So how did you do with the check list? I got 4 checks. I’m not going to talk to my primary care physician. But it gives me thought about why I am having some of the difficulties I have and why I do some of the things I do. And it also makes me wonder about our society and that we need to always know the “Why” of everything when the answer may be “ just because.”

The article was written by some impressive authors: Tim Bilkey is an adult psychiatrist specializing in adult ADHD in Canada. He has produced two films on adult ADHD and started one of the world’s first clinics for women with ADHD. Craig Surman is assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He studies and treats adult ADHD. Karen Weintraub is a freelance health and science journalist based in Cambridge, Mass. Surman and Bilkey are co-authors of FAST MINDS: How to Thrive If You Have ADHD (or Think You Might) written with Weintraub (Penguin/Berkley, 2013).

Some of the problems discussed included the need to help setting up an organizational structure- typically, a consistent location- for important objects and pieces of information. House and car keys should have a home rather than being tossed in various places. (My purse and cell phone’s locations and where I put my keys and cell phone IN my purse ranks in this one. And obviously this is a problem for a lot of people or there would not be an app for “Find my phone or Ipad.) According to the authors, appointments and phone numbers should similarly be entered into a calendar or contact list that is readily accessible rather than scribbled on the back of an envelope that could get lost or tossed in the trash. (Maybe my having 3 calendars is part of my problem.)

The authors asked their clients to pick “critical moments” in which they tended to stray from their intended course. Such a moment night be deciding to play one more video game instead of going to bed on time or hitting the snooze on the alarm clock until the person is so rushed that gym clothes are forgotten, and planned exercise never happens. Although these people can generally focus quite well on stimulating activities such as playing video games, or working in a fast-paced environment such as an emergency room, they may be easily diverted from tasks that are repetitive——sorting laundry or filling out forms. Deadline-driven environments which invigorates them are the environments of choice, but laundry still has to be sorted, bills paid, the weeds need to be pulled and less complex problems solved.

The study also looked at emotional expression and overreacting with individuals who reacted with anger more often than 95% of the individuals without ADHD. Challenges with planning and organization also lead to irregular or unhealthy patters of self-care. Quality of sleep, which can affect health, happiness and success, is often poor in adults with ADHD. In a 2009 study by Surman, more than half of 182 adults with ADHD reported either restless sleep or difficulty getting to sleep. Those with ADHD also said they went to bed more than half and hour later on average than did 117 adults without the condition. Individuals with the disorder also had a wider range of bedtimes and greater daytime sleepiness, which can, of course, compound attention problems.

But it still begs the question of normal human behavior. Many of the listed problems are “suffered” by a large number of the population who would not be labeled ADHD. These so called problems…like sorting the laundry….may happen because you just don’t want to do it. Or at least right at this moment. Hitting the snooze button over and over may be because you went to sleep later than you normally do or because you had a lousy night of sleep and you are not ready to get up. The weeds don’t get pulled because I have asthma and besides here in California you hire gardeners to do activities like this.  I think most people over-react with anger, but we do not act on that anger. You have the right to be angry about things. I do not know why becoming angry is so unacceptable in today’s society.  As long as you only think about rear ending the car in front of you but you don’t do it…..why not allow yourself to fantasize and to acknowledge your indignity and anger? You feel better in the long run. And maybe those going to bed later than the normal population do so because they got caught up in a movie and want to watch the end or a sporting event , which would also explain the wider ranges of bedtime. So I guess although I admire the research, I don’t buy the theory that is expressed.

If you’d like more information, purchase FAST MINDS: HOW TO THRIVE IF YOU HAVE ADHD (OR THINK YOU MIGHT). And thanks to the authors for so much information for this blog.