Labeling? Do you want to be labeled? — ADD Tip o the Day 490

New Controversy

More recent controversy about ADD ADHD – about the harm of “labeling”.  

Is there a difference between a label and a diagnosis?

Boy, when I got a label I grabbed it and held on – “Oh, I have ADD!  Now I understand why all the index cards, why I couldn’t make model planes, why I killed the pregnant guppy.”

It was such a relief to make sense of it, and it gave me a more focused approach to making things better once I knew what I was dealing with.


Everyone is labeled, automatically

When I worked in the emergency room, I taught that everyone gets labelled but we can chose with what:  “He’s not the suicidal patient; he’s the temporarily unemployed carpenter.” or   “He’s not the neglectful father, he’s the hardworking fisherman.”

Then we would use metaphors from the labels to work with people.


My labels:

“I’m not the guy who never finishes things; I’m the guy who is learning to cope successfully with ADD.”


From Oren on labeling:

  • Oren Mason

    Author and Educational Speaker

    “Doug, some parents in my practice were conferring with their son’s teacher about a recommendation to undergo diagnosis for an apparent attention problem. The parents objected, “But we don’t want anyone to label our son.” The teacher responded, “He’s already collecting a lot of labels that you might not like, such as “lazy”, “unmotivated”, “class clown” and “weird”. Wouldn’t you prefer that his issues receive a label from someone who has his best interest at heart and can help him deal with the issues?””

    I love it!!


    Moral o the Day : The more of us who come out, the less stigma there will be.

    Quote o the Day:  “People tend to act the way we expect them to act.”

    on labeling theory

    If you missed Jerry Bair’s good tips on improving

    add,adhd,adult add,adult adhd,attention,deficit,label,labeling,diagnosis

    “A rose is a rose is a — Look! – is that an orchid?”


About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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5 Responses to Labeling? Do you want to be labeled? — ADD Tip o the Day 490

  1. Well said! I like to think in terms of “distinctions” rather than “labels” — but we are saying the same thing: knowing what you are dealing with is the key to moving on with power.

    “Can’t” and “won’t” are quite different things — only the first one allows us to figure out what we CAN do to work *around* what we “can’t.” Without THAT particular distinction, we’re forever tethered to the “stop this nonsense and just try harder” treadmill, which is a recipe for lousy self-esteem leading to a lousy life.

    With the ability to reframe that comes with looking our challenges squarely in their beady little eyes, we have what we need to be able to begin (at last!) to move onward and upward. And everybody’s for THAT, right?
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. homemakersdaily says:

    I love that, too. Labels can be very good!


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