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Old 11-14-11, 09:29 AM
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Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

James Carville, Sir Richard Branson, Michael Phelps, Howie Mandel…what do these famous people have in common? They all have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

ADHD is usually associated with children. And though it's true that ADHD almost always develops in early childhood, often it isn't diagnosed until much, much later. Adults can be affected by this disorder - and are, in large numbers. For those who have ADHD in childhood, up to 50 percent continue to have the condition into adulthood.

For adults struggling with ADHD, especially if they've dealt with the symptoms for years without being properly diagnosed, there are many special issues and considerations in managing the disorder in daily life.

Adult ADHD is largely misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and complicated by the overlap of other conditions such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. Dealing with adult situations such as a job, marriage and other relationships, bills and household management, and of course your own children, can be overwhelming for people with ADHD.

"Adult ADHD is no joke," says Gina Pera, author of Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder. "It is considered the most impairing outpatient psychiatric condition, even more impairing than depression and anxiety.

Left unrecognized, ADHD is associated with higher rates of substance abuse, bankruptcy, failed relationships, absentee parenting, car accidents, unemployment, and dropping out from college or high school. There can also be physical 'side effects' from unrecognized ADHD, including obesity, sleep deprivation, diabetes, and hypertension."

Originally it was thought people would "outgrow" the condition as adults, Jennifer Van Pelt, MA, writes in Social Work Today magazine. "However, 60% to 90% of adults continue to experience symptoms."

But when treated properly, adult ADHD can be managed, even to the point that it can become a driving point in a highly successful life, as those famous ADHD cases can attest.

Step One: Proper Diagnosis
According to the organization CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), over 12 million Americans have ADHD and less than 1 in 4 know it.

,” explains a proper diagnosis can be the first step in helping people transform their lives,explains Dr. Umesh Jain of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance. “I am constantly inspired by what my patients are able to achieve. The key to success with ADHD is to develop an understanding of your strengths and challenges, and then embrace those traits.”

Diagnosing an adult with ADHD consists of gathering information from clinical interviews, validated measurements such as the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales and the Brown ADD Scale for Adults, and other supporting evidence. A physician should also explore the onset of symptoms in childhood, says Anthony Rostain, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as well as possible comorbid conditions such as mood disorders or substance abuse.

"It's also a good idea to get records from schools," Rostain says. "Not that it always tells the story, but you'll often see teachers commenting on 'Johnny was bright but never could stay in his seat' or teachers saying 'he was always late,' etc."

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Old 11-15-11, 11:02 AM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

I totally agree we have to get people to look at this more seriously.Right Now it's still misunderstood and mocked. I think the first issue is getting Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children and Adults viewed by everyone as mainly a Psychiatric disorder to be taken seriously not as a mental health issue but as a genuine Neurological disorder.Most people even here on these fourms are too willing to view it as simply a Mental illness.I have no problem being considered as Mentally Ill when It comes to my Anxiety issues but Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder just doesn't really fit in well with serious mental disorders like depression,Schizophrenia, Bi-polar Disorder, PTSD, Anorexia, Psychosis, Obsessive compulsive Disorder, Disassociative Identity Disorder.ETC
But it fits nicely With Autism, Epilepsy,Parkinson's, Tourette's Syndrome, Narcolepsy,Alzheimer's ETC.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/disorder_index.htm
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Old 11-15-11, 02:41 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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Originally Posted by Hyperman87 View Post
I totally agree we have to get people to look at this more seriously.Right Now it's still misunderstood and mocked. I think the first issue is getting Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children and Adults viewed by everyone as mainly a Psychiatric disorder to be taken seriously not as a mental health issue but as a genuine Neurological disorder.Most people even here on these fourms are too willing to view it as simply a Mental illness.I have no problem being considered as Mentally Ill when It comes to my Anxiety issues but Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder just doesn't really fit in well with serious mental disorders like depression,Schizophrenia, Bi-polar Disorder, PTSD, Anorexia, Psychosis, Obsessive compulsive Disorder, Disassociative Identity Disorder.ETC
But it fits nicely With Autism, Epilepsy,Parkinson's, Tourette's Syndrome, Narcolepsy,Alzheimer's ETC.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/disorder_index.htm
I completely agree about ADHD being a neurological disorder as opposed to a mental health issue. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety; however, I believe that the depression and anxiety are a direct result of the undiagnosed ADHD or possibly symptoms of the ADHD in general. It's just like obesity being a symptom of an underactive thyroid. You can treat the obesity all you want, but until the thyroid is addressed, you might as well be chasing your tail.
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Old 11-15-11, 03:12 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

I've been trying to think of how to reply. I can't... bah!

Humanity has let me down. Thats all I gotta say.
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Old 11-17-11, 03:12 AM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

Technically, ADHD is considered a developmental disorder. But since its treatment comes under the purview of psychiatrists, it's referred to as a psychiatric condition.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:21 AM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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Originally Posted by jace49 View Post
But when treated properly, adult ADHD can be managed, even to the point that it can become a driving point in a highly successful life, as those famous ADHD cases can attest.
how do you define "managed"? it's a myth that "proper treatment" that mitigates all symptoms so as to eradicate impairment is possible for all of us with adhd. that at least two of those cited as adhd successes expressly shun medication that many of us are required to take to even hope to TRY to "manage" our syptoms is particularly telling. holding up these statistical anomalies (to say the least) as examples of what "proper treatment" can yield would be just another slap in the face if not recognized as just absurd.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:16 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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how do you define "managed"? it's a myth that "proper treatment" that mitigates all symptoms so as to eradicate impairment is possible for all of us with adhd. that at least two of those cited as adhd successes expressly shun medication that many of us are required to take to even hope to TRY to "manage" our syptoms is particularly telling. holding up these statistical anomalies (to say the least) as examples of what "proper treatment" can yield would be just another slap in the face if not recognized as just absurd.
Excellent point. I thoroughly agreed.

That said, many people with ADHD are receiving woefully bad treatment and don't know it can be better.

And, the cat was let out of the bag a long time ago on these "ADHD celebrities." Some people with ADHD love their stories; they give them hope, they say.

My philosophy has always been, why hold up these extraordinary "successful" (whatever that is; we don't know about the rest of these individuals' lives) people as the models of ADHD achievement? How about everyday people who are pursuing their goals, enjoying their lives, and simply feeling happy about things? I guess to some people with ADHD, that just sounds boring. :-)
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Old 11-17-11, 02:35 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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Technically, ADHD is considered a developmental disorder. But since its treatment comes under the purview of psychiatrists, it's referred to as a psychiatric condition.
It's a nuero-developmental disorder.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:48 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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how do you define "managed"? it's a myth that "proper treatment" that mitigates all symptoms so as to eradicate impairment is possible for all of us with adhd. that at least two of those cited as adhd successes expressly shun medication that many of us are required to take to even hope to TRY to "manage" our syptoms is particularly telling. holding up these statistical anomalies (to say the least) as examples of what "proper treatment" can yield would be just another slap in the face if not recognized as just absurd.
I think there can be great danger with these "success" stories, and I do have the book "ADD Success Stories." While I understand the relevance due to the impact ADD can have on someone's life, I wonder if they contribute to unnecessary pressure and stress put on the ADDer.

These success stories, I believe, frequently leave out how important other variables were in the person's success. These are variables like resources, adequate parental support (I believe this is most important), and talent (not that all people don't have some sort of talent-it just needs to be in the right supply in conjunction with many other variables).

Michael Phelps is often cited as an ADD success story. I wonder if people realize the tools he has had to work with in order to become the great swimmer in the world.

He has a lot of physical tools. He's very tall. I'm not an expert on swimming, but this would seem to give him an advantage. Also, he has a syndrome, of all things, that makes his limbs longer than normal. This, I believe, has also contributed to his swimming success.

In addtion to his physical traits, he had a loving mom, who gave him the time, attention, and accountability he needed to thrive. How many of us get that from our parents? I didn't. My accountability was a lot of yelling and being blamed for things out of my control. I was always blamed for things I either could not prevent or it took the jaws of life for me to accomplish. My environment set me up to fail, and I was an upper-middle class white kid. I didn't have a chance to do well with my familial issues.

I'm tired of trying to live up to what I was taught in school or by my parents. A success story is so subjective. Yet, it is rammed down our throats as gospel.

A success story could be raising a family, being a construction worker and owning a business, or being a member of big brothers big sisters. You don't have to be on primetime like James Carville or a psychiatrist like Dr. Hallowell to be a success story, but who am I to talk? I'm just a 30 year old Magna Cum Laude graduate, who took ten years to get his bachelor's degree.

You don't have to reach for the stars to be successful. Maybe getting as high as the clouds is enough.
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Old 11-17-11, 03:05 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

gina, i do understand that there are those who are inspired for whatever reason by some of these celebrity stories. and, truly, i don't begrudge someone using whatever tools s/he needs to make it through another day.

nevertheless, i find these claims problematic at best. "success *because* of adhd?" how about in spite of it? and what message does it send to laud individuals who, and no not all, but those who denounce medication and cite their successes as the result of capitalizing on a disorder that is diagnosable only when one's life is *impaired* by a minimum number of symptoms? what message does it send when not only the popular media paints this adhd=gift picture, but when we accept it as our model?
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Old 11-17-11, 03:09 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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nevertheless, i find these claims problematic at best. "success *because* of adhd?" how about in spite of it?
Exactly. This is one of the reasons why I admire people with ADD so much. They are so strong.
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Old 11-27-11, 05:14 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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I think there can be great danger with these "success" stories, and I do have the book "ADD Success Stories." While I understand the relevance due to the impact ADD can have on someone's life, I wonder if they contribute to unnecessary pressure and stress put on the ADDer.

I so agree with you, anonymouslyadd.

When a certain psychiatrist whom I consider the Pied Piper of the Gifts trotted out David Neeleman to every media interview on ADHD a few years back, I cringed. Here was the allegedly prototypical successful pwADHD who revolutionized air travel because he'd consistently forget his ticket! Talk about a "gift with thorns"!

If the story had stopped there, it would have been bad enough. Imagine all the people with ADHD telling themselves they "failed" at ADHD if they couldn't start an airline! But Neeleman took it a step further, reinforcing the widely held opinion among the media that medication would destroy his gifts.

Same with Michael Phelps. I won't repeat your aptly made points on that topic, but I was so irked with his mom, who while TAKING MONEY FROM MCNEIL pharmaceuticals, claimed that her son didn't like medication and that her experience as a school principal told her that parents/teachers must focus on these kids' gifts instead. I could almost see the thousands of parents of kids with ADHD stopping the medication and throwing their kids in the pool!

I was sitting at a crowded airport gate at the pinnacle of the "gifts" campaign, trying not to hear the angry man next to me yelling into his cell phone: "Yeah, you've been playing me, son. I'm done with this ADHD crap. I just saw Dr. H., a renowned ADHD expert, talking on TV about how ADHD is a gift. From now on, you're cut off. You better start showing me some of those damn gifts!!"

I do not exaggerate. I managed to talk some sense into this father. To some degree, it wasn't his fault. He was following this psychiatrist who has been held up by the copycat media as an international authority. Plus, he and his son had been through all the predictably bad therapy and psychiatry that is so common in Southern California (and elsewhere). He was at the end of his rope.
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Old 11-27-11, 05:17 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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In addtion to his physical traits, he had a loving mom, who gave him the time, attention, and accountability he needed to thrive. How many of us get that from our parents? I didn't.
Phelps also had a coach who was on him like white on rice.

And what did Phelps do once he was out from under that external structure? Blew a fortune by being caught on camera sucking on a bong.
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Old 11-27-11, 05:24 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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gina, i do understand that there are those who are inspired for whatever reason by some of these celebrity stories. and, truly, i don't begrudge someone using whatever tools s/he needs to make it through another day.

nevertheless, i find these claims problematic at best. "success *because* of adhd?" how about in spite of it? and what message does it send to laud individuals who, and no not all, but those who denounce medication and cite their successes as the result of capitalizing on a disorder that is diagnosable only when one's life is *impaired* by a minimum number of symptoms? what message does it send when not only the popular media paints this adhd=gift picture, but when we accept it as our model?
I'm glad to hear people with ADHD say this. I cannot tell you how much **** I took during the "frothy" economy for expressing a similar position -- from alleged professionals who treat ADHD and from pwADHD. Those were some lonely times!

I couldn't help but think that when the froth settled, people with ADHD would be on the bleeding edge of a flattened economy. I was worried for them.

I was also worried for the fallout from insurance companies who wouldn't cover a "gift," worried about the support it gave the anti-psychiatry wingnuts (who were strange bedfellows with political grandstanders such as Chuck Grassley), and worried in general about losing any ground we'd gained in public awareness.

One reason I've always loved ADD Forums is that it has always had a more sophisticated level of discourse. Great job, folks!
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Old 11-27-11, 07:03 PM
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Re: Meeting the Challenge of Adult ADHD

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I so agree with you, anonymouslyadd.

When a certain psychiatrist whom I consider the Pied Piper of the Gifts trotted out David Neeleman to every media interview on ADHD a few years back, I cringed. Here was the allegedly prototypical successful pwADHD who revolutionized air travel because he'd consistently forget his ticket! Talk about a "gift with thorns"!
Where can I start with your post Gina? I commend you for agreeing with me.

The problem with the Neeleman story is that, compared to the actual research, his success is an anomaly. The data on ADD shows they will not be anywhere close to the level of success as Neeleman.

I don't like the fact that the ones who have lost several jobs, been through multiple marriages, and have substance abuse problems are being excluded from the big picture.

These terrible facts are the reality of ADD, but people don't want to invest the time and energy needed to really learn about the disorder unless they are intimately connecting with someone who has it.

I worry about people, who don't think ADD is big deal, seeing stuff like that and saying to "less successful" ADDers, "how come you can't get your crap together like Neeleman" or "see stop complaining. ADD isn't that bad."


Quote:
If the story had stopped there, it would have been bad enough. Imagine all the people with ADHD telling themselves they "failed" at ADHD if they couldn't start an airline! But Neeleman took it a step further, reinforcing the widely held opinion among the media that medication would destroy his gifts.
Exactly. I think the message is more along the lines that you can be successful despite the disorder, but I understand your point.

I think about Hallowell's "ADD and Loving It" movie or whatever it was all the time now. It makes me wonder why I'm not smiling ear to ear about my disorder.

I do like Hallowell, but I don't like the fact that he spreads ridiculous messages such as the aformentioned. Again, the public and naysayers at large will deny the devastation it can bring on someone's life when they hear "the face" of ADD spreading messages like that.

Quote:
Same with Michael Phelps. I won't repeat your aptly made points on that topic, but I was so irked with his mom, who while TAKING MONEY FROM MCNEIL pharmaceuticals, claimed that her son didn't like medication and that her experience as a school principal told her that parents/teachers must focus on these kids' gifts instead. I could almost see the thousands of parents of kids with ADHD stopping the medication and throwing their kids in the pool!
See, here is an example of the anti-medicine people. I don't understand it, especially because ADD is a spectrum disorder.

I remember Phelps saying that he was going off medication.

I wonder if people really get all of the executive problems, which come with ADD. Someone like Phelps, a rich man, can afford to have someone take care of his bills, organize things for him, etc. I dont think many have that luxury.

Quote:
I was sitting at a crowded airport gate at the pinnacle of the "gifts" campaign, trying not to hear the angry man next to me yelling into his cell phone: "Yeah, you've been playing me, son. I'm done with this ADHD crap. I just saw Dr. H., a renowned ADHD expert, talking on TV about how ADHD is a gift. From now on, you're cut off. You better start showing me some of those damn gifts!!"
I'm assuming you're describing Hallowell. I can see that with him. Although, I was impressed with his interview with George Stephanopoulos in which he mentioned ADD was like "driving on square wheels." He also advocated for taking medication. This was in December of 2010.

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