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The Doc’s Spot On!

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Ask the doctor …

How many times have I said that the symptoms of ADHD are present in every human being?

How many times have I told you that the defining criteria is not so much the symptoms as it is their intensity and their frequency?

And how often do I need to keep repeating it?

Well, as long as I want to keep this job I’ll be doing that.

I love my work!

So yes, I’ll keep saying those things.

But there’s a doctor, William Dodson, MD, who is suggesting that there are undocumented symptoms of ADHD that set us apart.

These are symptoms that the general population do not experience if they are without ADHD.

To some extent …

It could be said that these are the results of enduring the symptoms that everyone has at the frequency and intensity that those of us with ADHD experience.

I’d buy that in a heart beat. It makes perfect sense, but we’re not there yet.

We’re still at the stage where the good doctor has said, “Look, I see this this way, does anyone else see that?” (I’m paraphrasing here, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.)

So what is he saying?

He’s saying this: “From this perspective, three defining features of ADHD emerge that explain every aspect of the condition, an interest-based nervous system, emotional hyperarousal, and rejection sensitivity.”

And I’m saying “What the … ??? That’s me!!!”

Now, in fairness, he’s not saying the DSM 5 is wrong. He’s saying the symptoms listed in it are perfectly relevant and acceptable, for children. But when it comes to youth, and teens, and yes, adults, the lack of development that causes those symptoms results in the manifestation of these other three things that come to define our lives.

Interest based nervous system

Okay, this sounds like distraction in a nut shell, but if we consider that the distracted person is going to develop into an adult, this is really more like saying we aren’t so much easily distracted as we are driven by what interests us.

We therefore do not thrive or succeed at tasks that we don’t have, or cannot generate, an interest in.

Emotional hyperarousal

This is why we engage in what many call hyper-focus, or what has also been referred to as perseverance. We are very emotional beings.

We don’t always show it, lord knows we’ve been told often enough that being overly emotional about many things is not normal. And our self control may not extend to being able to control our emotions, but we are damned good at not showing them after a while.

And yet, unseen as they may be, they still drive us and make us different.

Rejection sensitivity

The last Symptom the good doctor lists is this one. Actually, he goes a bit further at times and refers to it as Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, an ongoing, relentless depressive state caused by the perception (though not necessarily the reality) of rejection by important people in ones life.

There is, in my mind, the question of whether this is actually a symptom or the result of years of spontaneous, accidental aversion therapy where being constantly identified as different has caused us to believe that we are being rejected.

But whether its the egg before the chicken, or the chicken before the egg, it’s certainly an indicator of adult ADHD.

And the proof?

I’ll let the doctor speak for himself.

I saved the links until the end of my post because I know you all so well. I figured I’d let you read my post before I sent you off down the rabbit hole.

Check out a couple of Dr. Dodson’s articles here and here.

Thanks for reading.


The Doc’s Spot On!

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. (2018). The Doc’s Spot On!. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2019, from


Last updated: 19 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jun 2018
Published on All rights reserved.