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Medical ADHD / Genius

  1. Jun 12, 2008 #1
    I went to see a professional psychologist today who suggested my current problems in university are the result of a combination of a high intelligence and ADHD. I am going to get professionally tested for both, of course. I know I am intelligent, but I am unsure of whether or not I am a genius (will be disappointed if I am not as strange as that sounds). As for the ADHD, I am not sure yet. I am going to let the expert decide, but I'm currently doing my own research right now.

    Anyone know about the combination of genius and ADHD? How do people get around it? My current problem, by the way, is I can't do something without intrinsic motivation. This is causing me to have problems applying myself in university. Learning the material is easy, boring, and part of the reason I don't do it. I am interested in it initially then get bored. I have changed my focus multiple times already.
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  3. Jun 12, 2008 #2


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    I was tested at the request of a teacher years ago and I have a genius IQ. Go figure. I have a problem staying motivated also, but that's not due to an attention deficit disorder. In school, they just took my books away from me at the age of 8 to keep me from getting ahead of the class. Remember that a high IQ score only means that you do well on IQ tests. :smile: Don't let a score affect you. Remember that true "genius" is in what you accomplish.

    I hope you get the ADHD treated if you have that, and just hang in there!
  4. Jun 13, 2008 #3


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    You're psychologist might be right, but meanwhile I recommnd you to rethink things anyway.
    Things like:
    whether you're interested in this subject you're studing at uni
    is everything ok with your health
    are you suffering intense stress (it can take your self confidende away from you and have a really negative effects on your performance,...)

    PS Even if you don't score as a genius (or even if you would not be 1 )that doesn't mean anything. You can still be 1 of the best in what your area of interst if you try hard and have faith in your own abilities and goals!:smile:

    Good luck!
  5. Jun 13, 2008 #4


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    If you can't do things without intrinsic motivation, try setting your own goals and and motivate yourself to reach them. For instance, some people can be interested in a huge range of subjects and try and learn about them all which is impractical especially when you find the material easy. The ease of learning it can turn one off and make one think they are now an expert in that area until a few months later someone comes and asks you a question about it. Rather than just doing the work you've been given for the course, why not get the recommended text books and make a point of doing every exercise in a related chapter that week. Also start allocating your time to specific things so you get into a routine of doing things you want to do. Don't give up when you find one particular part easy. It will not always be like that.

    I'm sure you know of better things that will motivate you. You just have to take charge of structuring your own activities and not rely on the school system being set up to do it for you.
  6. Jun 13, 2008 #5


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    I've had a lot of the same problems as you're describing, and I suspect it's because of some type of brain abnormality like that, but I've never been diagnosed and don't care to be. I've managed to cope to a large extent by developing somewhat arbitrary goals, but even then, it's hard for me to stay focused on them and not quickly jump to some other set of arbitrary goals. Most of my best days come when I strictly plan out every single thing I'm going to do and don't deviate from the plan at all. I also try somewhat just to mimic other people that are successful in a way I'd like to be successful, but it takes an awful lot of discipline because I'm basically making my way through life as an actor that way and I can't ever break character.
  7. Jun 18, 2008 #6
    Truth there.
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  8. Jun 24, 2008 #7


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    I don't have anything to add on that part, and will leave it to your psychologist to diagnose and determine an appropriate course of treatment if needed (by treatment, that could mean medication or coping strategies or a combination of both, depending on the final diagnosis and severity of the problem).

    And part of the reason we don't provide diagnoses here is that this part sounds fairly normal to me. I presume there is much more included in the evaluation than just this short explanation to arrive at a diagnosis.

    I've never known anyone to be successful and complete something without intrinsic motivation, at least not school work. Sure, some kids do well with their parents standing over their shoulder telling them to finish their homework, but I'm still not sure that's extrinsic motivation as much as shifting the motivation to wanting to get done so they can do something else they want to do more than homework. And, that only lasts as long as your parents are there standing over your shoulder. University level work does require self-motivation, because there's nobody else there to make you do it.

    And, yes, there are some of us crazy people around who thrive on challenge. I've been having this discussion with a lot of people recently, and it seems to be a big component for those who choose careers in academia or research. It's tough to slog through doing something tedious and boring because it's too easy. On the other hand, one has to pay attention to whether it's boring because it's too easy, or boring because you just don't like the subject much. Sometimes it's hard to tell, because it's easy to land in a university major based on the subject that was always easiest for you, not because it was the one you loved the most. Is there a subject that you always found fun but never came easy for you? If so, you might find taking a class in that subject would add some more interest to your curriculum. Or, maybe it's not a subject, but an activity. A lot of really smart kids are not necessarily very athletic, so joining an intramural team might be a good outlet for challenging you to do something you don't usually do well.

    If it turns out it's truly ADHD, none of this is likely to help with that problem, but if it turns out you're just smart and bored, it might be more useful.

    Another thing to think about...when a subject you're initially interested in stops becoming interesting, is it always because it's too easy, or could it be when it starts to get challenging? Above I described cases of people who thrive on challenge. Sometimes it's the opposite problem. Some people love the thrill of success, and as long as they're getting A's or praise or feel like they've really nailed a subject, they enjoy it, but as soon as it becomes hard work that they have to sit down and struggle a bit to get through it, and stop getting the top scores, it's easier to give up than admit it's just gotten hard. In that case, setting more achievable goals may help. When you're in college/university, the rewards are far fewer than in high school, and you don't get much feedback on your performance along the way. This can really be frustrating for someone motivated by success, or who doesn't have the patience to wait for delayed gratification.
  9. Aug 1, 2008 #8

    I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when I was in the 3rd grade. I struggled a great deal in school, from the very start to the present day (I am currently finishing up the last year of a chemistry degree). For the longest time I thought I was "dull", regardless of the high scores I received on IQ and aptitude tests. After taking quite a few years off after high school I finally went to college. Upon my return to school, my innermost suspicions were confirmed (according to myself), I really wasn't dull... I was just bored! I came to this realization after my first few upper division classes (math, physics and chemistry). I learned that I excelled at courses which were considered "killer" by most and struggled with the "cake" classes.

    I thought to myself... this makes no sense at all! How could I be having such a hard time with the "cake" classes and be passing the "killer" courses with flying colors? Its purely due to boredom and lack of motivation. I would be captivated by the "higher level" subjects and, in turn, I would actually read the material, complete and turn in assignments in addition to scoring very high on exams. But... in the core classes I would read all the material (or at least try to) the night or morning before the exam, rarely complete assignments and, if I was really motivated, I would turn them in approx. 30% of the time, not to mention I rarely showed up for those classes.

    These classes bore me to death and I found my self struggling to understand to most basic concepts. It made no sense how the kid who came to every class stoned would get it and I was lost. Well... its mostly because I was never prepared, not because of lack of intelligence. I often find I struggle if the material is "too basic" or if the prof dumbs down or dilutes the course material. I think this happens because ADD/ADHD brains are always working a mile a minute and we, people with ADD/ADHD, are always thinking about a more than one thing at a time. I also find, at least for myself as I rarely ever share my disability with others (I am extremely self conscious and embarrassed to discusses this (or even tell others about it)), that my brain seems to be working 2-4 steps ahead. Therefore it becomes necessary for me to have a broad overview of the subject matter before learning the material in detail. By understanding the basic concepts beforehand, I am able to make connections and stay focused on the new material. However, if I am only given small portions at a time, I do have difficulty grasping concepts. I guess this is because my mind starts to wander, having nothing to compare or relate the material to or focus on, and I stop paying all together.

    I equate this to driving directions. If I am headed to a place I have never been before and the directions are given one turn at a time, I have more difficulty getting there than if I am given all of the directions, at once, before I even leave the house. By having all of the directions beforehand, I am able to build a mental map, and with that mental map, I am able to determine whether or not these are in fact the best directions, if they are not... I then have the ability to make any necessary adjustments.

    To answer your question, yes I do believe there is a connection between genius and ADD/ADHD. However, I do not believe this is a constant. Human beings are unique organism and no two are alike; thus, everyone person with ADD/ADHD not will share the same capacity to gain and demonstrate information or knowledge.

    I heard once that there are two different kinds of thinkers, crystalline and fluid. Crystalline thinkers are those who have the ability to MEMORIZE vast amounts of knowledge (think photographic memories) and fluid thinkers are those who are able to actually LEARN new material. Although crystalline thinkers have a great capacity for gaining and demonstrating new information, they often have a difficult time in creating NEW ideas of their own, fluid thinkers have the ability connect concepts to create new knowledge and ideas.

    Most people with ADD/ADHD are fluid thinkers!

    Hope this helps to support your suspicions.

  10. Aug 1, 2008 #9


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    They did not have to take away my books in elementary school, nor would it have done any good. We were taught in rotating classes with grades 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 in the same rooms. I was OK during the odd-numbered years, but I was bored to tears during the even-numbered years since I had already learned that material the previous year. My 2nd grade teacher just required me to shut up (discipline problem). My 4th grade teacher made me correct and grade papers for her (didn't THAT make me popular with my class-mates!). And my 6th grade teacher loaded me with reading assignments and demanded detailed book reports on each. Not reports that would prove to her that I read what she told me to read, but reports that touched on the motivations of the authors, the prejudices and assumptions of the times, etc. By age ten I had already plowed through the collected works of Mark Twain, apart from Innocents abroad, but she made sure that I read Thoreau, Hawthorn, Paine, authors of the English Romantic movement etc.

    Did I have an attention-deficit disorder? I don't think so - I was bored to tears when I was not constantly challenged. I looked forward to going to school when I was in the odd-numbered grades, and dreaded it as a waste of time in the even-numbered ones.
  11. Aug 2, 2008 #10
    It's really nice to see someone else talking so frankly about this. I was a very quick and good achiever when I was young. So much so that my parents were called into school to see some of my work. By the time I progressed to the age of 8 though it was beginning to hide away. Some key change in my environment made it retreat and it never re-surfaced. By the time I'd gotten to high school at the age of 11 there had been so much pressure put on me to think in the ways I was being ordered and forced to think that I had virtually no confidence left in myself and my abilities dwindled to nothing. By the time I made it to University they were completely gone. There was the odd flicker here and there but very little. I hated the course, hated the material and hated the format of it all whilst knowing deep down that I was way better than what I was being taught, I just couldn't understand even the most basic concepts presumably because those doors in my mind were firmly closed. It was at very best an extremely miserable time of my life and it's only just being put to bed now at the age of 29.

    There were moments in work when I would stun people with my enthusiasm and abilities though. At first I would be shy and hesitant, soon though they would be begging me to stop asking them questions and saying I was the smartest person they knew. I've tried to educate myself in my own time but it never works. Boredom and interference by petty concerns in life always stop it from developing. Even today the hate I have for my parents for helping to repress this ability by forcing things on me is enormous. I also completely despise the educational system and I would say I have a strong misunderstanding towards the majority of people who conform to the mediocre too.

    Today my abilities reside within my imagination. And my word, what an imagination it has become. It can be so intense sometimes my eyes hurt afterwards because they've been moving around so quickly. I've always suspected if this is some kind of self-induced REM behaviour. I know dreaming too much ruins your sleep and I've often found myself absolutely mentally exhausted for no apparent physical reason. This affected my sleep so badly my studies suffered, I've lost jobs, fell out with my family and all kinds of other things lasting around the last 13 years. It doesn't happen now because in the early days I had no idea how strong a link there was between my intense imaginings and bad sleep and depression. It's been hard to let them go but to survive I've simply had to. Now I sleep fine and my depression has all but vanished. I put my efforts into physical pursuits like running and re-training myself to live as happily as possible by doing things which build physical based confidence rather than academic achievements which only breed destruction of the mind and body.

    I'm much happier now I've turned it off. I feel it deep within me frequently and it harbours the desire that one day it will come riding back in on horseback and save the day like an estranged hero in an old Western. It will have this amazing use which I never thought of or which technology wasn't around before to exploit or I'll have so much money I'll be able to finally take control and do the things I've always wanted to prove my abilities.

    Leaving it the way it is to just sleep is the most appalling and painfully tragic waste of what is probably the greatest idea and potential solution generating brain I know of. If you could see it you would understand and you would know I am right about this.

    However what I've come to realise in life after more deliberation and inner analysing than several groups of people might manage in a single lifetime all combined, is that the challenge for me in life is not to show how good I am, for the simple reason is it is not a challenge to do that. I am in my element there when it comes to analysing and problem solving. I still do have some imaginings but there much less taxing now. My brain appears to have built up a library of visual effects relating to gels, oils, waters and such like and a library of motions such as partings, rotations, translations and light effects holding object dimensions in visual memory and being able to rotate around them and view them from any angle I choose and such like and now playing them all together in a syncronised artistic orchestra to fast paced music. This library of tried, tested and established effects greatly reduces mental demand as they can be called upon ad hoc when needed. Great yes, but not when it's been destroying you for years and it doesn't earn you any money and there's no way you can ever show it to other people.

    I completely agree with the person who said it's your achievements not your abilities that count. My extraordinary talent (I make no apologies for bolding admitting its presence anymore although I did for years. Being honest about it is part of coming to terms with a proper solution.) is what some might say God given. Achievements always have to be worked at, and that I think is where the fairness of the situation comes in.

    Earlier this year I ran 13.1 miles (half marathon) around Silverstone race track in England dressed top to toe in Roman battledress. All real, nothing fake it was all made of metal and weighed over 22 pounds and looked the bee knees. That is what I would call an achievment as I am not a naturally gifted runner so that was done on a level playing field. I continue to run and I will work to even greater achievments eventually the ultramarathon and possibly an ultra in costume again. That's something I can believe in and something I will truly deserve praise for from others and most importantly from myself if I am successful, because it will be done on a level playing field.

    I've sold all my old gear and I'm going abroad for a couple of years to get away from my old life which I don't want anymore. I intend to work very hard - which I'm good at - and contribute as much as I can to the local economy and population and do everything that is asked of me. I've also started learning how to interpret stocks and shares with good results. This is an area where my analytical abilities come into play so here's a way I could use at least part of my brain to make some money.

    All in all basing one's self esteem and confidence on one's achievments, and effort spent working towards goals whether successul or not is the tonic for an ADHD/Genius's problems. Keeping a firm grip on logical reality not whimsical fantasises and making sound and informed steps to genuinely move on and improve one's situation is the other major tonic for such people.

    Think of it that you can see things others can't, and you'll also be far too savvy ever to be roped into a mortgage deal or bad marriage (so many people do this without putting any thought into it) or any kind of life that you don't want once you've eventually broken out of the iron chains of financial dependence, loss of sanity, completely hopeless one size fits all educational and social system and ruined personal life that being both young and a sufferer of ADHD/Genius inflicts upon us.

    Once you've been through the pain and removed all traces of other people's hopelessly misunderstood and binding influences you will be as independent as it is possible for a modern person to be. You'll probably also end up a major achiever in life and a good (potentially enormous) tax generator for the public funds of whichever nation you choose to reside in.

    You will go from being confused, trapped and frusrated to being free, rich and in demand. Long may it last :wink:
  12. Sep 1, 2008 #11
    Hey everyone i think i may be able to help you here. I am 19 years old and just recently realized after all of these years that i have adhd. No one ever caught on because although i payed almost no attention in school i still got very good grades. I have been really studying the differences in behavior between people with and without add and this is what a realized. First off this doesn't pertain to everyone with adhd. There are some people who unleash a super gift caused by adhd and that is the ability to reason far better than the average person. I consider myself to be a very intelligent person. A person with adhd is more inclined to weed out pointless steps in problems easily. No offense to anyone here, but most people learn by what i call the premethius and bob method. Rather then understanding the reasoning behind what they are doing they merely just copy who they are learning from and replicate their actions. I believe people like I who do have an amazing gift which i believe is caused by adhd see things in a whole different way. In any situation the person with add will come up with far more reasonable means to an end then the average person. what a genius is must be understood as well. Intelligence is not judged by knowledge they have attained. the question is not what do you know and what have you done. It is what could you know and what are you capable of. The problem is although we do have this great gift are potential is limited by the negative impacts of adhd. for me they seem to be extreme impatience, impulsiveness, And of course having an extraordinarily hard time trying to focus. The biggest problem for me is trying to portray my brilliant thoughts to others. I have not even let you know what i really mean here because my thoughts can not be transcribed into words. my email is willm1105@yahoo.com if you know where i am coming from please contact me. The hardest part for me is trying do describe my ability to reason. I cant explain it but if you are in the same boat and know what i am taking about email me.. thanks
  13. Sep 2, 2008 #12


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    For a person who has ADD, they sure had a lot of patience to type out their entire life story in a huge post here.
  14. Sep 3, 2008 #13
    What exactly is ADHD? Often I do feel too greedy for "real" input and I cannot work as a result.

    I wouldn't say the Wikipedia article on ADHD describes me, but I can see myself in many of the posts here.

    I find it incredibly hard to motivate myself to do some work where I know the outcome - not even sure how I made it through work-life so far :smile:. I feel like I need a minimum rate of input in order to not lose attention. In the kitchen both my hands do two different things because just opening the fridge for example would be too slow progress for me. At university I did so little work that some people would have dropped out with this. I came top in the year instead. I learned dancing (tip! :wink:)very fast, because there I can listen to the music and move all the body parts individually - that's sort of complex enough for not to be boring.

    What to do now?
  15. Sep 3, 2008 #14


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    Do you mean portraying brilliant thoughts like this ?

    "I learned a good lesson about aviation, when I lifted an oil filter from a big diesel engine, out of a 5 gallon bucket of used oil".

    Wonder if anyone can explain, what I think the lesson was??

  16. Sep 4, 2008 #15
    That might be sort of true, but possibly in a way irrelevant. I'm sure many soccer players are completely dumb, yet they are excellent in that game. They learn by practice and copying. Some other person might understand the tactics very clearly and still not be better.
    I'm just trying to say that sometimes exceptional clarity might be superfluous or illusory.

    Unfortunately both go hand in hand. I do consider myself talented in some particular areas, but if I am to lazy to do something about it, a hard working guy will beat me and only the outcome matters :frown:

    That can be seen in a different way. Conveying ideas is also a skill related to intelligence.
    However I can image a similar situation. I'm giving lessons to students. I cannot make them think the way I do, but I can guide their own way of thinking so that they get the correct results every time.
    Maybe thoughts a individual anyway and can always only partially be shared.
  17. Sep 4, 2008 #16


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    I didn't read the thread, but am intrigued by the puzzle. My guess is that there was some solid debris from the used oil left in the inside of the oil filter that you lifted out and drained. That illustrated what the purpose and direction of the flow through the filter was. Am I close?
  18. Sep 5, 2008 #17


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    Thanks for your response,
    In short no, the thing of interest (at least to me) is, the filters are large and heavy when filled with oil. These large filters (older ones did) have an outer metal skin with many tiny holes that allow the oil to flow. As you try to lift a used filter out of a bucket of drained oil, the oil inside the filter becomes slightly positive in pressure, this very slight difference pushes oil out of the holes, and makes it very hard to grip the filter.

    Applying the idea to a submersible, an airplane, or maybe even an automobile, might generate an improvement in efficiency.

    Russ helped me understand a little about the difference of skin friction, and boundary layer drag (in another thread), and even though this thought goes back to my younger days in the marine industry, it seems that a slight disruption in friction will reduce the effect of boundary layer drag.

    About to sign off and the thought popped up, wonder if this has any relation to the old saying "slippery as an eel"?? (it just never stops:cry:)

    I think one of the biggest things about ADD is that as one sees these kinds of non related thoughts, they tend to talk about them to people that are not interested, or not informed within the different areas. This most often results in a dismissal of the idea, and the person, and I would guess in some cases the rejection, or negative answers will trigger, in a few, a state of depression.

    As for me, I just move on to another idea:smile:

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  19. Dec 30, 2008 #18
    I know this topic is a few months old, but I've enjoyed reading it...Cheezer & Adder Noir, you guys must be my long-lost relatives! (although if I ever get the chance to go around Silverstone, I'd prefer to do it in a kart at about 120 mph) I'm 51, have always been borderline something or other. I'm both moderately ADHD, and consider myself to be fairly intelligent (not sure who's really qualified to use the word genius... maybe God). In the last 3 years or so, I've built a 4 car garage right up to the last 10 or 12 rows of vinyl siding (which still needs to be finished), restored an old Harley golf cart to within a couple of weekends of completion, painted the exterior of exactly 1/2 of my house, and have several other partially finished projects in various stages of uncompletion. I'm a busy guy & always have to be working on 6 different things to get my "Recommended Daily Allowance", but I frequently find that I get bored, or... as I'd prefer to say it, MORE excited about the next project! My latest is a 1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite restoration, (and I must say, I'm having a blast!) Short projects are a piece of cake... hanging a picture frame, fixing a plumbing leak. Why? Because they almost always provide instant gratification. Within a very short time, you will see the fruit of your labor. Mowing the grass is always a good one. I never mind mowing because I can look behind me & see my accomplishment RIGHT NOW. It's the long-term projects that are harder for me to finish. I do usually get back to the unfinished projects eventually, although it could be much much later depending on how I feel about it. Sometimes I find that, if I just go ahead & start working on an old project again, I'll become re-absorbed & will then work for hours or days to complete it. However, if I'm not into it, or can't get into it, there's no point in waisting my time.

    Do I despair? Au Contraire! I see it like this... yes, it would be nice to be a little more organized, a little less dysfunctional, a little less forgetful, and sure would be great to be able finish a few more of my projects within the same decade... but hey, I'm happy, I have a great wife, a great family, and apparently I haven't become too overwhelming for those that care most about me. What more could I ask for? If I get bored, I can just be thankful that there's ALWAYS something new to pique my interest & keep me moving forward. I'm a sponge for learning & doing. That's not a fault in my book. The path you take is totally up to you. ADHD is all about perception, and most importantly... how YOU perceive it. Just because you don't CONFORM & live your life the way the "average Joe" does, doesn't make you a bad person, and it certainly doesn't make you wrong. After all, it IS your life. My wife tells me she wouldn't have me any other way... she says "it's who you are".

    And speaking of lives... please don't take offense to this, as this isn't personal, but anyone hovering around 10,000 posts on ANY forum needs to get one! (a life, that is)
    Evo, berkeman & Moonbear... "Step away from your computers"!!! Go buy some tickets & go on a cruise or something. Relax your brains! You're thinking way too much!


    Don Warren
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  20. Dec 30, 2008 #19
    I am pretty sure people like Evo, berkeman and moonbear and many more dont have 10,000 posts because they post too much per day but because they have been apart of this forum for a very long time, im not sure if this is correct but it sort of seems like it. I am pretty sure they will gladly answer that.
  21. Dec 30, 2008 #20


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    I've been a member for 5 years, so that's correct. But I actually don't have a life. :blushing:
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