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Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder [Paperback]

Edward M. Hallowell , John J. Ratey
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 13 2011
Groundbreaking and comprehensive, Driven to Distraction has been a lifeline to the approximately eighteen million Americans who are thought to have ADHD. Now the bestselling book is revised and updated with current medical information for a new generation searching for answers.
Through vivid stories and case histories of patients—both adults and children—Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.

Frequently Bought Together

Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder + Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder + You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
Price For All Three: CDN$ 41.12

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“A very readable, highly informative and helpful book.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Conversational in tone, encyclopedic in content, and, best of all, utterly convincing because of its grounding in clinical experience, Driven to Distraction should make Attention Deficit Disorder comprehensible even to the most distractible reader.”—Peter D. Kramer, M.D., author of Listening to Prozac 
“This is an important and much-needed book! Wise, practical, and reassuring.” —Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., author of Endangered Minds and Different Learners
“The first comprehensive book on the subject for the lay reader.” —The Boston Globe

About the Author

Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., is in private practice in adult and child psychiatry and has offices in both the Boston area and New York City. He lives with his wife, Sue, and children, Lucy, Jack, and Tucker. 
John J. Ratey, M.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is in private practice. He lives in the Boston area. 

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read so far on ADHD ! Feb. 25 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This should be considered a must-read for those that have ADHD. A strong overview of everything you should know once you've been diagnosed. The chapter on family dynamics was eerily accurate. Not a lot of the book focuses in depth coping mechanisms or where to go beyond diagnosis, but what an awesome place to start. I've already recommended it to others and just finished it today.

Compassionate, educational, and thorough examination of ADHD. I can't recommend it more highly!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provided excellent insights in the condition of ADD. It is written for everyone and clearly provides value understanding of the extremely troubling experiences associated with this condition. As a clinical social worker, working with many adolescents and adults living with ADD, in combination with many other serious disorders, I have gained a much better understanding of each individual's experience and adaptive difficulties. i would rank this book as comparable in its value with Gabor Mate's book Scrambled minds although it provides a somewhat different perspective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 17 2014
By Mac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Exactly what I want and I received a fast service, A-1!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  154 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's what I've been looking for! March 15 2012
By Stephanie - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have struggled with ADD for a very long time. I have known for awhile that I have it, but I had no idea how much of my life it affected. I found the stories of ADD at different ages very helpful, because I found myself in them for each stage of life and the struggles I encountered. Looking back, I realized that I am not defective, I'm just built differently. I have learned new ways to communicate with people, to approach problems, and even how to look back on my life. I found a lot of healing within these pages.

I had a lot of pain growing up and thought there was something very wrong with me. This led to many instances of depression, self-esteem issues, suicidal ideation, isolation, anger, and self recrimination. Why couldn't I just get it together? Why was I angry so often? (one story was particularly illuminating--in which the therapist asks the guy WHY he has so much anger and he says it's from many years of built-up frustration. It made so much sense.) Why couldn't I stay motivated in school or work? Why am I so scattered and disorganized?

I was born in 1980...ADHD research was still in its infancy, and so my symptoms weren't recognized. I remember one kid that was diagnosed as having it and everybody made fun of him and I was under the impression that it was an excuse. As I got into adulthood, I remember seeing a commercial for adult ADHD that put a name on what I was experiencing, but still tried to deny it was a problem. This has had wide-ranging effects on my life that I didn't even realize. Through this book, I have found that there is no shame in choosing to take medication or seeking out coaching or therapy. I have found a new appreciation for my creative ADHD brain and a way to approach awkward situations with humor so people can understand me better. I have also reached out to many people that I fear I may have alienated in my past or hurt with my impulsive behavior. I have rebuilt many bridges and mended friendships and even my family.

This is not a made-up disorder. It's not laziness and cannot just be overcome by sheer willpower. I've tried. I eventually run out of steam and it took so much effort to keep it going for so long that when I ran out of steam, my motivation and willpower to do just about anything went out the window. I'm so grateful to the authors of this book. I found so many answers that I have been looking for for so long. I didn't even realize this was the answer I was searching for, even though it was in front of my face for a very long time.

Thank you SO much for the detailed descriptions that explain how ADHD affects ALL areas of life. Thank you also for the case histories that I could relate to and feel like I wasn't alone. Excellent book and VERY highly recommended for sufferers of adult ADHD, or those that choose to be in relationship with someone that has it.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book June 11 2014
By de villa - Published on
This book has been instrumental in helping me with my ADD, and has even helped me to start kicking my Adderall habit. I also found a great OTC Adderall replacement to use in conjunction with the techniques in this book. You can find it on Amazon, it’s called NeuroNRG NeuroNRG – Mental Focus and Energy Supplement.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Sh.., I have ADHD Oct. 6 2012
By BA from CT - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book for anybody who wants to learn about ADHD. It was only after reading this book that I broke down and got myself tested. I was one of the many people that thought ADHD was an excuse for people with a lack of discipline and will power. I have never been more wrong in my entire life. I only wish I had known about it earlier. It could have saved my family and I a lot of heart ache and pain, not to mention money. It really is a tragedy to have gone through so many frustrating episodes in your life and find out that they probably could have been prevented or at least mitigated to some degree.

The best part of this book is the real life examples that the author describes. If you have ADHD, they will defenitely hit home. One in particular felt like it was taken straight from my life. ADHD is a tricky disorder because there's no definitive test for it. In fact, ADHD is really not a good name for it because the hyper activity wears off as you get older. I think it should be called something like Executive Function Disorder. That to me is a more accurate description. Executive Function is really what is lacking. The inability to follow through with goals, get organized, and multi-task. The name belittles the condition.

The one thing that is still a mystery to me is why it is so prevelent today. How is it possible that there is such an increase in people who have it? I hope one day there's an answer. While I think it's ridiculous when I hear people say they're grateful they have ADHD, I am grateful that the treatment and medication really does work for the vast majority of people. That's really the only good news.

I can also understand somebody's hesitency about taking medication. Who wants to take pills that alter your brain. I don't. All I can say is that habitual underachievement whether academically, socially, or monetarily isn't good for your brain either. Your a fool if you don't give it a chance. Exercise really does help and is almost as important as the medication. If you have ADHD and you're not exercising than you're just as foolish as somebody who won't give medication a try. Since ADHD is basically a lack of dopamine in your brain and exercise is guarenteed to increase dopamine in your brain you don't need to go to medical school to understand why it's a good idea. My aim is to take as little medication as possible. I think of exercise as a natural dopamine supplement. Less medication equels less potential for negative side effects. Exercise will also help with any kind of depression and self esteem issues you might have as a result of not accomplishing what you want out of life, thanks in part to the disorder. In closing, I think every responsible parent should educate themselves on this topic. I certainly wish mine had. You don't need to read a book on it to become aware of what to look for. If my parents had known about it, they would have avoided an incredible amount of anger and frustration. The book lays it all out there. It was important for me to read it.
49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A solid "eh": not exactly what I expected. July 21 2012
By bouncy mouse - Published on
I've known about my ADHD for a very long time (since I was 7 - I'm now 23). I've had better and worse moments throughout my life, but my recent step into "REAL!" adulthood and living on my own has, at times, brought out the worst in my motivation, distractibility, and organization. These issues pushed me to look for books that would not only explain my situation (hopefully from a new perspective), but also give me concrete, useful, and detailed solutions/ideas to fix said issues. I saw this book when I was searching, but decided not to buy it and ordered two others instead. Two days later, while babysitting, I saw this exact book sitting on the shelf. I pulled it out once the kid went to sleep to see if I had missed out by not buying it. I didn't read the entire thing in the few hours I had, but I got through most of it pretty thoroughly, and skimmed the parts I didn't get to. So with that being said, take my review with a grain of salt: I did not read it cover to cover. I read enough, however, to feel that I could give a relatively decent and intelligent review.

My Reactions:
(-) From an aesthetic standpoint, this is not really an ADHD-friendly book. I was on my medication and I wasn't even able to read entire chapters without wanting to skip through crap. It's just page after page after page of text, which gets really boring really fast. Big things that bothered me: (A) There are no chapter summaries. (B) There are no chapter previews. With chapters as long and dense as his are, having at least one of these two things (previews/summaries), if not both, would have been REALLY helpful. (C) I didn't find the ways in which the sub-sections of chapters were organized all that helpful. I wasn't sure when (or if) to expect them in any chapter, and I was never sure what they would be about (more on this in my next point). There was also, at times, so much text between sections of the sub-sections that I didn't even remember what he was talking about to begin with. It doesn't have to look like a children's book, with colors and pictures and cartoon turtles holding signs listing the five main points, but honestly? ....I wouldn't say "no" to a turtle or two, as long as it succinctly summarized what it took the author seven pages to explain, because the information was generally good!

(-) Maybe it's just me, but I needed more structure to the chapters. They read like stories, which is great, except that I was never really able to get a firm grasp on (and continue to remember) the point of each chapter while I was reading it. It felt like I was reading Huckleberry Finn (or whatever) for school; I'd finish an enjoyable chapter, but then suddenly have to figure out the overlying theme. Huck sailed down the river, yes, but WHY?! WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! It's been about 3 hours since I last looked at the book, and all I really remember content-wise are a bunch of unrelated case study stories. I know there were themes to each chapter, but I didn't feel like I GOT them, if that makes sense. (And for the record, because I know I would think it if I were reading this, I don't struggle with reading comprehension or anything like that.)

(+/-) Oh, and about the case studies... DANG there are a lot of them. The (+) about this: yes, it is comforting and reassuring to see myself in some of these examples and stories. I recognize my problems in someone else's story, and go "Oh thank God, I'm not alone!" They were also pretty entertaining. At first. Then they started to get old... The (-) about this: they got old. There are only so many times I can go "OH YAY, I'M NOT ALONE!!!". Eventually I start saying, "Okay... soooooo can you give me some LEGITIMATE ways to deal with the problems these people are having? How did they fix them??" Story after story doesn't give me solutions; it tells me that someone had problems, and then they were fixed! Hurrah! He talks about some solutions for this stuff at the end of the book, but.... we have ADHD... by the time we get to the end of the bok, we can't remember the case studies well enough to connect them with the proposed solutions. It would have been much more helpful if he added the solutions to each of the case study's problems at the end of each case study (or chapter) AND a big "summary solution" chapter at the end.

(-) I honestly don't think I've ever said this about an author because I don't think m/any do something like this on purpose, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I sorta felt like he was just showing me all the great examples of how he has successfully helped people with ADHD via case study stories. It was almost like guarded previews of where 15 therapy sessions with him might get you. The issue I have with this is that it's discouraging, to me. It was like, "Hey look - these people were successful after sessions in therapy with me and practicing good habits they learned in therapy, and this and that, and also the other, and...." It was deceptive, because at first I felt like I WAS getting something out of all his case study stories! But then, the more I thought about what I was reading, the more I felt like I WASN'T getting anything out of it. I was getting bits and pieces of things he had done with clients, and suggestions (keep a strict schedule, slowly incorporate new routines into your current one, etc.) but never the whole thing. Maybe that's just a personal problem though, haha.

(-) Didn't feel like the book actually gave me any good solutions for the symptoms ADHD. He suggests that you tell your boss about it to improve your work experience, but then doesn't tell you how. HOWWWW?! Seriously! It would be important to know HOW to tell the guy who SIGNS YOUR PAYCHECKS that you might be "screwing up" (per se) all the time... arriving late, turning things in late, forgetting meetings, etc. Yes, your boss needs to know. How do you tell him?!? The author suggests to be patient, be prepared to counter misconceptions, etc., and that's all fine and dandy, but it really doesn't tell me a damn thing that I don't already know. Also, "keep lists" and "stick to a schedule", etc. ....yeah, if those worked I wouldn't be here looking for a book to help me. Normal people do that without problems. ADHD people can't do that without problems. Tell me HOW do to that without having problems.

So ultimately, I don't think this is a bad book. Am I glad I didn't buy it? Yes. I feel like I didn't get enough structured and concrete examples/explanations of how to solve my ADHD problems, which is what I was expecting to get. It more felt like I was being comforted for not being alone with my problems, and that they are solvable through being organized by keeping a schedule in a planner! Maybe it's just a difference of what I needed vs. what this book gave me, or maybe I just missed all the good parts, or missed all the parts that actually included the things I disliked about the book. I am indeed looking for very specific advice about how to deal with the issues I'm having, and maybe this book just isn't that. For what it's worth, I did order (and am very excited to receive) Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized, which is much different than this book. But regardless of what I am/was looking for, I quite honestly didn't find this book all that helpful. It was an enjoyable read for the stories, and had some useful information, but I feel like it was lacking somewhat.

I do, however, appear to be in the minority, so maybe it's just me :)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star book, everyone should consider reading and then read it. Dec 2 2012
By Skeed - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a learning specialist who has specialised in Dyslexia, ADD and the like.

If this book was read by everyone it would help everyone get on better and understand ADHD and the like.

It is really easy to read or listen to if you have a Kindle touch for you who do Dyslexia or just those who prefer to be read to than read. May I add here the text to voice reader in the Kindle is worlds better than any other I have tried and I have tried quite a few.

Anyhow this is a must read book.

Just take into account not everyone is in agreement with medication and as it says in the book it is a very personal decision.
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