Adult A.D.D. and Getting Older

D ealing with A.D.D. requires stamina [note 1], something which is in relatively shorter supply as I get older. My ability to intentionally hyperfocus is becoming more difficult to do. [note 2] This doesn’t mean that I can’t hyperfocus anymore (what kind of an would I be if I couldn’t hyperfocus) but focusing the hyperfocus to the very real task that lies before me has become harder to do.

Quite accidentally I found a way to regain some of that ability to intentionally hyperfocus. After a decade and a half break, I started running again. There is something about that physical activity – being outdoors and moving – that just clears out my head. [note 3] And while my stamina may not be exactly what it was in the past, the running cleans out the mind sufficiently so that focusing on what needs to be done is just easier to do.

  1. This definition from Wikipedia: “sustaining prolonged stressful effort” sums it up nicely. See: Stamina. In addition, see this footnote from one of my earlier posts.
  2. During my college days, for example, I never worried about writing papers. I knew that when the 3 day mark came – that is the paper was due in about 3 days – that it was almost time to start writing that paper. Usually when the 36 hour mark arrived that’s when I’d hyperfocus and write the paper.
  3. Dr. Hallowell, among others, have examined this phenomenon of the beneficial effects of physical activity for A.D.D.ers.
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  • Scott Hutson

    My Dad is 72. We are partners in our const. contractors business. After my ADD diag., and the obvious symptons,2 yrs.ago,He has been telling me about how he has been forgeting this or that..etc,and his frustation and worry about this. It’s almost like he is competing w/me,or trying to say, it’s a normal thing I am having,because I’m getting older(he dose’nt say those words,but I know what he’s thinking).

    What I don’t say to Him,but I am thinking is ;”Dad, if it were possible for you to have my mind,racing thoughts..etc.,for 1 minute,you would fall to your knees sweating and crying!”… I will be patient though, and understand, he has no idea what it’s like to be me.


  • Jeff

    It is difficult for a non-ADDer to understand what an ADDer goes through on a daily basis. It can be done but, sometimes, there is a tendency on the part of the non-ADDer to forget that, well, there’s no escape from ADD. When you’ve got it…you’ve got it for life…it’s 24/7.

  • Deb

    “There is something about that physical activity” and it is explained in scientific detail in John Ratey’s book, “Spark”. What a great read.

    As I get older I find that my prayers have changed, too. They are now centered around regeneration miracles for my cartilage and for joints, esp knees, to not hurt.

    There is now some evidence that exercise may even reverse or delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Being at greater risk being ADD, Scott, you should appreciate the worry of your dad for this condition. I think my personal experience qualifies me to say be afraid, be very afraid. My risk of AD keeps me awake ’til late at night much more than my ADHD does – another change getting older has made for me. I used to enjoy closing the bars at 2:00 AM wondering where the after party was
    gonna be tonight.

    I run away from an increased risk of AD, ADHD, arthritis, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease every day, rain, sleet, or snow – min 3 miles.

    I liken my relationship with non-ADDers to being color-blind. When you try to coexist with others, life is tedious when you have to translate every color you see.

    If I had a drinking problem, I’d have no problems at all…..

  • Scott Hutson

    Hello Deb,

    I understand much more now, than I did when I wrote this comment(I had forgotten I did, as my Dad would say:”I’ve slept since then.”)

    It’s a coincidence that you commented on this particular day(last night). Just yesterday I was talking to my wife about Dad, and telling her how he forgot & left his phone & wallet at home Friday. He was, and has been, more lately frustrated about his memory problem.

    Also I know now that I am wrong to assume he was “competing” with me about this. He is quite aware of the obvious daily progression of my disease’s, and how the medications for A.D.D. and fatigue have improved my ability to stay on task much better, particulary early in the day. Also, he knows now, that I push myself harder, and am not trying to proove how strong I am, to anyone but myself.

    Dad has R.A. and it’s getting worse. He can barely lift a heavy door, or grasp tools without alot of pain. He is much like me, in his way of wanting to do things without asking for help.

    I agree with you Deb, exercize is good. Too much is not good for dad. He feels so much better, and alert, when he slows down and lets me do the hard stuff. He realizes this now, and it is improving his whole life.> More energy,less stress,…Less grumpy(lol).

    Thats all I know, and I am glad you commented about my comment. You are very right about this subject. Thank You!


  • Deb

    Scott, thanks for your kind words.

    I think it is a natural and necessary part of human development for a son to feel competition with a dad. I see it in both of my sons with my husband. I want them to be independent and strong. I believe it is a gift he has handed down to you (even though I know I run a great risk using THAT word here!)

    I think you must be a great guy to work with your dad, a situation like that is not all easy. Even in your frustration you remembered to be “patient and understanding”

    Your dad may not know what it is like to be ADHD, but I do. And I know it takes a committed son and a wonderful human being to put someone else in front of those intense and immediate frustrations like you did for him. I wish both of you the very best.

    My mom died from Alzheimer’s this past year. My sis and I and my dad all cared for her to keep her out of the nursing home. I thought I may never have a struggle that was harder than the unrelenting effects of my ADHD. I was wrong.

  • Scott Hutson


    I know it is hard to lose your Mom. It was very hard for my dad when mom died in 05. I think, no, I know, he is afraid to retire, and stop helping me, in our buisness.

    We have been together many yrs. and have, and still do, have our “moments” when we disagree on little things, when working on the same window,door, name it. But we get over it quickly, and forget about the conflict. I’m not that patient, nor is he, but we always end up with satifaction in our finished product.

    Father-Son working together, lots of whining, and conflict at times…but we always get the job done.

    Thank You, Deb! You have helped me today!


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