Entering the Rabbit Hole, or Setting Up the Mark

I recently visited the ADD Forums [note 1] and noticed the Google ad below (circled in red). The ad caught my attention ESPECIALLY since it claims to CURE ADD/ADHD. So I took the red pill and clicked on the ad.


The Google ad took me to a “confessional” page. (Link is here.) I read through the page. At the bottom of the page was a link to 3 Steps to Conquering ADD-ADHD.


At the website 3 Steps to Conquering ADD-ADHD the word “cure” almost completely disappeared (except in one case which I will examine at the end of this post). Remember, the first ad used the word “cured.”  Now I only see words like “conquer,” “eliminate” (but only in the context of eliminating symptoms). So, the buildup to my arrival at this site began with an advertisement that claimed it had a cure. That led me to a pseudo-confessional which seemed real (it has a number of typographical and grammatical errors…like a “real” person wrote it) but which, on closer examination, NEVER used the word “cure.” Finally it brought me to 3 Steps to Conquering ADD-ADHD where, again, the word “cure” is almost as scarce as hen’s teeth.

{ ===== //\\ ===== }

There was something that really bothered me about the “3 Steps” website. It was misleading. On my journey to the site (the Google Ad, then to the confessional page, then to the site itself) I felt that I was getting closer and closer to the truth. In actuality, I was being deceived by degrees. How this was done is worthy of examination since the same deceptive marketing techniques are used over and over again, not only on the Internet but in print, television and radio. [note 2] It is a set of techniques where you, the mark, are led to believe what the confidence man wants you to believe. The con man makes no overt claims but simply sets up various associations. You, however, fill in the blanks thereby taking you closer to the real purpose which is to get you to willingly hand over some of your money.

(Note: The screenshots below come from

Truth by Juxtaposition

One technique used to make a lie seem like the truth is to place it next to familiar and trusted symbols. All three institutions are well-known and well-respected. However, there is NOTHING on the 3steps website that indicates that any of these institutions have claimed to be able to eliminate ADD/ADHD other than the self-proclaimed statement “They ALL agree….”. The website offers no relevant links. It allows you, the website visitor, to make the implied connection.


Here is another example of Truth by Juxtaposition. It is easy to assume that these magazines must have endorsed the product. After all, their images are right next to the product that is being sold. Guess what. Again no links. You are free to make the association between the magazines and the product. From a moral perspective you may feel hoodwinked. From a legal perspective, no claim is being made that the products are endorsed, or even reviewed, by the magazines.


Truth by Unsubstantiated Claim

Here we see that the miracle book they are selling has been named the number one self-help book for A.D.D. for two years in a row. Well, that’s fantastic! Just one question, “WHO proclaimed it number one?” Seems they never tell us.


Truth by Imitation

Check out the logo for this research institute. Wow! Impressive! They must have serious money backing up their research. It looks like a legitimate institute. Even the name is impressive. I felt I should find out more about it. However a Google search was fruitless. This institute does not exist.


Here’s another example of Truth by Imitation. Sure looks like an Amazon review, doesn’t it? Except it is not. No link back to Amazon. No link to the other 300+ reviews.


Truth By Sharing A Secret

Everyone loves a secret and sure enough, the book contains lots of secrets. Those who are are sympathetic to conspiracies will fall for this one because they know that there are lots of things the government/drug manufacturers, etc., do not want you to know. If it is a secret…it must be true.



Is this the long-awaited miracle cure? Not likely. A cure gets rid of something…permanently. You get the measles. You take the cure. After some time the measles goes away. It’s gone. Will the same happen with ADD? In other words, buy the book, follow the technique, cure ADD? Well…no. Not really. In fact, everything is worded very carefully. The site talks about eliminating symptoms. It does not explicitly talk about curing ADD though that may be the logical implication. However, the website claims over and over that the symptoms can be controlled. It does not say ADD/ADHD can be cured. But there is one exception. Note the second sentence in the screen shot below. Here it says you can “Eliminate Your ADD-ADHD.” That seems to imply a cure.


Might the techniques described in the book help you to control ADD/ADHD? It is very possible. However,  controlling is not the same as eliminating. Therefore this book is no better than many of the other books on the market that purportedly control ADD/ADHD. There’s no compelling reason to purchase this book unless, of course, you’ve been duped.

  1. IMPORTANT NOTE: The ADD Forums is only serving the Google Ads and, therefore, is not responsible for the particular ads that appear on its site.
  2. Of course, implementing these techniques requires they be adapted to the particular needs of the medium used.
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  • mikedoyle

    I hadn’t read your blog in awhile. It’s appropriate that tonight when I finally come for a visit, your thoughts are on the annoyance of outside-world attitudes that our symptoms can somehow magically be whisked away.

    I sure as hell wish that were the case, don’t you? I thought you might like to know, I wrote about a similar subject this weekend (followed by a pretty personal comment to explain why I did so), over on my own blog. You can find it here:

    Essentially, I’m having one of those ADD moments where I’m tired of my close friends and loved ones not getting it. They signed on to have an ADDer in their lives, the least they can do is understand what that means…good and bad.

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  • ginapera

    Nice dissection, Jeff.

    Now how about you take on “Dr. DeMaria’s” Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days!

    But don’t write a “negative” review on Amazon. He’ll have it removed.

    And he posts a comment to each reviewer, sending readers to his website where you’ll learn that eliminating transfats cures ADHD!

    Hello NIMH!!! News flash!!!

  • aMorsel

    Great job! I’m tired of these charlatans and their magic elixirs.

  • Howie deGraaf

    Hi Jeff, nice dissection. My future brother-in-law, who has ADHD says the he just gets so frustrated when some individual gets richer by scamming others. He agrees that many methods help to alleviate the symptoms and there are lots of coping strategies but no cure. Gotta live with it baby!
    I belong to a website where we educate people of teaching methods and skill that help individuals with Dyslexic Issues. Unlike some of the big names in the Dyslexia biz who state that they can cure the condition we say Dyslexia is with you for life but you can learn to read and write and understand time and direction and spoken instructions and other little known issues. Part of what I do is check out all the methods out there to find out what actually works and let people know about them. When I say works I mean; methods that don’t cost thousands of dollars and/or take years to master. I recently read two books by Ron Davis who claims to have a cure for Dyslexia. I even went to one of his lectures. I honestly think the reason his “Methods” are so well known is because of a very successful advert campaign because his books are really hard to read. Hard because they are mostly his personal opinion backed by some “sideways logic” with the word “maybe this is because this is…” used quite a bit.
    The reason I am writing to you is to tell you that RD says he has cured ADHD too. It is so simple too, just adjust the “Energy Dial setting” . Say what!? Go ahead read The Gift of Learning chapter 13 for a good chuckle. I had my brother-in-law read it and he had a pretty good laugh.
    The other reason I am bringing this to your attention is I think it would make a good topic for you to take on. Actually the entire Ron Davis set of methods are base on some pretty wild suppositions in my opinion but thats just my view.
    So be my guest, read the book and see if you don’t think that it would make a good article.
    Thanks for reading this.
    If you do decide it worth writing about could you let me know on my e-mail, thanks

  • Jamie Price

    Hi this is the first time I have ever written any comments on a website, but I need help. The teachers at my son’s school say I need to have him tesed for ADD. I want to help in anyway I can but I don’t want him labeled and given drugs which seems to be the first thing most doctors want to do. I have been researching the interenet for help but can’t seem to find anything that isn’t associated with a bad review somewhere. Where can I turn? Is there a book out there that is real or are they all rip off’s? He is not hyperactive but can’t seem to stay on task at school.
    If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

  • Ken

    Hi, I was wondering if you know anything about this ‘Total Transformation Program’ nonsense.
    It looks like this so-called-professional is basically arguing that ADD is just a synonym for ‘lazy’ and ‘bad-attitude’. It’s hard to really get a sense of the thing though, because I haven’t found anyone blogging about it who doesn’t admit in either the comments box or the fine print or somewhere else that they’re a “compensated endorser”. You seem genuinely on the level though and I’d love to hear any insight you could offer.

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  • Jeff

    He sells products? Tell us more.

  • Darren

    Davis Dyslexia are absolutely amazing people.
    Do the programme,see for yourself.
    A great alternative as opposed to feeling sorry for yourselves.
    It works-period.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. Sorry if you get that impression. And the program may work beautifully and that’s great. But that doesn’t make an ailment a “gift.” That just means it doesn’t have to be a handicap. 

  • Umfundise

    Great post. I browsed through the content and was immediately p&ss4d off by the anti-drug, food/nutritional thing. Yes it will help (as it will 99.9% of the population, but it will not take away my ADHD. And drugs can and will be beneficial together with life skills.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “Great post.” – Thank you! And, of course, my assessment is just like yours. Food/nutrition is important but, by itself, it won’t solve the problem.

  • ADD Ian

    You know, having recently been given a preliminary diagnosis of ADD here in the UK, here’s my take on the whole conspiracy versus mainstream Establishment bullshit, I live somewhere between the two paradigms and don’t trust either. But here’s the deal: Whether we believe the “Big Pharma” (BP) conspiracy take on ADD/ADHD is one thing, however, and for anyone who has to live with this shit, the symptoms exist. If anything, the conspiracy is more about the suppression of acknowledgement of the symptoms as well as any financial control perpetrated by the pharmaceutical companies. So whatever BP does, whatever the conspiracists argue and how effective the drugs are (or aren’t) is irrelevant to me, because I am symptomatic of ADD, end of.

    What makes me laugh with the ADD/ADHD deniers, is the way in which some of them pick and choose from DSM-IV if it excuses their kids from various aspects of life such as the acceptance of OCD or dyslexia “Oh so what you’re saying then buddy, is that whilst 9/11 was an inside job, and ADD/ADHD was a convenient construct created by reptillians sitting in Buckingham Palace, UK in order to allow BP to control the masses whilst subjugating them financially, your kid isn’t doing so well at school because he definitely has DSM-IV-defined dyslexia?”. Well that’s convenient.

    Jeff, The hypocrisy I see around me in all this is astounding. The total lack of research in the real research. The propensity of some to project a will and desire to deny via an illogical religious-like zeal whilst maintaining their atheism “on the basis of logic”! The continual quoting of an alleged ADD “founding father’s” deathbed denunciation of his work as a singular unilateral justification for the condition’s outing as a fraud.

    I mean the deniers were jumping up and down a few weeks ago on the back of a Cambridge (UK) University paper which questioned the issue of dopamine re-uptake as a causal factor typical to ADD symptoms. But then the paper goes on to suggest that dopamine helps because it helps everyone with or without the condition and that ADD exists because there is a structural difference in the frontal lobe region of the brain that does not apply to those not showing symptoms. I mean you can’t get any clearer other than to question how these structural differences exist and then researching the citations this paper gives.

    I’m skeptical of using BP derived and defined drugs and am thinking about trying to cope without them, but that does not deny my ADD.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I thought that, perhaps, the U.S. had the monopoly on people who offer opinions without doing any research but you’ve proven that I’m wrong. Oh well. ;)

      You are correct to see the deniers as being like religious fanatics. In both cases, they believe something without regard for contrary evidence. In fact, many times that contrary evidence only “proves” how evil Big Pharma really is (at least, that’s the way they see it).

      I think you’d be wrong to not use drugs for your ADHD, especially since the overwhelming majority of studies have shown that you can’t successfully deal with ADHD *unless* you use drugs. I’m sure you use aspirin or its equivalent, whose origin can be traced to Big Pharma. Same applies to vaccines and other wonders of medicine. Of course, the drugs are only one part of the solution for dealing with ADHD. You must watch your diet, take vitamins and supplements, get exercise, etc.

      You may find this post to be of interest:

      • ADD Ian

        Thanks Jeff. I liked your journal idea and yes, I may not smoke, but it’s always something else: alcohol, junk food, playing one music track until the effect on me is dead. Open a pack of biscuits/cookies, can’t have one have to have them all. Drove off the other day from the petrol station without securing the fuel tank cap. Prior to that, left my credit card with the cashier. Oh well, ho-hum

        So yes, this is me:

        Him: I went out with my buddies the other night. Too much scotch. I have a shot and then I’m on my fourth.

        Me: You’re like an addict, like me. I wish I could
        smoke four cigarettes a day like my great aunt did. But I can’t. It’s
        three packs a day or nothing. I don’t know moderation. You’re the same. Get used to it.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          I battling my weight all of the time because I sometimes have to give into the “food” urge.

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