Reading Patterns and Trends

It’s been quite cold for a couple days.  So cold, in fact, that every news crew in the country has rushed outside to film live interviews with bundled up people who confirm on-camera that they, too, even as we speak, are very cold.  Live camera crews often grab this footage in front of the snow mounds that parking lot clearing services leave.  Odd fact.  

This use of the power of The Press a little bit sad.  Sadder still, a couple political analysts speculated that this cold snap would finally settle the debate over global warning. Really? With one observation in one little corner of the planet a century-long trend is halted? That’s like a man with ADHD thinking he’s cured the first time he arrives on time for an appointment. 

ADHD becomes evident not in a moment or an incident, but across years.  Not everyone with ADHD loses cellphones, shows up late for appointments or forgets to feed their pets.  You can’t look at the events of a day or the behavior in a single situation and figure out whether it’s there or not.  It’s not that simple.  

To diagnose ADHD, we have to look across the landscape of a person’s life to the best of our ability and watch the patterns of executive function.  The things that routinely go worse for a person with ADHD are important but not engaging and are typically addressed with skills that arise from the executive centers of the brain.  They involve cognition: timeliness, importance, priority, organization, prudence, forethought, self- and social-awareness.  Think tax forms.  

The things that go routinely well for people with ADHD are addressed with skills that arise from the emotional centers of the brain.  These involve emotional engagement: passion, interest, fear, anxiety, shame, guilt and enjoyment.  Think video games.  

We can’t look at a few data points and figure these patterns out.  We look for these trends across a whole life.  In the future I’ll go into some of these patterns in more detail. 

Just went outside.  The air is crisp, 5 degrees and calm.  The heavy snows are dramatically beautiful.  Big snowflakes are drifting down.  Turn off the news and experience it yourself if you have a moment.  




Physician specializing in diagnosis and management of attention deficit disorders and related conditions.

Posted in ADD, ADHD

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Oren Mason MD
Oren Mason MD

Oren Mason MD

Physician specializing in diagnosis and management of attention deficit disorders and related conditions.

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