By Julie Le Franc, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Psychologist
Attention deficit disorder (ADD), also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), does not make the person look different on the outside, but you can see it plainly when you know what to look for and notice how the ADD has impacted throughout their life cycle.
Case history: I will call this patient Sarah. Sarah, twenty-eight, was anxious, depressed and frustrated when she came to see me. She had recently had a melt-down at work and lost her job, her fourth job in two years. Sarah had trouble organising herself and getting to work on time. She said that she felt restless and jobs that should have taken one hour to complete took her half a day. Her mind was active and she jumped from task to task. She became bored very easily and had a fleeting attention span.
All of her life Sarah had similar problems. She dropped out of school half way through Year 11 and struggled with distractibility, a failure to listen carefully to directions and boredom. Sarah found it hard to settle and had a history of not completing things. I see many patients plagued with anxiety and impulsivity, they have an inability to concentrate or focus on their work and often report that they are up and down from their desk and find it difficult to organise their day. They can also have difficulties with their relationships.
These adults may present with depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders or addictions or relationship issues without any link being made to treat undiagnosed ADD. One of the best ways to diagnose ADD is to understand a detailed history of a person’s life and family of origin.
When you know what to look for, you can see that the ADD symptoms have been present for most of their life. ADD is a generational disorder and can influence parenting, creativity and job choices.
Daniel Amen, MD., is a Clinical Neuroscientist and Adult and Child Psychiatrist, and internationally recognised expert in the fields of the brain and behaviour and ADD. In his book “Healing ADD: The breakthrough program that allows you to see and heal the seven types of ADD” he uses SPECT brain imaging to define the seven distinct types (or variations) each with its own treatment options.
Type 1 – Classic ADD; (inattentive, distractible, disorganized, hyperactive, restless and impulsive).
Type 2 – Inattentive ADD; (easily distracted with low attention span, but not hyperactive. Instead they often appeared sluggish or apathetic).
Type 3 – Overfocused ADD; (excessive worrying, argumentative, and compulsive; often they get locked into a spiral of negative thoughts).
Type 4 – Temporal Lobe ADD; (quick temper and rage, periods of panic and fear, mildly paranoid).
Type 5 – Limbic ADD – Limbic ADD; (moodiness, low energy, socially isolated, chronic low-grade depression, frequent feelings of hopelessness).
Type 6 – Ring of Fire ADD; (angry, aggressive, sensitive to noise, light, clothes and touch, often inflexible, experiencing periods of mean, unpredictable behaviour and grandiose thinking).
Type 7 – Anxious ADD; (anxious, tense, nervous, predicts the worst, gets anxious with timed tests, social anxiety, and often has physical stress symptoms, such as headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms, conflict avoidant) (Amen, 2013).
When diagnosing ADD a patient can score high on most of the above.
Psychological interventions may include education about ADD/ADHD and CBT to correct automatic negative thoughts and self-doubts, psycho-dynamic therapy, behavioural techniques to overcome task avoidance, targeted psychotherapy, parenting and family strategies, interpersonal strategies and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
As food is mood, and the quality of your food matters, I also look at dietary interventions along with Complimentary Nutritional Medicine.
Over the many years of working with patients in Private Practice, I have found healing and recovery require biological, psychological, social and spiritual interventions. Spiritual wellbeing includes knowing your purpose in life and your belief system. Finding the right professional for evaluation and treatment is critical to the healing process.
For more information contact Julie Le Franc 0407385005.
Amen, Daniel, G. (2013). Healing ADD: The breakthrough program that allows you to see and heal the 7 types of ADD. New York: Berkley Books