ADHD Accountability

A participant in an  ADHD Parenting Course run by Shannon Pluke posed this interesting question; Can people be responsible for their own ADHD?


This is Dave Pughe-Parry's response to Shannon.

The short answer to your question is the vast majority of ADDers (those who have ADD / ADHD) will take ownership when 2 things are in place:

  • When they have defined goals themselves. There is a whole process that I take my clients through that starts with attitude, how to make decisions using the right criteria, and how to think in the right. sequence. There are two types of goals, fuzzy and specific.
  • When their self esteem has risen to a sufficient level to be able to make mistakes and fail forward, rather than crumbling.

These are ADHD-centric life skills which provide a wonderful platform to take control of their time, and do to their world productively, rather than reacting what they think the world is doing to them.

This outline above is only the beginning - a foundation to manage their mind speak, how to plan, know how to start tasks and projects, how to pace themselves, how to manage expectations in themselves and others, and many more.

The question is both unfortunate and opportune. Unfortunate in that there is a harsh implication that we somehow are deliberately not taking responsibility, and/or couldn't care about the consequences.

I grab hold of every one of these opportunities to try and change that attitude, to change that kind of judgementalism about something that is "natural" to us, until we have a series of "aha-moments" and we learn how to take responsibility for our condition.

It is the implied message(s) in the question that does so much emotional damage.

jigsaw puzzleLook at the story of the well educated woman who was 35 years old before she realised that the pieces of the puzzle with the straight edges went on the edges of the puzzle. Just imagine the humiliation of that discovery.

There is one extremely important point to make each time; ADHD is a neurological condition, not a psychological one. Ultimately, no matter how many of the psychological consequences are sorted out or managed, the underlying neurological causative factors remain, these lead to the same problems re-occurring. This is the reason for medication, because it enables the behaviour changes.

To complicate this even further, not everybody is the same, or lives in the same environments.

The course that you are running is part of getting this responsibility entrenched as soon as possible. Remember that 4 out 5 children with ADHD have at least one parent with the condition. That is why a meta-study of 55 other studies showed that parent training was more effective than medication. This could be the third condition that needs to be in place.

You can see from the above that taking responsibility is not a switch that is flicked. It is a process that stops and starts, sometimes with larger periods of time in-between, before it becomes entrenched.

There is nothing in the literature that explains this besides delinquent dopamines. The results of that process coupled with negative environmental factors such as ADHD parents, little understanding from educators on how to deal with it effectively, economic status, and so on.

I hope this helps.

Know The Jargon - ADHD Acronyms

ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD

ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder

CD - Conduct Disorder

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression 

SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder

ACT -  Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®