8 Facts about ADD for Friends and Family

Perhaps the only thing harder than having ADD (attention deficit disorder) is living with or loving a person who does. Very often relations with an ADD sufferer can be stressful: tiptoeing on eggshells, unexpected anger, holding yourself back out of fear.

ADD is a condition which makes everyday life more difficult for those who have it, whether they realize it or not. These people have brains that are constantly working. The condition can display itself outwardly in all kinds of ways: emotional outbursts, intense concentration and other sets of extreme opposites. These difficult situations can certainly test the patience and calm of a parent, partner, sibling or spouse. If you are a person who loves an ADD sufferer, you had best be equipped with a good knowledge of how the illness works and how to best keep your wits about you. The first step is understanding how the world looks to a person with ADD:

1. Focus

Perhaps the defining characteristic of ADD is the fact that the people affected by it cannot stay focused on a particular task. They can instantly become absorbed in mundane things: the sound of traffic, a television screen, etc.

2. Hear vs. listen

While people with ADD can indeed hear you and might even be listening, their minds have a very difficult time actually focusing on your words and absorbing them.

3. No sleep

The brain of an ADD sufferer can be envisioned as a bee hive – it is constantly working, buzzing and alive with movement.

4. Understanding

While on the surface it might seem like an ADD sufferer cannot comprehend the simplest of things, these people actually have a penetrating understanding of many ideas and subjects.

5. Intensity

On the opposite side of the spectrum from having no focus, if and when an ADD sufferer does focus on something, their mind can dive so deep into the image, object or thought that there is no getting them back out. This can include stopping whatever action they are engaged in.

6. Friends all here

ADD sufferers have a very serious social anxiety, which means that they can find situations with new people or too many people very stressful.

7. Skittishness

ADD sufferers are very delicate when it comes to their sensory experiences: loud noises, bustling streets and general chaos can upset them, sometimes even sending them into a tantrum or breakdown.

8. No control

ADD sufferers have a very hard time controlling their emotions the way that most people can. Even if you are very angry, you will not start shouting and running wild in a public bus because you have learned to control your emotions according to society’s accepted norms. People with ADD do not always have this control mechanism, and this can be reflected in verbal or even physical outbursts.