Are you running with all your might in opposite directions at the same time? Are your thoughts constantly competing with each other? Is priority paper work piling up while you minister to parishioners? Does it seem there is no day timer or planning system to which you can stick despite trying many? Are you aware you are capable of so much more and wondering why you cannot get done what you know you can do? Are you struggling to get it together or keep it together one more time? If so, you may suffer from Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Pastors are not exempt from any disease and may have this physical/biological problem which impacts all of their relationships and everything they do. Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is controversial because it has been over diagnosed and medications have been too hastily dispensed but is real none the less.
Advances in neuroscience dramatically confirm what parents and teachers have known for years. Some people have a set of symptoms which are described by scientists as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The more general term is also used which is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms are as markedly consisten as are the symptoms of depression. In general, ADD adults may be described as consistently inconsistent people. Chaotic work habits, mismanaged priorities, and relationship failure characterize ADHD lives. Adults with this disorder are increasingly spotted and diagnosed as the medical community becomes more informed about the symptoms and the beneficial medical treatment of these symptoms.
According to Christian Psychiatrist, Daniel Amen of the Amen Clinic, not only do ADD adults fit a symptom set, they have a distinctly observable unique brain shape which shows on SPECT scans and confirms ADD & ADHD are disorders of the brain which are biological. These disorders are listed as a disease in the DSM-IV. Clinical diagnosis recognizes three specific subtypes with criteria as follows:
AD/HD – Predominantly Inattentive Type
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
- Has difficulty sustaining attention.
- Does not appear to listen.
- Struggles to follow through on instructions.
- Has difficulty with organization.
- Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
- Loses things.
- Is easily distracted.
- Is forgetful in daily activities.
AD/HD – Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
- Has difficulty remaining seated.
- Runs about or climbs excessively.
- Difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
- Acts as if driven by a motor.
- Talks excessively.
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
- Difficulty waiting or taking turns.
- Interrupts or intrudes upon others.
AD/HD – Combined Type
- Individual meets both sets of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.
ADHD pastors and ADHD adults in general are creative, driven, and usually quite bright. They have a host of commendable qualities but the negative impact of the disease may dramatically undermine trust and erode confidence in the ADHD adult with the people around him. The symptoms and subtypes above are not the only ones recognized by experts and authors in the field. Most ADHD adults feel like they are not living up to their full potential and often make harsh judgments about their performance and worth. Shame generating inadequacies push them to defend, excuse and avoid the scary truth of their flaws and disease. If you recognize your self or someone you are trying to love in these symptoms, facing the biological reality is essential. Without appropriate medication and understanding cycles of maddening dysfunction develop with increasing hopelessness in life and relationships as the byproducts.
ADHD clergy are more likely to engage in problematic addictions as well. The older the ADHD adult is without proper diagnosis and treatment, the more complicated lasting change becomes. In addition to the biological limits of the brain, which produce the maddening symptom set above, an undiagnosed ADHD person develops long standing and deeply rooted negative habits and views of the self.
As a disease ADHD is usually treated by giving the patient a stimulant medication. These stimulants tend to wake the brain to more functional thought and behavior by calming the competing ideas which are fighting with each other inside the ADHD head. Instead of trying to function as if one is stuck under water or hopelessly trying to be present in a conversation which has turned boring, medications allow the ADHD person to be more present, attentive and engaged in current life and circumstances. But with all the wonder of medications which work, they don’t change habituation. Habits change slowly and seldom change without meaningful engagement with a coach, counselor or both.
If you have even some of the criteria listed above for ADHD we encourage you to go to Amen Clinic’s Web Site, read the information about the self tests they offer and take the tests. The test results are immediately available. Remember, pastor, you are not likely to make even the spiritual progress you desire in your life without dealing with the physical brain realities you may face. The Amen Clinic tests are found by clicking here. You will be on the “My Brain Health” page and will see two tests under the “Test Your Brain”. Take the ADD one. If you test positively for ADHD lots of hope and help is available and knowing what you are up against is indispensable.
Because ADHD is a primary disease dealing fully with it is often a prerequisite to lasting change regarding addictive processes. It is necessary to decrease the chaos in one’s mind, work world and daily life to address one’s addictions. Dealing fully with ADD is also essential to unwinding the lack of trust unintentionally created in close relationships.
The founder of CRN, Dale W, was diagnosed as an ADD adult and knows this territory well. Go to I Need Help to contact him. Please do not delay your research regarding this potential reality. Follow through with the self tests mentioned above then, if a diagnosis of ADHD is confirmed or probable choose from the list of options below and begin your new life today.
- Interact with a member of the Been There, Done That Network who suffers with ADHD symptoms and is willing to share his journey with you.
- Go to Finding Help page to see about entering into a mentoring relationship with Dale W.
- Seek a Christian Counselor in your area by clicking here or go to the CRN Links Page to consult potential resources.
- Make an appointment with a Medical Professional who understands and deals with Adult ADHD patients. A physician or psychiatrist who specializes in this is indispensable. You may surely start with your normal medial practitioner but don’t hesitate to go to the phone book, do your research by asking “does doctor so and so specialize in Adult ADHD issues. Don’t stop until you are comfortable you have a quality medical practitioner dealing with your symptoms.
- Consult with and go to the closest Amen Clinic for evaluation and guidance.
- If you get stuck seeking help, start over by going to the Finding Help page of this web site but don’t give up. You are worth it.