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Thomas E. Brown

Smart But Stuck

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Catalog No. 28751

Compelling stories that present a new view of ADHD.

Smart but Stuck offers 15 true and compelling stories about intelligent, capable teens and adults who have gotten "stuck" at school, work, and/or in social relationships because of their ADHD. Dr. Brown highlights the often unrecognized role that emotions play in this complex disorder. He explains why even very bright people with ADHD get stuck because they can focus well on some tasks that interest them, but often can't focus adequately on other important tasks and relationships.

"Nine Things You Might Not Know About ADHD"

Despite decades of research into the condition known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many myths still persist. In Smart but Stuck I share stories of past clients who were extremely intelligent, yet got "stuck" at school, work, or in personal relationships because of their ADHD. These stories illustrate how emotions--both positive and negative--impact individuals with ADHD, and the steps those with ADHD can take to get "unstuck."

... Emotions like anger, fear, shame, or hopelessness can take over the mind of a person with ADHD, much like a computer virus takes over a hard drive. This flooding of negative emotion makes it difficult for the person to keep any other feelings in mind--feelings that would help them to deal with the situation at hand, such as remembering that the person they are so frustrated with is also someone they love and don't really want to hurt.

... ADHD often looks like a simple lack of willpower because those with the disorder can focus well on a few specific activities that strongly interest them, yet have chronic difficulty focusing on other important tasks and activities. Evidence shows clearly that ADHD is not due to a lack of willpower--it's a problem in the dynamics of brain chemistry.

... Persons with ADHD not only have problems managing negative emotions like anger; they also struggle to manage positive emotions like excitement and intense interest. An inability to manage positive emotions can be just as problematic.

... Some extremely bright students with ADHD fail in high school or college not due to a lack of intelligence, but because unrecognized emotional problems with fear, shame, or depression lead them to avoid going to classes, getting their work done, and sustaining friendships.

... Parents of a child with ADHD are often extremely stressed and may become polarized against each other. Typically one parent assumes the role of "butt kicker," confronting the child each time he or she isn't doing what is expected, while the other parent acts as the "marshmallow," repeatedly making excuses for inappropriate behavior.

... As some women approach menopause they develop ADHD-like symptoms of inattention and memory problems. These symptoms--which often cause fears of Alzheimer's--are sometimes improved with ADHD medications.

... Emotional problems of those with ADHD involve not only "putting the brakes on" emotions like anger or frustration. They also involve problems with "stepping on the gas" or ignition--the ability to overcome lethargy and procrastination to get started on necessary tasks.

... It's often difficult for teens and adults with ADHD to feel strong enough motivation and feel it consistently enough to perform tasks where the payoff is further down the road (i. e. , where gratification is delayed).

... Recent research shows that a sizeable percentage of people with ADHD also suffer from significant problems in social relationships that are associated with Asperger's syndrome or other autism spectrum disorders.

--Thomas E. Brown, PhD

Thomas E. Brown is an internationally-known authority on ADHD and associated conditions.

288 pages. 2014

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