Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood
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Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  4,247 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Paperback Edition
Paperback, 319 pages
Published March 2nd 1995 by Touchstone (first published August 5th 1992)
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Rebecca
Still reading, but so far, it's been fantastic for me to recognize why my parents had such a difficult time with me. It's SO therapeutic to read accounts of how ADD(/ADHD) has affected others' lives--those who have it and those around them--and it's quite refreshing to discover the positive aspects of ADD, as well as what things help an ADD child/adult to thrive.

I've been given so many conflicting labels: helpful, defiant, cheerful, irritable, brilliant, stupid, patient, reactive, enthusiastic,...more
Erica Tjelta
I laughed. I cried. And this is the unexaggerated truth.

How crazy to read something that so perfectly relates your own narrative? Creepy almost. At times it was as though the author had secretly followed me around for forty years--recording various episodes of my life. Actually, this book was a rather intense experience for me.

Written from the perspective only a seasoned "insider" (the author himself has ADHD and is also a licensed therapist who has helped countless others with their "disorder...more
Johnny
Although I have always joked with my students that I must be borderline ADD, I would never have diagnosed myself as actually suffering from the disorder. I even fostered a child with ADHD, diagnosed and medicated, such that I was aware of the problem, but never thought that I really had the condition. Even when I started reading Driven to Distraction, I was reading it to become more familiar with what someone else was going through (actually, what several people I know and care about were going...more
Thomas
An interesting read. Turns out that Attention Deficit Disorder is widely misunderstood. (It isn't just for hyperactive kids after all...) In fact, the condition has a wide variety of symptoms: forgetfulness, impulsiveness, tendency to get distracted, inability to get organized, a strong desire/need for structure, a tendency to start projects without finishing them -- the flip side is that individuals with ADD tend to be imaginative, intelligent, and energetic. Of course, adults with un-diagnosed...more
Christine
Mar 22, 2008 Christine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with ADD or who loves one
Shelves: psychology
great book for helping identify a family/personal history of ADD... i have struggled my whole life with some ADD issues, though i never knew why - until i read this book. it really opened my eyes and for the first time i felt like i had some real answers. i really like the lists of tips for dealing with a child/adult/partner with ADD. very helpful - highly recommend.

Rob Voss
This book was a turning point for me in my life, I was diagnosed with A.D.D. way back in elementary school, but my parents at the time didn't think medication was a good option. As I developed and grew from childhood to adulthood I adapted and adjusted as best I could to the underlying ADD problem. The problem is, is that there is only so much you can do. After reading this book I came to the conclusion that I needed to finally go ahead as an adult and get officially diagnosed with Adult A.D.D....more
Willa
Jun 17, 2011 Willa added it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2011
I was browsing in a thrift store and found this nice hardcover version of Ed Hallowell's book about childhood and adult ADD. For only a quarter! I had to be in town almost all day because two of my kids had things going on there so I read it in the car. Helpful and encouraging. It had a lot of stories about different people with different forms of ADD. When the book was written, little was known about adult ADD -- so this book was rather unusual in its case studies of adults who the author diagn...more
Lorrie
This a great, first book for those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and their families or support systems that are beginning to educate themselves about ADD. It conveys its message in comprehensible, non-jargon that provides several examples to illustrate the many symptoms and subtypes of ADD that exist. The author, who is a psychiatrist with ADD and treats those with it, not only delves into the initial symptoms of ADD like distractibility, disorginization, inattentiveness, impulsivity, etc., but also t...more
Jennifer
The night that our then five-year-old son's therapist told us he had ADHD, she recommended I read as much as I could on the subject, as a well informed advocate is a much more effective advocate. This book was on her suggested reading list, and was the first one I started reading. Halfway through the first chapter, I called my husband at work and proclaimed, "I have ADD. I've had it my whole life and no one has ever realized it before."

That moment has changed my life. This book was the first ste...more
Sara
I learned two things from this book: (1) That I probably don't have ADD, and (2) how to identify what symptoms of ADD look like. The latter lesson helped provide much more tolerance and understanding of ADD symptoms that I now see in a new light among friends and co-workers.
Sylvia Lyons
ADD is not what I thought it was.

I have a child who has been experiencing difficulty in many areas of her life, but the constant arguing (between me and her, and also between her and other family members) was what finally drove me to take her to a therapist. And to my surprise, the diagnosis was ADD, something not even on my radar, and which I was not convinced was even "real." So, she gave us recommended reading, and as Jon put it, ADD is not what we thought it was. This book has been very help...more
Craig
If you start typing "ADD is" into Google the top search suggestions are "fake", "bullshit", "not real", and "a myth" so clearly there is still a long way to go towards removing the stigma around this disorder. I think the book is really good although it is important to note it was written in 94' and Hallowell has a newer book from 2005 called Delivered from Distraction which incorporates newer research. Whether or not you believe that various mental health issues are "real" I think is unfortunat...more
Josh
A good early book on ADD in children and adults.(A more recent book by the same authors, entitled Delivered from Distraction, may be the best current book on the subject). This book came out around the time ADD was starting to be better understood, and it contains a lot of interesting case studies illustrating some of the different forms of ADD and its subtypes, such as with or without hyperactivity. ADD has been described as paradoxical because of its many seemingly contradictory symptoms. For...more
Heather
Uhhh. A book with case studies. I know it is to make me go "Wow! I am not alone!" when really they make me think "Get on to the stuff that is about me!" (Maybe that's a sign of ADHD.) I spent the first 30 pages or so going "I am nothing like these people. I am so organized! I have never gotten below a B from kindergarten to college" And then I kept reading. ADHD manifests in so many ways. I started seeing myself in the emotional stuff. Oh God. It was really alarming. And impulsivity? I married a...more
Robin
Sure I only managed to read about three quarters of this book, while cycling amongst the insane streets of L.A and trying to figure out life the universe and everything, and I did have the volume way down to hear the sounds of the traffic, so I was in a real sense driven to distraction while this book played. That being said, when my attention did fall on the information that was being offered, it was very interesting and gave me insight into a condition of which I realized I had a very basic,...more
Annette
Apr 21, 2009 Annette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Annette by: Stephanie H.
I really enjoyed this book, I am glad that I bought my own copy because I did underline, highlight, and write notes in the margins. It is filled with case studies which I know he includes because hopefully you find at least one that you can relate to personally... and I did!

These are the things that I found particularly helpful:
1) The Suggested Diagnostic Criteria For ADD in Adults (page 73)
2) The case study about Sarah on page 94 (because she was the one that I could relate to the most.)
3) The...more
Pauline
I was diagnosed as clinically depressed at the age of 18, suffered from bulimia for ten years, binged in secret even after I stopped purging because I couldn't seem to control the urges to eat to quiet my mind, and always suffered from anxiety no matter how much the doctor's upped my anti-depressants. I just figured I was broken.
I was never hyperactive but my mind never shut off. I always lost things the second I sat them down. Change and new things, no matter how simple, set me off an an anxiet...more
Jessica
dare i say life-changing? perhaps that's a bit extreme, but hey i'm an extremist! hahaha. i picked up this book on the recommendation of an early childhood worker after bringing jane in for an evaluation for concerns about a possible auditory processing disorder and/or ADD.

this is one of those books that i wish i would have had a pencil in hand for the entire time i was reading it. and probably almost every line would have been underlined! even though i started reading it for help with jane, it...more
Beneth
Aug 27, 2007 Beneth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who procrastinate/struggle w/ completion
Shelves: psychology-adhd
My first clue regarding ADD. This is the book to read to see if you have ADD. If every page has you saying, "oh my god, that is me," then you should probably go get tested for it. The popularity of this book I think has taken some of the stigma out of having ADD as an adult. Plus, by now, all the people who were diagnosed with ADD as kids are growing up, and, it's getting more clear that the symptoms don't just disappear. I love that the author continues to call it ADD (Attention Deficit Disorde...more
Shana
An excellent overview of ADD from one of the most respected specialists in the field--and who himself has ADD. The case studies he uses to illustrate are very well chosen, and though the end of the book drags a bit when the focus changes to the biology of ADD and the make-up of the various medications used to treat it, that takes nothing away from the overall excellence of the book. The only main thing to remember when reading this is that it was written in the mid-nineties; there is far greater...more
Ryan Monaghan
A good, hands-on account of ADD written by two experts in the field. A couple points:

-written to be accessible to non-professionals; as the book stresses the importance of disseminating clear information, it would prove valuable
-the information is a bit dated; written while the DSM (clinical manual used by psychiatrists in diagnosing mental illness) III was in use, psychiatrists are now finishing the DSM V which adjusts the definition of ADD and does address some of the difficulties in diagnosin...more
Sandy
Excellent overview of learning differences as they relate to ADD. Much more positive perspective on a common challenge among men and women today. I really appreciate the author's honesty and strength based approach to managing the issues related to ADD and other learning differences. Teachers really, REALLY need to read this and start to think OUTSIDE the box in terms of teaching. Sad part is realizing this won't happen in my child's lifetime--it only happened once--in Kindergarten where he had...more
Kimberly
This is an excellent book for anyone searching for insights into living with ADHD. Rather than a manuel on coping with the disorder, Hallowell provides keen insights into living with or around those with ADHD. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Hallowell a few years ago at a conference in which he was the keynote speaker. His own diagnosis provides much credibility to his assertions throughout the book. He is the real deal. I would suggest his sequel, "Delivered From Distraction," for those looki...more
sarah
If you have a.d.d or have a friend/family member/child with it this is a really helpful read. The chapters arent too long so its easy to read through. Personally I skipped the non relevant pages (the chapters on kids) and read the rest. It was really helpful but was a bit slanted towards pro-medication, something to consider if your anti-meds. I did get some very helpful (non-med) advice from it though, and some good info from it alltogether.

((fyi. im not a doctor/shrink/etc. just a 23yr old ADD...more
Austin
This book helped me at a deeply personal level coming out of a difficult academic experience at Harvard Business School. The authoritative word on ADHD as it currently stands. Read alongside "ADHD does not exist" in order to make sure you don't come to any unwarranted conclusions about yourself without the proper medical testing.

Some gems:

"While trying harder helps just about everything, telling someone with ADD to try harder is no more helpful than telling someone who is nearsighted to squint...more
Kar Marsten
So much to process
Interesting & emotional
Beware - if someone has asked you to read this book there is likely a gotcha moment
Nadia
very informative and uplifting especially in page 142 :
"this person usually brings a special something to the family-special energies, special creativity, special humor. He or she usually livens up any gathering he attends, and even when he is disruptive, its usually exciting to have him around. He punctures bombast and does not tolerate fools. He is irreverent and does not afraid to speak his mind. He has a lot to give, and the family, more than any group of people, can help him reach his poten...more
Robin
This is our manual at home, always within reach. When the world becomes a bit unraveled, I reach for it. Have read other books on ADD, but this was the initial introductory book recommended after my diagnosis. It made me feel I am not alone. A good book to share with friends, family, partners: it helps explain when our focus light comes on and it's not that we don't pay attention ( we notice EVERYTHING).
Jen
One of the few books about ADD/ AD/HD that is written by someone who has it. The book that helped me feel as though I wasn't alone; someone understood me! It's been years since I read it, so I hope he's updated it with a new version since then. As a matter of fact, now that I have a teen with the same condition, I have a whole new parent perspective, and I think I may just re-read it. :)
Kathleen
Good intro into ADD/ADHD. Easy to read and understand. He talks a lot about medication but does not say that it is THE answer. Much more to this complex multi- layer disorder.
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Edward M. Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist who specialises in ADD/ADHD and who also has ADHD. He is the co-author of the book Delivered From Distraction. He also created The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, MA. He is a Harvard alumnus and has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School since 1983. He received his medical degree from Tulane University Med...more
More about Edward M. Hallowell...
Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child Answers to Distraction

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“Keep those faces in mind, the little girls and boys in the early grades, all trusting the adults to show them the way, all eager and excited about life and what will come next, and then just follow those faces over time. Follow the face of a little girl who doesn't read very well and is told to try harder; who tends to daydream and is told she better pay attention; who talks out in class when she sees something fascinating, like a butterfly on the windowpane, and is told to leave the class and report to the principal; who forgets her homework and is told she will just never learn, will she; who writes a story rich in imagination and insight and is told her handwriting and spelling are atrocious; who asks for help and is told she should try harder herself before getting others to do her work for her; who begins to feel unhappy in school and is told that big girls try harder. This is the brutal process of the breaking of the spirit of a child. I can think of no more precious resource than the spirits of our children. Life necessarily breaks us all down somewhat, but to do it unnecessarily to our children in the name of educating them -- this is a tragedy. To take the joy of learning -- which one can see in any child experimenting with something new -- to take that joy and turn it into fear -- that is something we should never do.” 12 likes
“A streak of Puritanism runs deep within American society. Permissive and pioneering as we may be on the one hand, we are strict and conservative on the other. As much as we may be a country of mavericks and entrepreneurs, we are also a country of finger waggers and name-callers. As much as we may be a country of compassion for the underdog, we are also a country that believes in self-reliance.” 2 likes
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