Addictive personality disorder is an underlying part of ADD. Why do so many suffer from it?
Are you a work-out fiend or a shopacholic? Can you go a whole day without searching on the Internet or looking at your e-mails?
Do you have difficulty reading a whole book, or do you hyper focus and then get irritated when someone attempts to get your attention? There are many ways to be addicted which go unnoticed. Perhaps the source of yours is ADD.
You may be one of the millions of adults who remain undiagnosed with ADD. We have all heard about school aged children sometimes urged by teachers to medicate with aderol or ritalin, unable to eat in order to keep them focused on school work. What about their parents? What is becoming increasingly obvious is the obsessive (or addictive) personality disorder and how it relates to ADD.
Raising three of my own children with ADD, it took me well into middle age to realize that my father had it and so did I. Little did I know when my music teacher caught me day-dreaming back in third grade, that this was a classic sign of ADD. There are many different forms of ADD and as adults we have learned to cope with test anxiety in school and inability to focus or the flip-side: hyper focusing. Multi-tasking mania and our fast-paced lifestyles hide the fact that an underlying issue remains undetected. A key component of ADD is low self esteem. Many of us have battled this one to the death.
5 Signs that you have ADD
1. “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
2. extreme distractibility; may flit from one thing to another.
3. difficulty paying attention or focusing
4. struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
5. makes careless mistakes, overlooks details
The prefrontal lobe, which is the rational, judging, organized, conscience part of your brain is operated by the neurotransmitter Dopamine. Dopamine activates the pleasure centers of the brain. It also assists with control of body movements, memorization, mood and attention. People with ADD and addictions have very low levels of dopamine. They are also less able to put the brakes on certain thoughts and behaviors and therefore less able to curb addictive habits.
Low self-esteem and depression are a dangerous combination and are key components of ADD. Statistics show a range between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 people in the U.S. that may have ADD. In my family of five, all of us have some form of ADD. Which leads me to believe that the actual statistical data is more accurate using the higher range.
Are You Addicted?
- Do you have to be in a relationship to feel good about yourself?
- Are you obsessive about working out?
- Do you reach for chocolate, sugar or alcohol regularly & when you get upset?
- Can you live a day without the Internet or e-mail?
- Do you work obsessively angering friends and family?
Dopamine is responsible for feelings of happiness and the natural enjoyment of life. People with ADD are often work-out fanatics, like my oldest son. It is one of the things that helps him feel good about himself and "normal." Working out is a natural way to increase dopamine levels in the body. Eating a diet of tyrosine rich foods like meat, fish and eggs offer a natural way of raising dopamine levels. Blueberries and Spirulina (blue-green algae) also raise dopamine levels. Using alcohol raises levels of dopamine in the braiin, easing anxiety and depression. It is no wonder so many people with ADD also have addictions.
- 40% of ADD/ADHD patients are alcoholics.
- 20% of ADD/ADHD patients are drug addicts
- 25% of ADD/ADHD patients have a mood disorder (depression)
- 50-80% of prisoners have ADD as a component of their psychiatric picture. 80% of chronic repeat offenders in the justice system had learning disabilities and histories consistent with ADD
- 30-50% of children with Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD are held back at least one year and 25%-36% never complete High School
- An ADD brain is unable to inhibit or to put the brakes on certain thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or cravings and, therefore, is prone to addiction.
If you or your children exhibit any of the signs of ADD be watchful of early use of alcohol or drugs. The combination of depression and addiction can be deadly.
(1)The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, M.A.
(2)Eagle County Health Department
(3)Choosehelp.com a network of specialized behavorial health care services
(4)Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. &John J. Ratey, M.D. Book "Answers to Distraction"
(5)Language Disorders Across the Lifespan by Betsy Partin Vinson, M.M.Sc.,CCC/SLP
(6)National Institute on Drug Abuse www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/cocaine.htm
(7)Add/Adhd Alcohol Drug Treatment www.adhdalcoholdrugtreatment.com/i-drugsalcohol.htm
(8)Men's Health Magazine, October,2005 issue "The Addicted Man"
(9)Case Study and Research Paper, University of Colorado
(10) Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Amenclinics.com