ADD / ADHD en de relatie met hamsterenseptember 4, 2020
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Let’s drill down on the thinking styles and behaviors associated with ADD/ADHD as they relate to hoarding. This helps us appreciate how this combination of comorbidities can increase risks which cost you a meaningful quality of life. If these risks remain unresolved, it is just a matter of time until a tipping point develops within the ADD/ADHD affected person who also hoards, which further disables you from becoming overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is not a benign state of being. Overwhelmed creates a vortex of the four D’s associated with hoarding situations: Denial, Discouragement, Dismay, and Dissolution. The compounding effect is inertia.
Hoarding Denial sounds like “The clutter is not that bad. I’ll get to it later. I WILL get to it. Just not now.”
Hoarding Discouragement sounds like “I can’t find my (keys, bank card, bills, passport, etc.) in this mess. I know I have it somewhere here, AHHHHH I hate this mess. My life is chaos! How am I going to explain this to my husband, wife, boss, or children?”
Hoarding Dismay sounds like “This isn’t as simple as I thought it would be. I know that I absolutely need to organize and clean up, but I don’t have the energy or motivation. This is the last time I let this happen. How many times have I said this before? What am I going to do and how am I going to do it?
Hoarding Dissolution sounds like “I don’t know where or how to start? I can’t let anyone find out that I live this way! Soon, someone is going to come to my door, and I’ll have to let them in! I’ll die of shame!”
When a person descends into these states, where wearing blinders become an avoidance strategy, they save themselves from having to look at the hoard for what it is.
At this point in most cases, the solution is not resolvable by oneself.
In previous blogs, I’ve outlined other accompanying physical and mental health conditions which make hoarding more complicated to deal with. Certain unidentified and untreated comorbidities allow hoarding to continue unaddressed until it can develop into a disorder. Each comorbidity creates unique vulnerabilities and therefore unique challenges to conquer the clutter.
Remember, hoarding has three criteria as described in https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/conquer-the-clutter/201909/hoarding-101.
Better storage and organizing is NOT enough!
Let’s start with an ADD/ADHD self assessment and see where you might be on this 4D continuum.
Ask yourself if you are vulnerable to any of the following? Have you frequently thought that you:
- Have trouble concentrating
- Are easily distracted
- Make impulsive choices which you often regret
- Have great difficulty getting and staying organized
- Start many projects but finish few
- Have difficulty listening closely without preparing a critique or response in your head
- Interrupt others when they are still talking
- Habitually feel restless and keep busy because stillness feels uncomfortable
- Forget anything that doesn’t feel urgent “in the moment”
- Feel / believe that you must leave things out where you can see them so you can focus long enough to remember their importance to act on
You don’t have to be hyperactive behaviorally, to have ADD or ADHD. By adulthood, child and adolescent symptoms have often changed or lessened from those experienced in childhood. Quite often, your experience may transition to:
- Poor work performance
- Frequent employment changes due to boredom or disillusionment
- Risk-taking behavior through sex, adrenaline related activities, drug experimentation use, or addiction
- Poor driving record due to speeding and/or accidents
- Poor credit rating due to irregular repayment
- Lack of reasonable financial cushion to anticipate economic downturns often as a result of interrupted job security
- Personal relationship problems resulting from poor self regulation and poor executive functioning
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You may experience the following:
- Poor executive functioning that creates difficulty in controlling impulses and therefore produces unreliably successful outcomes
- Inability to consider past events and lessons learned interferes with the ability to anticipate how past events are connected to future outcomes
- Poor sense of time, or what Jane Burka PhD and Lenora Yuen PhD describe in their book “Procrastination, Why You Do It, What to Do About It Now” is a struggle between objective Clock Time and subjective Wishful Time
- Experiencing intense focus on what is in front of you at the expense of the larger picture
- The need to read and reread material to understand it instead of relying primarily on auditory learning methods
- Low frustration tolerance which creates a constant internal distraction to manage feelings of boredom, stress, panic, shame, threat of discovery, looming or missed deadlines, sadness, self recrimination and other activities associated with self recovery from agitation and feeling like you are flawed or a failure
Many of these feelings and concerns have been shared by clients who felt flawed and broken. They expressed that their ADD and ADHD vulnerabilities were not necessarily barriers to the self esteem and life they wanted. With the right information, effective strategies, self-reflection, and deliberate effort they could accept themselves for their uniqueness, understand it, and build the outcomes they wanted.
Stay tuned for ADD/ADHD strategies in our next blog. What works and what doesn’t? How can you plan and problem solve your way to meaningful personal outcomes?
Burka, Jane, and Lenora Yuen. 2008. Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do about It Now. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.