Dr. Dale Archer
Some entrepreneurs claim success because of their ADHD, not despite it. What about “besides it,” asks Dr. Levinson?
What do business mogul Sir Richard Branson, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, and JetBlue founder David Neeleman, have in common? Well, besides being monumentally successful, they all have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and, like other entrepreneurs and CEOs, some will even tell you that they are successful largely because of the “diagnosis”, not in spite of it.
They may well be onto something. At a time when health care professionals are over prescribing stimulants like Ritalin, medicating the so-called “symptoms” of ADHD out of existence, it’s worth noting that some of the trait’s most common characteristics – creativity, multi-tasking, risk-taking, high energy and even resilience– are, in fact, strengths when leveraged in the right way.
According to Dr. Harold Levinson, this well written article by Dr. Dale Archer magnificently presents both sides of the ADHD portrait and the negatives of unnecessary treatment, especially since it may hamper gifted functioning. However, Archer may have inadvertently overlooked a crucial “third option” requiring clarification of vital clinical points. Most of the famous individuals referred to were previously reported to have had dyslexia until ADHD became more popular. In fact, the vast majority have both disorders. That’s why these disorders are called comorbid. And by properly diagnosing and treating both disorders, Levinson was able to reduce their “negative” symptoms significantly.
“Absolutely no reduction in ‘positive symptoms’ occurred when doses are minimal and all side-effects are avoided. Just the opposite is true. Positive functions are intensified when negatives are therapeutically removed.”
All too often, gifted functioning and even stubborn determination to succeed are innate qualities independent of ADHD or dyslexia. Thus many entrepreneurs who succeed with these disorders would have succeeded easier and better without them. Proper treatment just removes the drag and resistance to success in those with the above disorders.
Were untreated CEO’s asked if they would prefer being treated for their negative symptoms and having their positives magnified, there is little doubt about their answer.
By contrast, Dr. Archer and others asked them another question: “Would you rather keep your high energy, multitasking, over-focus…or be treated and lose these functions. “ Although the answer is again obvious, the question mistakenly assumes that proper treatment will eliminate either favorable ADHD symptoms and/or independent gifted functioning. Just the opposite is true.
“I have successfully treated many gifted dyslexics with/without ADHD for severely disturbing coexisting symptoms. Many felt inwardly as failures, having impaired self-esteem. They thought adulating others were just dumber than they were for not seeing thru them. None felt medical treatment diminished their gifts. Just the opposite. Often overlooked is the frequent truism that gifted individuals frequently judge themselves by their failures, not successes.”
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit: http://www.dyslexiaonline.com
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