Addiction versus ADHD

Addiction versus ADHD
Saturday March 18, 2006

Dear Alice,
I read a review of your recent work today and intend to buy it. I have been disturbed this week by my boss telling me that he thinks I have ADHD. He believes I have this because many characteristics he sees in me were the same for him pre diagnosis and medication. I told him that I consider myself an addict and attend NA. He says that he sees- a resistance to authority, a smart-arse attitude, lack of attention to detail, and positives such as creative ideas, a can-do attitude, and a ‘glass half -full’ approach. I see many of these characteristics as a result of an abusive childhood eg To survive my mother’s abuse and get positive attention from my father, I sent -up my mother who was also obsessive about insignificant things. My boss says I get an adrenaline rush from working at the things I am interested in- I think as does NA that I seek to make myself feel good by finding things outside myself, by being obsessive. I worked really hard at changing my negative attitude to life since I came to recovery into the ‘glass half-full approach. In fact I have worked really hard at becoming a productive and responsible member of society when seven years ago I woke up hanging out for heroin on a daily basis. I find this ADHD thing confronts my whole understanding of myself and where I came from, and I feel like I must stick out as someone that is really inappropriate and eccentric. It challenges my views because as an addict I would love to fix myself with a pill and be normal. I work in a high school and since coming to recovery have successfully applied much of what I have learned to welfare
programmes at my school.
When I was in rehab, I was diagnosed as having bi-polar and found that that too conflicted with NA and consequently rejected that particularly as every woman that I was living with in the rehab had identical symptoms and surely we weren’t all bi-polar. My question is, is it possible that all these labels are describing the same characteristics but attributing them to differing causes or are they separate things and I really have all three?
M. K.

AM: Read my book “The Body Never Lies” and the articles on this website and then write again.