All of us have trouble focusing. Especially these days, when the demands for productivity are soaring while the outlets to avoid these demands seem to only increase in multitude. We feel like we should be accomplishing more, because it seems it should be easy to do so, as we type our papers quickly, there’s a wealth of information at our fingertips wherever and whenever we want it, we carry our email in our pockets, etc.
Monday, The Boston Globe ran a report about the rising levels of adult ADHD. The case study was a 45-year-old woman who, finding herself unable to apply herself to any single task productively, was diagnosed with the disease and began taking medication.
“It’s really time to stop trivializing ADHD as a childhood behavioral problem that’s overtreated,” said Dr. William Barbaresi, director of the Developmental Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital and leader of a recent study on the increased presence of the disease in adults. “It’s a serious health condition that persists” into adulthood, he claims, according to the Globe.
It is true that ADHD exists as a neurobiological disorder that prevents certain individuals from sitting still, concentrating, or performing other day-to-day tasks. Many people benefit from ADHD medication, be they children or adults. Also, since ADHD is a relatively recent medical discovery, increased presence of ADHD in adults in part simply indicates that these adults were not diagnosed when they were younger.
On the other hand, however, it’s been said that doctors are diagnosing patients with the disease too loosely and frequently. A difficulty focusing does not necessarily mean a person is neurologically challenged in the face of the demand to be focused and productive. It might just mean that they don’t want to do whatever task is in front of them. People have trouble focusing for the simple reason that we’re not wired to sit still for hours on end without significant inspiration. And significant inspiration is not always easy to come by, for which reason most of the time, a lot of us would rather be hanging out with our friends. Focus requires discipline, which means pulling ourselves away from fun distractions. Inasmuch as ADHD does persist into adulthood, try getting off Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Fab.com, Rue La La, your email and your favorite blog(s) before you go running to your doctor.