Michael McNamara Opens Up with ‘ADHD: Not Just for Kids’

Michael McNamara

By Pat Mullen

POV board member Michael McNamara set out to make a film about ADHD and discovered something about himself in the process. While writing, directing, and producing the documentary ADHD: Not Just For Kids, McNamara’s study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) yielded some surprising and familiar results.

The case wasn’t quite like the experience that many PSYC 101 students have during their first-year of university in which they self-diagnose their behaviour while reading the symptoms of various disorders noted in psychology textbooks. As McNamara writes on the blog over at CBC, he found that the experiences of his subjects resonated with his own feelings of irritability, restlessness, and inattentiveness. (Though McNamara is always attentive at POV board meetings!) This realisation prompted the filmmaker to take a self-assessment on a Canadian ADHD site. (Comparable to the one here.)

“I went to see a specialist and after more tests, I was diagnosed — I have ADHD,” writes McNamara. “I’ve likely had it all my life and didn’t know it. I’m now being treated with a slow release amphetamine. In stimulating my dopamine receptors it gets me on an ‘even keel’, and allows me to control my focus. So, over the past year, my interest in telling this story has evolved to become both personal and professional. I’ve learned that I have other acquaintances and friends with ADHD who have never come forward to speak about it – until now.”

Writing this documentary and creating the production plan following the diagnosis afforded the director unique insights into common misperceptions of ADHD, especially in terms of how it can effect adults. McNamara notes that a major rethinking about ADHD is underway. Diagnosis is the first step.

Read Michael McNamara’s post on the film over at the Nature of Things blog and watch ADHD: Not Just for Kids when it airs on CBC’s The Nature of Things Thursday, March 16 at 8:00 PM.