Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The "Gifts of ADHD": Transforming Humiliation into Humility

A big obstacle faced by couples dealing with ADHD is denial -- that is, either partner refuses to concede that ADHD exists, that it is causing challenges, or that effective strategies truly exist.

The reasons for denial around ADHD are myriad and complex. For some who arrive at the diagnosis in adulthood, though, it's simple: ADHD feels like one more negative label, right down there with lazy, unmotivated, and careless. The temptation then might be to wholly reject the label and instead cling to a more "positive" spin: ADHD is a gift. In this month's guest post, San Diego-based psychotherapist and ADHD expert Lew Mills, Ph.D., MFT (pictured below), offers a nuanced way to reconcile "gift" and "disorder."

(To learn more about denial's psychological and even physiological foundations, check out the August and October 2008 issues of CHADD's Attention magazine, which excerpt my book's chapters on the topic. If you missed these issues, remember that CHADD members can access an online treasure trove of past Attention articles.)

I  look forward to your comments!  --   Gina Pera

You can always start a debate amongst a group of people with ADHD by asking whether ADHD is a "disorder" or a "difference." Is it a curse or a gift? It's everyone's favorite topic, and everyone has an opinion. Actually, I have two opinions. Like many big questions, the answer lies somewhere not just in the middle but at both ends.