My son has been spiraling out of control over the past several months. He’s a smart thirteen-year-old, who scored high on all the state tests, but because of his chronic forgetfulness and disorganization, he’s failing nearly every class. Part of my frustration is that we sit together and do homework almost every night. I see it getting done. I check it. And I make sure it gets in his bag. From there, who knows what happens! Some how, some way, it never gets turned in and he gets a big fat F. Sure, all eighth-graders are forgetful and disorganized. It’s a normal stage of development. But multiply that scenario by 50, and throw in inattentiveness, lack of motivation, easily distracted and chronically bored unless something phenomenal is happening. Mix. Stir. It’s a recipe for ADD. ANd yet, I have been avoiding labeling him for so long. I didn’t want to fall into what I considered the ADD trap–diagnosing my son with a “disorder” only to have him carry that burden around with him for the rest of his life. But I knew something had to be done.
Along with a slew of other things that I put in place to help my son, one was reading a book about ADD. Sure, we all know the obvious, stereotypical traits of ADD and ADHD, but I wanted a deeper perspective. That’s when I started reading Edward Hallowell’s book Delivered from Distraction and–are you still with me–that’s when I learned that ADD and Love Addiction are intertwined.
Hallowell states that statistically, ADDers have the highest ratio of addicts. That includes alcoholics, drug addicts, love addicts, overeaters, and so on. Why? Part of the reason, he explains, is that ADDers have an “itch” they need to scratch. That a typical trait of someone with attention deficit disorder is not only impulsivity (jumping into to bed with someone way before it’s reasonable, falling in love fast, etc.) but boredom– a sense that getting into a little trouble (or getting high off love) is the perfect remedy for a massive desire to feel ALIVE.
This concept nearly blew me away. I was chronically “bored” as a kid. I was always in need of something or someone to make me feel alive. I was withdrawn and inattentive in class, got F’s all the time in high school (later in life I went on to graduate college Magna cum laude, but it took years to finally hunker down and finish school), and I would constantly start something and never finish it (I hate to say it, but this post almost didn’t make it. I am still the same way). And yet, I was never disorganized or hyperactive or forgetful, so I never considered myself ADD. But the truth is, whether I am or not, I know I have some of the characteristics of ADD and it is a great direction to go in to learn more about myself.
I felt it was important to share this with you all as well. I’m certainly not suggesting that all love addicts have ADD. But, if you are a love addict, take a look at your history. Question whether or not there may be a correlation. Can you relate to feeling the overwhelming need to scratch an unidentifiable “itch”? If anything, read the chapter in Delivered from Distraction called “The Itch at the Core of ADD” I have a gut feeling this will resonate with many! And by all means, let me know your thoughts!!!