Note to the reader: This post was a critique of a now non-existent website. (Added on August 5, 2011)


On October 6, 2009, I received an official request to remove the screen shots from this particular blog post. In response, on October 7, 2009, I removed or hid all of the copyrighted material that appeared in the images below. I assure you that no pixels were harmed during this process.

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


It seems Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. Kenny Handelman have reduced themselves to the level of vacuum cleaner salesmen. (“But madam, I swear this vacuum cleaner sucks.”) Even worse, they inadvertently parrot what the “A.D.D. Deniers” say, namely that with a sufficient amount of effort and willpower and vim and vigor and vitamins and Yankee ingenuity, well, by golly, you can defeat the A.D.D. ogre once and for all. If you follow their line of manure, soon you’ll be saying to your child, “Look little Johnny. Look at what’s in the box from Aunt Pandora. It’s A.D.D. You’re gonna be an entrepreneur!”


So, what’s the miracle cure they are hawking?

(Remember, it’s a $47 dollar value!!)


The miracle cure is a “brand new 5 step strategy (this is really powerful!) to unlock you (or your child’s) unique ADD gifts!” Unfortunately, we are never told that this new strategy supersedes the previous 13 step strategy which, in turn, supplanted the 27 step strategy that, in turn, supplanted the “Aw f**k it!” strategy.


But wait! There’s more! You’ll learn EVEN MORE strategies from some of the most famous people you never heard of: Garret LoPorto, Kathy Kolbe, Dr. Peter Jensen of the famous “Dr. Peter Jensen Institute of Higher Learning, A.D.D. and Sharp Looking Suits” and many more.


But wait! If you order now…you’ll get the Veg-A-Matic. It slices, dices and juliennes those vegetables. You can make vegetable souffle, vegetable juice, vegetable fries.


And if you are among the first 20 callers you’ll get transcripts of all these experts providing their expert talk, MP3 files in case you can’t read the excerpts, expert advice from another expert you never heard of, and more! And they’ll throw in a few more books and files that are clogging up their damned garage (can’t get the car in unless they get rid of those books).


Don’t touch that mouse! Look!

It is all backed by a Genuine 100% Money-Back Guarantee!

That’s right! If you find that after swallowing all of this malarky you still haven’t eradicated the A.D.D., well, keep the junk, and they’ll return your money away.


So…is this a great country, or wa?


Print Friendly

Tags: , ,

  • Gina Pera

    Jeff wrote:
    Even worse, they inadvertently parrot what the “A.D.D. Deniers” say, namely that with a sufficient amount of effort and willpower and vim and vigor and vitamins and Yankee ingenuity, well, by golly, you can defeat the A.D.D. ogre once and for all.

    My thoughts exactly, Jeff. Hope is a great thing; we all need it, especially when we’ve been told more of what we cannot do than what we can do.

    I just hate to see anyone with ADHD, young or old, feel that they’ve failed even at having ADHD if they don’t start an airline or win Olympic medals. Or that they have to do something stupendous in order to feel validation or deserve love or success.

  • betsy davenport, phd

    Oh, my. Gina has sent me here a couple of times, and you are singing my song. Hucksters, I call them. I nailed Hallowell on his own blog last year and he actually called me on the telephone the very next day to voice his disagreement.

    I have been calling out to the world to please, someone, show some evidence that AD/HD carries with it any benefits whatsoever and not one person has ever shown up at my door with, or even sent me an email, that provides a shred of research, aka Science, to prove this fat lie. For a dozen years, I have asked.

    I was not there, but I heard (rumor, maybe?) that Russell Barkley was actually booed when he spoke at a CHADD conference and stated unequivocally that, well, what I just said.

    NO benefits. None. I know people hang out with like people. Smart people hang out with smart people. Some of them have AD/HD. That’s it. And from this, the conclusion is drawn? Prison populations have a very high proportion of people with AD/HD. Gift, indeed.

  • Jeff


    I think you missed an important, but subtle point. Prison populations have a high proportion of A.D.D.ers because they have to “steal” their gift. (heh heh)

    But on a serious note, one has to wonder if some A.D.D.ers are intelligent because of the A.D.D. or in spite of the A.D.D.

  • betsy davenport, phd

    I think high intelligence masks ADD because if you’re smart you compensate better. Such people function below their raw potential just like others with ADD. And, I think ADD masks high intelligence. If you’re underfunctioning, you don’t seem so bright after all. Not in school, anyway.

    As for those prisoners who “steal” their gifts, I want to know did they steal mine, because I can’t find it anywhere.

    I have a kid who at age 10 said, “ADD is the scourge, mom.” Can’t help but agree with her.

  • Gina Pera

    Hi folks,

    You know, if a person has “high insatiability,” which is one way of looking at ADHD, it can motivate the person to achieve more, better, higher.

    Also, if the person has a weak “self-concept” — also often associated with poor executive function — the person can be driven to constantly win praise and admiration. And sometimes the person is lucky enough to possess the skills, talents, intelligence, or sometimes just the good looks to pull this off, so a smokescreen can envelope the person’s deficits.

    So, these things can be confused with “success,” I guess. But sometimes they come at such great cost.

    (BTW, a newly diagnosed 86-year-old attended our meeting last night. 86!)

  • Pingback: Blogging ADHD | A Morsel of Genius

  • Mike

    I’ve read in online forums and in books about the “gifts” associated with ADHD. I’ve always found it to be somewhat asinine. Especially the “hyperfocus”. Like “when i hyperfocus I can…..”. It’s like they think they’re Superman with x-ray vision.

    I am currently homeless and destitute mainly due to the “gifts” of ADHD. I was fired from a job for paperwork violations. Procrastination, a skewed concept of time and an aversion to paperwork.

    I would prefer not to have any “gifts” and have a job and a place to go home to.

  • Jeff


    Believe me…we all understand the feeling. With gifts like these, well, we rather have no gifts at all.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during these tough times. All I can say is to do everything you can to survive. These tough times will not last. Now that you know you are “gifted” you now know what to look out for, what warning signs there are. When the warning signs appear, that’s the time to mentally intervene and push yourself to do what you know must be done.

  • Andrew

    I’m a little confused over this new move into ADD “politically correctness”. This debate over good/bad ADD seems to parallel many other minority debates.

    ADD has caused me huge problems with work and relationships, brought me addictions and depression and continues to prevent me from achieving my goals – not that I have many goals as I rarely ever can contemplate the future. But if I had a button to press to remove my ADD, I would not press it. I like my constant craving for new interesting things, my perfectionism, humour, out-of-the-box thinking, creativity and rule breaking. If my neuro-chemistry were returned to “normal” then I would lose these attributes too. Some might argue that these positive attributes are not part of ADD but they certainly are part of the “differences” package that has set me apart for nearly forty years, only recently diagnosed.

    Even though there are no double-blind studies proving the benefits of ADD, lack of proof does not equate to non-existence. Dr. Barkley has not been looking for positives, nor have any other scientists – positives are pretty hard to test for. I do however find that the usual lists of benefits for ADD seem to fit with the ADD people I know, much more so than for people without ADD. Maybe its a little like horoscopes – if you list flattering attributes then everyone will agree they have them? I also find it easy to “diagnose” people around me with “undiagnosed” ADD, as well as people in the media, authors, TV presenters, comics and actors in movies? It seems that their ADD got them those jobs in the first place, the ADD that makes them funny, engaging and interesting. I have found that I have unconsciously sought people with ADD as friends, colleagues and partners over the years. It seems it is common for ADDers to connect with other people with ADD, people who maybe talk quickly, humorously, alight on different topics and keep their boredom away?

    Just because the ADD brain is different, it is not necessarily inferior. ADD brains are not broken, some parts are a little smaller, some parts a little bigger, some parts operate more quickly, some more slowly. Would it not be logical to conclude that this means people with ADD can do some things better and some things worse? The major difference in ADD is with our “weaker” frontal lobes, these lobes came late in evolution to help people operate in a tribe – to obey the rules, to be patient, to keep out emotions in check, to plan for the future. If our frontal lobes are less in charge it is inevitable that we will break rules, get bored and be more emotional. But then with weaker control it also seems inevitable that more people with ADD rule-breaking-boredom would become explorers, inventors, artists and comics? For mankind as a whole it is probably beneficial that 95% follow convention and the rules but that 5% break rules, connect new ideas, create and don’t conform. These people bring change.

    The problem lies in part with medicine taking responsibility for defining ADD. Medicine defines everything as disorder or illness, that is the business of doctors, psychiatrists, pharaceuticals and therapists. There is no scope (nor ever has been) for medicine to define strengths, abilities or attributes. If you review the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD, they mandate significant problems or disorders before you can even get a diagnosis. If ADD is a genetically inherited, neurological difference that brings both good and bad then the doctors have immediately excluded all the “well” ADDers by their definition. This is deliberate selection of “disordered ADD” only. The “well” ADDers are excluded, the may well have challenges but their strengths help them overcome these and survive in society. The doctors, including Barkley, have really not done any research on this, maybe one day they will but it seems likely that neuro-typical people would be reluctant to define experiments to prove that they do not measure up to people they classify as disordered? Some of Barkley’s statements have the feel of prejudice and bigotry, it appears it would take an overwhelming amount of evidence to change his opinions.

    Not every inventor or entrepreneur has ADD, nor is everyone with ADD an entrepreneur. It is fair to say that ADD people have different traits from normal (neuro-typical) people. Many of these traits cause problems but some can bring unique strengths especially if recognised and embraced. I feel that Hallowell is trying to counter the pure disorder model, maybe there is some commercial motivation too but I like his books and feel him to be a positive influence in the field of ADD – that seems a good thing.

  • Jeff

    Wow! Blown away by your comment. You touch on so many different issues. I could always argue “the details” but, instead, I’ll say that overall I agree with you. However…I rather have an “off button” for my A.D.D.

    And while Hallowell had been a positive force in the A.D.D. world, it is for that reason that he should be more circumspect and should avoid employing P.T. Barnum-like sales methodology when discussing an issue as serious as A.D.D. Quite honestly, it cheapens the message.

  • Andrew

    Jeff, Thanks for your comments.

    I agree that these awful heavy NLP-style sales tactics are pretty ghastly. Hallowell should know better, he has no magic ADD cures, there will never be a cure unless they fix ADD genes. Trouble is that would only help ADDers-as-yet-unborn and genetic engineering troubles me deeply, too complicated and inevitably major mistakes will be made. The only real solution is for society to change to respect individual differences and to embrace peoples strengths whilst accepting their challenges, dream on…

    Funnily/sadly enough today was a day when I did wish for a big red “ADD-OFF” button and to push it down violently with both hands! Yesterday I felt bullish about ADD strengths, to try to make myself feel better about my challenges but today I just feel overwhelmed with my ADD. I am pissed that I have so much to give but cannot be bothered. I pointlessly hyper-focus for hours whilst ignoring career, relationships, backlog of paperwork and life itself. My life would be easier if I pressed the “ADD-OFF” button, maybe I wouldn’t be quite as interesting, funny or clever a person. But without ADD I would be a lot less bored, stressed, frustrated, troubled and disillusioned. ADD can be a tragic curse, to be given gifts only to have no motivation, focus or drive to use them. Oh yeah and I can’t make my mind up either!

  • Gina Pera

    I dunno, Andrew. Do you think it’s “interesting, funny or clever” to ignore your career, relationships, paperwork and life itself? :-)

    I think you might be seeing a false dichotomy here — and one that many people with ADHD make. They think if they didn’t have ADHD (or took medication for it), they’d be boring drones. This kind of either-or thinking doesn’t prove very useful, IMHO, and it is often a “side effect” of having ADHD: not seeing the gray area, seeing only the black and white.

    Besides, it’s just not what I hear from most people with ADHD who actually pursue medical treatment — and it’s not what I hear from their co-workers, friends, or loved ones, either.

    Most actually report that they are far more interesting, funny, and creative — not less. They also become more realistic assessors of what is interesting and funny. :-)

    And it’s not like their ADHD goes away. It’s more like turning down the volume on the pesky parts.

    good luck sorting it out,

  • Andrew


    I think perhaps you mis-understood, my comments. I was not using the “ADD-off” button as a metaphor for medication. I was very happy to try medication. It took me a long time and a lot of money here in the UK to take that route. After trying Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine and I finally found the best solution for me – Adderall XR. Unfortunately Adderall is not licensed in the UK and had to be prescribed privately at $10 dollars per capsule and I ended up on 50mg, meaning $20 dollars/day. It did help but my variant of ADD is hyper-focused, under-activated ADD (probably “Over-focussed ADD” as defined by Dr Amen) and though the Adderall helped a little with activation it made me hyper-focus even more. I would have stuck with it nevertheless but had tachycardia problems so had to stop. I take many supplements today such as Omegas, Vitamin B, Zinc and Magnesium which help greatly with my mood. So I have no issues with medication whatsoever.

    The point I was making is that our character as ADDers is completely intertwined with our ADD. I do not believe we can see ADD as separate from ourselves as it defines us completely, medications can take away some of our problems but we are still very much ADD in character. So when people talk about not “having” ADD then they have to accept that the ADD neurology not only gives them the classic problems of impulsivity, hyperactivity etc but it also defines how they look at the world, how they interact with other people, what they enjoy, how they talk etc.

    Please don’t think that I have not bothered to help myself with my ADD. I have researched ADD extensively, read over 40 ADD books (including yours!), read many forums and blogs. In the few years prior to and since diagnosis I have studied NLP, positive Psychology, learnt extensively about diet, supplements. I have worked on my time management, exercised, got help with organisation etc. I am currently training to be an ADD coach as I passionately want to help others. I have had depression and addictions in the past but have worked on and overcome these too. What I was saying in reply to Jeff was that maybe I would sacrifice my positive ADD traits in order to get rid of my most challenging ones of low activation and motivation. With these traits no matter how much you understand something to be true, no matter how hard you want to do something, no matter how stupid you know a behaviour to be, it can still take a herculean effort to do what is important not what is interesting. Today was a day when these traits took over and I wanted to press the button, yesterday I didn’t.

  • Gina Pera

    Gotcha, Andrew. Thanks for the background.

    You wrote: “The point I was making is that our character as ADDers is completely intertwined with our ADD. I do not believe we can see ADD as separate from ourselves as it defines us completely.”

    And that’s where I see things differently. Here’s why:

    1. I’ve met thousands of people with ADHD, and I’ve yet to meet two who were completely alike or completely defined by their ADD. (And no matter how much certain experts espouse the idea that people with ADHD are funny, extroverted, charming, etc., I’ve met plenty who aren’t. So, it’s a mistake to conflate those qualities with ADHD, IMHO.)

    2. For many of these people, self-admittedly and by my observation, their unaddressed ADHD symptoms largely obscured their true “personality.”

    Perhaps fusing symptoms with personality is a function of late-diagnosis ADHD, wherein people grow up thinking that their personality is being distractable, class clown, etc.

  • Gina Pera

    Hey Andrew,

    I guess you know about the upcoming ADDISS conference in London?

    I’m coming, and so looking forward to it and seeing London again after 25 years.

    The news has been constantly reporting that the UK is having an even harder economic time than we are in the US, so I figured you could use my tourist dollars, paltry as they are (found a $100 hotel room in Bloomsbury, including breakfast!).

  • Andrew


    Thanks for your reply and I guess this does get us to the heart of the matter – I still can’t accept your argument that ADD is not inter-twined in personality, though my ADHD girlfriend thinks you are right!

    I cannot remotely claim to have your experience of people with ADD. Few people in the UK know about ADD – even in kids, as you will find out at the ADDISS conference! The UK is back where the US was twenty years ago – ADD barely exists! I would estimate that only a few thousand adults are diagnosed, out of the 3 million who have ADD (5% of 60 million in UK). At the conference there are two tickets available, one for Parents and one for Professionals – they somehow forgot a ticket for ADD Adults!

    I am sure you will know more of this than I do, but my summary of ADD is that it is in fact several distinct genetically-inherited neurological brain-types, sharing some core symptoms and exasperated by allergies, poor digestion of vitamins/minerals/oils, sleep, diet, exercise etc. Some symptoms vary across the spectrum: some ADDers struggle with focus and some focus too much; some ADDers are hyper-active and some are under-active; some ADDers think about the future too much and are hyper-anxious (female hormones seem to affect this) and some ADDers seldom see the future/past and live “in the moment” (e.g. me). All ADDers seem to have less stimulated frontal lobes, with right and left brain hemispheres more equal in size and different regions of the brain more or less stimulated. ADD medications make more dopamine and/or nor-epinephrine available between the synapses and allow the frontal lobes to exert a greater influence on the decision making switch of the brain, the reticular activating system, allowing greater emphasis on future planning, societal rules, interest levels and emotional control. Medications seldom normalise all the differences in an ADD brain.

    So it is not surprising that ADDers, medicated or not, are different with all these widely varying neurologies and ADD does not influence normal human differences as to whether we prefer rock or jazz, managing or gardening. I wouldn’t expect all ADDers to be funny but I would expect those that are funny to be more creatively funny, I would think that ignoring rules, pursuit of stimulation, fast speech and passion would add up to more engaging humour? I wouldn’t expect all ADDers to be entrepreneurs but I would expect those that want to set up companies to be more driven, to look outside the box and to innovate. I wouldn’t expect all ADDers to be scientists but those with an interest and ability in science, I would expect to be more focussed, more excited and more inventive. I might expect a higher proportion of ADDers to gravitate to stimulating, passionate, unconventional roles like comics, inventors, explorers, artists and entrepreneurs too.

    I am indeed late diagnosed, initially self-diagnosed at 45 on Wikipedia. Not sure I took on a particular role due to my ADD but I always knew I was different from other people. I did very well at school, bombed at university, had a successful career in IT from programmer, through marketing & sales, to setting up and running several successful IT start-up companies. I struggled badly with all the usual ADD issues too, but can’t help but think my ADD rule breaking, big-picture/no-details learning style, drive for stimulation and flight from boredom, helped define my love of travel, my cooking skills and love of varied foods, my interest in discovering new bands, finding new books and movies, shaped my world view and helped me achieve unconventional success in business, based on new ideas, passion and creativity. I can’t prove it but I deeply believe it, because for over forty years I learnt where I was different and it was not just in the bad stuff but the good stuff too, way before I knew anything whatsoever about ADD.

    PS I am going to the conference and your evening talk, so will say hi if I get the chance!

  • Gina Pera

    Hi Andrea,

    thanks for the clarification. Of course our particular brain writing influences our personality — or IS our personality.

    But my point is that 1) there’s much more to a person than ADHD and 2)ADHD manifests so differently among the individuals who have it, we just cannot make any one-size-fits-all claims.

    For every person with ADHD who has a love of travel, cooking skills, books and movies, and who is successful in business, there are many others who are too disorganized (or broke) to leave home, who can’t sequence well enough to cook a meal, who can’t sustain interest in a book or movie, and who flops at every business scheme attempted.

    The danger in painting rosy pictures about ADHD is that we leave out a lot of people with ADHD whose lives aren’t so rosy. So, how does this help them? And how doe it help the public develop understanding and empathy towards those who aren’t running a successful business, laying a great spread on the table, etc. (“David Neeleman started an airline, and you can’t even get up in the morning….you can’t have ADHD!” :-) )

    Okay, I’m checking out for a few weeks. Looking forward to limping through London on my gimpy foot.


    I look forward to seeing you at ADDISS. Please do say hi!

  • Gina Pera

    Ack, in my rush, my finger slipped….of course I mean ANDREW. sorry.

  • Pingback: What If There Was A Magic Button That Could Turn Off Your ADD? | Jeff's A.D.D. Mind

  • Gina Pera

    Hi Andrew,

    I so enjoyed meeting you at the conference. Thanks for coming and for introducing yourself.


  • Pingback: Adult A.D.D./A.D.H.D. is NOT a Gift | Jeff's A.D.D. Mind

  • Scott Hutson

    On the subject of “Unwrapping The Sales Manure”…

    I have been seeing myself slowing improving and learning about ADD, by reading posts/comments here at JEFF”S A.D.D. MIND. Gina’s book has been a life saver for me (to put it mildly).

    Before I found Jeff’s blog,I found Dr.Hollowell’s,and Dr.Handelman’s web’s. A personal phrase I have been useing in my comments lately is:”I know it when i see it.” Here what I saw after i email’ed the Dr.’s,and told my story about the road to my diag. of ADD.>An overload of promotions,and “Great Deals” in my email. I thought my screen may be damaged from the overload(not to mention my eyes,and brain),so much so,I had to block them from my email. Never did I receive any email in response to my questions and personal concerns. But I did “Unwrap” salesmen.


    I noticed in one of your comments to Gina,you mentioned that you have read Gina’s book. I am reading Gina’s book and am “Seeing it” by reading slowly,and making sure I am “Seeing” what She has discovered in her expeiriance and research on the subject of ADD.

    I see, most of your questions/comments to her about her opinion and response to your comments, are in her book. I hope I have helped you,and I admire your dedication to help others to understand,and deal with ADD!


  • Deb

    Pleeeze – has anyone else noticed the brain in the veg-o-matic. Now I know why people are afraid to post here!

    That’s pretty much what my ADHD has done for me already, so I won’t be needing one, thanks anyway!

    I have never seen this unwrapping the gift stuff – pretty funny. Only in America!

    So whaddya gonna spend your money on, an ab rocker, a juicer, Ginsu knives? Here in America we are obsessed with getting the next thing. Personally, I think we are spoiled by our abundance and lulled by too many choices that are not really different choices at all.

    If the question is does this really advance our situation, to promote awareness and offer up any real help, I will not know because they will not get my $47.00 to find out. I can say that good therapists that really get it and can help are hiding from me.
    Where does one turn? If you have a reading disability and are unable to sift through volumes of science and wisdom presented in books from the experts, is it a good idea to buy a distilled flashy presentation from these guys? I went to the unwrapping website all I could find was a menu to buy some of the best books ever written on the subject by all the leading exerts. If you truly are ADD, this purchase might do more for you than that ab rocker you never really got started on, if you ever get around to using it.

    For me, today I would like to push the button.

  • Deb

    …and yes, the damn veg-a-matic is unrelenting and everpresent…….

    No request, no matter how genuine or legal, can ever rid us of it.

  • Pingback: You Have ADD/ADHD and You Will STILL Not Be Rich and Famous | Jeff's A.D.D. Mind

  • Pingback: Corrections & Retractions | Jeff's A.D.D. Mind

ADHD: Awesome and Deadly

An email from an ADHDer. Subject: Open this email I have ADD and I want to share! Message: Hi Jeff, [...]

What It Feels Like To Have ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 6)

The Trap is Set

The Wanderer

The Child Within The Man

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 5)

The System Is Blinking Red

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 4)

A Quick Bite

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 3)

Thick As A Brick

How Do You Know If You Have ADHD?

The Warning Signs of ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 2)

Warning Signs

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 1)

The Ground Shakes

A Cure for ADHD

Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Your Money Back!

The Perfect Month

What A Great Time Of Year

That’s What I Call ADHD-Friendly Software

A recent ADHD newsletter noted that The Brain — a mind mapping software — might be a useful tool for [...]

Life in the Modern Age

Sixteen months ago I moved from the world of entrepreneurship — a portmanteau comprised of the French word entrepreneur, which [...]

E-Card Fun

Some more e-card humor: Expressing Your ADHD Self…Digitally A Few Laughs, Giggles & Groans

While Rome Burns

I’ve started collecting screenshots of online advertising. I’m trying to understand the message. The ad below says that if I’m [...]

Kiss Your Distractions Goodbye

Do one thing at a time

ADHD Does Not Exist

I can’t tell what is more disturbing. A book titled “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and [...]