As the saying goes, “Time sure flies when you’re having fun.” It’s hard to believe that it has been more than 30 years since I first began studying and treating ADD and 26 years since I published my first best-selling edition of Pay Attention.
I have now participated in the care of more than 10,000 children, adolescents, and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have seen some of them regularly for more than 20 years. This has given me a chance to watch ADD evolve across the lifespan from early childhood to late adult life.
While this experience has probably contributed to the graying of my hair, it has also made me much wiser about ADD, its varying manifestations, its impact on health and well-being, and its chronic, unremitting nature. I have also gained more insight about why ADD can be so difficult to recognize and accept, and how empathy and caring from loved ones cal lead to enabling and unhealthy codependency.
The basic philosophy and principles that I have used to address problems like ADD remain the same today as they were more than three decades ago when I first started working with ADD. This solid foundation has been a stabilizing force that has made it easier to absorb and integrate the many changes that have occurred within the ADD field and in health care in general. Despite sophisticated technological advances that have refined our understanding about the biological underpinnings of ADD, diagnosing it remains a clinical art that requires a systematic approach, effective communication skills, and time.
Similarly, even though we have many more medication options available to us to treat ADD, successful management is still best achieved by employing a systematic approach that embraces the unique characteristics of each ADD individual and strives to provide symptom relief in all life arenas throughout the waking day.
Over the past 30 years, I have also had a variety of exciting professional activities out of the office, which have enriched my perspective about ADD. I have visited the offices of hundreds of primary care physicians in order to teach them how to identify and treat ADD and, in turn, have gained a greater appreciation regarding the barriers they face in trying to meet the needs of this challenging group of individuals.
I have been privileged to lecture about ADD to numerous lay and professional audiences from Florida to Alaska. I was invited to make a presentation entitled: “TRANSACT: Toward a Standard of Care for ADD” at one of the first international conferences about research and practice in ADD in Jerusalem, Israel. I recently helped establish an ADD clinic, Servyr, in El Salvador using the same principles and procedures that I have found so successful in my practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of working with Lisa Ling and her production team as they highlighted the diagnostic and treatment strategies of The Being Well Center in Lisa’s docu-series “Our America” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Lisa’s passion for the investigation stemmed from her personal quest to determine, “Could ADHD be the cause of my struggles?” The positivity and enthusiasm Lisa and her team exhibited were noteworthy as I guided her through The Being Well System diagnosis.
These experiences, along with many others, have reinforced the fact that ADD is a common, serious problem that can be found everywhere. All this means that there is an even greater need today for a practical resource like Pay Attention than there was when I wrote the first edition almost 30 years ago. I hope and pray that, by sharing my experience through this upcoming Pay Attention blog series, I can positively affect some of the millions of individuals around the world whose lives are touched by ADD.
Pay Attention to our upcoming blog posts…I’ll dive into some of the most compelling issues surrounding the controversies of living with and successfully treating ADD/ADHD. Together, we’ll raise awareness and acceptance of this disorder. We’re starting something exciting with ADD.
Dr. Craig Liden, MD is the Founder and Medical Director of The Being Well Center, an ADD/ADHD diagnostic and treatment center located in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Liden’s first book, Pay Attention, along with his other publications, are available for purchase at The Being Well Center.