ONLINE SHOPPING: WHAT TO DO BEFORE CHECKING OUT Buying something online is a game of “You see. You like. You want. You click. You got.” This process can put an impulsive person into debt quickly. Here are some things to do before buying anything online: > Check to see that you are buying the item you wanted. > Be sure you ordered the correct quantity. > Check the shipping fees. If you click on “overnight,” you will pay substantially more for the item. > Review the order page one last time before clicking “Place My Order.”
lot. Your conversation mate will give you
clues about whether your “witty” remark
went over well. However, one-on-one isn’t
always a failsafe. Some people with ADHD
can’t read body language and facial expressions. Talking on the phone is hard for them,
because they can’t tell whether their words
have offended someone.
Communicating on social media, however, is even riskier for someone with ADHD.
The pace of communication is so fast that
you have little time to think about your response or your words. There are no facial
expressions, body language, or tone of
voice to alert you if you have crossed a
line. And when you say something out of
line, everyone knows it.
There are many ways for a person with
ADHD to make mistakes online. There’s
e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, instant mes-
saging, playing online games with friends,
Sound familiar? Does this remind you of
your teen, who may have texted something
in a hasty moment that got him in trouble
with a friend? The digital revolution has
brought many benefits, but it has increased
the risk of speaking before we think.
Sorry, I Didn’t Take My Ritalin
I have a colleague who works with me on a
project for a professional organization. We
both received an e-mail relating to this project asking for a quick response to a newspaper article. I was busy, so I e-mailed him, asking if he had time to respond or to do a first
draft. He countered with an angry e-mail,
saying, “Why do you dump everything on
me? I lead a busy life, too.” Before I had finished reading his response, my phone rang.
It was my colleague. “Larry, don’t read my
e-mail. I forgot to take my Ritalin this morning, and I responded before I thought about
what I was saying. I’m sorry.”
Fixes for Digital Blurting
My colleague found that being on medication for his ADHD decreased his impulsivity
online. Now he makes sure he has coverage
during most of the day, and avoids logging on
to social media sites in the evening, when his
medication wears off. Here are some other
things you can do to lessen the chances of
putting your foot in your mouth:
> If medication reduces your impulsivity,
try to stay on your medication throughout
the day, not just during work/school hours.
> Tape a sticky note on your laptop or
home computer reminding you to pause before hitting Send. “Engage brain before engaging fingers” is a good prompt.
> Remind yourself to read what you’ve
written before you click Send. This might
slow down your communication, but it will
keep you from insulting friends. A
LARRY B. SILVER, M.D., senior medical
advisor to ADDitude, is a child and adolescent
psychiatrist in the Washington, D.C., area. His
work has focused on the impact of neurologically based disorders on young lives.