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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

November 13th, 2018

ADHD, Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships

People toss around the term “borderline” a lot, without knowing exactly what it means, so I am going to quote from the DSM-V the definition of Borderline Personality Disorder.

        A pervasive pattern of of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five or more of the following:

        1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

        2. A pattern of unstable and intense relationships characterized by alternating extremes of idealization and devaluation

        3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image

        4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

        5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

        6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood

        7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

        8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger

        9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

         Since the term “Borderline” is used so loosely, and is common in discussions of people who have ADHD, particularly females, I thought it would be a good idea to present a clear definition.  While there is some cross-over between people who have ADHD and borderline personality disorder, it is rare in my experience.  People who have ADHD are commonly intense, but rarely borderline.

          Sometimes psychiatric diagnosis is used as a camouflaged way of insulting a person.  This is the case with borderline, often.  When a mental health professional does not like a female patient he will often call her borderline.  When he does not like a male patient, he will often call him a sociopath or an addict or both.

            Of course, in our profession we should aim to understand, not judge.  Used properly, the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder can be a powerful tool in understanding a person and advancing treatment. 

Question:  If you are paired with someone with BPD, what are your best avenues to figuring out what to do to calm the relationship?  Are there particularly good resources?  See a therapist?

Answer:  There’s a good book called: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder.  And yes, the BPD person REALLY needs to see a therapist for sure.  The best treatment is dialectical behavioral therapy.  And a couple therapist for sure.  It’s workable, and can make for a very intense, exciting relationship, but can also prove disastrous without the right help.

November 13th, 2018

Give Thanks

The time is coming to give thanks.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I’m a holiday-lover, so there’s a lot of competition, but Thanksgiving always ranks near the top for me.

Let me give you a bullet-point list what I’m thankful for.  In no way is this complete.  I’m offering simply to prompt you all to do the same.

  • the freedom to change the station when the Kars for kids ad comes on
  • the slick look of pavement when it rains
  • Christmas season in New York City (I know this is a cliche, but I love it so)
  • the sausage grave my wife makes every Christmas morning
  • my wife, Sue (ok, another cliche, but if you knew her and all the she puts up with…)
  • of course, our 3 kids, now 29, 26, 23
  • our new dog, Max, 3 months old, 80 pounds, a rescue mutt from Alabama; he is systematically destroying our house but we love him to pieces anyway
  • Mozart’s Jupiter symphony
  • Tom Friedman and David Brooks columns in the NY Times (ok, so I am a liberal, I hope that’s all right)
  • That I am turning 69 and coming out with a new book with John Ratey in 2019
  • hot dogs with lots of mustard
  • and sauerkraut
  • taramasalata (it’s a Greek spread…. to die for)
  • the salt air when you cross over onto Cape Cod
  • NAMI
  • button-down collar shirts (I’m a preppy)
  • lying in bed, watching TV with Sue late at night
  • the fact that I can still play squash a little bit
  • all of you who read this newsletter!

…. what are your favorite things?

Dr. Hallowell’s 2017 Thanksgiving message

Dr. Hallowell’s 2016 Thanksgiving message

November 13th, 2018

ADD / ADHD Brain vs Neurotypical Brain

Dr. Hallowell responds to a DISTRACTION listener who asks about how neurotypical brains, or “normal brains” get engaged with an idea, versus those with neurodiverse brains, like people with ADHD.

LISTEN HERE to Dr. Hallowell explain how different brains get engaged in S3 E9 mini.

Do you want more information about the ADHD brain? CLICK HERE to read Dr. Hallowell’s blog post: “My turbo ADHD brain.”

November 12th, 2018

ADD / ADHD and Productivity

It was my pleasure to welcome Kristin Seymour back to Distraction. Kristin knows firsthand how tough it is to be productive when you have ADHD. Not only does she have ADHD, but Kristin is the mom of two ADHD teens, and she’s also an ADHD specialist. In S3 Ep 9, she shares more of her “life hacks” along with some special advice for parents of ADHD kids.

LISTEN NOW to Kristin’s sage advice on how to achieve productivity in the midst of chaos.

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November 3rd, 2018

Connections are CRITICAL

Reflecting on the recent news events in the United States, I encourage you to make it a point to rediscover the goodness in people. It is time to get to know each other again, especially people who disagree with us.

I address the importance of connections in S3 Mini 8. So please take a few minutes and LISTEN HERE to  learn why connections are important.

Perhaps you’ll be inspired to reach out, start a dialogue, listen and try to understand another’s point of view. Remember understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree.

Let’s recognize that most people are good people, that most people will do you a favor, that most people want the same things in life for themselves and their families that you do, and that most people will make sacrifices for the common good.

Connection is like the keys in the ignition. The keys are there, waiting to be taken. We only have to reach in.”

What to know more about harnessing the power of connections? Click HERE!

November 2nd, 2018

Erasing Stigma of ADD /ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, etc.

KUOW interviewed Dr. Hallowell and Lesley Todaro, Hallowell Todaro Center, about erasing the stigma around the word “crazy,” the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and talking to kids about ADHD.

“Most people who have exceptional talent have one or another of the conditions we diagnosis, whether it’s anxiety disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, major depression, substance abuse,” says Hallowell. “It’s rare to find someone who has major talent who doesn’t wrestle with one or another of those conditions.”

CLICK HERE to read more and listen to KUOW’s interview on “Why Ned Hallowell wants to celebrate craziness.

 

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