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Can ADHD be an advantage?

August 12, 2015

Of course, the catch term “ADHD” covers many aspects of cognitive and emotional functioning that may appear in different mixes in different individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition. But certain of its hallmark elements – eg. rapid, unfocused thinking, over-attentiveness to many things at once, abundant mental energy – can indeed be trained to work as a strength instead of an obstacle to success.

In my years of experience in working with children and adults with ADHD, I have seen many who have turned their particular cognitive style to their advantage, sometimes with the accompanying benefit of needing less or no medication. This generally has followed some years of psychotherapy, which is necessary to work through the lack of confidence, shame and the difficulty with assuming a sense of motivated initiative and ownership of endeavors that often develop after years of frustration in school. But I have seen, again and again, many of my patients learn to direct their energies and creative bursts of thought and idea with great success. A successful playwright, a comedian, an electronic inventor, a computer scientist are just a few of the success stories I can mention.

In the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC on Thursday morning, August 13th, 2015, Dr. Dale Archer talks about these many strengths that ADHD may confer. ( Undoubtedly recordings will be made available as podcasts once the show has aired.

So yes, ADHD can definitely be turned to one’s advantage!


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