Getting a Diagnosis for ADHD as an Adult

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi! I am in the process of determining if I have ADHD, and I have been told I need to find someone to give me psychoeducational testing to see if I also have a learning disability. I live in the Richmond/El Cerrito area. Does anyone know of a trustworthy psychoeducational tester who works with adults and does not cost a kabillion dollars? TIA! 

    The California School of Professional Psychology (doctoral psychology program) offers low cost psychological assessment, including psychoeducational testing, through it's training clinic, the Psychological Services Center.  All assessment and the reports are closely supervised by licensed psychologists and the quality is very high.  You can contact them at 510-628-9065.

  • My husband needs to be tested for ADD. In fact, our marriage might depend on it. He sought out an expert who quoted him thousands of dollars just to be tested then referred. We cannot afford that. I'm sure testing is not exclusive to those who can afford that much out of pocket. Any recommendations on where he can go that is more affordable? We live in the Pleasanton area but can drive if it's within reasonable (< 1 hour) driving distance. 

    The cheapest and most foolproof way to find out if he has ADHD is to get your GP to prescribe him one Ritalin. If he calms down, he has ADHD, if he feels "speeded up," he doesn't.

    ADHD is brain chemistry related, not behavioral. I bitterly resent the thousands of dollars people have to spend for an evaluation, when this simple medical test can answer all questions.

    If you have an understanding doctor, this is the way to go.

    There is absolutely no reason to spend thousands of dollars to "test" for ADHD. Do this instead : Make an appointment with a psychiatrist who will talk with your husband for an hour.  If your husband's problems seem likely to be caused by ADHD the psychiatrist will give you a prescription, probably for ritalin. This drug takes effect within half an hour (rather than the weeks or months that some drugs like anti-depressants can take). If your husband reports feeling calm and focused, he probably has ADHD and the drug will make a huge improvement in your lives. If he reports feeling jittery and buzzy, like he just drank 10 cups of coffee, he most likely does not have ADHD. It's really that simple and will cost a much cheaper $250 or so for the psych. appointment plus the cost of an rx.

    I'm usually skeptical of skeptics, if you know what I mean, but there's a great new book out by Pulitzer prize winning New York Times writer Alan Schwartz called ADHD Nation -- it's about the overdiagnosis of ADHD in children and adults, and the collusion of pharmacy companies and ADHD specialists in publicizing the condition and treatments. I'm not saying that ADHD isn't real or that your husband might not have it, just wanting to point out that there's a lot of misinformation and over diagnosis that you might want to be aware of.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


I think I might have ADD

March 2013

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 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

Where to get an ADHD evaluation for an adult

March 2012

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! Anon

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.

Is it really depression or is it ADHD? 

Feb 2012

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 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 that feels. 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 yourself. 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 hard to 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 three-folded 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 helps. glenn

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 your way! 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 of me.

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. ADD Adult

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'' and 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 you can advocate for yourself. Good luck!! Still learning

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 really 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 sans Adderall.

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 always 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 than the inattentiveness of ADHD.

Good luck!! Wishing you success

Recently diagnosed with adult AHDH, inattentive type

Jan 2011

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 experiences?

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 through. Empathetic

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 for updates on the new research coming out for both children and adults. Good luck on your journey. anonymous

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. anon

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 underachievement).

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 are:

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- which provides a wealth of information, access to articles studies, referrals to professionals etc. And there is a local organization, NorCalCHADD (, 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 with 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.

Good luck. Adult ADD Guy

I think I may have ADD - what should I do?

Jan 2009

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? j

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: phyllis [at] --and if she can't be directly helpful, I bet she'll have good referrals. Best wishes. Elizabeth

Research shows that a 20 minute walk in an area with lots of green plants improves attention. Here is a link: anon

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 depression/anxiety. ADD can really effect every aspect of your life. Get tested and use professionals to help find a solution. Good luck. anon

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. Anon

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, (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

Specialist for husband's undiagnosed ADD

Jan 2006

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. thank you

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. anon

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. Sydney

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: 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: Good luck! Robert

Also look into Asperger's Syndrome as a possible (and easly confused) diagnosis. anon

Peter Klaaphack at 10 Renz Road in Mill valley is a wonderful expert on Adult ADD. I recomend him highly. julia

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 disappear Bryan

Inattentive at work - Adult ADD?

March 2005

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! anon

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 relief... Linda Lawton

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? Ali

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. G.

Evaluation for spouse who may have ADD

Nov 2003

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. Seeking answers

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. ADD spouse

Try Glen Gelfenbein of the Ability Resource Center ... (click link to see reviews)

Seeking psychiatrist to diagnose adult ADD

Feb 2003

I Believe my husband has ADD and would like to find a psychiatrist in the east Bay that is good with diagnosing adult ADD and with treatment. He have HEALTHNET insurance so would love to fine a doctor that takes this, but it's not imperative.

I'm a psychotherapist myself, and have talked with quite a few people who specialize in ADD. Stan Yantis is the only psychiatrist I know with this specialty, and I don't know him well, but he seems friendly, warm, respectful, and definitely an expert in ADD. Psychiatrists are not all so personable, so I think he's a great choice. He's in SF. Cynthia

Doctor for adult ADD evaluation

Jan 2003

I would appreciate some help in finding 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 online support... 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. Jenny

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 Jeanne

I think my brother has ADD

Jan 2003

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. Diane