Individuals with ADD seem to have a greater frequency of extreme temperamental characteristics, those inborn behavioral response patterns that shape how an individual approaches and responds to life’s events and circumstances.
The most common temperamental extremes identified in individuals with ADD appear to be high activity level, low threshold of response, high intensity of reaction, negative mood, slow adaptability, short persistence, and unpredictability of basic bodily functions such as eating, sleeping, and bowel habits.
This means that people with ADD tend demonstrate a short fuse, a low frustration tolerance, a tendency to demonstrate temper outbursts, and difficulty adjusting to change. In addition, they often seem more excitable, sensitive, cranky, and unpredictable.
Why is it that so many individuals with ADD seem to have extreme temperaments?
It may be that individuals with ADD come into the world with a greater number of these temperamental extremes. However, it is also possible that these behaviors seem to be more common in individuals with ADD because their attentional differences interfere with their awareness of and ability to control these built-in personality characteristics.
That is, it may be that extremes in temperament such as high activity level, high intensity, low threshold, negative mood, slow adaptability, and short persistence occur just as frequently in the non-ADD populations as in the ADD population.
In order to exert control over these temperamental characteristics, an individual must be aware of his extremes, monitor his behavior, and develop effective ways to keep his extremes in check. As this requires efficient monitoring, problem-solving, vigilance, and impulse control, it is likely that individuals with ADD will struggle with their temperament more frequently and as a consequence, demonstrate these characteristics more often.
What’s your experience with ADD and Extreme Temperaments? Do you or a loved one fall strongly on one end or another of the temperament spectrum? The Being Well Center follows The Being Well System, which looks beyond the symptoms of ADD/ADHD to take into account a person’s in-born temperament traits. Treating the whole person is crucial to a successful ADD/ADHD treatment. Talk to your doctor or care provider about your temperament traits.