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Unwrap the Gift: ADHD 2.0 by Dr. Ned Hallowell

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Unwrap the Gift: ADHD 2.0

Dr. Ned Hallowell's new term for ADHD is VAST

About Dr. Ned Hallowell

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D. is a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, and was a Harvard Medical School faculty member for 21 years. He is the Founder of The Hallowell ADHD Centers in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Seattle.
Latest book: ADHD 2.0
He has spent the past four decades helping thousands of adults and children live happy and productive lives through his strength-based approach to neurodiversity, and has ADHD and dyslexia himself.
Dr Hallowell is a New York Times bestselling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics. The groundbreaking Distraction series, which began with Driven to Distraction, co-authored with Dr John Ratey in 1994, sparked a revolution in understanding of ADHD.
Dr Hallowell has been featured on 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah, PBS, CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, Good Morning America, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and many more. He is a regular columnist for ADDitude Magazine.

Key Points

‘ADHD’ or ‘VAST’ is a gift that’s meant to be unwrapped
Find the right difficult
Channel your abundance of attention into a creative outlet
Be organized enough so that your disorganization doesn't impede you
Any movement that challenges your balance is good

Notes from Clubhouse talk

the people who changed the world had diff brains - always the case
Dav Pilkey - 80M children impacted by his Captain underpants books
was beaten in school for making people laugh
Seth Godin, Tony Robbins
ACES score more than 4 = meant life outcomes would be bad:
Early death
his score is 8 - but he's 71, written 21 books, 3 children
71 and still wants to change the world
create a more welcoming world
by the grace of God
through connection that he found his strength
guy who invented COVID testing - has ADD
get over your fear of difference
you are blessed with an ability to think outside the box, to be entrepreneurial, dreamer, explorer, pioneer
I don't help people with disabilities; i help people unwrap their gift
if you never unwrap it, it can cripple you; it can be a very crippling condition
like you have a ferrari engine for a brain
but you've got bicycle breaks
need to learn to channel that energy
He is a brakes specialist
morbidity assoc with ADHD
but if u learn to manage it, can become a superpower
reason for success - JetBlue
The term ADD - not only demeaning but not accurate - deficit of attention? no, it's that we have an abundance of attention and need to control it
engine of curiosity
we become victims of our own curiosities
that's where we need breaks
then to call it a disorder - if u line up all those who innovated, it's just a trait
need to stop bashing it so it can be your strength
before he dies, he wants ppl to WISH they had it
ADD is misleading and demeaning
VAST - Variable Attention Stimulus Trait
expands the definition, literally
Trait vs. Disorder
no deficit
means he can also help ppl who are outside the narrow DSM criteria
one of the best things u can do: creative outlet - a place to channel the flood, like the hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls, can power NYC
the right difficult or else we r bored
he was born w talent of writing - his right difficult
if he doesn't have a book going, he gets depressed
like a cow, needs to be milked
wants people to see it as a trait, not a disorder
removing the shame and misconceptions and dark clouds
its a terrible cloud that has hung over the entire realm of mental health
if you are depressed, you’re told well cheer up; back in the day, if you were really depressed, you must have a demon in you
if you can't suck it up, you're shamed
all comes back to work ethic
now he is writing a graphic novel
he takes things on that he can't do
so he fails all the time but also succeeds
just have to be organized enough so that your disorganization doesn't impede you
be proud of your messes - show that you're home and life is lived in
we don't live spick and span, neat and orderly lives

😖 Relationship between HSP and VAST

HSP: Highly Sensitive Person
VAST: Variable Attention Stimulus Trait
completely congruent
diff names for the same thing in many ways
to be Highly Sensitive = to be in tune with what most aren't
it hurts bc we're tuned in to the pain and deception
part and parcel of ADD
women are particularly vulnerable to shame and overwhelm
they tend to stop before they hurt
tend to see others hurting and it hurts them
they're the great consolers
his wife - biggest failing - she's too nice; she'll find a way to stick up for anyone...except Trump
men can be like a bull in a china shop; his bullish side can override his sensitivity
pic: light shining out of darkness
he wants to help women so much bc 9 out of 10 will get diagnosed with depression and given an SSRI which is the last thing they need
they need the right edu'n and framing of it
come to a whole new way of seeing the past and get the correct view of who they are; their sensitivity
trying to reach adult women

🧠 Cerebellum

cerebellum - at the top of spinal cord; base of brain; imp for gait, balance, coordination
only occupies 10% of brain but contains 70% of neurons - connected to pfc, essential for higher mental function
exercise stimulates the cerebellum and improves emo'l control
ANYTHING that challenges balance; standing on one leg, wobble board, exercise ball, bosu; close an eye
anything that challenges your balance is good for your cerebellum and ADD
you should get the book, have a conversation with him or someone like him
bc you'll have a whole new life
need to unwrap your gift


if left in the wild, untamed, can be very dangerous
need to be careful about not just seeing strengths-based perspective or it as a sweet little trait
there's more morbidity assoc with ADHD than any other mental health cond'n
it deserves research
the goal is not to become Joe or Jill normal
the right partner, the right career can provide structure
it's about the love of the game, as long as you enjoy the game, you're winning
med school - about organizing mass amts of info; if you're in, then they believe you can do it

Danielle's story

her and her daughter just diagnosed with inattentive ADHD two weeks ago
finally feels free and seen, which never happens with black women with mental challenges
both also HSP
nothing made sense
his books literally changed her life and saved them
so happy that her daughter can see her brain is beautiful like her mama's
speaks to commonalities - a 71 yr old white man can relate to and free a 36 yr old black woman and her daughter
common bonds are that strong
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