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The Best Attention Deficit Disorder Books

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 7 19

Attention deficit disorder books, or books about ADD/ADHD is a category full of good titles. Whether the reader is an adult with ADD, or a parent who is supporting a child with ADD/ADHD, they will benefit from these books. Some are written specifically to help adults, while others are books that cover childhood to adulthood ADD. Many of the books give practical suggestions for finding the good qualities of ADD that will help the reader be successful.

There are certainly many more ADD books to choose from. These are in no particular order. At the end of the list, please take time to leave a comment on what you think are the best ADD/ADHD books.

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. (1995)

Driven to Distraction
An absolute classic book in the field. Drs. Hallowell and Ratey do a great job in capturing the mind of the person with ADD. While the book walks the reader through the stages of ADD from childhood to adulthood, there is much more emphasis on adults with ADD. Some people experience fewer symptoms as they pass into adulthood, but many carry the symptoms of attention deficit disorder with them their whole lives.

This was the first book I read on adult attention deficit disorder. At the time I knew little about ADD and how it affected adults, or even children for that matter. The authors gave many examples and case studies of how ADD (they prefer this term to ADHD) manifests itself throughout life.

Driven to Distraction does not promise that everything will be easy after you are armed with the information within its pages, but it does offer hope. Hallowell and Ratey (both doctors with ADD) stress the positive benefits of having ADD. There are specific recommendations for how different drugs, diets and coaching can help the person with attention deficit disorder.

If you have to limit yourself to getting just one book, this is the one you should buy. Since the book was written there have been many advancements in medication. Therefore you may need to do some extra research if you are wanting to know about newer types of drugs such as Strattera.

Dr. Hallowell has written the Introduction or Forward for 4 other books in this list. And those which he did not contribute to were recommended reading in one of his later books.

Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD
Dr. Daniel G. Amen (2002)

Healing ADD
I am not sure if this book was written for the general public, or if it was specifically written to convince other doctors in the field about the author's findings. Either way, it is a compelling and convincing argument that Dr. Amen has been able to identify six specific types of ADD.

Dr. Amen categorizes attention deficit disorder into these six different types. He studies the results of SPECT scans (a nuclear-based brain scanning technique) and looks at the symptoms that the patient exhibits. He has found a correlation between certain scan patterns and behavioral traits. Such a strong connection, in fact, that he believes a doctor can more precisely determine the best course of action based on these scans. Even if a doctor does not perform the SPECT analysis, just having Dr. Amen's very detailed information about behavior can help a behavioral psychiatrist know how best to proceed with treatment.

Dr. Amen's research has been controversial. Not many people in the medical field have been convinced of his work. But the book holds much more value than the controversial aspect of using SPECT scans. This book is full of very specific behavior sets that can help you, or your loved one, know which types of characteristics usually go together. Knowing this information, you are able to seek help in very focused ways.

Dr. Amen also covers quite a few techniques to help each of the types of ADD. There are behavior modification recommendations as well as drug suggestions based on the different types of ADD. If other doctors will learn from what Dr. Amen has studied, it may be a help to focusing on which drugs and behavior changes will best help the patient.

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo (new edition, 2006)

ADD Crazy Lazy
Written squarely for the reader with ADD as an adult this book is seen as the definitive guide to explaining ADD and helping the patient work their way to happiness. The 2006 version of the book is updated with new medication information and an explanation of the difference in ADD between men and women.

The book helps the reader evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. It then encourages the reader to focus on the positive. This can be done through coaching, therapy and medication.

The authors present the information of ADD in a humorous way that draws the reader in with its shared insight into the lives of people with ADD. There are certain childhood memories and adult experiences that only an ADD person can appreciate. This book does its best to play on those shared experiences to help the reader realize they are not the only one who has experienced what they are going through.

There is a strong emphasis in the book about getting organized. Some of the suggestions seem impossible-keeping a daily journal. However others offer freedom-delegating tasks to others that the person with ADD struggles to accomplish.

Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception
Thom Hartmann (2nd edition, 1997)

ADD a Different Perspective
This book works on the premise that people with ADD are hunters while our society today is one made up of farmers. Farmers live their lives looking to complete certain tasks that take days, and often years, to accomplish. The hunter though is one who moves from task to task looking for the next kill. Stick a hoe in his hand and ask him to plant a lifetime of corn and he quickly finds that he does not fit in.

The author uses the analogy to help the reader realize that, while they are different from the farmers, they are no less valuable. The hunter, or the person with attention deficit disorder, can do some things much better than the farmer could ever hope to do. In our culture the leaders, explorers, visionaries and pioneers are most often the hunters, not the farmers.

This book encourages the reader to look beyond medication. While the author does not say that medication is unnecessary, he does recommend that medication be used sparingly and only when there are not other alternatives.

If the reader is able to see the positive aspects of ADD and can work to capitalize on them, then there is success available in their fields. Even if it is not the same field with the farmer.

Learning Outside The Lines: Two Ivy League Students With Learning Disabilities And ADHD Give You The Tools
Jonathan Mooney and David Cole (2000)

ADD Learning
The educational system of a country is usually built to cater to the majority of the students in class. But what do you do if you aren't one of the majority? How do you cope with a system that is teaching in a different way than the way you think and learn? Mooney and Cole offer suggestions on how to work with the system as it is. While it would be ideal for each student to get individual teaching based on their own characteristics and learning style, that is not going to happen in most cases.

There are practical suggestions on how to study and take notes. This book is written primarily for the teenage student and their parents. However, a word of warning is needed. There is quite a bit of crude and unnecessary vulgarity in the book. My teenage children will not be reading it. I will teach them the principles of the book, using appropriate language, if I find it necessary for them to use the information.

The book starts out with a history of the authors and how that they were not expected to be successful in their educational careers (one didn't learn to read until he was 12 and the other was a high school dropout by age 15). More than just barely making it through school, they each graduated at the top of their class at Brown University. Because of their own struggles with learning disabilities the book is not just for ADD students, but for students who have been classified as learning disabled.

While this book is clearly written for students, the information can be applied in many areas of life even if you cringe at the thought of ever stepping into a classroom again.

Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life
Sari Solden (2nd edition, 2005)

Women with ADD
Girls and women are just as likely to have ADD as boys and men. However, since females do not as often display the "driven with a motor" characteristics that males do, they often go undiagnosed. Of course both men and women with ADD are many times disorganized, but the stigma for women is that they are to be more organized than the average man. Because of the added pressure in these areas, the tendency is for the woman with ADD to slip further into other typical ADD traits such as depression and anxiety. Often people with ADD are paralyzed by the inability to accomplish all the tasks that their mind brings to focus at any given moment. This inability to perform basic tasks, such as clearing off a place on the desk to write, can become a point of ridicule and disbelief from her co-workers.

The author encourages the reader to stop making excuses for their disorganization and realize that it is part of their life. Learn to live with and accept the difficult things that cannot be changed and embrace the special traits that come with having ADD.

There are three other books that I think deserve a mention, though I won't go into as much detail.

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. (2005)

This is a continuation of their book Driven to Distraction. It is updated with new information about drugs and other treatments. Many of the books on this list are mentioned in Delivered from Distraction. There are also more interesting case studies and personal stories similar to what the first book contained.

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. (2002)

Written by a professional organizer and a clinical psychologist this book talks about why ADD people are disorganized in unique ways from everyone else. Using humor they teach the reader tips and tricks that can help them find what's important.

Answers to Distraction
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. (2010)

This book was recently released. Whether this becomes one of the best attention deficit disorder books or not remains to be seen, but Hallowell and Ratey have had a great track record so far.

This book is a question and answer (FAQ) book about ADD.

These are best books about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Do you have a book that should go on the list? Register with Info Barrel and leave a comment.

I have also written a list of some of the best attention deficit disorder books for children.



Oct 31, 2010 12:05am
Great article, this could really help a lot of people, and it's nice to have the information come from someone who has experience with this disorder. Nicely done!
Oct 31, 2010 6:58am
I have read several of these books, but putting this list together makes me want to get the rest of them. I read so many good things about them.
Oct 31, 2010 5:46am
Thank you for a great article, and an impressive list of resources for help to ADHD related problems.
Oct 31, 2010 6:59am
There is a lot of good material in this list. I hope it helps others when trying to get help.
Oct 31, 2010 9:27am
Wow what a great collection of ADHD books. You sure have picked out some good books from what you have written I cannot judge personally because havent read them. Thanks for sharing this it definitely should help people with and family with this problem.
Oct 31, 2010 10:34pm
These are great books. There are many other good ones too. I think it is best to read at least 3 different ones to get a good balanced idea of ADD. The more I learn the more I see that there are many different philosophies and approaches to dealing with ADD.
Oct 31, 2010 9:19pm
Thanks for sharing this! I think it is a good idea also for new articles - on other topics in which you may be interested or well documented.
Oct 31, 2010 10:35pm
Book lists are fun to put together. Especially if you have read them all and you don't have to do much research. They can be a big help to someone needing a recommendation for a few books in a topic too.

Thanks for commenting.
Dec 1, 2010 2:27am
The symptoms of attention deficit disorder may be different ways, and two people very rarely the same symptoms of this condition. Attention deficit disorder, some individuals may be as simple as passivity or lack of interest, while others may be difficult to build an aggressive and hyperactive behavior that a person is often unable to control. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders.
Dec 19, 2010 12:22am
Congrats on your feature for this well written article on an important subject dpeach!
Dec 19, 2010 2:42pm
Thank you vetochemicals!
Dec 19, 2010 12:48pm
Congratulations! I'm glad to have this useful resource, too. I work with Special Ed students, many of whom have ADHD, so this list of resources will be very helpful.
Dec 19, 2010 2:42pm
Great. I hope it can be a help to others in the future too.
Dec 19, 2010 2:11pm
Excellent layout and use of the page, dpeach. It looks really good. The Driven to Distraction book was recommended by my doctor. She says it's one of the best books on the topic. Dr. Amen's books are excellent too. (his last name is misspelled in the article). He is on PBS a lot.

Congrats on the front page!
Dec 19, 2010 2:50pm
Thanks jpwriter. I have a personal friend whose name is Dr. Aman and just wrote it into the article without thinking. Thanks for pointing it out.
Dec 19, 2010 4:01pm
dpeach,I've read driven to distraction and it's an excellent book. I was not diagnosed until later in my life however I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm a fully functional adult with all the benefits of adhd and none of it's weaknesses. Interestingly enough in my line of work you have to be adhd. Great article I enjoyed reading it.
Dec 20, 2010 10:01am
The Driven to Distraction book really emphasizes the strengths of ADD. It is a great book. I need to read it again. It has been about 4 years since I last read it.
Dec 20, 2010 8:17am
Superb article that will probably become a classic source of ADD information. Thank You
Dec 20, 2010 10:02am
Thanks Philtrate!
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