The Automobile: A temporary cure for ADD?

We all have places, things, or activities that inspire us or help breed creativity. We all have something that, when we really need a moment to clear our heads or search for a solution, will allow us that little edge we need to accomplish that goal. For me, oddly enough, that place is behind that wheel of a car. For whatever reason, when I'm driving in a car all the white noise that is usually floating through my head is completely cleared and the creative energies of my brain are allowed to roam free and unhindered. Until recently I simply accepted it and was thankful. I now believe, however, that clarity of mind is actually a side effect of the act of driving on an ADD mind.

For most of my life I actually held the belief that ADD was not only a misdiagnosis, but this grand conspiracy concocted by the pharmaceutical companies to gain a little money. Over time, however, I made a complete about-face and even became convinced that I was actually plagued with it myself. While I've never been diagnosed with ADD, a fact that may have changed had I ever been tested for it, self-analysis of my own thought processes and thinking patters lead me to hold this truth.

A lot of people think that people with ADD simply can't concentrate on any task placed before that. While there is some truth behind it, it's looking at the result and not the problem. What's actually happening is (and forgive me if I butcher this a bit) that their brain is constantly searching for stimulus. When the brain begins a task what provides little or insufficient stimulus, it will move on from that task in search of something more stimulating. This is why an individual appears inattentive. The brain is, in a manner of speaking, bored with whatever it's doing. Now this is treated with various drugs, all of which are themselves stimuli. By chemically stimulating the brain, there is no need for the constant searching and the individual is allowed to concentrate on the tasks set before them.

I believe that driving a car mimics the effects of ADD medications, at least within my brain. When I'm behind the wheel of a care there are two distinct and very present activities operating at all times. First off is obviously the act itself of operating the car; the steering, signaling, and observing the actions of other vehicles on the road. Secondly, I almost never drive my car without my iPod playing. This is more than enough natural stimulus to keep my brain actively engaged.

This, in effect, leaves the creative centers of my brain to work through any thoughts, emotions, or problems that I may be faced with. This may seem counterintuitive to most people, but I will often go on spontaneous two hour drives on days when I'm feeling antsy or days where my brain is filled with particularly noisy "chatter". I know that driving is often aggravating, enraging, and the last thing most people would do to calm down, but it always works like a charm for me. All thanks to my self-diagnosed ADD.

posted by Christopher Schnese