Posted by Chairman_MAO on March 7, 2006, at 23:15:23
In reply to NYTIMES- Attention Surplus?Re-examining a Disorder, posted by jrbecker on March 7, 2006, at 18:28:45
The term attention-deficit disorder turns out to be a misnomer. Most people who have it actually have remarkably good attention spans as long as they are doing activities that they enjoy or find stimulating. As Martha B. Denckla of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore has noted, we should probably be calling the condition something like "intention-inhibition disorder," because it is a condition in which one's best intentions — say, reading 50 pages in a dense textbook or writing a 10-page paper in a timely fashion — go awry."
That is utter nonsense. The activities which my attentional problems have prohibited me from engaging in fully are often things which I _DO_ find extraordinarily interesting! Apparently these people are not aware that certain people ENJOY academics. I was a philosophy major in college and found much of what I read highly stimulating. Instead, I found myself staring blankly at the page, wondering why I just lost my place after only five sentences despite scoring a 760 verbal on the SAT and being nominated for philosophy undergraduate of the year. This would happen over and over and over again. My poor focus, inability to schedule tasks properly, excessive starting of new projects, etc. were always there, despite whether I enjoyed what I was doing or not. The only activities which I could do well were those that involved "microfocusing", such as intensive computer use. However, even then I found it hard to put EFFORT into a task and complete it; I just flourished in that area because it lends itself to short bursts of attention on multiple tasks.
The hallmark of any disorder is its presence in manifold situations, especially those in which it wouldn't make sense for someone with the subject's beliefs and desires to have such a problem. For instance, when not on the right medication, I usually don't get felings of positive reinforcement from obviously positive situations, such as a pretty girl saying "I wish I had a tape recorder so I could record what you are saying because every word is so interesting." If I gave a class presentation and received actual applause, I'd feel anxiety, confusion, terror and a feeling of "what, that's directed at me? Why?" No matter how many compliments I'd receive or how many accomplishments I managed, I never felt any sense of positive reinforcement whatsoever. I could of course be cheered up sometimes, but I'd always end up with a sense of hollowness combined with this vague hint of dread and self-loathing. This is beyond what one might call shy or coy!
Overall, I found that article to be indicative only of the woefully incompetent norm in mental health care.