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Do I have ADHD? Or is it Stimulant Addiction?

You’re saying, “What about the attention stuff? What about the distraction stuff?”

Well, yeah, what about that stuff? It’s true that those are the biggest problems I have in my world. But what causes them?

I wonder recently if the addiction to stimulation is the thing that distracts me from what I should be paying attention to.

Gratification is king

I find that when I am off track, it’s usually because I’ve been looking for the stimulation of gratification. I’ll be doing one thing, that is likely on my list of things to do, and I’ll veer off to do something that looks like it could be fairly easy to do, relative to how good the success of doing that thing will make me feel.

And how I feel about having done something is the most important thing of all.

Accomplishment is stimulating!

The thing that distracts us is that potential accomplishment and the stimulation that results from that.

And as to attention, as I’ve said a million times, I don’t lack the ability to pay attention, I lack the ability to control what I pay attention to. So distraction is actually the same as what passes for “attention deficit.”

Kinds of stimulants

There are two distinct groups of stimulant for those of us with ADHD. There are chemical stimulants and there are situational stimulants.

Chemicals are drugs and consumables … well, drugs. They’re all drugs. Ritalin, Adderall and other prescription drugs, THC, amphetamines, and other illegal or borderline illegal drugs, and, caffeine, sugar, and all the minor stimulants that are available over the counter so to speak.

And the situational?

Situational stimulants are things like reckless driving, spontaneous sexual activity, risk taking behaviors that are ill advised or dangerous. But they are also situations like leaving things to the last minute or even later. They are the things in life that are exciting, whether the excitement is good or bad.

Some people think that I get on stage because it is stimulating to be afraid, but the truth to that is that I have never been afraid on stage. I do find performing to be stimulating though, just more in a challenging way than anything else.

Which reminds me …

I get a charge out of performing, not just on stage, but in everyday life. I get stimulated by trying unusual or unique things, attempting things that are challenging.

One of my most recent challenges has been learning to be a helmsperson on a dragon boat. I love the responsibility and the adventure of guiding a boat full of people on our river and our bay, seeing our town from an unusual vantage, bringing everyone back safely and securing everything for our next outing.

So that’s it

I don’t think I have ADHD so much as I just have this overwhelming need to be stimulated in every aspect of my life.

Oh, and I’m easily distracted, have trouble paying attention to things that are boring, am prone to procrastination, say inappropriate things sometimes, make careless mistakes, have no sense of time and a poor executive function, don’t always finish … start too many … ride bikes … poor food … bad oral …


Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2017). ADHD? Or SA?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 19, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2017/06/adhd-or-sa/


Last updated: 14 Jun 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jun 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.