Discussing Attention Deficit Disorder People and Society’s Reaction

Discussing Attention Deficit Disorder People and Society’s Reaction
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Overview

Society at large views Attention Deficit Disorder as a “faux” disorder. Some believe that those diagnosed with ADD are lazy, relying on a mental health diagnosis that allows them to escape their responsibilities. Others, who interact with people diagnosed with ADD, sometimes pull away from them, leading to isolation. Even family members believe that ADD is not a “real” condition, blaming the person for their inability to concentrate and complete tasks.

“ADD Does Not Exist”

When some people hear about someone having Attention Deficit Disorder, they might react by believing or even saying that this condition is not a true illness. These people might also insist that if they only applied themselves more, they would pass their classes, be able to keep a job, or finish school. Because attention deficit disorder people and society’s reaction to them holds those with the condition back from getting a definite diagnosis.

The person who has compared his own symptoms with the lists he has read has picked up on society’s attitude toward those with mental illness in general and ADD specifically.

Even within the person’s family, one family member or more may take the mindset that, “if only he would sit down, turn the television off, open his books and do his homework, he would be doing better in school. He doesn’t have ADD. He’s just being lazy.” What the family members and society are overlooking is that this “laziness” is actually an impairment in the person’s ability to exercise executive function – he forgets to bring home critical materials to complete homework and projects. Unless he has developed a system to help him record what he has to do and what materials he needs, he is literally lost, writes Keath Low, About.com Guide. [2] When productivity, or lack thereof, becomes a school or work issue, teachers, fellow students, supervisors and co-workers lose patience.

Family members and society may also verbalize opinions such as, “Learn to pay attention. Put the video games and movies away and just concentrate on school/work!” Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that. While someone with high blood pressure or diabetes can take medication and modify diet to improve their condition, the person with ADD can’t make the condition go away, according to Pete Quily, an Adult ADD coach. [1]

ADD is Stigmatized

As a mental illness, ADD is stigmatized. People interacting with the person who has ADD develop beliefs that, because ADD is classified as a mental illness, the person who has this disorder “must have something in their life that caused them to ‘be this way.’ “ For this reason, the person who suspects he has ADD may decide not to go through testing – if he doesn’t know he has it, then he doesn’t have it.

Even family members of the person with ADD may stigmatize their family member – they do so out of fear that others will find out and stigmatize, not only the family member, but them as well, states Quily. [1]

Some family members who acknowledge the existence of ADD see the struggles their family member experiences every day. They see the isolation their family member is forced to endure. Beyond starting behavioral therapy, there is little the family member can do, other than to model appropriate social interactions and teaching their family member how to approach peers. [2]

Others Isolate People with ADD

Because the person with ADD doesn’t always know how to approach others in a socially appropriate manner, they find themselves put into the “outsider” role. They want and need relationships with people outside their families – but, because people who don’t know anything about ADD are put off by the person’s behaviors, actions or statements, they are gradually shoved to the side in favor of others who are more skilled in social interactions. [2]

“They’re Just Lazy”

The person with ADD may start their workday with the best of intentions, ready to tackle that math assignment or the spreadsheet his supervisor prepared for him. The person with ADD has prepared a to-do list, but, as soon as he gets to work, he can’t decide what he should do first.

Frequently, attention deficit disorder people and society’s negative reaction to them, especially when the person with ADD has experienced multiple failures, causes others to think of him as “just lazy.”

While the person has a physical to-do list, he literally can’t decide which task is the most important or time-sensitive. When his supervisor sees how little he has accomplished, he gets upset, berating him for lack of motivation. [2] By continuing to educate society about the true nature of ADHD that causes the person’s brain to be maladaptive to everyday tasks, the stigma and fallacies associated with can be removed so that proper treatment and coping are no longer hindered.

References and Image Credit

References and Image Credit

[1] Does ADD Really Exist? ADD Coach For You, retrieved at https://www.addcoach4u.com/doesaddreallyexist.html

[2] Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Coping, Keath Low, retrieved at https://add.about.com/

https://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1786

Frustrated Man Credit Nutdanal Apikhomboonwaroot