I have been wanting to write about this subject for a while. I became interested in ADHD because I have a good friend who is a recovering alcoholic who seems to exhibit many of the symptoms of adult ADD inattentive type.
He also has an inability to sustain healthy relationships. Just as with classes, he was a stimulus seeker, often having multiple relationships at a time. He would hyperfocus on a woman and then become bored when she would begin to be attached to him. His communication skills were not good, often zoning out and not answering questions when spoken to.
His ability to sustain a job has been minimal. Once again he would like the job for a while and then become bored or start to find fault. He has drifted from job to job, often spending down to his last few dollars before he was motivated to look for another.
His house is disorganized. Dirty clothes are strewn everywhere. The dishes are unwashed. Mail comes through the slot and stays on the floor. But his tools are all in order and his books are lined up with precision on his shelves. When things get bad enough, he will clean up the place and make it presentable. I marvel at this because he has the ability to take apart a car engine and put it back together without a problem. Yet basic household cleanliness seem so unimportant.
His constant companion is his dog that he loves fiercely. And he takes care of her with great love and much kindness. He has never so much as raised his voice to her. Yet, he has discussed with me the rages that sometimes overcome him when he is frustrated with objects or people. These melt downs occur without warning. His fuse is short and he erupts in a tantrum that involves cursing and throwing things. The melt downs are reminiscent of an 8-10 year old who can't get his way.
I have read that children with ADHD are believed to be at risk for alcoholism because of their impulsivity and distractibility, as well as other problems that often accompany ADHD such as school failure and behavior problems. My friend started heavily drinking when he was 16. And his drinking continued to progress until he nearly died. Along the way, he engaged in risky behavior, bar brawls, multiple DUI's, driving under suspension, and assault and battery with intent to kill.
Studies have shown that alcohol and drugs are often a way that the ADHD kids self-medicate. They don't fit in well with their peers and are often the trouble makers and cast offs in school. They begin to realize that they don't think in a linear manner and feel "different" from their peers. Their impulsivity often brings them into contact with others who are also "different" and part of the "cast offs" at school. This is what my friend did. He hung with the other bad boys, cut school, drank and smoked dope. His slippery slope began.
He has told me that he wanted to be in the Air Force and be a fighter pilot like his dad. But his father who has a very linear brain told him that he didn't have the math skills to be a fighter pilot. Teachers labeled him as "lazy and stupid". His self-esteem plummeted. After a while he just gave up caring and began to self-medicate and use alcohol as a social lubricant to overcome his deep shyness.
I have encouraged him and have learned to not react to the melt downs that occur. He is 19 years sober but very much still entrenched in the "isms" of his disease. I wonder how it is possible to separate the ADD from alcoholism. Maybe that's not important. But if you are wondering about anger, lack of ambition, lack of achievement, and disorganization, check out some information on ADHD (or ADD in adults). I was surprised at what I learned. Here is a good article that describes a lot of the reasons that those with ADHD are prone to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Hope that you are enjoying this Friday. I'm off to take a boat load of kids for an educational tour and lecture. I may be driven to distraction too!