ADD-ADHD/EFD & Underfunctioning: Einstein at the Patent Office

Swimming Upstream

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
ADDendum to the  5-Part  ADD Overview Series

salmon_upstreamQuoting loosely from the  ADD blog authored by Yale’s Dr. Thomas E. Brown, on the website maintained by Psychology Today. . .


Back when it was believed that anyone with ADD would outgrow those problems by the time they were about 14 years old, ADD was seen as simple hyperactivity, not as a problem with attention and EF (executive functions).

Longer term studies have shown that for about 70-80% of those with ADD, attentional symptoms tend to persist into adulthood.

This is true even in those individuals where former problems with [gross motor] hyperactivity can no longer be observed.


This more recent research indicates that, while there ARE about 30-80% of the ADDult population who do not continue to struggle with ADD to the degree seen in childhood, they are over-represented in the literature.

Since they are functioning better than 70-80% of us, they are ABLE to run their own lives with enough time left to blog, write books and articles, develop websites and blogs, and organize and speak to podcast audiences – while the rest of us work twice as hard for half as much, as ADD expert author Dr. Edward Hallowell continues to say.

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Doctor answers ADD/ADHD Medication Questions – LIVE

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Find out how much better you COULD be doing — directly from Dr. Charles Parker

 by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the ADD Advocacy Series

THIS is your shot – free of charge

As I said on an earlier post, Dr. Charles Parkerfellow ADD advocate, is one of the physician crusaders for specificity – of diagnosis and of treatment approaches – and he will be at your service on March 14th, 2013, no matter where you are in the world, at no charge whatsoever.

Neuroscientist, adult and child psychiatrist, Dr Parker is the originator of CorePsych, and the creator of an amazing amount of high-value web content in various formats on the CorePsych Blog.

He is also the author of two books containing information you are unlikely to be aware of or to fully understand unless you got it directly from his books, his blog, or the man himself.

I know I wasn’t, and I didn’t — and regular readers of this blog will attest that I personally know and understand A GREAT DEAL about ADD and the brain-body connection.

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Sneaky Grief

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the_sneaky_ninja_by_kirilleeWhad’ya Mean Sneaky Grief?

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief


Peeling Grief’s Onion takes the TIME it takes!

Nancy Berns, author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us has this to say:

It’s wrong to expect everyone else to follow a
formulaic ‘healing process’ aimed at ‘moving on.’
 . . .
‘You do not need to “close” pain in order to live life again.”

Here, here!  I couldn’t agree more strongly.

We each grieve uniquely, and there are parts of our experience of grieving that will remain in our hearts forever – thank God!

How horrible to think that significant loss might be marked with nothing more dramatic than a nod before moving on forever, thinking no more often about what we have lost than those remnants of a fast-food meal we tossed with last week’s trash.

However, I believe it is equally wrong to avoid handing out a few maps of the territory in our fear of seeming didactic about a process that is one of the most individual of journeys.

  • There are markers that most of us swim by as we navigate the waters of grief, holding our lives above the waterline as best we can.
  • I believe that locating ourselves on our particular pathway is an important first step in our ability to navigate successfully – sometimes at all.

Locating ourselves in the grief process is trickier than it might be otherwise, until we understand the concept I refer to as “sneaky grief.”

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Some HELP for the Grieving

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What to DO while we’re peeling the onion

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 of a two-part article in the
Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief

Click BELOW for Part ONE of this article:
Onions, Diagnosis, Attention and Grief –
Dealing with Grief is like Peeling an Onion 

In Part One of this article, we talked about some of the ways in which dealing with grief is like peeling an onion, and we discussed the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish grief from depression.

I encouraged you not to automatically discount the idea of pharmaceuticals if you feel you are not able to cope very well at all, and discouraged the impulsive from self-medicating.

I also encouraged you to trust your instincts about what YOU need while you heal.

I went on to give you a few specifics to help explain what that frequently mentioned “trouble sleeping” during a grief phase might look like in your life.

Following some brief information about the benefits of normalizing, I included a bit of self-disclosure about my own recent struggles with grief, to further help normalize what you may be experiencing. I left you with this:

Peeling grief’s onion takes the time it takes.
There ARE no shortcuts.

While it is certainly true that we cannot shorten the process, there are many things we CAN do to avoid lengthening it. That will be the focus of the remainder of this particular 2-part article in the Grief Series.

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Onions, Diagnosis, Attention and Grief

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Dealing with Grief is like Peeling an Onion


Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 of a two-part article in the
Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief.

An article entitled Helpful Tips for Coping with Grief, available on the HealthCommunities Website, asserts that “Grief is a normal response to loss.”

By “normal,” no doubt, they are referring to a state that is to be expected in an emotionally healthy human being.

The ten paragraph, ten part, ten web-pagelet article goes on to say quite a few helpful things about grief, many of which I am going to recontext in this series, along with exploring other assertions about grief and the grieving process that have long been accepted as universally relevant.

Because I think we need to reopen that book!

I’d like to begin by expanding upon the HealthCommunity’s second item today:
Feelings of grief [are] often progress in different stages.
It begins by underscoring an important point
we must all endeavor to keep in mind:
Every person grieves differently. 

“For some people, intense feelings — sometimes called the “throes of grief” — can last quite awhile. People who are grieving may go through 5 stages, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

Grief may not involve all of these and they don’t necessarily occur in order.

A number of difficult emotions are associated with grief — from feeling numb, to shock, sorrow, loneliness, fear, guilt and anger.

People who are grieving may be in pain, physically and emotionally, have trouble sleeping, lose interest in eating or activities and have difficulty concentrating and making decisions.”

I especially appreciate their careful use of qualifiers like “often”, “may,” and “don’t necessarily.”

My primary reason for quoting them, however, is to introduce some of my own conclusions about WHY grief seems to involve layers of processing, and WHY we don’t proceed apace from one to the other.

But first, lets talk about that onion for a minute.

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Stages of Grief following Diagnosis

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Exploring the Stages of Grief following Diagnosis

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series – all rights reserved

It’s A Process

In the previous article, I introduced some of the predictable stages of grief that we cycle through on the way to a Positive Acceptance of a diagnosis.

I use the term “Positive Acceptance” to refer to the developmental stage where we are able to incorporate a vision of the future that can include our diagnosis without allowing it to define our vision for ourselves and our lives.

We have reached the stage of Positive Acceptance when we are able to embrace our potential for incorporating change as development, affirming that healing and growth can, has and will occur in expected and unexpected ways — and that new opportunities will arise for which we have been uniquely prepared by the process of getting to this stage.

Given the tendency in our community to hyperfocus on rumination, when we are presented with a strong stimulus that triggers the release of adrenalin we tend to agonize!  As I said in the introductory article,  “it is only when we become ‘stuck’ in one of the phases of post-diagnosis grief that most of us take the time to stop to wonder what is going on with us and why we can’t ‘just get on with it.’”

What IS Going On?

One of the “problems” with adrenaline release is that it activates our fight-flight-freeze response, with its attendant shut-down of the prefrontal cortex [PFC] centers essential for what are termed the Executive Function.

Many of us with “alphabet disorders” [ADD, EFD, TBI, ASD] seem to have what I call “hair-trigger startle responses.” As a consequence, we often seem to get stuck far more often than our non-ADD peers.

It is my experience that everyone gets stuck when PFC shutdown occurs, it just happens more often and more dramatically to those of us with deficits in the realms of the attentional spectrum.

That’s the good news as well as the bad news, by the way, but let’s explore some brain-basics before we expand on that idea — and before we explore each of the stages of post-diagnostic grief at the end of this article.  (Stay with me here – it will help things make more sense)

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The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief

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Exploring the Post-Diagnostic Grief Response 

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series – all rights reserved

webweaver clipart

Question: What do the following expressions
have in common?

  • “Oh thank goodness!  Now I can have a life!”
  • “You think I have what?” “Why didn’t they find this out before?”
  • “Why my child?” 
  • “He’s a perfectly normal BOY! Why do they have to pathologize everything?”
  • “I don’t need medication, I just need to try harder now that I know what I’m dealing with.”
  • “Those @#$% doctors don’t know anything!”
  • “If only I’d known this earlier, my life would have been completely different!”
  • Tell my boss?  Are you nuts?”

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*NEW* ADD/ADHD Medication Rules: 5 Resources

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Free downloads – gifts from Dr. Charles Parker

 by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the ADD Advocacy Series

If you haven’t been over to Dr. Charles Parker’s “new and improved” CorePsych Blog yet – for a wealth of information you won’t find anywhere else – maybe a “bribe” or five might move it to the top of your list.

“There ain’t no IS about ADD” ~ mgh

Fellow ADD advocate (originator of a TON of web content and author of two “Rules” books now), Dr. Parker is one of the physician crusaders for specificity – of diagnosis and of treatment approaches.

He insists that we need to take a detailed look at a whole lot more than
many of his collegues realize, and that the look must be individual specific.

The checklist below is from his download link page — another of my “reblog” work-arounds: a few points to consider as you think about why YOU might be interested in what he has to say.

Full Disclosure: he doesn’t even know I’m doing this, so he certainly isn’t paying me to do it!

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Top Ten Stupid Comments from ADD-Docs

The Top Ten Stupid Comments
[supposed]  ADD Professionals
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Ten Unfortunate [and recent]  Examples of Ignorance masquerading as Information — and
uninformed personal opinion presented as medical FACT.

The comments on this article add information — take the time to read those too. You’ll be glad you did!

First Things First:
Let’s not lump the good ADD doctors and the ones who made these stupid comments together!

They are not the same species AT ALL!

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ADD Meds Info for Moms – Part I

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Titration Trials!
(Medication for YOUR child)

ADD Med’s Info for Moms Series: Part I
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC

The intent of this series is to provide Moms with information and context — to help you evaluate the risks and the benefits of medication for your children.

I want you to have access to the facts and figures and theories and underlying rationale to be able to come to a decision, rather than jumping one way or another in reaction to the fear-mongering, sound-biting and personal opinion pretending to be information for a while now.

BACKGROUND: (article starts below) The genesis of the information in this series was actually a reply to a thread on the ADDitude Magazine Website.

I’m reposting it here because their site stripped the paragraph formatting at post time, making it WAY too difficult to read.

Since I’m adding it here anyway, I expanded its focus, added new content, and “edited a bit” so that it would make sense to those of you who don’t ever click the link to ADDitude Magazine for context (there’s tons of OTHER great stuff over there for those of you who do).

This series is my response to a number of medication concerns and comments posted in a section supporting Moms of ADD kids. There were various medication concerns, each detailing symptoms and side-effects in their children, hoping to get some advice from the other Mom’s with ADD kids.

Read *ALL* ADD info with your Brain Engaged

Even though I am The ADD Poster Girl, known globally for my ADD expertise  —  working with ADD for a twenty-five years, and even though I:

  • Know, literally, hundreds and hundreds of ADDers, and 
  • Co-founded the ADD Coaching field, and
  • Developed and delivered the world’s first ADD-specific coach training curriculum, and
  • Have helped hundreds of ADDers turn their lives around

I am NOT a doctor or a scientist!! 

This article is NOT what is considered a “primary source.”
Neither is most of the ADD information you will run across on the internet, most of what you will find in books, or anything in the popular press.

That doesn’t mean the info you find there
is not valuable or accurate,
but it also doesn’t mean that it IS.  

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ADD Overview V: Red Flag Warnings

CLICK HERE FOR the first article in this series

Red Flags

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Final article in a 5-Part Series 

NOTE: This is NOT an “Am I dealing with ADD/HD?” list.

These items are not the same thing as diagnostic criteria.

HOWEVER, if you are wondering if ADD or ADHD might be a factor in some of your life-long struggles (or those of a loved one), take a look at this list.

Keep in mind: an instance or three is NOT necessarily an indication of a problem, or a reason to suspect that your preferences (or those of a loved one) are maladaptive.

The presence of more than a few of the Red Flags, or a great many examples of one or more of the items below is, however, a signal to you that looking more closely at the possibility of an ADD/ADHD or EFD diagnosis might be warranted.

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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ADD Overview IV: Hyperarousal

Hyperarousal: a cognitive “idle” set too high!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Fourth article in a 5-Part Series

Another darling Phillip Martin illustration!

Have you ever had a car that seemed to want to drive itself?

You know, like when you’re stopped at a traffic light on a perfectly flat road you have to keep your foot on the break pedal or the car will move forward, even if you don’t touch the accelerator?

And heaven help us all if you DO touch the accelerator!

That’s what mechanics call an “idle set too high.”  

That darn car is set
too darn ready to respond!

Fortunately, any half decent mechanic can quickly and easily recalibrate your car.

UNfortunately, even the best doctor in the entire universe can’t recalibrate your brain.  But YOU can.  That’s part of what the articles on this site are designed to help you do.

BUT FIRST you must become aware of what you’re facing.

The first step on the road to change is making the unconscious conscious.

  • We start by “rounding up the usual suspects” and naming them.
  • When we name unconscious behaviors, they immediately begin to lose their power.
  • We can’t change anything we can’t identify and NAME.

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ADD Overview III: Associated Features

Associated Features: NOBODY has ’em ALL!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Third article in a 5-Part Series

” There ain’t no IS about ADD! “

Common ADD behaviors and problems may be mild or they may be severe; they can vary by situation or environment, or be present chronically.

Some ADDers are able to concentrate when they are highly interested in (or excited by) an activity.  Others may have difficulty focusing under any circumstances.

Amplified stimulation brought about by risk or danger may increase or decrease an ADDer’s ability to focus — some ADDers look for stimulation, while others avoid it.

ADDers can be withdrawn and antisocial, or they can be overly social and unable to be alone. Some are reticent to share their thoughts and opinions, some can’t stop themselves from saying whatever they think.

ALL we can say for sure is that there is “impairment” in various arenas that are relatively unimpaired in non-ADDers. These “impairments” may be a direct result of ADD or may result from related adjustment difficulties.

I use “ADD” to include AD/HD etc. See ADD or ADHD: What’s in a Name? for why.

ADDers think so far “out of the box,” many of us have to be reminded there IS a box!

Never forget that an ADD diagnosis is a matter of degree of impairment
relative to the “norm”

  • How many of the Characteristics, Associated Features & Challenges are present?
  • How often do they rear their ugly heads?
  • How strongly do they manifest whenever they show up?
  • How long have they (or something like them) been showing up?
  • How disabling are they to the individual’s life trajectory?

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ADD Overview II: Identifying Traits

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I use “ADD” to include AD/HD etc. Check out What’s in a Name for why.

ADD Characteristics & Identifying Traits

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Second article in a 5-Part Series

Not necessarily diagnosic - but what it looks like in life

You might find it a bit easier to understand how ADD impacts the lives of the individuals who have been diagnosed as you read through this list and the ones to follow.

Other than the introductory post, ADD Overview 101, I offer the Overview series of posts in list format, so that you can “go down the lists and check things off.”

For some of you, that will help “unpack” what you might have tried to read in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual or on other websites.  

I also want to offer a few “quickie overviews” to serve as a summary of what you will find in various books and articles about ADD.  

  • While not part of the “official” diagnostic criteria, and certainly not a complete list of ADD characteristics and traits, the features listed below are found in most ADDers.  
  • Most of them are not specific symptoms of the disorder itself.
  • Rather, they are the manifestations of the symptoms, and are often more easily identifiable.

By no means do I mean to imply that these traits are found exclusively in individuals with ADD, although ADDers seem to have more than a fair share of  them, compared to the rest of the population.

It is important to remember that
an ADD *diagnosis* is a matter of degree:

  • How many of these “ADD traits” are present?
  • How often do they rear their ugly heads?
  • How strongly do they manifest whenever they show up?
  • How long have they been showing up?
  • How disabling are they to the individual’s life trajectory?

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ADD/EFD Overview 101

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I use “ADD” to include AD/HD, ADHD etc. Check out What’s in a Name for why.

ADD/EFD BASICS: A Brief Overview

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
First article in a 5-Part  Series

Brain graphic surrounded by the following terms in various colors: disinhibition, hyperactivity, forgetfulness, inattention, distractedness, disorganization

If you are one of the many ADD/EFDers who struggles to stay focused when you read . . .

You may find that the beginning of this article is a little more slow going than most of the articles on this site — unfamiliar technical terms are always a bear!  

If you can possibly read through it, the information will be worth your effort — if only to have a bit of science to throw back at those opinionated nay-sayers who pooh-pooh the existence of ADD or EFD as valid diagnoses.

It will also help you hold your own in response to hearing or reading some idiot popping off with sound-bite logic-that-isn’t, like: “ADD is not caused by a Ritalin deficiency.”

The information “builds on itself” – the reading gets easier as you go — and I do my best to explain terms in “plain English” — well, plain-ISH, anyway!!

The rest of the articles in this series aren’t “tech-talky” – so if you CAN’T get through THIS one, don’t let it keep you from clicking through to the others.

Click HERE for the next article in this series

For those who read easily: There are tons of links to additional information on this post (dark gray, remember, so they’re not distracting while you’re trying to read what’s here) – scroll your mouse over the page and the links will almost jump out at you.  Hover for a moment before clicking and a bit of info will appear. (BTW- ALL links on THIS page will open in a NEW window or tab)

NOW, what’s up with ADD/EFD, anyway

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Nine Challenges: What Are They?

Isolated Understanding
Must Come First

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

from The Challenges Inventory™ Series
Part 3 of a 3-part article
after short review
Part 1 HERE Part 2 HERE

Graphic of a surprised man pointing to the presentation of a graph that takes a sharp downturnThe Challenges of the Inventory

The Challenges Inventory™ is composed of nine separate elements — The Challenges — designed to target nine specific areas which are particularly problematic for most human beings. 

They are quite often complete stoppers
for individuals with
Executive Functioning struggles
not just ADD).

The specific combination of particular Challenges make up a client’s Challenges Profile — a visual snapshot of implementation in the nine key areas relative to each other

WHY is that important?

Once we recognize and understand the impact of the relationship between these “underachieving” parts of our lives, we can better use each category to our ADVANTAGE rather than to our detriment, creating positive change in our lives.

The real power of The Challenges Inventory™

The power to improve your functioning comes from understanding each of the nine Challenges individually as well as their impact together. THAT will tell you how to translate the scores into information your can use to change your LIFE.

It is only through the understanding of how to sherlock the particular relationship between the scores that that you will have the information you need to develop the systems that will be effective with YOUR individual Challenges Profile.

At that point, you can begin immediately to prioritize a path of development that works with your strengths and works AROUND your areas of significant challenge.

AND YET, we must begin at the beginning.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle  ==>

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NINE Challenges to Effective Functioning

From The ADD Lens™

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 of a 3-part article
Designing The Challenges Inventory™
(click HERE to read Part I)

It’s NOT a Secret

It is a misunderstanding of how it all works to believe that “thinking positively” is ALL you have to do to attract the success you deserve.

  • Faith without appropriate action is sallow.  
  • Appropriate action is YOU-based, what you must do to manifest your dreams.
  • The genesis of creation comes from Spirit, BUT 
  • Here on the physical plane, we are equally bound by the laws of the physical.
  • Were it not so, we would not find ourselves walking on firmament in a body equipped with a brain.

The more you understand how your physical apparatus is designed,
the better you will be able to actuate your desires on the physical plane.

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Sherlocking ADD Challenges

Investigating Winners

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part I of a 3-Part Article

I had always been determined to be a winner in this game called life, but I was struggling.

I worked as hard or harder than anyone else, I seemed to have more talents and abilities than many, and I got more than my share of lucky breaks.

But somehow there was always something that fell apart before I could reach that finish line called SUCCESS. Since I couldn’t predict it, I couldn’t prevent it.  It was driving me nuts!

I spent most of my thirties in therapy in an attempt to figure it out, to no avail. I tried on every diagnosis anybody threw at me (I wouldn’t wanna’ be resistant, right?).

None of them felt right.

I just knew there had to be something else.

  • Nope, not fear of failure or success.
  • Nope, not low self-esteem or self-sabotage.
  • No way I’m passive/aggressive or manic/depressive (now called BiPolar).
  • Well, sure I’m depressed – wouldn’t you be if your life kept falling apart no matter how hard you tried to keep it together?

On and on and on with the list that I’m sure anyone reading this article will find all too personally familiar: including anything and everything but the one thing that would make the difference in my life.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

When I was 38 years old – another lifetime, it seems now, over two decades later – I learned about Attention Deficit Disorder.  Finally! Now that I had a name for what was “wrong” with me, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like ADD stop me.

So what do I DO about it? 
I asked the doctor who agreed with my self-diagnosis. 

What do you MEAN, nobody knows how to treat ADDults?  


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ABOUT The Challenges Inventory™

A Snapshot of Your Functional Profile

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Graphic of a grid on which an arrow traces downward progressThe unique relationship of NINE functional Challenges in YOUR life!

Discover the extent to which your
Challenges Profile is making life difficult:
unique-to-you categories-combinations where understanding can lead to prediction, which can skyrocket an upside down profile!

Once someone has been diagnosed with ADD, it is especially useful to have a snapshot of their particular functioning.

Although each of the challenges are difficult to some extent for most human beings as well as most ADDults, the degree to which each challenge causes trouble RELATIVE to the remaining eight Challenges — and how to approach change and growth — is quantified in a Challenges Profile.  Woo hoo!

Quantification provides a MAP to assist ADDer, client, coach, parent, teacher, or any individual who will take the time to understand what they are looking at, that enables them to strategize progress steps — focusing effort and activity so that evidence of success very quickly replaces evidence of failure.
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Differential Diagnosis – Part 2

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Archery target with arrow in center of bullseye

Differential Diagnosis:
 What is it?

— and why would I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part Two of the Differential Dx article
in the Comorbities Series

To answer the first part of the question, click HERE to read the first part of this article.  (Click the link at the end of THAT article to come back here to read why you really need to care.)

The answer to the second part?

In a nutshell: as with everything else in life,
“The Name of the Game™ determines the rules!”

If you don’t have the correct diagnosis, there is NO WAY you will be addressing your problems in a manner that will be successful.

Pretend you are a former college marathon runner in his late 30’s.  Lately you’re having problems completing your morning run.  You can barely breathe after about ten minutes of what used to be an easy warm-up.

Obviously, you’d be headed for trouble if you were treated with asthma medication and the source of your shortness of breath turned out to be a problem with your heart.

Since you aren’t sure what’s going on, you’d want to feel confident that your doctor knows enough about “shortness of breath” conditions to make a referral to the correct specialist, even if your particular doctor specializes in sports medicine, right?

When you’re dealing with a differential diagnosis that has few quantifiable measures to identify it, it becomes all the more important to work with a doctor who has the depth of knowledge it may take to distinguish between a daunting number of possibilities with similar presentations — yet very different treatments.

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ABOUT Non-Medical Alternatives

Alternative Treatment Approaches

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Another delightful Martin illustration of a woman with a question mark on her tee shirt, holding a sheet of paper in each hand, each printed with a single word : FACT or OPINION.Before I begin adding content to the “Non-Pharmaceutical Alternatives” category here on, I want to take a moment to remind us ALL that, where treating ADD and Attentional Spectrum Disorders is concerned
. . . (drumroll, please) . . .

it is ESSENTIAL to keep your brain engaged!

Don’t Take the Bait!

KEEP IN MIND that ANY “alternative” substance or treatment that positions itself as “an alternative to those dangerous pharmaceuticals is trying to scare you into a reaction, rather than give you comprehensive information designed to offer you a CHOICE.

Whenever you encounter an approach designed to manipulate rather than encourage, take a step BACK and look around some more to see if you can find similar information from a more even-handed source.

If fear-mongering is ALL you can find, it’s probably a good idea to cross that particular “alternative” off your list and move on.

Know Your Flavor

It is MORE than a good idea to have a good sense of the particular “flavor” of ADD you are attempting to treat.  That means you need to be looking at cognitive and functional challenges, of course — but also take time to consider the personal “demographics” you need to consider when seeking ADD treatment options.

Where are you located in the “life is a real struggle” continuum? Make sure you pair your situation and your treatment approach appropriately.

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Zebras, hoof-beats and Dr. House: Differential Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis: WHAT is it?

and WHY do I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie,
#1 of a 2-parter in the Comorbities Series

(To find out how the Zebras relate, read the article!!) 

differential diagnosis is one which examines all of the possible reasons for a set of symptoms in order to arrive at an identification of the cause (or combination of causes) of a presenting problem.

It’s a fairly simple process of elimination that can become unblievably complex in an eye-blink, “simply” because so many diseases and disorders present with similar symptoms,

Although the term “differential diagnosis” initially referred to issues of physical health, today many doctors in the mental health field also use this system of diagnosis.

Diagnosticians specialize in differential diagnosis.

Everybody’s favorite Diagnostician

And who would that be?

Why, House, of course!

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Top Ten Questions about ADD meds

Considering ADD Medication?

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Updated legacy post -orig. 09/12/99

line drawing of a middle-aged doctor with glasses: shoulders and headTen Important Things to find out from your doctor or your pharmacist

First Things First: Doctors are only human — OVERWORKED humans.  They also have a lot of patient information to keep track of.

On top of that, it may take a change or three to titrate meds for each patient (find the right medication, the right dosage, the right timing, etc.).

So it’s always wise to double-check your prescription EVERY time.   Make sure the medication, dosage and timing are the same as last time, and point out anything that’s different before you leave the office.  

When you pick up your medication at your pharmacy, check it again.

So that means you’re gonna’ write down the information the FIRST time, right?
THEN you’re gonna’ transfer it to something you will keep in your wallet – or to your PDA or cellphone – something you always have with you, right?
(while you’re waiting for your very first prescription to be filled is an excellent time to do this, by the way!)

I use “ADD” or ADD/EFD, avoiding the “H” unless I am specifically referring to gross motor hyperactivity.  (Click HERE for why).

NOW, on to those Ten Things . . .

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MGH clients . . .

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I Coach Clients Who . . .

cartoon drawing of woman in coach hat, sunglasses and t-shirt with "mghcoach" on it

     Like every other coach on the planet:

“I work well with people in transition,
both in personal and professional settings.”

Well, duh!  Who doesn’t that include?  

There’s not a soul with breath to fog a mirror who isn’t
experiencing some sort of transition, right?

Yet, when you take the time to think about it more specifically, most coaches tend to attract clients in “categories” clustered around similar types of transitions, which means they are likely to be working on similar types of challenges.

Even though we coaches redefine our “ideal client profile” relatively frequently, even in brand new niches there remains an essential core of familiarity.  It’s fascinating to look back over a decade (oh, alright, several) to attempt to determine what my clients had in common.  It’s an exercise well worth doing annually for any private practitioner.

So, maybe you will recognize yourself among some of the “transition categories” my clients have had in common over the past couple of decades. Read more of this post

How I Coach

Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

My Coach Approach

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I want every one of my clients to enjoy their coaching time, and I firmly believe that only happens in an unconditionally constructive atmosphere.  

Like all coaches, I’ll always encourage your very best efforts. My come-from, however, is that we ALL do the best we can at all times, especially during those times when it could easily look otherwise.

  • I know that on days when my own functional temperature is low, I’m working twice as hard, not half as hard, even if I have little to show for my efforts.
  • I need a coach who will remind me not to beat myself up, not one who will initiate the beatings!

To my mind, anyone who does well with a “tough love” approach is doing so in spite of the approach, not because of it.  I want my clients to develop healthy motivational strategies.

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10 Questions to Ask to find a GRRRRreat! ADD Doc

ADD* & Looking for a Doctor?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Ten great questions to ask in the initial interview

Cartoon of a Doctor in a white lab coat with clipboard, glasses. and doctor's bag

Most of us are desperate for help by the time we look for it. 

ADD affect combined with a shortage of time and money means we often approach the process as beggars at a banquet, accepting a crust of bread as eagerly as a balanced meal.

If you don’t want to have to “Return to GO” when you find out later that things aren’t working (leaving your $200 on the table with the first doctor!), take some time to think first about what you need, and to find out whether your needs will be met by the care provider you are considering.


SEE: ADD: What’s in a Name? for why I don’t use the “H” – even though you ADHD-ers are definitely included in the articles you will find here.

© Updated 2011, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie,CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC-orig. on – 07/05/95

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