You Can Keep Your @#$##@@ Benefits! – – – ADD Tip O the Day 575

Different Opinions About the Benefits of ADD ADHD

Yes, we do have different opinions and viewpoints, not surprising, and I appreciate all the comments. And I respect all the opinions, but –

Here are my responses, from my viewpoint:

1. ADD ADHD gives us the gift of creativity

Yes, I believe we tend to be more creative, and I value my creativity. But it’s not that much of a benefit if I’m trying to create all kinds of things at one time and can’t get anything done.

2. ADD ADHD gives us a wide range of interests

Yes, but I’m interested in so many things that I find it hard to set priorities and learn anything in depth – “I know a little bit about a lot of things –” (song from before your time).  It’s hard to let anything go. Right now I’m into songwriting; and enjoying it, but think there will be very little return. And there are better uses of my time.

3. ADD ADHD helps us think outside the box.

Yes, that’s a gift, but sometimes I blurt out off-the-wall things, and often I find it hard to do things just the regular way, which might be the most efficient way,, which might be the reason that it’s the regular way.

4. ADD ADHD gives us compassion.

Well, maybe. Maybe any kind of chronic problem or handicap would give us compassion?  But I think if I’m too tied up and struggling to just get through the day, manage the hassles and sort out the problems I have caused for myself, I may not have much time, energy, or attention left over for compassion for anyone else’s problems; I may not notice them at all.

5. ADD ADHD gives us hyperfocus.

Yes, I love it when I can hyperfocus on something and be really productive – if it is on something that is in fact productive and not a tangent or waste of time, and if I can unconnect from it when necessary.



Sorry if the title was offensive.  Was that an example of impulsive blurting out poor judgement or a shrewd hyperfocused creative way to get your attention?

Add,adhd,adult add,adult adhd,add controversy,adhd controversy,attention deficit,benefits,gifts





 Review of ADD ADHD benefits posts and comments:

one two    

And here’s a copy of the discussion:

Responses to Benefits of ADD ADHD — ADD Tip O the Day 568


  1. I consider ADD a gift at least for me. It helps me see different perspectives, come up with twisty connections for things “Normal” people wouldn’t consider connected, helps me get interested in all sorts of cool things and see how other people can enjoy those things. I love it when I get hyperfocused on a project and dealing with ADD has helped me find yet one more reason I need to get regular exercise (that reason actually finally got me to exercise regularly!)
    Yes, dealing with the downside of ADD can be a pain. Going after every “shiny” thing keeps me from getting the things done that I care about. But I still manage to get a few things finished here and there and life goes on. I would never trade what I’ve been given with my ADD, problems and all, for being “normal”. I’m pretty spoiled though. I think my ADD helps in too many ways that the normal literature doesn’t seem to quantify.

  2. I agree – it’s not a gift. I’d much rather NOT have it or have the option, like you said, of returning it! But it is what it is. I guess thinking of it as a gift makes it less offensive and easier to swallow.


  3. The only time my ADHD is a gift is when I become microfocused on something that I actually need to get done! That rarely happens. Usually I microfocus on whatever shiny thing is most entertaining at the moment.

  4. D K Powell says:

    I can see both sides to this! I loved the quote at the end – that is so very me! The great thing about living in Bangladesh was that no one uses their given name – everyone is ‘brother’ or ‘aunty’ and so on. It made life very easy for me!

    I DO see my ADHD as a gift but that’s because it enables me to work at very high speed and have interests in many, many fascinating subject (several of which gave me a wonderfully varied career as a teacher and now come in useful to me as a freelance writer). I’m not unaware of my issues (ask my wife to find out ALL of them 😉 ) but overall if you could give me a pill to make it go away I wouldn’t take it. I love my ADHD – its the best present life/God/fate ever gave me 🙂

    • ken – thank you for showing the other side. I too like the hyper work when i can focus it and the varied interests when i can do anything with any of them instead of trying to ride off in all directions at once, and when I’m not trying to schedule 36 hours of stuff to do into 12 hours of wake time and when I can prioritize the ones that will pay off, but I wonder if my issues don’t outweigh my benefits. I’m not sure, I also like the creativity.
      So if the pill took away the ADD, would it also take away all the good things? Probably?
      I think I would take it.
      however, that is not an option because there is no such pill, so I’m happy with the Ritalin. That helps me focus enough to get some things done and doesn’t take away anything, and helps me focus enough to use the strategies to cope with the other stuff.
      Thank you for your insightful comment.

  5. Gail – I hope tomorrow will be much better. Just because we can cope and survive. I don’t think that makes it a gift? If my legs amputated, and I learned to walk on a prosthesis, does that make the amputation a gift?
    But, on the other hand, I agree, there are a lot of things much worse than ADD ADHD, so we can be grateful.
    Thank you for commenting.

  6. Gail B says:

    Interesting concept. Not sure about ADHD being a gift. On the days when life does not go as planned, such as forgetting an important task, I am reminded (again and again) that I have to take extra measures to survive in the world. Perhaps ADHD is a gift when you actively participate in surving the common everyday events? But then, I know so many different people who have to adjust for something. I do feel fortunate at times that I can usually deal with life’s events by adding structure.

    Today was not one of the better days.

    After talking to a close friend about this whole gift thing and saying I would gladly lose my depression, she (who also struggles with depression even more than I do) said that the depression gives us compassion. I think that is true for ADD and all sorts of other things that we struggle with. A Priest once told me to be thankful for the things that go “wrong” as well as the things that go “right”. That is a very difficult one for me, but it really helps me to see that things do turn around and some things that seemed very “wrong” eventually turn and blossom in ways I could never have imagined. A crazy metaphor for this is I have been practicing running barefoot on gravel to help my running form (which has always been lousy) become smooth and learn not to pound. Who in their right mind would look for sharp gravel when barefoot? It has helped so much though! Go figure.
    Thank you Doug for a great blog!
    All the best,

    • Scott – thank you for great comments!
      Yes, I’ve seen many things that I thought were really bad turn out to have been blessings in disguise. Or at least to work out okay in the end. My ADD has not been one of those yet.
      Depression maybe teaches compassion, after it is over. Usually when we’re depressed, we are miserable and pretty much focused on ourselves and our misery, and not compassionate at all.
      barefoot on gravel?
      Wow! Good for you.
      Thank you for commenting.

    • Love the running on gravel example, Scott. I do agree that having ADD/ADHD (or anything difficult) helps us to be more compassionate. The people who don’t seem to have many issues don’t tend to be very understanding of those who do. I came across someone like that recently and was amazed at how little compassion she had.

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.
This entry was posted in add, ADD problems or symptoms, adhd, ADHD problems, attitudes, controversies, dysfunctions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to You Can Keep Your @#$##@@ Benefits! – – – ADD Tip O the Day 575

  1. Pingback: Tales from the ADD Dark Side | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: An Excess of Blessings From ADD ADHD – – – ADD Tip O the Day 582 | ADDadultstrategies

  3. Pingback: Do We Really Need More Controversy About ADD ADHD Benefits and Gifts? — ADD ADHD Tip O the Day 481 | ADDadultstrategies

  4. betsydavenport says:

    ADD never did anything for me. I’m just glad I have the extra IQ points to compensate, somewhat, for the ways in which it makes me less capable in daily life, creativity, pursuing my interests, and assorted other things. ADD didn’t give me compassion; only the compassionate have compassion, and some of them have ADD. Some do not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • betsy-
      I’m not that grateful for my ADD either. Maybe I would have some creativity without it, who knows? but if i could, then the creativity would be a greater gift because i’d be able to use it more effectively without the ADD getting in the way.
      as always, thank you for commenting.


  5. I didn’t notice this comment the first time I read this: “But I think if I’m too tied up and struggling to just get through the day, manage the hassles and sort out the problems I have caused for myself, I may not have much time, energy, or attention left over for compassion for anyone else’s problems; I may not notice them at all.” YES!!! It takes so much effort just to get through the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m with you, kid! (and have blogged about it on ADDandSoMuchMore)

    While there certainly ARE creative “benefits” to the ADD/EFD brainstyle – I don’t think it is helpful (or realistic) to pretend that there are NOT a significant number of challenges that limit life – if only for the t-i-m-e it takes to overcome them, work around them, explain or apologize for them – etc. and get back on task.

    I don’t know if I would give up the advantages of an ADD brain, but I would certainly like to see a GREAT deal more awareness and acknowledgment of the difficulties of living with it!! Some days it makes me howl in frustration to read post after post about how wonderful it is to o have an ADD brain!!

    Not sure if the “ADD is a gift” folks are trying to appear positive or their meds work better than mine (and most of my clients’) – but I’m here to tell anyone who will listen that it takes some working with to keep your life on track (over and above what’s necessary for “vanilla” brains – which I’ve also coached/trained)

    Appreciate your article – pinning your graphic – and will backlink to related post on my blog (eventually ::grin:: – I’ll ping you)

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”


  7. JM says:

    I don’t see having ADHD as a gift. If it’s in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DISORDERS it’s not a gift. Over time I’ve learned to find positive things that result from having ADHD however, I believe that people with any mental disorder or physical limitation can find something positive.
    There are people whose ADHD has been a burden in their lives, it is unfair to tell them they have a gift. Would you give someone the gift of ADHD?

    Liked by 1 person

    • JM-
      good thinking!
      – If it’s in the DSM, it’s not a gift, and would I give it to someone as a gift? Excellent points.
      to emphasize the latter and go to the extreme, with genetic engineering now, would you choose to give your unborn child ADD ADHD?
      thank you for commenting.
      Thank you for commenting. Doug


  8. busydarling says:

    Simply put: they don’t put gifts in the DSM.

    I go up and down on this; but from where I stand normal seems dull.

    Probably only because I have ADHD

    Liked by 1 person

    • busy–
      good to hear from you! Right, if it’s in DSM, it’s not a gift.
      On the days when I’m functioning pretty well, those rare days, I feel, and seemed fairly normal, but life does not seem dull to me. I have so much to do and so many interesting things – but again, is that from the ADD ADHD itself?
      I am not addicted to the excitement drama, turmoil and chaos, though.
      thank you for commenting, as always.
      I love comments.


      • busydarling says:

        I’m easily bored with a life which others seem happy with, I keep craving excitement and adventure. Not so much the negative tension, thanks.

        Normal: straight line thinking, one thing at a time, that kind of thing seems dull to me, but probably wouldn’t if I didn’t have ADHD. In the same way normal people think it must be horribly tiring to have my brain and ask me if I wouldn’t enjoy ‘nice and quiet’ for longer than 10 mins.

        I guess ADHD is not a ‘gift’ but we were dealt that card in life, focusing on the perks is just a way to play the cards we were dealt.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Scott Marckx says:

    Thanks Doug!
    I Love this post! It is real. I’m falling behind in all of the things I am supposed to do and it feels like swimming in mollasses, only not so sweet. Then I finally got out to the shop and I got side tracked while trying to clean up, by a stove project for my boat…I need to get real work done, yesterday! Actually several months ago…
    I still look at my ADD as a gift though. Bottom line, for all my “problems” I look around and I wouldn’t want anyone elses life but mine. There’s never a boring moment and I get to play with all these cool ideas in my head, even if I never actually do most of them. I did finish building a boat, even if it took way longer than most people and the sail rig that I haven’t done is becoming a joke with my friends. It rows nice.
    Doug, you finished a book, actually two books. They have helped a lot of people, me included. What would you have written about if you didn’t have this problem staring you in the face every day that needs to be dealt with by coming up with strategies? You have turned it into a blessing. Isn’t that what we are all called to do?
    Thank you for doing that, wether your ADD is a curse or a blessing you made it a little more manageable for some of the rest of us.
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott –
      thank you for the kind comments. I am always grateful and delighted to hear that the books and the blogger been helpful.
      I am very impressed that you built a boat, and with ADD ADHD, finishing anything is an achievement. I don’t think it’s a good idea to compare ourselves to other people – sometimes I find myself comparing my guitar playing to someone else and get discouraged, and then realize that the other person is a professional guitarist. How many hours a day do they practice?
      Yes, I like the creativity and the wide interests, etc., but do they balance the frustration, turmoil and chaos, and the discomforts that I cause my wife and others? Fortunately, the strategies have made my life much better.
      I guess it’s a philosophical question, if some kind of problem causes us to learn to cope with it in a constructive way, does that mean the problem was a gift?
      Thank you as always for commenting.
      Congratulations on your boat.


      • Scott Marckx says:

        Thanks Doug,
        The diagnosis of ADD and the information I have learned about it (and my wife has learned) actually helped my wife and I out of a very rocky spot in our marriage. Learning about ADD has helped me understand more of the negative effects and helped me to start to deal with them, but it is always going to be work. I guess with that work looking me in the face I want to remember some of the benefits so I don’t go down the rabbit hole of feeling sorry for myself. I look at my own life and I see how not doing particularly well in school, not doing particularly well working under a boss, needing some sort of creative outlet constantly, and such things, while negative in a conventional sense, have actually turned my life in wierd directions and I’ve ended up here in this moment. Yes I have problems in my life but there is a whole lot of joy too. If tomorrow I woke up and didn’t have ADD…that is kind of terrifying to me. Maybe it is just the terror of change, but I think I would truly mourn for the ideas, wierd connections, and all the other tiny things that would be lost that I am unaware of and take for granted right now.

        Thank you again for your book and this blog that help me see this stuff and think about it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Scott –
          knowledge is power. we ADDers really do need to educate ourselves about the condition.
          And a positive attitude is very helpful, and one of the ways to do that is to focus on the positive things in our life. For me, I’m not sure ADD is one of them, though it has given me some benefits. But overall, my life is much more positive than negative.
          Your comments are always appreciated.


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