Healing ADD, the Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. was on my list of non-fiction books for the Spring Reading Thing hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days
What were my motivations for reading this book? Personal issues, family issues, home and extended, friends with issues (I will definitely be recommending this book), acquaintance issues (possibly to help in understanding) and short time spent as an overnight counselor in a residential facility for abused and mentally ill children.
Before reading the book, I feel my thoughts on ADD were very stereotypical and influenced by popular cultural beliefs. The book challenged these thoughts with data and documentation compiled for well over twenty years. While Dr. Amen is not the only researcher dealing with this subject, I found his approach to be well thought out, well researched and above all compassionate. Healing ADD was definitely a worthwhile and well written read.
Dr. Amen, a psychologist, looks at the whole person and tries to get a complete picture and knowledge of al the contributing factors of people who are being evaluated for ADD. He takes into account family history, physiology, both biological and traumatic events, psychology, environmental influences, such as abuse, self-medication and substance abuse. He divides ADD into six sub-categories and explains them and also other possible diagnosis that mimic ADD.
The book is easy for a lay-person to relate to, the language is not too technical, examples and case studies are combined with images and photographs that allow a reader to feel educated rather than spoken down too. While I was not able to “read” the photos of the brain scans, it was easy to see the marked differences between “good” and bad scans and get the gist of what was desirable and what was problem causing.
My admitted bias before I began reading the book was against any type of medicating for ADD. Because Dr. Amen has such a well balanced approach to diagnosing and treating ADD, I find that now I can understand benefits of medication if combined with a holistic approach to treating someone with ADD. He recommends medication combined with diet, exercise, training, and therapy. He speaks about treating a patient’s family along with the patient. He offers many practical tools to learn for ADD people to use out in real life.
I was surprised by his approach, that he wanted to explore the whole of a patient’s situation before putting them on medication. I appreciated that his was not a one size fits all approach. I was surprised by his view on discipline—that any well thought out, well planned discipline would be effective if there was a good relationship between parent and child. I was impressed with his admitting that sometimes even with the best of care that some patients just don’t respond and sadly the outcome isn’t positive for everyone.
The only thing more I would have appreciated in this book was I wish it was not secular, but I do understand why it is. I would like to read something that takes this approach and incorporates faith also. The difficulty I could immediately see is that all faiths (including Christian) do not share the same views of how faith participates in healing any medical condition, let alone ADD. From a Christian’s perspective, I know many Christians fear medication for not just ADD, but for any type of psychological issue. I think a Christian or a believer of any faith would be well served in finding a physician of their own faith, who could relate to their beliefs, for real treatment and care.
The only problem I can see with the book, that in no way is the author’s fault is that readers may be tempted to self-diagnosed and self medicate.
Healing ADD, by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. was a worthwhile and recommended read.