Chapter 1 THE SKINNY ON ADD: READ THIS IF YOU CAN'T READ THE WHOLE BOOK Most people who have ADD don't read books all the way through. It's not because they don't want to; it's because reading entire books is very difficultsort of like singing an entire song in just one breath. We want to make this book accessible to people who don't read books all the way through. For those people, our most dear and treasured brothers and sisters in ADD, we offer this first chapter, set off from the rest of the book. Reading this will give you a good idea of what ADD is all about. If you want to learn more, ask someone who loves you to read the whole book and tell you about it. Or you can listen to it on a tape or CD. We offer this chapter in the ADD-friendly format of Q&A. You can get the skinny on ADD in these thirty questions and answers. For more detail and research-based answers, you can refer to the chapters of particular interest. For those blessed readers who intend to read the entire book, some of what's in this Q&A will appear again, but some of it won't, so you too should read this section. Q&A ON ADD Q: What is ADD? A: Attention deficit disorder, or ADD, is a misleading name for an intriguing kind of mind. ADD is a name for a collection of symptoms, some positive, some negative. For many people, ADD is not a disorder but a trait, a way of being in the world. When it impairs their lives, then it becomes a disorder. But once they learn to manage its disorderly aspects, they can take full advantage of the many talents and gifts embedded in this sparkling kind of mind. Having ADD is like having a turbocharged race-car brain. If you take certain specific steps, then you can take advantage of the benefits ADD conveyswhile avoiding the disasters it can create. The diagnostic manual of mental problems, called the DSM-IV, defines ADD by a set of eighteen symptoms. To qualify for the diagnosis you need six. These diagnostic criteria are listed in chapter 12. But be careful when you read them. They describe only the downside of ADD. The more you emphasize the downside, the more you create additional pathology: a nasty set of avoidable, secondary problems, like shame, fear, and a sharply diminished sense of what's possible in life. The pathology of ADDits disorderly siderepresents only one part of the total picture. The other part, the part that the DSM-IV and other catalogs of pathology leave out, is the zesty side of ADD. People with ADD have special gifts, even if they are hidden. The most common include originality, creativity, charisma, energy, liveliness, an unusual sense of humor, areas of intellectual brilliance, and spunk. Some of our most successful entrepreneurs have ADD, as do some of our most creative actors, writers, doctors, scientists, attorneys, architects, athletes, and dynamic people in all walks of life. Q: What is the difference between ADHD and ADD? A: It's just a matter of nosology, the classification of disorders. There is an arbitrariness to it all. By the current DSM-IV definition, ADD technically does not exist. By the DSM-IV definition, the term ADHD includes both ADHD with hyperactivity (the H in ADHD) and ADHD without hyperactivity. Technically, this means you can have ADHD with no symptoms of H, hence there is no need for the term ADD. But ADD, the old term, is still used by many clinicians, including the authors of this book. Whichever term you use, the important point to know is that you can have ADHD (or ADD) without showing any signs of hyperactivity or impulsivity whatsoever. ADHD without hyperactivity or impulsivity is more common among females. Q: What is the typical profile of a person who has ADD? A: The core symptoms of ADD are exceHallowell, Edward M. is the author of 'Delivered From Distraction Getting The Most Out Of Life With Attention Deficit Disorder.', published 2005 under ISBN 9780345442314 and ISBN 0345442318.