Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It
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Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has quickly become a controversial topic in recent years. Whereas other books on the subject describe the condition as inherited, Dr. Gabor Maté believes that our social and emotional environments play a key role in both the cause of and cure for this condition. In Scattered, he describes the painful realities of ADD and its effect on child...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Plume (first published 1999)
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Since I have a house full of ADD/OCD people I've read far too many websites and books on ADD, so when my sister gave me yet another one, I didn't rush to read it. I should have. Pretty soon I was taking it with me everywhere I went, reading in the bathtub...usually only fiction makes the cut for a bathtub-read.

This is going to sound like an infomercial, but, really, this book has changed my life. It isn't just about ADD; it's about how to parent both your children and yourself in a way that pro...more
Jun 10, 2012 Kristen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with ADD or with children who have ADHD
This book is amazing and really changed my thinking about ADD/ADHD. Maté describes in detail how ADHD is not genetic, but how a genetically sensitive brain protects itself with ADD behaviors. I've become a bit of an evangelist about this book, since I see things so differently now. Things to learn in this book: Unconditional Positive Regard, Counterwill, Wooing the Child, Unfinished Business.

If you want to get some insight onto a child with ADHD or oppositional behavior, check out this book. Tur...more
This book had an unusual perspective towards ADD. While acknowledging that it might have a biochemical or physiological element, the author (a psychoanalyst) focused on the condition not as a disease, but as a developmental problem related to attachment difficulties in the early years.

He avoids putting any blame on the parents. To illustrate his perspective, he talks about his own early childhood. He was born in eastern Europe in 1944, just before the Germans occupied. His father was gone (somet...more
Angela Henderson
I was surprised how much I *didn't*like this book, given all the glowing reviews.

Another Amazon reviewer nailed why:

"While Dr. Mate' does give some credence to the genetics of ADD, he pretty much leaves the implications of this behind as he goes into a long description of failed or inadequate parental attachments being the primary reason for ADD symptomatology (as if the parents of ADD kids didn't feel guilty enough about passing on a genetic inheritance they most likely didn't know they had). E...more
A friend of mine who is a parent asked me about this book, and this is what I told her. About me: I am not a parent, and I have ADD.

Good on you for wanting to learn about what might be going on with [your daughter]! From the little bit of time I've spent with her, it seems like a definite possibility, but everyone who has ADD has different experiences and "symptoms." The best expression of that for me was in a book by Sari Solden called Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, but clearly...more
Dr. Gabor Mate's approach to Attention Deficit Disorder is radically different from many, as he builds a salient case for our socio-emotional environment plays a key role in both the cause and treatment of this condition, with genetic factors important but insufficient. He also refuses to think of ADD as a "disease" and while pharmacological treatments can produce dramatic improvements in some, it is more important to deal with what has "trained" or supported a person's inability to stay attenti...more
This is a most readable "meta-work" that elegantly synthesizes many important insights into developmental disorders, parental challenges and our shared cultural attention deficit trajectory. De-pathologizes the diagnosis of ADD and puts in into the profoundly meaningful and useful context of the new understandings of the neurobiology of attachment. You can kill two birds with this one book: gain important insights into the epidemic of ADD while learning the basics about "new attachment theory" a...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
i picked this up because of mate's talks on democracy now in which he appeared to be thoughtful and open about his experiences with addiction and ADD, which was punctuated by a refreshing turn away from pharmaceuticals with a bent toward mindfulness/neuroplasticity (concepts/tools that i gleaned from daniel j. siegel's book "mindsight"). mate's book rehashes a lot of the topics and experiences that he talked about in his democracy now interviews, though, despite it's written form, it is less coh...more
Bob K
I'm ambivalent on this book.

The author writes extremely well, and provides compelling personal perspectives on what it is like to have ADHD and parent children with ADHD. I find it fascinating and thought provoking, particularly his description of counter-will.

On the other hand, his supposition (that ADHD is a direct result of early childhood attachment problems) seems to be based too much on personal experience and too little on subjective research. Regardless of the problematic behavior, all...more
Reading this book was so incredible - it offered insight and changed my perspective on all the relationships in my life, though I picked it up because my boyfriend was recently diagnosed. I have a new understanding of my childhood and the amazing challenge of parenting, the children I care for and how to more compassionately observe my own patterns and care for myself. Not to mention my peek into the mind of the ADD boyfriend! I wanted to call someone or shout from the rooftop after every page b...more
Marcy Italiano
If you get nothing else out of this book, get this as a parent: Give your child undivided, positive attention before they have to beg for it, or worse, take any kind of attention they can get.

In my opinion, this should be *required* reading for all teachers, almost all parents, and not only people with ADD, but those that were adopted, too. If you have ADD, if you are a parent with ADD, or if your child has been told they are ADD, you NEED to read this... because it brings clarity and hope. You...more
Mate's perspectives on mental health issues are refreshing and intelligent. He integrates developmental understanding, neuroscience and psychiatric concepts and succeeds in challenging the medical model of ADHD. It should be no suprise that the narrow perspective of the medical model misses a great deal and can undermine true recovery.
what i learned:
-ideas about how to parent/teach children with ADD
-insight into the social/environmental origins of ADD
-directions for how to self-parent/heal
-the connection between ADD, sensitivity, anxiety and their impact on relationships

so good.
Lisa Gennusa-O'Connell
Wow, this book taught me so much about the mysterious thing known as ADD. Highlighted like mad! "Better to seek understanding than to be understood."
Ann Frost
A powerful argument about the origins of ADD. If you or your children are affected, I highly recommend this book. Thanks, Ken, for lending it to me!
ADD had always been something I joked about apologetically with those who experienced my lateness, distractedness, and propensity to lose things and double-book my calendar. When it became clear there might be an actual issue here, my therapist recommended this book.

As I'd already set myself firmly against the idea of medication, I was relieved to read Dr. Maté's measured stance on the use of medication (never used without concurrently addressing other pathways to healing such as lifestyle, env...more
As a parent of a child with adhd and other difficulties I found this book incredibly enlightening. I have been to see dozens of specialists and read countless books, articles and Internet posts on many aspects of parenting and adhd. By far this book was the most helpful for me. Because of it I realized it isn't just my ex husband who has adhd and thereby contributed to my son's condition, I myself have it. Which was a shocker for me. Because of this book I have a better understanding of my son,...more
Another fantastic one by Maté. I admit that part of liking it is because it confirms what I wanted to hear – that medication has a place but should be avoided as much as possible, that parents have a responsibility but shouldn't be blamed, that ADD kids are not lazy or manipulative, that compassion and patience are vital in relating to ADD kids, etc.

However, I also liked it for much more than that. It deepened my understanding of attachment theory, which I'm finding to be very useful in developi...more
Jonathan Widell
The author provides what I believe to be an evenhanded approach to ADD. Medication is not bad but neither should it be a quick fix. I don't know why I had such trouble reading the book. Towards the end I started thinking maybe I have ADD. Be that as it may, the book has wonderfully deep insights concerning human development for each one us, whether or not we have ADD or know someone who does.
"Throughout this book, I have insisted on the connection between human relationship and attention. Love, it turns out, is intimately related to attention. In "The Road Less Traveled" Scott Peck brilliantly defines love as action, as the willingness to extend oneself in order to nurture another person's spiritual and psychological growth, or one's own. Extending oneself means to do precisely what we find difficult to do. Most parents do not need to be taught how to love their children in the feel...more
Melanie Sakowski
good book, informative, holistic approach to ADD, but quite retrospective and based on nature, and nurture, although it provides much information for change, the focus is on finding cause for the problems, often lengthy examples and case studies that express causation based on past extrapolation, which is often the cause for correlation, but can't always be causational.
well, i WAS reading this until my boss asked me to give it to another patron after i made the mistake of telling her how much i liked it. sort of a shitty thing if you ask me, but that's "putting the patron first." i put in a hold for another location's copy, so i do plan to pick this back up again.

my mom often speculates over whether or not i have add, citing certain childhood memories and current habits. it was sort of eerie to see how similiar some of the attributes were, but i really can't s...more
I found this book informative. I work with many children who have been diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. I can see applications from some of them here, others, perhaps not. Regardless, this book has a place on my reread shelf because it helps you see things in a different light.
Jane Brewer
One of the most comprehensive books written on this topic. As a special educator I have dealt with this issue for years with students and also with families including my own. A whole new perspective on a very troubling problem for both children and adult suffers of attention deficit problems.
This is one quality book on ADD/ADHD. In fact, I'd recommend ALL parents read it, as the principles he specifies for dealing with ADHD in children will work equally well in dealing with the normal behaviour issues of young children, through focusing them(& yourself) on what's really central.

He's a practicing medical doctor, & I really appreciate his approach to kids brought to him for ADHD treatment(teacher's demand of, "put him on Ritalin, or he's not coming back in my classroom!" is ig...more
Petter Nordal
This book is fantastic because it shows the combination of factors which make up Attention Deficit Disorder, in a way that anyone can relate to. It also shows how very treatable ADD is, and also how dificult that treatment can be. As a parent of a non-ADD child, i nevertheless found it very useful for undertsanding the relationships between stress, attachment, and attention. As a teacher, i found it radically changed my approach to ADD students from one of trying to put more Vegas into my lesson...more
Craig Howson
This book addresses the environmental factors leading to ADD/ADHD as opposed to the genetically deterministic view that seems to remove responsibility from parents and society. It addresses the fundamental importance of attachment and attunement in early childhood and essentially concludes that ADD is the result when a highly sensitive child gets stuck in a "chronic still face experiment". A primary caregiver that is unavailable emotionally to properly interpret and respond to a babies cues is a...more
Nanci Robertson
This is an EXCELLENT book about children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): how they got it and what can be done about it. It is written by Dr Gabor Mate, from Canada, who is diagnosed with ADD himslef and who treats both kids and adults with the condition. Dr Mate stresses approaches which address the CAUSES of ADD, not just aleviate the symptoms. Several chapters of this book are posted online at: if you want a preview the book. Highly recommended!
This book is absolutely amazing. Dr Mate has such insight (being an ADHD patient himself, and father of kids with ADHD). The book is raw and funny, and extremely enlightening.
I found myself crying while reading almost every chapter of this book. The true recognition of what a person who suffers from ADHD experiences was at once a relief and gut-wrenching!
I cannot give this book enough stars.
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Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction and is also widely recognized for his unique perspective on Attention Deficit Disorder and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, he is a survivor of the Nazi genocide. His maternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz when he...more
More about Gabor Maté...
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress In the realm of the hungry ghosts In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness Hidden Lives: Coming Out on Mental Illness

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