Symptoms of Attentional Struggles
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Leave a comment
Part 4 in the Intentional Attending series of posts – As I said in Part 3 (The Dynamics of Attending), one of the goals of ADD Coaching is to identify areas where our clients can improve on the intentional direction of attentive awareness.
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Problems with any or all phases of The Dynamics of Attending are at the very heart of the ADD characteristics.
That is why many ADDers struggle to have much of a life beyond the all-too-familiar “mess it up, clean it up” cycle.
ADDers typically have impairments in at least one of the Dynamics, often all three in combination, which dominoes into problems with the registration, linking and retrieval stages of the memory process.
However, every single person living
has problems with each of the Dynamics of Attending
in some situations at some times –
which means they struggle with:
#1 - Focusing on the Intended Object and/or
#2 - Sustaining the Focus, and/or
#3 - Shifting Focus at Will
A few of the ways those occasional “mind blips” show up in our behavior provide very funny stories - afterwards. Unfortunately, some of them (or too many of them) lead others to conclude that we are not reliable and can’t be trusted — and to lead us to doubt our own talents and abilities as well.
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What Kind of Problems?
Difficulties with any of the Dynamics of Attending can show up in a variety of ways. Below is a composite list of only some of the ways “impaired attention” shows up in bona fide ADDers.
- Few individuals on the ADD side of the diagnostic line exhibit everything on the list below, and almost all of them struggle with a great many things that aren’t listed at all.
- There are also a large number of overworked or under-slept non-ADDers and aging Baby Boomers who fit the ADD profile frequently enough to make them scratch their heads, wondering if they are part of the ADD population themselves.
Symptoms and Manifestations of Attentional Struggles
• Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living
- Trouble maintaining an organized living and/or work space
- Drowning in paperwork
- Missing appointments
- Difficulty sequencing and/or prioritizing
- Getting lost easily
• Trouble directing focus and concentration
- Easily dragged off the point
- Losing the thread of your own conversation when speaking
- Difficulty recapturing the moment when interrupted
- Continually looking for misplaced objects (lack of focus leading to impaired registration)
- Knocking things over, spilling, bumping into things
- Difficulty completing projects
• Activation struggles
- High “action motivation” threshold (difficulties initiating)
- Tough to get started again after a break
- Lengthy awakening process
- Sluggish with follow up
• Apparent or actual slowed processing speed
- Difficulties making decisions (especially when required “out of the blue,” or occasions where a sudden need for a rapid response follows a waiting period)
- Lengthy deliberation (agonizing over detail)
- Procrastinating to avoid decision anxiety
• Uneven performance
- Inconsistent work performance
- Lack of attention to details and fine points at some times, excessive attention at others
- Intolerance for some mundane tasks, captured by others
- Frequently falling behind and scrambling to catch up
• Easily stuck in hyperfocus
- Playing computer solitaire for hours on end
- Web-browsing until surprised by daylight
- TV hypnosis
- Looking up “a minute later” to find an hour or more has passed
• Seemingly altered response to social reinforcement
- Overlooking rules and regulations
- Appearing oblivious to consequences (likelihood of punishment or fines has no direct effect on actions)
- Immediate & consistent positive reinforcement needed to overcome attentional difficulties
- Tendency to lose motivation or interest with negative reinforcement (correction or criticism)
• Delay intolerance
- Motor anxiety (pacing, etc.)
- Road rage with slow moving traffic
- Depressed moods during periods of inactivity
• Difficulties reading
- Problematic attentiveness – losing concentration, skipping sentences or paragraphs, missing key modifiers
- Words “jump” out of context
- Retention struggles (losing the point of a sentence or a paragraph by the time you come to the end)
If YOU have more than a few of the characteristics above, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have ADD. It does mean you’re juggling more balls than you can manage at the time, and one or more of the Dynamics of Attending is suffering for it.
Whichever camp you belong to, ADD or CrazyBusy, you will find that employing a few ADD Coaching techniques will help you become more intentional with your attending, life will become a whole lot easier to manage, and your friends and loved ones will be much happier with the way you relate to THEM.
Stay tuned for more articles on Attention, Memory, Executive Functioning Disorders, and EACH of the elements involved that complicate your life and hold you back.
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The above text is excerpted from Intentional Attending,™ the fourth of the twelve eBooks
in the upcoming Optimal Functioning eBook Series™
©2000, 2006, 2011 Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, ALL rights reserved
The E-books in the Optimal Functioning Series™
3. Rewrite your Owners Manual™
NINE Individual Challenges Modules:
- Intentional Attending™
- Perfectionism – Black & White Thinking
- Hyper-Active™ - more than sitting still
- The Impulsivity Rundown™
- Transition Tamer™
- Organization and Task Completion
Articles in the Intentional Attending series:
Articles in the ADD Overview series:
- ADD Overview 101
- ADD Overview II: Identifying Traits
- ADD Overview III: Associated Features
- ADD Overview IV: Hyperarousal
- ADD Overview V: Red Flag Warnings
• Coaching, out where the ADHD rubber meets the road of reality -
(my article on Charles Parkers’ CorePsych Blog – hop over, click around and read – this site is an AMAZING resource!)
Other Related articles
- Losing focus? 9 ways to concentrate at work (hazima.wordpress.com)
- ADHD in the workplace (chrisnothling.com)
- Is It Lying or Is It ADHD? (rakadd.wordpress.com)
- Do I Have Adult ADHD? (riverbendbh.com)
- Learning to Read: How My Attention-Challenged Child Began Reading (winging-it.me)
- I’M NOT AN IDIOT (hear maniacal laughter) (addpositively.wordpress.com)
- Purple Butterflies (attentiondeficitwhatever.wordpress.com)