The Dangers of Not Paying Attention

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The inability to pay attention is one of the hallmarks of Attention Deficit Disorder. Even those who know nothing about AD/HD know this.

When most of us talk about not being able to pay attention it is within the context of school; our AD/HD kids get into trouble at school or they miss key information because they weren’t paying attention. The only time we might realize that this particular AD/HD symptom could be dangerous is when our children are old enough to drive. That is, up until now.

As an ADD Coach, I know many more kids with AD/HD than the average adult. Last week, I was contacted by a young lady that I have known for some time. She has given me permission to tell you her story as long as I conceal her identity. All that I am about to tell you is true, except for her name. While I cannot tell you how I know her, I can say that I have never worked with her on a professional basis.

The young lady in question – let’s call her Anne – is 19 years old and has AD/HD. Several weeks ago, she and another friend (let’s call her Mary) went to a third friend’s house for what they assumed would be a pleasant, casual evening. When they arrived, there was a party in progress – something that they hadn’t expected. Neither wanted to be involved in any trouble, so they agreed to stop in to say hello and leave shortly after.

Both Anne and Mary had a Diet Coke and spent some time talking with people they knew. Anne’s memory of that evening ends about 60 minutes after they arrived. Her next memory is of waking up the following morning in Mary’s bedroom.

Here’s what happened, according to Mary: both she and Anne were talking to people at the party – some they knew and others they didn’t. At some point, Mary left to use the bathroom. When she returned to the living room, she couldn’t find Anne anywhere.

Mary eventually did find Anne – passed out on a bed, naked from the waist down, in the company of a young man neither of them knew. You can imagine the rest. The young man took off, and Mary was so upset, all she could think of was to get Anne into her car and home.

They’ve each kept quiet about this until Anne finally confided in me. We believe that Anne was drugged with GHB, known as a date rape drug. There was no other reason for her to be passed out cold in such a quick time, especially considering that she wasn’t drinking.

Of course, it’s possible for this awful thing to happen to any girl, but I believe that girls with Attention Deficit Disorder are especially vulnerable. It would be far easier to catch someone with AD/HD off guard than someone who does not have it.

I know, as the mother of 2 daughters, that I have given them warnings about such things happening, and advised them to be extra careful with whatever they are drinking. To be honest, though, most of those talks occurred at times like spring break or prom. I never realized that I should be making this an ongoing reminder. I guess Anne’s experience is a wake-up call for all of us.

Since I talked with Anne, she has confided in her parents. (She was afraid to tell them because she thought they would blame her.) Anne’s parents have taken steps to get her some help to deal with this; there seems to be no chance of catching the young man who did this to her.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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