple, and most all of them provoke a thought process.  I found that some of the questions really forced me to come to terms with some of my actions, both in the past and recently.

Kyle would read a chapter first, and then I would read it, filling in the blanks as I went along. She would then look again to see my answers. Since she would have already read the chapter, she would have had time to think about how I might have answered, so that when I would answer differently from how she expected, it would lead to a conversation that made us understand each other more deeply.

I think that people who struggle with ADD symptoms are tired of hearing themselves explain themselves. We feel like we’re making excuses, and our experiences over time teach us that people don’t want to hear it. It’s helpful to have a disinterested third party, like this book, initiate the conversation. For couples who often find themselves getting defensive when they would really just like to get closer, this book might be the right tool to make that happen. If that doesn’t sound like you, you may still stand to learn more about each other.

The wealth of value in this workbook is bolstered by the easygoing, unambiguous prose that neither assumes prior knowledge in the reader, nor disrespects his or her intelligence. It’s an easy read even though it maintains a high level of information density. That is, you won’t find yourself sojourning multiple pages into a chapter wondering when the author will move on. Examples are usually employed to introduce new dimensions to the the problem being discussed. Otherwise, they are included to flesh out a topic that may be difficult to identify with, where the reader might think, “That isn’t me… oh wait. That actually is me.” In LIVING WITH ADD, Ph.Ds. Roberts & Jansen have provided us with a case study for the judicious use of examples in a self-help text.

Finally, the margins on these pages are enormous, leaving tons of room for notes. I was compelled to leave a doodle here and there in my copy!

I feel compelled to conjure up some criticism for this workbook, but nothing serious has come to mind. I would really have to nitpick. One or two of the writing prompts don’t leave enough room for a broad range of possible answers, forcing me to leave them blank. If this wasn’t such a fantastic book, something like this would genuinely irk me. In this case, however, this was a mild curiosity sandwiched by reams of goodness. That these questions stood out to me at all speaks to the overall quality of the rest of the book.

Want your own copy? Know someone with ADD who would like this? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1572240636″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

Understanding Girls with ADHD by Kathleen Nadeau, PhD

 

adhd

First written in 1999, the new edition of Understanding Girls with ADHD is better than ever.
In this expanded and updated book, Kathleen Nadeau, Ellen Littman, and Patricia Quinn rise to the occasion and deliver a comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable book that illuminates the complexity of ADHD in girls and women, both across the lifespan and across multiple domains of life (e.g.,
home, school, the workplace, close relationships). Blending clinical examples, case material, and a masterful synthesis of research findings around the world, the authors reveal the roots of ADHD in females during the preschool years, also summarizing relevant causal factors, and display the highly individualized journeys through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood that these girls and women face. The book’s latter chapters make use of the information on ADHD and development and provide a synthesis of the kinds of treatment strategies needed to intervene with the complex issues faced by girls and families who struggle with ADHD. The authors’ working through the executive functioning deficits experienced by so many girls with ADHD―and their deployment of vivid examples of right vs. wrong ways of approaching such problems―will be of great importance for large numbers of families. Even more, the authors emphasize that ADHD rarely exists in a vacuum and that understanding and treating co-morbid disorders is essential.

Understanding Girls with ADHD does not shy away from key areas of controversy. How, for example, can a family know whether it’s ADHD or another set of problems that’s the primary issue? How does one deal with the potential use of medication, which is plagued by bad press and abundant myths but which can, as part of a multi-faceted treatment plan, provide great benefit if the right dose is found and if the doctor works with the family to monitor positive effects and side effects carefully? What about longterm risk for eating pathology, substance abuse, and other difficult areas of impairment of salience for girls? How can girls and their families break through the thicket of negative expectations and sometimes-toxic family interactions to pave the way for a different set of outcomes?

Clearly, ADHD does not look the same across different individuals, especially girls. Understanding Girls with ADHD emphasizes the multiple ways in which ADHD can manifest itself across different people, families, and ages.

Always sensitive, and without hesitation in providing an authoritative tone, this book will empower girls and their families in ways that are sorely needed. Its emphasis on gender-specific manifestations of ADHD and its inclusion of practical means of attacking the executive-function deficits that plague girls and women with ADHD will ensure its continued status as core guidebook.

Written with compassion and sensitivity, and full of the clinical wisdom that accompanies years of experience on the front lines, Understanding Girls with ADHD is the go-to book for those needing guidance, support, and knowledge about female manifestations of ADHD.

Many thanks to the author for gifting this book to me. We were introduced by Gina Pera, eminent ADHD advocate and educator. I was sure this book would provide useful information, and I was not disappointed.

Nearly all the books I’ve read about ADHD skews heavily towards males. Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of the energetic little boy, jumping out of his seat in school, and throwing tantrums in the restaurant. However, girls can have ADHD too, and the signs may not be as obvious. This book aims to educate parents and teachers about girls with ADHD and what signs to look for.

Nadeau’s tone is just right. There is no endless scientific posturing, no glib New Agey solutions; just honest talk and positive thinking. She also discusses the different way girls are affected by ADHD. For example: the hormonal changes of puberty, famous for wreaking havoc on the most stable female’s world, may cause ADHD symptoms to be seen for the first time. This is important because “these girls do not meet the DSM-5 requirement that evidence of ADHD problems must exist prior to 12 years of age in order to receive and ADHD diagnosis”.

Using case studies and real life examples, Nadeau provides short vignettes of life with an ADHD girl. These serve well to illustrate the point being discussed and parents will be able to see that Carly is not just being a typical teenager, she may have undiagnosed ADHD and need help.

Each chapter builds upon the last one, starting from grammar school all the way up to college. The chapters are further broken down into easy to grasp sections, with titles like “What Teachers See” and “Gender Role Expectations”.  A typical tomboy may be a girl struggling with hyperactivity or impulsivity, and the girl everyone knows as a sweet, quiet dreamer may have inattentive ADHD and need help with focusing on her schoolwork. Girls are also at risk for developing secondary issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  Nadeau offers advice on managing co-morbid syndromes along with the ADHD, using a complete therapy approach–utilizing family and school together. She speaks to the parents, saying not to despair, but to provide an organized environment that will work for a girl’s psyche–don’t just adapt a treatment plan constructed for the male brain. One of her tenets is that ADHD treatment should address quality of life, not just aiming to reduce ADHD symptoms. The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Societal pressure on girls to “have it all” affect them deeply. The quiet, dreamy girls may need help asserting themselves, while the outspoken ones with seemingly no filter will have to be taught how not to alienate their peers. Nadeau is wise to address the minefield that the school years bring to females, who generally have a harder time as they proceed through puberty. She truly is a champion for those that need it the most.

Women have either been getting shortchanged by being told that “girls don’t get ADHD” or forced to fit the description of the male ADHD pattern. Nadeau has done a great service by realizing that girls are different (Mars vs Venus, anyone?) and thus their ADHD will manifest differently as well. The more educated parents are about this quirk of neurobiology, the better off they, and their daughters, will  be.

Want  your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”0971460973″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Loving Someone With Attention Deficit Disorder by Susan Tschudi

LovingSomeonewithADD-CF.indd

Your partner’s attention deficit disorder (ADD) may not seem like a big deal at first, but eventually, the dynamics surrounding his or her impulsivity, forgetfulness, distractibility, and restlessness can really strain your relationship. You don’t want to act like a parent, yet you may feel like you can’t rely on your partner to get things done. Loving Someone with Attention Deficit Disorder is your guide to navigating a relationship with someone with ADD so you can create healthy boundaries while remaining sympathetic to your partner’s symptoms. An essential resource for every couple affected by ADD, this book will help you:

• Understand medication and other treatments
• Recover quickly when your partner’s symptoms frustrate you
• Establish personal boundaries to avoid excessive caretaking
• Identify and take care of your own needs so you can feel more relaxed

 

Thanks to Cassie Kolias at New Harbinger Publications for providing this review copy!

This book is an addition to my AD/HD  shelf. Having read work by renowned author Gina Pera, I was eager to see what this author had to say.

The first chapter was golden. Tschudi’s style is very simple, easy to understand, and speaks to the reader in an understated tone that seems comforting somehow. I especially was affected by the part where she states that ADD is a neurobiological issue—you cannot change your partner no more than you can expect a paraplegic to walk. Obviously you can assist  your partner in managing his life better, but first and foremost, he must see the issue and want to do something about it.

That is where the book begins to break down. Much of the rest of Tschudi’s advice is partly helpful, but not relevant to some situations. I did feel that this work would be most helpful to couples whose communication skills are either minimal or non existent. Many ways to broach uncomfortable subjects are offered, with scenarios detailing “real” couples and ADD-related problems.

Example: Due to the husband’s procrastination, both Clark and Marilyn were always late to church. Marilyn hated this, and was upset that nothing seemed to work; not nagging, not threats, etc. So they both sat down and tried an exercise that Tschudi puts forth: brainstorm and come up with solutions to the problem, no matter how outrageous. Write them all down and discuss each one.

This couple did just that, and came up with the idea that Marilyn would take her own car to church, thereby arriving on time and avoiding the stress and arguing that inevitably occurred. Both parties were happy.

Now for my problem with this: I’m sure there are a lot of situations where the woman would take herself to church and grow old waiting for her ADD husband to show up. The only thing changing here is the woman’s behavior. No one is helping the ADD’er to manage his issue. And this seems to be the tone of the rest of the book: to save yourself from anguish, realize that the ADD’er is suffering from neurobiology and may never be able to live a “normal” life. You must learn to live with it, and the sooner you realize this, the better.

I showed this to my resident ADD’er, and he was nonplussed. He said that just because the woman made it to the church on time, that didn’t address the man’s procrastination, and possibly even rewarded it. His take on it was this:

“When you tell someone that you no longer expect of them something that you have expected of them in the past, you may be relieving them of a responsibility, but you’re also taking something away from them. That person can feel the respect you lose for him, and he see the chance to repair it vanish when you take away the opportunity for him to get it right. Strong relationships are built upon respect. We fight for that respect when we think we can win it, but when we think that we can’t, the motivation to do anything may be gone. Obviously, both parties have a stake in the husband getting out of the house on time, but if our solution is going to be for nobody to expect anything from anyone, then these people might as well just break up. That would be even better because it would eliminate all of the conflict. Problem solved!”

 

Another scenario was a do it yourselfer leaving his unfinished projects in the garage, forcing the wife to park on the street. The “solution” was to have her say to him, “In 3 days I’m going to move your stuff so I can park in the garage”. (Apparently the man hated anyone touching his stuff.) Then she was to say. “In 2 days I’m going to park in the garage, so please move your stuff.”

If the project was not moved, the “solution” was to have the WOMAN MOVE IT HERSELF. Sure, Mr Fix It was mad that his things were touched, but that seems to be adding insult to injury to his wife. Not only did her request go unheeded–but she had to clean up his mess to boot! Not acceptable in my house. My resident ADD’er said this:

As for the matter of the garage that needed cleaning, the author concludes her tale by describing the worst possible outcome. Spoiler: the wife cleans the garage herself. She solved the problem by telling the husband to clean the garage by such-and-such date, or else “I’ll clean it myself.” What did this solve? This husband is being dealt with as if he were a particularly indolent 5th grader. I personally felt embarrassed when Kyle read this passage to me. I said something to the tune of, “I would like to think that this is not a highly recommended way of dealing with me.” We talked about it, and we decided that this book is probably meant for couples with poor communication skills. However, if this is the case, then the book still commits the crime of teaching couples with poor communication skills to deal with each other by acting in antisocial, dysfunctional ways toward each other.

As I continued to read, it seemed as if the only advice being offered me, the non ADD’er, was to understand that this is how the brain works, and the only solution is for ME to change, by not being bothered by the distractability, the mood swings, the unfinished projects, and the empty promises.

This disturbed me. I felt this was akin to putting earplugs in your ears to avoid hearing your child’s tantrum in a crowded restaurant. Yes, AD/HD is neurobiologic in origin, but that doesn’t mean you can try to make your life the best it can be, by taking your meds,  listening to those around you, making lists to help you remember, and knowing your triggers. Sure, spouses of ADD’ers need to take care of themselves too, but hiding your head in the sand about problems and offering a bandaid solution is kind of no solution at all.

So, a mixed review on this one. The sub title does say “improving communication and strengthening your relationship”, and I agree that it accomplishes this task well. Many ways are offered for partners to talk and get the lines open for a meaningful dialogue. However, I do feel that eventually, after the talking is over, the bottom line is that the non ADD’er is supposed to feel better about the improved communication but will still be dealing with the issues. The non ADD’er will have developed healthy personal boundaries and the ability to forgive, but that (to me) only goes so far.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, considering my communication skills are excellent; but I was also hoping for more advice than “Your partner has ADD–forgive him for what he does, as he cannot help it”.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DIKV0TY” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

The ADHD Advantage

adhd

 

 

Why ADHD could be the key to your success

For decades physicians delivered the diagnosis of ADHD to patients as bad news and warned them about a lifelong struggle of managing symptoms. But The ADHD Advantage explodes this outlook, showing that some of the most highly successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and entertainers have reached the pinnacle of success not in spite of their ADHD but because of it.

Although the ADHD stereotype is someone who can’t sit still, in reality people with ADHD are endlessly curious, often adventurous, willing to take smart risks, and unusually resilient. They are creative, visionary, and entrepreneurial. Sharing the stories of highly successful people with ADHD, Dr. Archer offers a vitally important and inspiring new way to recognize ADHD traits in oneself or in one’s loved ones, and then leverage them to great advantage—without drugs.

As someone who not only has ADHD himself but also has never used medication to treat it, Dr. Archer understands the condition from a unique standpoint. Armed with new science and research, he hopes to generate public interest and even debate with his positive message as he guides the millions of people with ADHD worldwide toward a whole new appreciation of their many strengths and full innate potential.

 

As a reviewer of multiple ADHD books, I was eager to see what this author had to say.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed. The book seems to be padded with lots of stories about those “lucky” enough to have ADHD and had the ability to spend time traveling around the world and failing at multiple jobs before finding the “right” place for them. Not everyone has the money or the support to do this. That is not how the average person with ADHD lives. Moreover, that solution could have been illustrated with a few stories, not over and over again in each chapter. At some point, it goes from inspiring to overkill.
Archer is a big proponent of no drugs for ADHD’ers. I agree that children should be evaluated carefully and not just have pills thrown at them, but the idea of everyone not needing medication is absurd. The author has a series of questions that determine where you are on the ADHD scale, and  claims that anyone that is an 8 or lower (out of 10) does not need medication. I feel that would make for a lot of frustrated people.
He also postulates that ADHD’ers are resilient and can deal with failure well, because their constant failure makes them stronger. I can also tell you that is patently untrue, as I live with an ADHD’er and his failures just make him depressed.
If you are a person with lots of money and a personal assistant to take care of the minutiae of daily living, then you will agree with what Archer has to say.
Otherwise–pass this one up, take your meds, and get on with your life.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1594633517″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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