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If your mind wanders, read this

Does this read like you?

You get to work at 5 a.m. and leave at 9 p.m. so you can get in eight hours of work a day – because once your CPA office opens you are so distracted that you never get anything finished.

Or, you are relieved you finally graduated from law school because you couldn’t take the stress studying caused. It took you up forty hours to learn what others seemed to learn in a few. You couldn’t concentrate on your studies for more than 15 minuted at a time – so you had to constantly put your work down and pick it up later in order to retain what you read.

Or, perhaps you can’t sustain a romantic relationship, yet you are a highly paid professional, attractive and have a great condo. No one has ever seen your condo however, because you can’t get it cleaned up. But if you did get it in shape, you would be admired for your good taste.

If you recognize yourself in these admittedly rather extreme but true descriptions, you probably wore a label as a child; teachers told your parents that you were hard to handle in the classroom; they said you were hyperactive. Your mother already knew that; she was delighted when you finally went to school. You weren’t a bad kid, she said; it was just that you were easily distracted and had difficulty playing quietly.

Everyone gave a sigh of relief when you finally grew out of the syndrome.

Or did you? Therapists like Robert Gurnee, MSW, DCSW, who operates that Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute in Arizona, is finding that the hyperactive child can become an adult without outgrowing the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) syndrome. Rather, he has learned ways of coping with the disorder, ways that are actually attempts to hide the problems he has in everyday life.

Gurnee says adults with ADD are the type of person others always put down or ridicule. “They fall short of their own and others’ expectations of them. Individuals with ADD are more accident prone, more likely to lead frustrating and disappointing lives and more frequently turn to alcohol and suicide than others.

They also have trouble keeping friends and jobs. “This is not just an occasional problem,” Gurnee said. “An extreme case might be someone who has had 42 jobs in 5 years or 27 jobs in 18 months. regularly, the people I see have had more than their share of seemingly inexplicable failures, some professional, some romantic.”

Adults with ADD may often have trouble with social skills, finding it hard to pick up the cues of social relationships others learn easily. Their behavior is often inappropriate; they don’t learn from experience.

“This is why it can be so frustrating to be around a person with ADD,” Gurnee said. “Many have trouble making permanent changes in their behavior.”

ADD can be more than just an inconvenience to the victim, the family and friends. It is estimated that over 50 percent of child and wife abusers, 55 percent of juvenile delinquents and 30 percent of male alcoholics suffer from the residual type of Attention Deficit Disorder. One third of all adopted children have ADD.

Almost 80 percent of children left untreated are held back more than one year at school, and a high percentage will develop drug and alcohol problems.

“From five to eight percent of the general population are thought to have ADD,” Gurnee said, “including many people who don’t realize they have it. Many people with ADD consider themselves normal. They are always surprised when things go wrong.”

ADD is not a learned behavior.

Gurnee said that 95 percent of ADD is inherited, the other 5 percent is caused be fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal distress, lead poisoning, blows to the head or lack of oxygen to the brain, and other causes.

“ADD is a chronic disorder which can begin in infancy and stretch through adulthood. It creates negative effects on a child’s life at home, school and community.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the ADD syndrome can appear in children by age seven.

The behavior now called ADD was first identified in the early 1900’s in the British medical journal Lancet. Yet it was often ignored for long periods of time.

“ADD was always controversial,” said Gurnee, “because it was always misunderstood. There was no clear diagnostic criteria until 1979.”

There is no medical test for ADD. The one necessary symptom for diagnosis is a short attention span. Hyperactivity is not a necessary ingredient. In fact, Gurnee says some clients may have a normal or even low activity level.

Our Director

Robert Gurnee, MSW, DCSW, Director

Past president of the International Society of Neurofeedback & Research

Past president of the Neurofeedback Division of the Association of Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback

Our Location

Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute
8114 E. Cactus Road - Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday 8.30am to 6pm

Phone: (480) 625-4123
Fax: (480) 424-7800

Website: http://scottsdaleneurofeedback.com
Email: feedback@scottsdaleneurofeedback.com