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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

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  672 Ratings  ·  73 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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Feb 23, 2009 whalesister rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
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
Jun 10, 2012 Kristen rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2011 Willa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2011
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
Angela Henderson
Mar 08, 2013 Angela Henderson rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
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
Sep 16, 2011 Ariel rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 15, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it
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
Dec 02, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This is one of the most useful books I have ever read. I feel like my entire life makes sense now: why I carry certain behaviors, where they originated, and (thankfully!) how to work on them and live with them. I can't give this book enough stars. Everyone should read this book. His other book, "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" has even more fantastic advice for those of us with addictive behaviors, though it's a thick chunk of a book which might lose some readers for its size alone. I recommend t ...more
Apr 06, 2008 Marcy rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2016 nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
The short version:

An excellent resource for those wanting to learn more about the disorder. And an interesting hypothesis about the origin of ADHD that may or may not resonate with each reader.

My only real point of contention is the author's assertion that tuning out and dissociation are the same thing. Sure, they can coexist at different levels at the same time, but in my experience they definitely are not the same thing.

The long, extremely personal version:

This book has quite literally
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
Oct 03, 2012 Maya rated it it was amazing
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
M. Italiano
Jul 10, 2013 M. Italiano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Gard
Jan 02, 2016 Chris Gard rated it it was amazing
This book literally completely changed my brain.

After reading Dr Maté's "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts", I thought I was sufficiently informed on behavioural and emotional traits related to problems of attachment early in life. That is, until I read this book, which more specifically hones in on a more relevant problem I've been dealing with all my life without really knowing it.
I was diagnosed with ADD at a young age, but I was only transiently medicated. I never knew the perculiar social imp
Samuel Cooper
Aug 05, 2015 Samuel Cooper rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Samuel by: Joseph Trujillo
Shelves: health, non-fiction
I've never had a book hit so close to home as this one did; it felt almost as if Dr. Mate had looked into my innermost self and mirrored back at me many of the experiences and the feelings from my life that have gone unspoken of because I never quite knew how to explain them. I felt like he could have been talking about me in many of the scenarios he described.

I found this book to be really easy to read in the sense that it wasn't overly technical. Dr. Mate's moving and heartfelt narrative on A
Sep 10, 2015 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pg. 320 says it all: "The world is much more ready to accept someone who is different and comfortable with it than someone desperately seeking to conform by denying himself. It's the self-rejection others react against, much more than differentness. So the solution for the (ADD) adult is not to 'fit in', but to accept his inability to conform."
Hooray, Dr. Mate! Thanks for giving us permission to be ourselves!
Colin Fyfe
Jun 21, 2016 Colin Fyfe rated it really liked it
Mate brings forth and shares his medical, along with his first hand, experiences of ADHD. He approaches the audience through modalities of psychoattachment, environmental importance and means for optimal cognitive functioning. His narrative is scientific focused and style told in a identifiable and retainable manner with those that lack prior background. The emphasis of the developmental years, 0-3 years of age, and importance of emotional expression are centralized throughout the book. He ackno ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Anne Smith
Jun 20, 2016 Anne Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sheds a light on aspects of ADD no other book I read has - fascinating AND moving

I don't know if I'm convinced that his theory of the source of ADD is the only source - but he addresses feelings I have so precisely that it must be significant, and he addresses them with the subtlety and real understanding only an intelligent and sensitive fellow sufferer who has grappled with the same problems could. One who writes well too - it's an entertaining and often a moving read.

If you or your child su
Feb 20, 2010 rae rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
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.
simply natasha
Oct 26, 2015 simply natasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

For those, both literally and metaphorically, treating the symptoms and curing the disease. An inspirational and informative book THAT GREATLY HELPED!

A great read and re-read on the nature of our human (brain) development impacted by our nurture from birth and early childhood into young adults that form the adult. With simple and non-biased perspectives reflecting the choice of natural approaches/prescription pharmaceuticals and the decision to heal.

I highly recommend th
Lisa Gennusa-O'Connell
Apr 14, 2011 Lisa Gennusa-O'Connell rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2013 Ann Frost rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 05, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it
"Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It" by Gabor Mate: This is not just a great book for folks with ADHD, but for everyone - an extremely excellent book on ADHD and living in general.

This insightful book on Attention Deficit Disorder & part of that is taking a totally new look at the tremendous importance of how early infant development is profoundly affected by nurturing behaviors. Even under the best of social circumstances, the lack of consisten
Aug 21, 2016 Colette rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 03, 2013 Tina rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2011 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, disability
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
Oct 21, 2014 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal and well-written. Maté presents an interesting alternative theory of ADD and ADHD (poor parental mental health and poor attachment of the child). His clinical recommendations are very similar to those of experts who subscribe to other theories anyway, plus he has some good tips for parents and practitioners on talking to children about their experiences. His story about his own upbringing and his path to accepting an ADD diagnosis is touching and increases his credibility.
Jonathan Widell
May 20, 2014 Jonathan Widell rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 27, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Apr 29, 2014 Melanie Sakowski rated it liked it
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.
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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 about Gabor Maté...

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“We think that children act, whereas what they mostly do is react. Parents who realize this acquire a powerful tool. By noticing their own responses to the child, rather than fixating on the child’s responses to them, they free up tremendous energy for growth.” 5 likes
“The family therapist David Freeman once concluded a public lecture on intimacy and relationships by saying that if there was any one thing he hoped his audience would remember from his talk, it was the awareness that one does not know his or her spouse, his or her children. We may believe we have a perfect idea of why they act as they do, when in reality our beliefs reflect no more than our own anxieties.” 5 likes
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