Do you procrastinate? Do you have trouble with self-discipline, focus and motivation? Are you sometimes forgetful? If the answer is yes, then join the club!
Most of us recognize these as some of the symptoms of ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. (OMG – maybe we all have ADD.)
But these struggles are not the exclusive domain of ADD. Difficulty getting things done and falling prey to distraction, a wandering mind and temptation is a reality for most of us at times. And, of course, it’s all compounded by the constant lure of digital distractions.
With ADD, however, overcoming these obstacles is not simply a matter of choice, Here, lack of capacity can trump the best intentions to use willpower and self-discipline to stay on track, Further, ADD deficits often cause longstanding effects on career and relationships, leading to underachievement, and a chronic sense of frustration, shame, and failure.
ADD is a neurobiological syndrome beginning in childhood that is chronic, pervasive, and hard-wired, with a strong genetic component (Barkley, 2010, Hallowell, 2005). Research indicates that about four percent of adults in the U.S. have ADD (Hallowell, 2005). ADD symptoms also include forgetfulness, impulsivity and difficulties with organization, time management, staying on task, and shifting attention — being able to unglue oneself from a task or knowing when to stop (Barkley, 2010).
ADD symptoms are essentially executive function deficits, interfering with the ability to follow through on conscious intentions and sustain future- or goal-directed activity. Researchers have called ADD a condition of “nearsightedness” (Barkley, 2006, p. 56) with regard to time. ADD creates a blind spot for the future, often leading to short-sighted decisions and procrastination (Barkley, 2006).
Seventy-five percent of people with ADD have at least one other co-existing condition, usually anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. Although medicine helps 80 percent of people with ADD, lack of response or worsening of symptoms may occur when untreated co-existing conditions are mistakenly attributed to ADD (Hallowell, 2005).
For example: Jenny held a high-status academic position. In her struggle with ADD, she was most affected by distractability and procrastination, often surfing the web for interesting political news instead of doing her work.