Saturday, May 2, 2009

Excessive Worrying: Distraction or Stimulation for the ADDer

I am a clinical psychologist who coaches ADDers. But I have to admit that as an ADDer myself, I am constantly learning new things that go along with ADD. For example, I've always been a worrier, I even can worry excessively about happenings I can't control. I always tell my clients to worry only if it's a problem that may have a solution. If not, use cognitive strategies to stop the worrying process. Of course I don't follow my own advice. However, I'm becoming aware that excessive worry can serve several purposes for the ADDer.

First, I found that sometimes I worry about an unsolvable problem during the time I have important tedious tasks to do, so worrying serves as a distraction, and the problem I worry about doesn't get solved, the tasks I had to do also don't get done. As ridiculous as it sounds, worrying can be very stimulating when the current situation is boring, and ADDers crave stimulation even if it's useless.

I used to be quite a hypochondriac, and now realize that I spent an inordinate amount of time examining a whole host of symptoms. Of course, hypochondriacs are inadvertently reinforced by people who will listen to them. I have finally solved this ongoing maladaptive behavior pattern by only checking out symptoms that lasted for a long time or got worse. Now I realize what tasks I am trying to avoid, and find other means of stimulation. However, I'm going to Turkey in a few weeks, and am worrying about how to avoid contracting swine flu, particularly when on planes. Guess what.. I can't solve this, but am I still worrying because I think I can, or for stimulation, or as a distraction from other things I have to do. What do you think?


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Dr. June Kaufman said...

Thank you so much for your comment. Please check back on my blog to read more posts. Look forward to your future comments. Take care.