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Why Ned Hallowell wants to celebrate craziness

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Ned Hallowell
Courtesy Ned Hallowell

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell is best known for his books on Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His latest book is a memoir, "Because I Come From A Crazy Family."

Hallowell and Lesley Todaro, clinical director at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center, spoke about psychiatry, the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and talking to kids about ADHD.

Ned Hallowell's Crazy Family

Psychiatrist Ned Hallowell embraces the fact that he comes from a “crazy” family: his quote, not ours. He’s known for books on ADD and ADHD, and he hopes his new memoir will help erase the stigma around that five letter word. It’s called Because I Come From a Crazy Family. We also spoke to Lesley Todaro, clinical director at the Hallowell Todaro ADHD Center.

Hallowell is hoping to erase the stigma around the word "crazy."

"Most people who have exceptional talent have one or another of the conditions we diagnosis, whether it's anxiety disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, major depression, substance abuse," says Hallowell. "It's rare to find someone who has major talent who doesn't wrestle with one or another of those conditions."

Hallowell also told Bill Radke how he describes ADHD to children. For example, to a 10-year-old boy he might say, "You have an awesome brain. You have an incredible brain. You have a Ferrari engine for a brain ... so you have this way powerful racecar for a brain, but the one problem is you have bicycle brakes. But don't worry, I'm a brake specialist!"

Todaro adds that it's not just children. "25 percent of the people who see me are adults," she says. "You don't grow out of ADHD. You may develop compensatory mechanisms as a child that allow you as an adult to be successful, but there are many adults with ADHD that are flailing."

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