Book Review: Delivered From Distraction

I read Dr. Ned Hallowell’s “Delivered From Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder,” the 2017 revision of his 2005 book. This is a follow-up to his earlier book, “Driven to Distraction.” Full disclosure, I actually listened to the unabridged audiobook. It’s read beautifully by Dan Cashman. This was the first book that I read after finding out about my own ADHD.

What stands out about this book?

Dr. Hallowell is open about the fact that he has ADHD. Writing as one of us adds a level of depth to his understanding that many experts are lacking. He wrote this book with the ADHDer in mind, knowing that many of us struggle to finish reading books, even when we start with the best of intentions. So he wrote the first chapter as a bit of a catch-all. Its subtitle is to the point: “Read this if you can’t read the whole book.”

The book is perhaps the perfect introductory material for those new to ADHD, either undiagnosed or recently diagnosed. While recognizing the many struggles brought on by ADHD, the tone throughout the book is overwhelmingly positive. Hallowell absolutely believes that ADHD is a strength, and helps frame it that way as he presents it to you. I really appreciated the following tips that he gave in one of the early chapters.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective ADD Adults:

  1. Do what you’re good at. Don’t spend too much time trying to get good at what you’re bad at (You did enough of that in school).
  2. Delegate what you’re bad at to others, as often as possible.
  3. Connect your energy to a creative outlet.
  4. Get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is “well enough.” That doesn’t mean you have to be very well organized at all—just well enough organized to achieve your goals.
  5. Ask for and heed advice from people you trust—and ignore, as best you can, the dream-breakers and finger-waggers.
  6. Make sure you keep up regular contact with a few close friends.
  7. Go with your positive side. Even though you have a negative side, make decisions and run your life with your positive side.

What makes this book useful?

The strength of this book is its ability to reach the ADHD novice and give her or him the tools needed to get on a path toward understanding and potential diagnosis. In the book, Dr. Hallowell includes a guide for using the ASRS (Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale).

The beginning questions on the ASRS are these, with each being given a response on a continuum including Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, and Very often:

  1. How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
  2. How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
  3. How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
  4. When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
  5. How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands and feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
  6. How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, as if you were driven by a motor?

Dr. Hallowell then gives his own self-assessment quiz, which is more descriptive and not diagnostic, but which I found very helpful. As I was questioning whether I had ADHD. the list really solidified in my mind that I wasn’t simply making all this up.

Beyond the basics of ADHD, Hallowell has provided a wealth of information regarding ADHD in this book. There are real-life examples of folks who he has diagnosed through his practice. These stories further serve to bring to life the impacts of ADHD as well as illustrating many potential solutions to make ADHD a positive force in your life.

Topics covered in other sections of the book include: conditions that coexist with ADHD, distinguishing bipolar disorder from ADHD, dyslexia, the role of genetics in ADHD, addictions, treatments, nutrition, supplements, and physical exercise recommendations, getting rid of piles, choosing the right partner, etc.

What didn’t work for me

Honestly there was nothing in this reading that didn’t work for me. I have heard from some people who feel that it’s too simple and would prefer a deeper dive into many of the topics presented, but they agree with my assessment that it’s an excellent introductory book to the ADHD world. Even knowing as much as I do now, I would absolutely consider it my go-to resource for ADHD.

Final verdict

This book is a must-read for the ADHDer or those trying to understand the ADHDer in their life. Dr. Hallowell sees ADHD as a gift, which I know shed some very positive light in my own life as I was struggling to come to terms with knowing I had ADHD. This book answered so many questions I had about ADHD, and explained so plainly the various impacts ADHD can have on your life. But it also comes with a strong message of hope, that properly treated, ADHD can be a great asset to your life.

If you only read one book on ADHD, make it this one. You won’t regret it.

🧠🧠🧠🧠 🧠 5/5 Brains – Excellent Read

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If you are interested in purchasing Delivered From Distraction, you can do so here on Amazon. And for further reading on Dr. Amen’s approach, you can visit his website at DrHallowell.com.

I am not paid or sponsored in any way through this post or the links I share. They are provided solely for the benefit of my readers.

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Like what you read? Did this help you? Please support Jamie on Patreon.

Book Review: Healing ADD

I read Dr. Daniel Amen’s “Healing ADD,” the 2013 revision of his 2001 book. Full disclosure, I actually listened to the unabridged audiobook. This was the first book that I read by recommendation after finding out about my own ADHD.

What stands out about this book?

Dr. Amen, through the use of SPECT scan technology, has identified seven distinct types of ADD. As a side note, he uses “ADD” where most experts I have read have transitioned to using “ADHD.” For this post, I will mirror the language from his book.

First, Dr. Amen shares the core symptoms for all types of ADD as: short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, procrastination, and poor internal supervision. Then he splits out from there, distinguishing the 7 types of ADD based on symptoms and SPECT scans.

Not familiar with seven types of ADD? Here’s a preview:

  1. Classic ADD – Inattentive, distractible, disorganized, hyperactive, restless, and impulsive.
  2. Inattentive ADD – Easily distracted with low attention span, but not hyperactive. Instead, often appears sluggish or apathetic.
  3. Overfocused ADD – Excessive worrying, argumentative, and compulsive; often gets locked in a spiral of negative thoughts.
  4. Temporal Lobe ADD – Quick temper and rage, periods of panic and fear, mildly paranoid.
  5. Limbic ADD – Moodiness, low energy. Socially isolated, chronic low-grade depression, frequent feelings of hopelessness.
  6. Ring of Fire ADD – Angry, aggressive, sensitive to noise, light, clothes, and touch; often inflexible, experiencing periods of mean, unpredictable behavior and grandiose thinking.
  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.

Curious about which of the 7 types of ADD might pertain to you? If you’re not up for a SPECT scan at the moment, you can take this brief online questionnaire directly from Amen Clinics: https://addtypetest.com/

What makes this book useful?

Though I haven’t heard other experts speaking of ADD or ADHD divided into 7 subtypes, Dr. Amen has been very thorough in his research. The benefit you derive from that is that he has very specific recommendations for each type of ADD that he has identified. The beginning of the book is dedicated to sharing the core ADD symptoms and then helping you to identify which subtype or subtypes are impacting you.

Having that knowledge in hand, you can use this book to follow Dr. Amen’s recommended treatment course of medication, supplements, diet, and neurofeedback, with a specific plan for each subtype in each of these areas. So if, for example, you’ve got type 2, Inattentive ADD, you can use the book to find the exact treatment recommendations for you, including medication, supplements, diet, etc.

Beyond this, the last section of the book is full of tips that are useful for those with ADD, and people who work with those with ADD. The chapters dedicated to parents and teachers I found very helpful. I only wish my parents and teachers had had access to them when I was a child.

Some tips Dr. Amen has for treatment of all types of ADD:

  • Take a 100 percent multivitamin daily
  • Take 2000-6000mg of Fish Oil daily
  • Eliminate caffeine and nicotine
  • Exercise for 30-45 minutes daily
  • Limit screen time to 30 minutes per day
  • Do not yell at a person with ADD, it will only make matters worse
  • Test ADD kids and adults for learning disabilities
  • Never give up seeking help

What didn’t work for me

While most of the book was very useful, it was pretty clear that the recommendations given for the 7 types of ADD are contingent on you knowing which type you have. And although he does share the online questionnaire that you can take, nothing replaces the SPECT scan technology that he references throughout the book. In some ways, the book felt like a 400 page commercial for SPECT. I don’t want to discount the help it gave me, but to get the most value from the book, it’s clear that getting one is needed.

Final verdict

I actually found the book very useful. At the start of each chapter based on an ADD type he shared stories from real patients and their families. This made it easier for me to relate to what I was listening to. If I were listening again, I would use the book as a reference rather than a cover-to-cover read, targeting those areas of the book specific to my subtype(s). I haven’t gotten a SPECT scan, but reading the various sections of the book and taking the questionnaire gave me enough to feel like I was getting some very helpful targeted advice.

🧠🧠🧠🧠 4/5 Brains – Great Read

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If you are interested in purchasing Healing ADD, you can do so here on Amazon. And for further reading on Dr. Amen’s approach, you can visit his website at AmenClinics.com.

I am not paid or sponsored in any way through this post or the links I share. They are provided solely for the benefit of my readers.

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Like what you read? Did this help you? Please support Jamie on Patreon.