Does Everyone Have ADD? – Concentration Interruptus And “Pseudo ADD”

When you’re thinking is interrupted by your brain, you’ve got real ADD; When it’s interrupted by the world, you just have trouble saying, “No.”

Concentration Interruptus: Is it Real or is it “Pseudo” ADD?


When you’re thinking is interrupted by your brain, you’ve got real ADD;
When it’s interrupted by the world, you just have trouble saying, “No.”

True ADD is about having your concentration (mind) interrupted from
inside your brain, because the resting “idle” of your brain cells is too
slow. When the resting “RPM” of your brain is too slow, your mind does
not become engaged. You’re left functioning from your reptilian brain,
reacting more by reflex than by reflection.

Natural adrenaline (which excitement/ risk triggers as in extreme
sports, trading, speculating and selling) raises the resting RPM of your
brain enough to engage your mind (think of needing to get your manual
transmission car’s engine beyond 800 RPM or it will stall). When your
mind is engaged, it doesn’t think faster. It thinks more clearly because
it is able to tune out extraneous stimuli and avoid becoming distracted
so easily.

Although this makes you more goal directed, it causes you to be less
empathic to others. That’s why people with natural ADD (especially
young children) often have trouble being sensitive to others. It is not
that they are insensitive (i.e. intentionally and purposefully that
way), it is just that they are “not” sensitive. Problems arise in
relationships when your being not sensitive to others (and not meant
personally), is taken personally by them.

Giving people with true ADD, Ritalin, Dexedrine or Adderall lessens
the need to seek out excitement and adrenaline rush type activities to
be able to engage their minds. Another benefit accrues to relationships
by being able to listen more patiently. Being able to relate becomes
possible whereas being able to achieve was the only option before.

I first coined the term “Pseudo ADD” twelve years ago, before my suffering from it took me down multiple paths (which makes me diversified on good days, and scattered
on bad ones). It occurs when your mind is not interrupted by your
brain, but when it is interrupted by the emotional needs and demands
from people outside you.


Rather than being unempathic, you are too empathic and will
drop what you’re concentrating on to attend to the needs of others (what
the word “co-dependent” means). You have trouble tuning out the
outside world with pseudo ADD and suffer from what I call,
“concentration interruptus.” The treatment for Pseudo ADD is not
medication, it’s learning to set clearer boundaries between you and
people and internalizing it so that you don’t feel guilty (for hurting)
or afraid (for upsetting) others when you say, “No.”

If you have real or pseudo ADD, you will like my books, Get Out of Your Own Way and Get Out of Your Way at Work … and Help Others Do the Same. They are both written for and by
a person with ADD (i.e. moi) and consist of forty 3-4 page, stand alone
chapters, each focusing on a self-defeating behavior. And if you want
to go from Concentration Interruptus to achieving “Results Beyond Your
Imagination,” check out Xtraordinary Outcomes.


About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit