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I am fairly certain, from my reading and research, that I have some form of ADD. I have
managed by overcompensating in certain areas in my life, but I feel, as I age, I am less
able to handle it. I looked at recent postings on BPN but do not see any recommendations
for doctors who can diagnose and manage adult ADD at Kaiser/Richmond. I am not only
looking for a doctor there who could assist with diagnosis, but would welcome any
feedback on any experiences there. I prefer Kaiser Richmond but can go to Pinole or
Oakland if necessary. Since this diagnosis seems to require a multi-faceted approach,
any ideas on what has been helpful to other adult ADD folks out there would be
appreciated. Thank you!
I'm right there with you. I don't have Kaiser so I don't have a doctor recommendation
for you, but since you asked for other suggestions too: the three most helpful ancillary
things for me have been a book called ''Women with ADD'' by Sari Solden (probably better
if you actually are female -- sorry if this is irrelevant for you -- there are tons of
other books but I like this one best); the book ''Getting Things Done'' which is not
specific to ADD but might as well be; and several consultations with Linda Lawton, a
wonderful tutor and ADD coach who works with teens and adults in her office near El
Cerrito plaza. Linda is upbeat, funny, supportive, and super non-judgmental, and very
helpful with both tiny little practical detail kind of suggestions, and deeper
emotional/psychological/and-even-spiritual issues. Her website is
http://www.centerofattentionandlearning.org. Finally (and I realize this is four things),
I live and die by my Google Calendar which is always with me in the form of my smartphone
(a.k.a. my ''prosthetic brain''). These things may or may not work for you, but some
version of each of them is likely to help. ADD is Not The End of the World
Communication with spouse: ADD problem?
I need some advice on how to deal with a communication issue that is driving me out of
my marriage. Here is the issue: I seem to constantly forget to tell my husband about
upcoming events, such as birthday parties with the family, until he hears it from
someone else, usually shortly before the event. I always think I told him, but he
assures me that I didn't. I think most of the time, I mean to tell him, then I forget,
and in my head, I am sure I did at some point. When he hears about the event, he says:
Why didn't you tell me (or why didn't you tell me before?). It makes him feel
non-included, and thus really bad. It is not my intention not to include him, so I
wonder what is going on. He really takes it personnally, and thinks I do it
subconsciously because I don't include him in the family.
A little history: when our first child was born, my husband worked 16 hours a day, 7
days a week. So I took on all the child-rearing, and was pretty much on my own
everyday, including week-ends. I learned to organize my time without him. However, 5
years ago, his work situation changed, and wanted to take part of all the family
I know I am not the best communicator in the world. I was raised by persecuting
parents, so I learned to become silent, and absent, so I was left alone. My sister is
another example: she hardly talks at all, and will take off on her own without letting
anyone know where she is going (during outings, for example). I try my best to write
things down on our calendar in the kitchen, and to CC my husband on emails, but keep
falling back to old habits and forget to copy him. I know it is not intentional, but my
husband wants me to correct this bad habit, or he says he can't do it anymore and is
going to force me out of the relationship. BTW, we have 2 children now. I also think it
is somewhat normal, esp. with children: I definitely think I am much less focussed now
than before kids, and having to deal with thousands of different things during the day
makes it challenging to be organized. I have started to think too that I may have ADD.
Would anyone have any insight on that problem? How did you tackle this?
Is it just me?
Oh gosh, I feel your pain! I have an ADHD diagnoses, and this kind of thing is SO hard for me.
One of the best things we did as a family for this kind of thing was buy a huge calendar from
Office Depot and hang it in our kitchen. Each month my spouse and I each write all of our
meetings, appointments etc on the calendar. For me it's become a daily practice to look at the
calendar and add whatever I need to. ( I do it in the evening when I'm cleaning up the
kitchen... but find a time that works for you.)
Now that our kids are a little older they add things too... even if it's just a little drawing
or doodle. It's really helped us keep up with who needs to be when and where.
ADHD with love
Me and my partner both have trouble communicating family dates and events. It seems pretty
normal with kids--but not ideal. (I also think trouble focusing is normal with children.) It
doesn't seem like there should be such a big ultimatum for these oversights. That would make
me very nervous. Could he help you out? What if he made time to ask you about upcoming plans
every Sunday and Wednesday nights, for example?
Calendar challenged too
There is some resemblance in the story you tell to my own problems with keeping dates and
appointments straight, and I have come to believe that I have some form of ADD. There could
also be some underlying resentment of your husband's former unavailability in play. But I
think that a good way to deal with these issues is to treat them not as huge emotional dramas
(which they can easily be) but pragmatic problems. Get a big calendar and post it in a
prominent place in your home (near the phone would be a bonus). Hang a pencil from the
calendar so you don't have to hunt for one (one issue with ADD is getting sidetracked... you
start looking for a pencil and suddenly remember that you need to take the meat out of the
freezer and then you start working on the time-line for dinner and then... wait, what was I
looking for?) Every time you make an appointment, write it on the calendar. If you are not
sure about it yet (and some of these maybe require consultation with the hubby?) write it in
pencil with a question mark. If you are away from home when you make the appointment, carry a
calendar (my phone is my calendar) and when you get home each evening, the first thing you do
after entering the door is go directly to the calendar and transfer all info. If you can
develop these stupid little habits, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary drama in your life. I
thought I would never be able to improve, but the development of iCalendar technology has
allowed me to synch calendars, which has revolutionized my life. Good luck with it!
My partner and I used to have a similar problem. We set up a weekly time (for us, Friday
evenings) when we ''calendar.'' This means we both pull out our calendars and go through them
together. We end up with joint activities on both our calendars, and a sense of where we'll
both be in the week ahead.
Hope that helps
We had the same problem, only for different reasons. We are both very organized and ''in
charge'' types, and we were constantly scheduling conflicting events, which we wouldn't find
out about until the day of.
Two words: Google Calendar. As long as you check in every morning, on your laptop or phone or
whatever, it could change your life. It takes a little while to set up since you will both
need to transfer everything to a google calendar. You will each have your own calendar(s)
that you share with each other (or not), and then you may have one or more calendars in
common, like for your kid(s). You can both see and edit the same events. You can set up email
reminders for the day or week or hour before. You can post recurring events like family
birthdays and tax reminders. You can have it email your husband an alert when you add a new
event to the calendar or vice versa.
We have 4 calendars that we share - we each have our own work calendars, and we have a
separate calendar for our son, for doctor appts., playdates, school events, camps, etc. We
also have a separate calendar for his school calendar, which the school provides. When I'm
looking at the calendar, I can turn off my husband's work calendar and not view his daily
meetings, or turn it on to see that he's not home yet because he had a late meeting today. I
have a couple of my own private calendars, for my hobbies and for tracking weight loss, and I
think he has a couple private ones too. Last summer we even made a separate ''vacation''
calendar that we shared with my sister, who went on a 3-week trip with us, so we'd all know
where we'd be on which day.
Try it out!
My wife and I use google calendars to coordinate schedules. If one of us adds an event to the
calendar, we can both see it. So easy! Of course, this only works if you are both regularly
using a computer or smartphone...
I think this is one of those things where therapy might be appropriate. I had my own issue (in
my case, not wanting to go to bed because of negative experiences with my previous husband). I
would drag my feet and putter around the house for hours, in a way avoiding my new partner who
was the nicest person and only wanted to hug and say goodnight. It was old habits and I had
forgotten all about that behavior until I read your post. So the good news is, you can move
beyond that. I must have stopped doing that five years ago, very gradually.
You are already aware that this behavior is probably related to important survival skills you
developed in response to your parents. I've seen those same behaviors in my foster children,
so I get it. Now you need some help untangling this with a good therapist. I don't think it's
all about memory. I forget to tell my husband about events too, but not to the level you're
with insight you can heal much
As I was reading your post I thought I'd give you some advice about using a ''family
calendar'' pinned to your kitchen wall, but then I got to the part about your husband saying
this was going to lead to him leaving you! It sounds a lot more serious than just event
notifications; either there are other things going on that you didn't mention, or he is
overreacting. Marriage counseling, perhaps? Good luck!
I suggest that you put aside 15 minutes everyday at the same time to talk about the calender
with your husband. Get out a paper calender, put it on the table, and add the activities that
you have added to the calender that day. Take that time to go through your emails, notes, and
conversations so that he is informed of all plans. Ask him to do the same.
Support group for ADD spouse?
i am the wife of a non-diagnosed ADD husband. do you know of any support groups in
the east bay? preferably near el cerrito. thanks.
non-add spouse needs support
Try http://chaddnorcal.org/ for resources. CHADD is the national organization for
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
We welcome you to join our peer support group for men and women whose
spouses/partners have Adult ADD. We do not at this time have a professional
facilitator or leader but we get together and swap stories, share tips and
resources, and generally give and receive support from others who truly
understand what it is like for you.
We only started a few months ago and have only met periodically thus far due to
our small numbers (there are many on the email list, but only a regular few show
up). Ideally we would meet monthly. Thus far, all meetings have taken place in
Oakland at a participant's home. If you are interested in joining us (I hope
so!) please email me and I will put you on the list for the next meeting, which
will either be in late December or early next year. email@example.com
Husband with ADD laid off, aimless
I'm kind of at my wits' end with my husband. I love him
and don't see us ever parting, but our situation is
driving me crazy. He has ADD and has cycled through 5 or
6 jobs in the 10 years we've been together, beginning with
a failed business partnership and including a couple of
years of unemployment. He does web programming, which I
think he just can't stay focused enough to do well. The
only job that went well was a limited contractor position
that he was also very bored with; the jobs that challenge
him all end with him getting fired or laid off because he
doesn't produce enough, quickly enough. He's a super
nice, kind, personable guy and a real Renaissance Man in
terms of being very well educated and able to do many
things (from brewing beer to handyman projects to raising
vegetables), but he's approaching mid-40s and if he
doesn't get settled in a career soon, our hopes of sending
our kids to college and ever having any kind of retirement
are unlikely to happen. I run my own businesses, which do
reasonably well, but can't support us beyond subsistence
level in the bay area. We are looking into organizational
coaching for his ADD and career counseling for a possible
career shift, but my main problem is that he is extremely
lethargic about making changes. He says he's willing, but
then does almost nothing each day - between making meals,
posting on facebook, surfing the internet, organizing his
Magic cards (not to mention long stretches in the bathroom
playing sudoku), there seems to be little time for
tackling these issues. He makes endless lists, but makes
little progress on checking off tasks. His office looks
like a hoarder's haven because he can't sort through paper
and it just stacks up. I work at home and witness this
every day and think ''no wonder he can't keep a job!'' I
feel awful saying that but need to figure out how to
motivate him. HELP!
starting to panic
Try medication. It's working wonders for my husband.
Don't give up yet
I am an adult with ADD and also married, so I can really
understand both what your husband is going through, as well
as why you are beginning to feel panicked. I think it's
great that your husband will be getting ADD coaching and
career counseling -- I hope they will both help to generate
some motivation and clarity for him.
I can't help wondering two things -- has he tried ADD meds
before? I had a LOT of resistance to taking meds, but
noticed a huge improvement in my symptoms once I finally got
on the right ones (dexedrine CR and later adderall really
helped me -- controlled release was the key for me). The
other is it sounds like your husband may be experiencing
depression -- compulsive list making and game playing can be
a form of escape but also a way to self-soothe, and I notice
I tend to do stuff like that when I feel anxious and like my
life is totally out of control, and when I am becoming
depressed. Talking about all the life changes he is
undergoing, therapy and/or meds may help with that, as well.
It sounds like you are an extremely loving and supportive
partner. I know looking in on ADD from the outside must be
confusing and frustrating at times -- as someone who has it,
the biggest thing for me would be to feel like my partner
never loses faith in me, even when I am struggling with my
ADD. I also think from your standpoint, that you don't have
to mollycoddle someone who is not rising to their potential
just because they are having a hard time, especially when
their choices impact you. Gentle but honest statements
about how you feel (not criticisms of him) and how you are
affected by what he is going through, along with offers to
support and stand by him through the changes he is
undergoing may go a long way.
Are you guys familiar with CHADD? They are a support group
for adults with ADHD and may have additional resources for
Wishing you both the best -- sounds like a tough time, but
one that you can definitely get through together...
Did you take ADD meds while pregnant?
I'm currently 5 weeks into an unexpected but welcome
pregnancy. Problem is I'm currently in an intense graduate
program and take Adderall to manage my ADD. I was diagnosed
in college and have been on some kind of prescription ever
since. The difference in my ability to stay focused and do
cognitive tasks is dramatic when I'm on my meds. I cannot
fathom trying to pay attention during a 3-hr lecture without
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I stopped taking
Adderall because I know it has been linked to fetal
deformities, low birth weight and prematurity, and is
definitely contraindicated in the first trimester. I'm due 5
days after graduation so am now trying to figure out a plan
to make it through school successfully AND deliver a healthy
child. I plan to discuss this with my psychiatrist at my
next visit in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime I'm
wondering if any other mamas have dealt with this issue
before. Did you take ADD meds while pregnant? If not, how
did you manage to stay focused? Are there any resources like
behavioral therapists or treatment modalities that helped you?
Thanks for your welcome advice!
Scattered and Pregnant
I am on Strattera for ADHD and will be stopping when I fall pregnant. I will
however use ritalin off and on if there's a few hours when I really think I
need it. I have not tried any of the behavioral therapies but I have heard
they can be very effective. I tried looking at a few studies on the use of
antidepressants while pregnant a few years back, and even though the
studies found no effect (for the ones I looked into), the results were based
on such small numbers and the kids were only evaluated to around 5 years
old. My point is even if studies were done to show particular ADHD meds
were safe, it's still hard to feel 100% relaxed - and this is from someone
who was happy to drink wine while pregnant.
I too was on Adderall XR for a long time and went off when
we were looking at getting pregnant. I would definitely
bring up these concerns about meds and pregnancy to your
next MD appnt. All meds have a pregnancy rating on them
and he can tell you which ones are safe to take and will
help your ADD symptoms. I went on Strattera, which is a
non stimulant ADD med that worked great for me. Someone
else I know went on Wellbutrin, an anti-deppresant which
can work with ADD and is fairly safe in pregnancy from
what I remember. I also remember while I was transitinong
off Adderall during my pregnancy I read some books on ADD
and went into therapy to help with my ADD symptoms, and it
REALLY helped me figure out what was going on mentally and
how to help myself, giving me the tools to cope without
meds. Post baby I am actually off my meds all together and
find I manage pretty well. I have my moments, but overall
it's much better.
Best wishes & good luck!
Frequency of Psychiatrist appts for ADD meds
If you take ADD meds how often do you have to see your
psychiatrist to get a new prescription? I have been taking
Adderall for 15 years prescribed by my doctor in NY who
initially diagnosed me. I see him once every 1-2 years to
check in on dose, effectiveness, etc. In between he mails me
prescriptions which I fill here in CA. Recently I saw a
local doctor who is happy to take over my care but requires
that I see him every month. He did say that since my dose is
so low he could see me every other month and write a double
prescription to save me money. But office visits are $75 and
since I will have to pay for these visits and the
prescriptions out of pocket (I have insurance but with a
very high deductible) I am wondering if this is standard
practice and necessary. Any similar experiences?
Just gimme the drugs
When someone is stable on a medication for as long as you have
been,without needing dosage adjustments , etc., you really shouldn't need a
face to face evaluaton with a doc about that med more than once a year, or at
most twice a year.
Most MDs want to see their pts once a year for health reasons, but I think its
also a matter of ethical and professional standards of care. If this psychatrist
wants to see you more often, my cynical - but educated- guess is that its for
his business model, ie, making money.
Most internists and family practice docs I know would accept a brief letter
from your NY psychiatrist stating that you are stable on the medication, etc ,
and then just take over the writing your prescriptions.
a mental health professional
I can't speak to adult appointments, but my kids have to
visit their pediatrician every 3 months for a check of their
blood pressure check and weight/height (concerns are a bit
different if one is still growing). We then get 3 months
worth of prescriptions.
FWIW, one kid was diagnosed in NY and required a visit to a
pediatric neurologist while the other kid was diagnosed in
CA and only required a visit to the pediatrician. I don't
know if your primary care doctor could possibly handle this
for you and perhaps the expense would be lower.
I have heard that the frequency of visits needed to
continue to prescribe ADD medication is higher than usual.
My son has to go every 8 weeks to get confirmation that a
refill is acceptable. I think it is the type of medication
that they give out that requires stricter enforcements.
Does seem excessive for someone who has been on the
medication for a long time though....
Monthly check-ins? That's crazy. My 12 year old son takes Adderall and he basically
check in once a year at Kaiser, unless there is some other problem.
Getting the prescription filled does require the doc to write it out each time
and I have to pick it up in person
- no auto renewal. However, with Kaiser, I just renew online and the
Pharmacy gets the approval from the doc, and then I to go
in person to pick it up and deliver it to the pharmacy. But I am not
charged for a doctor visit!
Adult ADHD evaluation
I am hoping someone can recommend someplace to get a
thorough evaluation for Adult ADHD. The psych. department
has proved woefully ill-informed on this topic and I am
hoping to pay for an evaluation outside of that system. I am
very frustrated and hoping to once and for all pin down what
is going on with me and want to either confirm or rule out
ADHD. Does anyone know of a good Adult ADHD expert who can
help me get a full eval? Thanks!
There are a number of psychiatrists in the East Bay who have great expertise
in AD/HD. Just a few I have worked with are Steve Baskin, Joe Hartog, Lester
Isenstadt, Donald Stanford, Phyllis Cedars, Ken Braslow. They all have the
expertise to tease apart the questions that go along with good diagnosis: is
this ''plain vanilla'' ADHD, or is it a mixed case (includes anxiety,
depression, bipolar, OCD, learning disabilities, etc.) or is it one of those
conditions that often looks just like ADHD? Suspected ADHD can be something
else entirely, and for that it's good to have a medical doctor looking at
your whole body and your personality development for the differential
diagnosis, and that is what good psychiatrists do. There are physical issues
that can masquerade as ADHD, such as celiac or thyroid disorders, even brain
tumors. A neuropsych work up is very expensive and according to Russell
Barkley, unnecessary to diagnose ADHD, though if you have the money it can
provide some very rich information about personality and information
processing. A clinical history is the most reliable test, since the tests we
use for executive function (again according to Barkley) are actually not
testing EF very well. Check out the website of CHADD, where you can access
the National Clearinghouse for information on ADHD.
been there done that
I highly recommend Steve Baskins, M.D. psychiatrist for evaluating adults for
ADD/ADHD 510 845-0748. I have referred my clients to him and he usually
responds quickly to messages. I am a psychologist and I have a number of
adults clients who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and have benefited
greatly from medication in conjunction with psychotherapy. F.
Adult ADHD Experiences
I am hoping to hear from those of you who suffer as adults
from ADHD. Long story short, I have struggled with
depression most of my life and despite trying many different
drugs, alternative treatments, and therapy, have never found
any significant relief, esp. when it comes to drugs. I have
tried to stay on an even keel with cognitive behavioral
therapy exercises, but lately felt so thick in a fog and
inability to focus that I started looking at ADHD symptoms.
I'm sorry to say I've never taken ADHD very seriously until
now, and was somewhat shocked to see myself so well mirrored
in the symptoms--chronic inability to focus, projects left
unfinished, difficulty staying organized--and I'm wondering
if my brain which tends to ruminate way too much and at all
times, which I chalked up to the depression, is actually one
that has always struggled with ADHD and the very bad
feelings that come with the real life problems it has caused
for me. So my question is, has anyone received a relatively
late in life diagnosis of ADHD that made sense for them? Did
the meds help you, and if so, do they, as I have read, also
stop working at some point? I would like to conquer my
problems without medication, but at this point I have tried
every cbt technique, meditation, exercise, nutritional
supplements etc in the book to no avail, and for the sake of
my family, I can't keep floundering. I would benefit from
hearing your experiences to decide whether it is worth it
for me to look into an ADHD evaluation/drugs, esp as it will
be another difficult cost for me to shoulder, and worth it
only if it will really help me to stop being practically
impaired by whatever mental ail plagues me. Thank you.
One weekend when I was at a workshop at the Coaches Training
Institute another student shared the epiphany of his ADHD
diagnosis. In my early 50's at the time, I was astounded to
hear him describing my lifelong challenges. After getting
professionally evaluated myself I realized why I'd never
held a job longer than a year, forgot things people told me,
lost things all the time and so on. I started working with
an ADHD coach and when I received my certificate I focused
on coaching people with ADHD. Coaching has helped me
enormously. I do not take medication, which does not produce
lasting change. I also work with a colleague who does
neurofeedback. Both coaching and neurofeedback help produce
positive changes in the brain and the ability to increase
focus and be able to function at a higher level.
I can completely sympathize with your situation. My husband
has adult ADD and he wasn't diagnosed until his early 20s.
You may need to work with some different types of ADHD meds
to find the right combination (my husband takes one extended
release and then a small dose of another at the end of the
day), but he explains to people all the time that he could
never function properly without the medications. People who
have ADD have different brains from the non-ADD. The book
you may want to try reading (if you haven't yet) is 'You
Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?!' I know the title
sounds informal, but it's a really comprehensive guide
(written by adults with ADD) about what ADD/ADHD is and how
your brain functions differently from the rest of us. It is
something your loved ones should read as well, so they
understand better where you are coming from. ADD is a highly
misunderstood disorder, so a book like this is well worth
your time. Going back to my husband's situation, the
medication truly helps him focus on the things he needs to
do and is extremely successful in his career. The success he
has in his field comes from both his ability to view the
world in a different way (the ADD), but also the ability to
function with the rest of society and complete projects (the
medication for ADD). Bare minimum, it seems you ought to
talk to a doctor (I say, a psychiatrist!) who has expertise
in the area of ADD/ADHD. Get information from them about it.
With that said, the meds used for ADD are no thing to joke
about, which is why you will need to go in for med checks on
a regular basis and you'll need to get physicals and watch
for any signs of toxicity. My husband had to go off of
extended release Adderall because it led to severe anxiety.
Once he switched to something different, the anxiety melted
away. This doesn't happen to everyone, but the bottom line
is that the meds are extremely helpful for people with ADD,
but it's something that should be monitored closely by your
doctor, psychiatrist, etc. I also recommend that any med
treatment you do is also in conjunction with seeing a
therapist who can help you (and your family?) cope with the
changes taking place. Family therapy has been an important
component for us since ADD can bring in some unique
problems. Last tip I would offer is, if you are a woman,
there is a group on meetup.com called 'SF Women With ADD'
that you may want to check out. I don't know any specifics
about the group, but it may be worth investigating. Good
luck with everything!
you have a beautiful mind
I am afraid that my comment may be discouraging, but it is a
warning that could help you. I'm on the verge of breaking up
w my adult ADHD boyfriend, because his confusion and
constant state of chaos simply rule out any consistent
attention for me. Getting the diagnosis helps him, he
claims. However, he's still not capable of a serious LTR, as
far as I can tell. If you want to both cope with your ADHD
and have a relationship, please be prepared to find a very
patient partner and to try to think of them even when you
feel like you are in the middle of the tornado.
Frazzled nonADHD partner
I'm sure you're going to get responses from people telling
you that they have ADHD and that you probably do, too. My
advice is to stop looking for a diagnosis. You feel the
way you do and you don't need any diagnosis to validate
that. You say that you've tried drugs, supplements and
different therapies and nothing has been especially
effective. Maybe it's time to quit and focus the energy
you're using on diagnoses and treatment on building a
better support system for yourself?
I am so sorry that you are depressed and understand how
Tends to get depressed, too.
Hi, I'm not much help here, but I wanted to wish you best of
luck on whatever you choose. Remember to accept and love
Sounds like you have tried other ways before moving to drugs,
so thats good. I prefer a drug free approach, however,
sometimes we need a little help. Be around
people/events/things that foster understanding, joy and hope.
I am a mental health counselor that specializes in dx and tx of adult ADHD.
Your struggles are not unique. Typically to many adults with late dx, it is
sort out which of the symptoms you are struggling with are ADHD or secondary
mental health concerns (depression/anxiety). My best suggestions is to get
evaluated by an expert, try medications from a psychiatrist to see if you get
benefit, seek skilled mental health counseling, and consider trying an ADHD
coach. It is clinical practice and research that tells us that it is this
approach that tends to bring the best results in addressing the overlapping
etiology of your profile. I have seen meds help many clients. Hope that
I would try getting off gluten 100% as a preliminary step.
That has helped me immensely with the symptoms you've
described. I don't think I'll ever be on gluten again. The
results came on slowly, but I actually seem to have my
brain and energy back. Really amazing. To make it easier,
products I love are Pamela's (pre-baked goods, flours,
cookies, etc) and Canyon Bakehouse breads (store in
freezer and toast them). There are so many awesome
products out there that I don't feel deprived. The
products are more expensive, but completely worth it now
that I have my brain back.
Also, my husband has (psychiatrist-diagnosed) ADHD. He had
great results w/ Ritalin, then after a few years he did
some intensive personal work (Landmark Forum--he was as
skeptical as they come, believe me--prob the most
skeptical person ever to have completed the curriculum--he
thought it was a cult, blah, blah, blah--some people get
all righteous about it--and some people just get to work
and learn the useful concepts)--but he stuck with it and
had some emotional breakthroughs, and b/c of those
changes, he decided to get off Ritalin (not a goal of
Landmark--just something he came up with as a result) and
he has had great results with regulating his emotions,
keeping out of depression, keeping up with his job, ever
since--it's been 2 years now. That tells me that at least
in some cases, there are significant emotional components
to ADHD--not just a biochemical deal. Good luck to you--it
sounds like you try very hard, and I am sure you will find
Always Looking for the Answer
Dear Adult seeking ADHD advice:
Let me preface this by stating that although I've recently
been diagnosed with Adult ADHD, I have not yet taken
concrete steps to ''move forward'' with treatment. Typical of
ADHD folks I suppose. Before receiving my recent diagnosis,
a psychologist with the standard tests only said that I was
borderline - so I'm glad to have gotten a 2nd opinion. I
also happen to work at an ADHD/autism clinic of all places,
so ''I'm not only a client, I'm also on staff.'' Hope you
find that as funny as I do.
I know how annoying it can be to constantly be distracted
and unable to focus. Some of the basic treatment steps seem
to include appropriate medication, sticking with a routine,
being methodical, and channeling your greatest weakness and
potential strength. "Knowing is half the battle" indeed.
So is hard work and a good coaching/medical team.
I am in my late 40's and was diagnosed with ADHD/Inattentive
type just over a year ago. For most of my adult years, I
have struggled with feelings of unrealized potential, low
self esteem and depression.
My advise is, first and foremost: get a diagnosis. It
sounds like you might have ADHD and your research may bear
that out. But, as I understand it, there are co-morbid
conditions and a proper diagnosis is essential to addressing
the issue. You may find resources in getting a diagnosis
here on BPN or you may want to visit the CHADD (Children and
Adults with ADHD) web site for referrals.
I take medication and am not concerned about side effects. I
do not feel that meds are a panacea, but part of an overall
approach to my treatment. I'm sure that everyone's
treatment is different. My personal approach to is 5-fold
(in no particular order):
1. Diagnosis- It's a huge relief to know that I'm not alone
and not a wreck, but that I just have a nuerlogical disorder
that needs treatment.
2. Coaching/Organization- Getting the ADHD brain in order is
very helpful to overcoming problems caused by the condition.
You can find referrals for coaches here on BPN or on the
CHADD web site.
3. Medication- The meds are just part of the process. All
the organizational tools from coaches or books are of little
help if you can't focus on them. My meds help me focus.
4. Diet & exercise- This certainly differs amongst
individuals but, for me, a healthy diet and plenty of
exercise help me focus and be stimulated for the tasks ahead
5. Therapy- Having being diagnosed with ADHD and finding an
explanation to my life-struggles was extremely helpful. But
that in and of itself does not erase years of negative
feelings that I have received from others or imposed upon
myself. Talking about it is extremely helpful.
Hang in there. Get help.
Can I just say thank you to all the posting including the original posting? I
feel so empowered that i'm not the only one in the area. I was diagnosed 2
years ago when I was 40. Sure medication helped since my attention was
no where near regulated and I was getting into so much trouble at work.
Being able to focus was like putting on a new glasses when you didn't even
know you've been seeing the world all blurry. I had ''honeymoon period''
where I thought everything was all good. I was even promoted! Then, lost
that job due to ''lack of organizing skill'', ''lack of time managing skill''
unable to prioritize task-namely boring one like paperwork. Since then I've
been struggling with trying to learn ''new skills'' that other people seem to
be able to do effortlessly. I've taken online courses(interactive ones).
Another struggle is to find psychiatrist who really knows Adult ADHD. There
are ones that don't even believe in the diagnosis! Even if you find MD that
specializes in ADD, they most likely don't take insurances. I'm not trying to
be discouraging here but I just want to share the reality of how ignorant the
field of mental health still is and it's so important to educate yourself so
can advocate for yourself. Good luck!!
How timely! I have two very bright (women) friends who were just diagnosed,
by psychiatrists who specialize in ADD/ADHD assessments, with ADHD of the
inattentive-type, which they have had symptoms for since childhood. Both
women have inherently good to excellent executive order function, and their
new life on Adderrall is something to behold--a real turnaround and
increased productivity. Both of them, it now seems, suffered from anxiety
born of the ADHD, which has now become a non-issue. They accept that they
have a neurological condition, despite some chatter around them, by
laypeople, ''if they would only do such-and-such'', they wouldn't need meds.
Seems a little harsh and ignorant to me.
A third friend, also a woman, was sure she had ADHD, but her savvy
psychiatrist first wants to get her on some ideal anti-anxiety and depression
medications because he's not convinced that her moderate to severe anxiety
and depression isn't masquerading, partly, as major distractability.
I also know of a friend's college student, at a top-notch college, who was
recently diagnosed with the inattentive type as well--a brilliant girl but
stressed and challenged keeping up with the reading because she was unable
to focus and had to read and reread. That has now become a thing of the
past, and she made the Deans list, which she says she could not have done
Get yourself to a psychiatrist who has an interest and expertise in ADD/ADHD
and go from there. And try not to listen to the local culture's judgement
about taking medication if you choose to go that route. I have to laugh when
people, especially in Berkeley, are so down on people's taking meds. I
want to ask, would you deny you or your child insulin if you or he/she were a
diabetic. True ADD/ADHD is a condition of neurological deficit.
You also got some good advice about setting up support for yourself. I have
heard that organizational coaches who are effective can be a godsend,
especially in the face of poor executive order function, which is different
the inattentiveness of ADHD.
Wishing you success
Treatment for Adult ADHD (non-drug preferred)
Hello -- I am seeking ideas to help treat adult ADHD. I'd like
to start with non-drug approaches.
I highly recommend you talk to Sydney Metrick, PhD. She is
a therapiest specialize in coaching adults and teens with
ADHD. She guides and champions people with ADHD who think
differently, to be able to use and celebrate their unique
skills so they can focus on and achieve their priorities.
I have known her for a couple of years. She is a great
person and therapiest. Her number is 510-223-3882. or
email her firstname.lastname@example.org
I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD, the attention
deficit type. I am a 38 year old woman with a 2 year old.
My house has constantly been a disorganised mess, I can't
cook and never seem to be able to follow recipes, I have
skipped from job to job through-out my working life and
have lost a lot of self confidence, consequently I find
myself in temp admin jobs for which I am embarrassingly
over qualified. I find it hard to spend quality time with
my daughter as my mind is often worn out by continually
roaming from one pointless thought to another so I tend to
sit her in front of the tv a lot so I can zone out (which
I hate myself for doing). My question is, what can I
expect from medication? It's hard to get an idea from the
internet as medication either seems to completely
transform people's lives or do nothing. I admit I'm
looking for a magic pill but even if things got 10% better
for me it would be amazing. What are other people's
I can totally relate to what you're going through. I was diagnosed
with ADD in 2005. My life was a disorganized mess, everything felt
like a struggle and I had extreme difficulty at work. All of it was
causing a serious loss of self confidence which was causing trouble
with my interactions with other people. I knew I was not living up to
my potential in all areas of my life.
It was then that my therapist and my doctor prescribed Strattera, a
non- stimulant ADD medication. It changed my life. I felt grounded,
literally, like my feet were suddenly on the ground. I'd felt like my
consciousness had been floating far above my body before and with the
medication I was suddenly firmly rooted both in my body and in
reality, here and now.
I'm not sure what your experience will be, as ADHD is generally
treated with a stimulant, but I suggest you give the medication a
chance, especially if your expectations are as realistic as you say.
Be sure you give it a chance to work as some medications take a few
weeks to take full affect. I wish you the very best of luck. I know
how helpless and frustrating it is to go through what you're going
My heart goes out to you. Its hard enough to be a parent
without also having ADHD. As the parent of a teenager
with ADHD who probably got it from her parents, I can only
tell you that you don't have to know the answer to your
question before trying medication. Medication works for
some but not for others. Some people have side effects
that are tolerable or become tolerable with time. For
others, this is not the case. The real issue is trying
the meds long enough and making sure they are strong
enough before deciding whether or not it works for you. If
they don't work, you can always stop them without added
side effects. Remember, medication will not change your
life unless you also include working with a medical doctor
and a therapist to help you learn the tools to manage your
life. You might also want to subscribe to this ADHD
newsletter at http://helpforadd.com for updates on the new
research coming out for both children and adults. Good
luck on your journey.
I am also an adult with ADHD, diagnosed in adulthood.
Everyone's reaction to the medication is different, so you
have to try them starting in small doses to figure out if
and how they work for you. Personally, I hate the meds
and think they are entirely overrated. Normally I am
relaxed, social, funny person but on the medication I am
uptight, anal, and sweat a lot. I take meds when I have to
absolutely sit down and meet a deadline. I have tried
several different types of medication, and haven't been
too happy with any of them, but see their value at the
right time when distraction is just not an option.
As you experiment with them, you'll probably learn what
works for you. Like many people with ADHD, I can get
hyperfocused when doing something I like such as creative
tasks. I have learned that I have to avoid the activities
that I like when I take the meds because the focus on that
task is difficult to stop. For example if I sit down to do
taxes and take medication, if there is a photoalbulm which
I have been meaning to organize on the same desk as the
tax receipts, I am likely to start focusing on task of
organizing the photoalbulm because I enjoy it. Once I
start on the fun task, its increadably hard to switch
attention to the task I don't like. So before taking the
medications, I remove all the fun things from the area,
close the door, don't allow myself to look at the
internet, etc. and start on the task, eventually the meds
do kick in and I do make progress on a goal.
You should also look at other approaches to ADHD as well,
such as diet (eat protien!), exercise, and other
nonmedication ''coping mechanisms'' to help you get to where
you want to go. Remember, there are lots of very famous
and successful people with ADHD who have done great things
before the meds, so the meds are not the cure, just maybe
a piece of the puzzle.
I, too, was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD, inattentive type. It was a
relief for me to put a name to problems I've experienced all my life (bouncing
from idea to idea, difficulty finishing projects and massive feelings of
From what I've learned, everyone's ADHD is unique but there seems to be
common treatments which, when used in combination, have helped me. They
1) COACHING- getting professional help with time management,
organizational standards, setting goals and completing projects.
2) SUPPORT- understanding that I am not alone has helped. There is a
National Organization known as CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD-
www.chadd.org) which provides a wealth of information, access to articles
studies, referrals to professionals etc. And there is a local organization,
NorCalCHADD (www.norcalchadd.org), which also offers some contacts and
support groups (the adult support group in Berkeley meets on the 2nd
Monday of each month.
3) MEDICATION- I recently started a stimulant medication. It has helped
quite a bit with my focus although it has not been a panacea (not that I
expected one). There might be a better medication for me and I'm working
with a psychiatrist on this. One thing that I think is important is to work
a psychiatrist who has experience with diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
Like you, I found internet posts to be wide-ranging and, of course, not very
scientific. Exposure to professionals and national organizations helped me
get comfortable with the idea of trying medication and now being proactive in
working with my doctor to manage it.
4) EXERCISE- leading ADHD researchers have conducted studies linking
exercise with enhanced brain function. Of course, exercise is good for
everyone but it really helps me.
5) COUNSELING- there is no doubt that the feelings of frustration resulting
from having ADHD has led to comorbidity disorders such as depression,
anxiety or low self-esteem. Therapy has helped with this.
Of course, this is my experience and yours may be very different. I applaud
you for posting your question and seeking help. That is a huge first step.
The journey forward may be long (life long) but I am betting worth the effort
and ultimately rewarding.
Adult ADD Guy
It seems pretty clear from my husband's behavior, and online
diagnostics tests, that my husband has ADD. He functions
pretty well - holds a job, etc. But, it drives me crazy.
He can't find things, our garage is a mess because of him,
and more. I find this so frustrating and feel that it's now
at a point that it affects how I relate to him.
He gets this too, and would like to fix things, which is
wonderful. Where do we start? We are not interested in
drug solutions, but rather for him to learn some new ways of
doing things and being more organized.
Does anyone know a coach or someone who works with ADD
people to help them learn better organization skills? Other
options? We're in the North Berkeley/Albany area, and would
love something close by.
Thankful he wants to change
My husband has ADD too. I would recommend that he get a real evaluation to
actually see if he is truly has ADD. My husband has only recently been
diagnosed with ADD. Living with his destructive behavior has severally affected
our marriage. I wouldn't rule out medications. When my husband actually takes
his medication I see a completely different person...a reasonable man! If his
clutter and disorganization skills are affecting you I know there are coaches out
there that can help with those skills. I am personally not looking for coaches
yet. I am looking for a therapist who specializes in adult ADD. There is a great
book that really helped me understand and live with someone with ADD is a
book called, ''Is it you or me? or adult ADD:, the author is Gina Pera. Good Luck
My spouse gave me the book Driven From Distraction, saying
I needed to read it since it's for Adults w/ ADD/ADHD.
Caveat- ''wrecking our marriage'', said the spouse.
Anyway, haven't read the book by Holloway (who wrote
Driven to Distraction for kid-related issues) but am
trying Adderall. What is good about the meds in this class
1) They either work or don't work very quickly - in
matter of days you will (everyone else,too, if it works)
know if it's helpful.
2) There are a lot of choices of both stimulant and non-
3) Don't make you gain weight.
4) Can take only one dose for part of the day.
P.S. My spouse can always tell if I've taken my dose or
not and I can't tell so much but seem to be less scattered.
P.S.S. Her untreated issues are wrecking our marriage.
We're trying the live in the same house but divorced
Over the past few years I have started to figure out that I have ADD.
One person had suggested the possibility years ago, but his metaphor
of ''changing channels'' all at once didn't resonate with me. It
sounded so dramatic. But, now I really understand that I do have
it. I can remember taking the SAT in high school (I am now 38) and
having to re-read the reading comprehension part over and over because
I couldn't pay attention for even a paragraph. Or taking dance
lessons and not being able to pay attention long enough to remember
the moves. I would start thinking about what was for lunch, etc.
Through pure terror and smart studying, I somehow made it through law
school, but I was a terrible lawyer because I would start to read a
letter or a brief or proof read something and not be able to get
through it. I leave the stove on and forget I'm boiling water only to
come back to a burnt pot, etc. I am totally addicted to the internet
because it is the ideal thing for someone with ADD who can go off on a
different path at any moment.
I have no idea what to do. I don't have hyperactivity and I would
prefer not to be on drugs as I am already on an anti-depressant. But
I clearly have to do something. Has anyone else dealt with this?
Your message is very poignant for me because my lovely 13 year old son
just went through an educational evaluation and was told that he had a
pretty severe case of ADD, but his is attention deficit with no
hyperactivity (perhaps like you). He just has an extremely difficult
time staying attentive. The psychologist who worked with him said
that even at this age, there are signs that he is getting depressed,
overwhelmed, and really depleted because he has been compensating for
so long. So I am wondering if your depression is related to the long
hard work of trying to cope in the world given your attention deficit.
I would really recommend that you try to get a similar (age
appropriate) evaluation. If you have the funds, it's worth the money.
I also wonder if it would ultimately be worthwhile for you to wean off
the anti-depressants and try med.s for ADD. (Though I am no expert on
this.) I do know adults who are treated for ADD. I have recommended
Phyllis Koppelman on this site before. Certainly she is a
compassionate and insightful person and
was very helpful to my son at an earlier stage in his development.
Her e-mail is: email@example.com --and if she can't be
directly helpful, I bet she'll have good referrals. Best wishes.
Research shows that a 20 minute walk in an area with lots of
green plants improves attention. Here is a link:
My husband has Tourette Syndrome and ADD is a component of this non-inhibition condition (along with OCD, tics, etc). Over the 12+ years we have been together, he has found a variety of coping mechanisms which include technology, medication, and support from those around him. First, don't kick yourself, because raising your level of depression makes it much harder to find ways to stay on track. Second, please go and see a psychiatrist who regularly works with adults with ADD. My husband's psychiatrist works with the whole body, and has prescribed a regimen of vitamins, minerals, and anti-
depressants which help my husband with his attention variability. T hird, to get organized and stay on task, my husband uses a PDA with reminder settings religiously. Fourth, he also feels that he stumbled into the right career for him: he is a speech pathologist in a local school district, and working with different kids means that each day is unique and interesting unto itself, so there is a creative outlet for his ADD. Fifth, take yourself away from the internet as much as possible; I think it reduces motivation to deal with the ADD. Last, the people who love him, and those he works with, know that he has organization issues at times (fewer and fewer as the years go on), and are mostly compassionate, which really lowers the external pressure on him. I wish you all the best.
I love my husband, ADD and all!
My spouse has ADD and we did not realize until we had children. He was
able ''to cover'' until there was too much to juggle in his life. The
first thing he did was to get a professional assessment. After we had
the results, we started to find solutions (better scheduling, using
lists, no multi-tasking for him, medication). From what I have read,
many people with undiagnosed ADD are misdiagnosed with
ADD can really effect every aspect of your life. Get tested and use
professionals to help find a solution.
My daughter has just been diagnoed with Adult ADD-inattentive type. She is a Jr. in HS. In reading up on the topic I too have similar symptoms and always have. Over the years it has been recommended that we have our daughter tested but I was adamantly against giving her drugs. We actually thought she could overcome her problems by hard work and disipline... I was in total denial obviously. :( and did not really understand that she Could Not do the homework, no matter how hard she tried. She would ACE every test but flunk the homework (mostly because it is always late) which would give her about a ''C'' in the class. What finally broke the drug barrier for me was when she asked to be tested... with tears in her eyes. You see her grades do not reflect the intellect and obvious intelligence that anyone who talks with her can obviously detect. And these grades would not get her into the college that she wants to attend. She began the ADD Rx in late Oct. and since Thanksgiving she has been able to focus (as she never has before) and caught up all her late assignments. I am hopeful that this next report card will reflect this new abiltiy to focus and produce the assigned homework. In your post you say that you do not want to try the ADD drugs because you are currently taking anti-depresants. I just read an article that says many people who begin ADD drugs no longer need anti-depressants, now that they are able to get their work done they are not as depressed about their situation and life in general. AND the ADD drugs only work if you really do have ADD. That is actually how they determine if the original diagnosis is correct, if the ADD drugs work then the diagnosis is comfirmed. I am considering talking to my Dr. about trying the ADD Rx. Good luck with your decision,,, sorry about the length of this post, the subject is very fresh with me right now.
I too have depression and ADD. Unfortunately, an estimate of 75% of
adults with untreated ADD have an additional issue such as depression.
For me, much of my depression resulted from others interpreting my ADD
behaviors as intentional. And, for years, I used coffee as my
''stimulant.'' Lately I have been taking low doses of an
anti-depressant and a stimulant(much fewer side effects than coffee)
and this has given me a foundation for changing my life for the
better. As well, exercise, some sort of focused relaxation
(meditation, qi gong or yoga), Omega-3 oil and healthy diet(as well as
drinking plenty of water) are also pretty important. I recommend that
you look at the book SPARK by Ratey and YOUR MIND CAN CHANGE YOUR
BRAIN by Doidge, and check out the website, www.CHADD.com (CHADD is a
national organization with resources for ADD.) If you can afford an
ADD coach, that will help as well. People with ADD have real
differences in the way their brains develop and operate. Best of
luck, finding your optimum mix of supports will really help.
--an educational consultant
My husband was diagnosed with ADD a month before the birth of our 2nd child
(now alomst 2). It was a relief to hear it b/c I no longer took his ''stuff'' so
or intentionally. I actuall y have a lot of compassion for him as I see ho hard he
He does not want to take stimulants but has tried 2 other meds with slight results
(moslty a lift in depression/hostility)-however he is presently not taknig anything
b/c of side effects.
I keep encoruaging diet changes, fish oils but he forgets.
I get frustrated b/c I feel like I am doing all the work , cleaning up after him
nag for asking/reminding him to do stuff...
Thoughts? I deas? Books?
We are very very tight on money...
Also, of course, I am worried about our kids. What should I be on the look out for?
For loads of information and support go to www.CHADD.org
It stands for something like children and adults with attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder. I've worked with a number of
ADD people as a coach and have not found medication to be
You are fortunate that your husband has been diagnosed. It's
much better to know the devil you are dealing with! The best
weapon for your husband is information, and he can get
straightforward, scientifically validated information at
www.chadd.org. Thanks to the efforts of this national
organization and our local group of volunteers, he can attend
support groups that meet weekly at Alta Bates Herrick Campus (on
Dwight Way, between Milvia and Shattuck). They are open to
non-members and cost $5. It's a great place to get ideas and
enjoy the company of those who also deal with the disorder. As
you can tell, I'm an enthusiastic supporter of CHADD! For a
schedule of the meetings, visit www.chaddnorcal.org. He'll be
welcomed and appreciated. LL
I am just figuring out (at age 36) that I have pretty severe ADD w/o
hyperactivity. I am very interested in taking medication (and
already take Celexa, an anti depressant). BuT I also can get a bit
panicky and anxious if I am overstimulated... even by too much
coffee. Not sure what to do as I think my problem would only be
marginally helped by therapy. If anyone has thoughts or suggestions
on medication or next steps, I'd be grateful. I have wasted two
years ''writing'' and been unable to really get anything done.
I am so paralyzed by this ADD. anon
Both of my teenage sons are ADD, one suffers from anxiety and
panic attacks and one from depression too. We have had
excellent relief from Acupunturist Geraldine Shute. She is at
the Emeryville Health and Wellness Center. My sons are needle
phobic, so this was a big deal, she totally put them at ease. I
also saw her for knee pain and had excellent results - no
surgery and no pain killers.
CHADD has founded a series of weekly support groups for those
with ADHD, that meet in Berkeley.
- Join CHADD online www.chaddnorcal. org
or call 1-800-233-4050, scholarships available.
- For reliable info:
All support groups are free for CHADD members; a $5 donation
from nonmembers is appreciated.
After listening to me for more than 6 mos., my therapist has
concluded that, perhaps, after all, it is my husband who might
have undiagnosed adult ADD. I would agree he perfectly fits the
profile and, as we approached the subject, he is actually open
to the possibility. Can someone recommend a specialist in
Berkeley (or Marin) for adult ADD? Any other recommendation
from people/couples who dealt with the same.
Linda Lawton is an educational therapist with offices in Albany and Walnut Creek. She works with adults who have ADD and has been successful in helping them turn around their lives.
Adults with ADD, like myself, began as children with ADD.
Chances are the ADD adult had trouble in school, like ''not paying attention.'' See the CHADD website for loads of information. Sue Coleman is a local coach who is well-known in the ADD field-339-6197.
ADD is unfortunately called a disorder. It is simply another way of gathering and processing information and relating to life. There are many ways to use the gifts of ADD to excel, and many tools to help with the challenges.
I direct a clinic that offers multiple services for kids / adults wtih learning / attention difficulties. We provided assistance with diagnosis, counseling and coaching. For more info visit our website: www.abilityrc.com. There is also a section of the Berkeley Parents Network resource list that reviews our clinic and other local providers.
[editor note: see this page.] Hope that helps.
Glenn Gelfenbein, LMFT
Add is a mental condition and should be treated as such.
Specially in adults it can be stressful for the spouse.It does not get better if it goes untreated. Assuming all the marital chores to make the person less aware of his condition is not the way to go either. Has to be a combinaton of medical treatment and marital counseling; it is very hard to make it work on the long run without help.
Being there too.
I am a 40 year old male who was just recently diagnosed with a type of ADD. While it's a challenge to deal with, my wife and I were both kind of relieved by the diagnosis. I am working with a psychiatrist at the Amen clinic in Fairfield. I don't know of a Berkeley ADD specialist but I highly recommend Dr. Amen's clinic and his book on ADD which you can find in any bookstore.
Also check out his book titled ''Change Your Brain Change Your Life'' which has some ADD material. Here is the URL to his
website too: http://amenclinic.com/ Good luck!
Also look into Asperger's Syndrome as a possible (and easly confused) diagnosis.
Peter Klaaphack at 10 Renz Road in Mill valley is a wonderful expert on Adult ADD. I recomend him highly.
ADD and many similar attention disorders have been successfully treated
in the past through non-invasive sensory integration therapy. I would
question not only if you hear well, but also your sensitivities to sound
at different frequencies. If your processing of the sensory stimuli is
working well, many of the symptoms of this condition have been known to
Is anyone out there familiar with adult attention deficit
disorder? I have seen the commercials for drugs on television
and taken a quiz on the internet, and I am worried that I have
it. OR maybe I am just bone idle. At work I have trouble keeping
my attention on the simplest task, playing games and surfing the
internet instead. I tell myself, as I am doing these things,
that I just need to get up and do the work, but I can't seem to
make it happen. I can get a lot done when I am under the gun,
but when I think about all that I could be doing if I could just
concentrate, I am very frustrated with myself. This has been
happening for years, but I still seem to be relatively
successful in what I do, so far. Now I am worried that it really
has hurt me and will cost me a promotion in the near future, but
I am terribly embarrassed about asking anyone about it.
Alternatively I may just be a fool who somehow is addicted to
solitaire, and that seems pathetic to me. Help!
If it's ADD it will show up in other parts of your life besides your
work. Do you have trouble getting your housework done? Your bills
handled? Did you have a hard time getting your schoolwork started
unless a deadline was looming? If you do have ADD it would be very
helpful to have a diagnosis so you could effectively address the real
source of your problems at work. I'm an educational therapist and ADD
coach, working with adults to address time management, project
management and other issues associated with the condition, and I would
be happy to talk to you about your concerns. Though I am not qualified
to diagnose this, the archives of this newsletter list the names of many
professionals who do. With a diagnosis you could stop beating yourself
up, begin to learn more about it and develop some strategies that would
help you overcome your frustrations. If it's not ADD, it could be
something else like anxiety or depression, also treatable. Imagine the
There are other conditions that might cause the symptoms you mentioned,
but if there is any chance you are ADD I'd suggest getting evaluated as
soon as possible...
its treatable, the resources for dealing with Adult ADD with or without
medication are many, and you can get rid of the terrible feeling that
you are just ''lazy.''
For me it was a big step forward, and I was sorry to put it off getting
evaluated for so long. I think the fear was that they'd decide I DIDN'T
have ADD. If you are ADD, knowing is only good.
I Played Snood
I think it is more likely that you don't love your work or have become
bored. Thus, you avoid the drudgery.
Perhaps you even hate your work? I think it is unhealthy to stay in
hated work any longer than necessary. It sends the body constant
messages of self-loathing (you are forcing your body to endure this
enslavement to hated activities). I too had these sorts of problems when
I was in a corporate environment. It took a long time for me to be able
to make a switch, but I'm far happier/successful.
Playing those solitaire games, in general, is a way to avoid and cope
with the unpleasantness of life (whether it's overwhelm, boredom,
dissatisfaction or depression). It doesn't make you a bad person. But
you can open your eyes to these cues and perhaps decide to address the
underlying issues. If you do that, you stand to be much happier and
productive, no matter what you do.
Maybe you should think about what else you would enjoy doing?
I am on the computer all day for my job and I do take a
brain break now and then by playing solitaire. I don't think
I am ADD. When I have been focusing intensely on my work, it
is soothing and satisfying to me to play a couple of games.
It's just enough mental activity to keep me engaged but not
so much that I really have to think. Sort of like reading
a mystery. I don't think our noses have to always be on the
grindstone. I wouldn't worry unless you are doing it so much
that your work isn't getting done.
I'm looking for a couples' therapist that has some expertise with ADD. Has anyone had any experience with Melinda White,MFT in Berkeley?
I really appreciate any responses. Thank you.
Ability Resource Center Oakland
My spouse has many symptoms that match Attention Deficit
Disorder -- short attention span, easily distracted, temper
flare-ups when patience is required in normal life situations
(this has led to some very dangerous situations and accidents in
the car), not hearing things he is told, inability to keep a
calendar or otherwise organize his obligations, loses things
easily, etc. The unexpected rage episodes are shocking and
hurtful for me and I have growing concerns about their impact on
our 2 year old. We are also considering having a second child,
so we really want to resolve whatever we can now. Can someone
recommend a caring, competent doctor that evaluates adult ADD,
and that is neutral on the issue of medication as treatment?
Any other recommendations from people who have investigated this
situation would be appreciated. I looked on the CHADD website
but the two Bay Area centers do not focus on adults. Thanks.
Previously I posted that we used Dr. Wm. Dickman in SF to
diagnose my husband's ADD. I have recently learned that Dr.
Gary Landman in Orinda, (925) 253-1041, may also diagnose adult
ADD. We have not used him for this, but he may be worth giving
a call. I found Dr. Dickman to be a warmer personality.
Try Glen Gelfenbein of the Ability Resource Center ... (click link to see reviews)
I am an ADD coach, and an intern educational therapist. Marin CHADD and East
Bay LDA both have resources for Adult ADD. A licensed mental health
professional can diagnose ADD, but you have to visit an MD for medication, if
you choose to investigate that. Dr. Steve Baskin, in Berkeley, and Dr.
Robert Picker, in Concord, are two I know of who have a lot of experience with
'' Multi-modal treatment'' is the most effective approach, according to
current research. One mode is psychotherapy, to deal with the emotional
issues that arise from a lifetime of coping with an undiagnosed
neurobiological condition, as well as the rollercoaster ride that comes with
adult diagnosis. Another is coaching, to help develop new approaches and
habits and/or educational therapy, which is treatment specifically organized
to address the cognitive processing issues that are a challenge in daily life
(and diagnose possible comorbid learning disabilities through
psychoeducational assessment). Medication is the mode that is the most widely
In my experience, medication is not the simple silver bullet that some think
it is. There are several types of medication. They work differently in
different brains, and are tolerated to different degrees by each body. Dosing
takes a little while to get just right. Medication has gotten a bad
reputation in some circles, but it is informative to read some of the
remarkable responses to it on ADD websites or in books. As an adult, you
always have the choice to try it and not use it. It's a little different
decision when an adult chooses it for a child. Some people have no choice
about medication because they can't tolerate it, some people feel it isn't
necessary. I see clients who are medicated and who are not, and those who
wish they could be.
I am not for or against medication, but for considering ADD as a serious
neurobiological condition. One of the consequences of ADD is a higher
incidence of automobile accidents. In deference to safety and wellbeing, it
is important to be open to the most effective treatments for the individual.
The stress that ADD puts on individuals and families is ongoing and can be
intense. It is invisible, but real, 24-7. It even affects sleep. ADD never
goes away, though it can be managed, much like a condition such as diabetes or
a more visible physical disability.
The upside of ADD isn't discussed nearly as much as the downside. The ability
to see connections that others don't, the mental gymnastics and creativity
that often come with the package, the innovative problem solving
abilities...Look at a list of famous people who have or are believed to have
had ADD. It's impressive. There are lots of web resources and books to read.
It's a fascinating subject. Good luck in your search. Linda Lawton
I would appreciate some help in findiing a good doctor to
evaluate an adult for ADD. The doctors recommendations
on file seem to be for pediatric ADD/ADHD.
Currently Anonymous, probably ADD
I was diagnosed AD/HD in September 1997--explained my entire
life, and gave me a framework for beginning to make changes to
accomodate my handicaps and celebrate the wonders of a non-linear
brain. It has been an interesting journey. I believe that the
resources available to Adult ADD-ers locally have grown
tremendously and hope you'll get up to date replies, but
meanwhile the Amen center in Vacaville is undeniably one of the
leading research/treatment centers in the country for people with
attention-specter disorders. I'm also sure there's tons of
Feel free to contact me if you're interested in my experiences
with diagnosis and treatment...In a nutshell, I found stimulant
medication invaluable (and used it in high dosages throughout my
pregnancy and 2 years of breastfeeding with absolutely no ill
effects on my child) and found good behavioral therapy difficult
to come by.
Jennifer Kirkland, Ph.D in Albany has had extensive experience
testing and evaluating LD, ADD, and Neuropsychological issues
for adults (as well as children). She has tested a wide variety
of people, from law students to people who may qualify for SSI.
In addition to performing the tests, she can help you come up
with a plan to deal with the results. She has a warm
personality, together with a laudable competency that should
recommend her for anyone who needs a good evaluation. Jennifer
Kirkland, Ph.D. 1057 Solano Ave, Albany 94706. 510-525-6608
After attending a seminar on neurotransmitters, which included an
overview of ADHD and ADD, I realized that my twin brother has most
likely been suffering from ADD all his life. I won't go into
symptom details here, but I was astounded at the miriad of typical
ADD behaviors which seem to run (ruin) my brother's life. He has
never received any type of medical assistance/diagnosis.
Can anyone recommend how to go about getting help for an adult
with ADD? At the age of 46, his life patterns are very ingrained
and he tends to be extremely obstructionist when ever he perceives
the hint of criticism.
Has anyone ever been diagnosed with ADD as an adult? How is the
diagnosis done? What worked/didn't work for you? Any advise from
someone who has 'been there' would be helpful.
I love my brother and want him to have a happier life.
helpless on the sidelines
My brother-in-law was diagnosed with ADD in his early 20's, while in
college at the University of Pennsylvania. At the time (in the
early 90's), the UP School of Medicine was running clinical
research/services for Adult Diagnosed ADD. They were using a
combination of medication, reading/focusing exercises and talk
therapy (to deal with the variety of issues that accrue for those
growing up with visual processing disorders). Over time, they
reduce the meds, then tail off the exercises and the therapy. I
don't know the status of the program now, but it should be
researchable. It was effective for him.
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