Adult ADHD

Parent Q&A

  • Adult ADHD

    (2 replies)

     Senior newly diagnosed with ADHD ( didn't just develop it, never diagnosed previously) seeks both coach and therapist to work with. I noticed Linda Lawton is highly recommended as a coach but for $175 for a 50 minute session is unaffordable. I would really appreciate any information from other older folks in a similar situation.


    RE: Adult ADHD ()

    Oh, sister, I feel your pain. I joined a group for adult ADHD people but of course haven't been to a meetup yet. They are on the meetup website as "Oakland/Berkeley Adult ADHD CHADD Group" and I think they meet Tuesday nights. Tough for me to go out then, with the kids and all. 

    I would love to share resources. You can reach me at amythek [at]

    I'm so tired of being like this. And the idea that I can just spend thousands out of pocket for help ... that's so frustrating. Are there that many kajillionaire adults with ADHD? Guess so. I start each day feeling crappy about this and would love to be part of an encouragement coven. 

    RE: Adult ADHD ()

    Just a thought: Maybe call Linda and see whether she thinks one session (alone) might be helpful.

    There's a big difference in cost between one session and "weekly for a year" or whatever. 

    (I don't know Linda, but I also work for a high hourly rate, and I can often give clients results in a single session.  In those cases, it's very high value for the client.  Sometimes I can then recommend a lower-cost "maintenance" course of action.  Perhaps Linda is the same?)

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  • Marriage counselor for Couple with ADHD

    (4 replies)

    We need help. My husband has ADHD, anxiety and depression. He needed to move out of the house to be able to cope. We need an exceptional marriage counselor who specializes in ADHD (he won't go see anyone else). We have seen 2 so far and neither of them were able to help us. He wants to try to make our marriage work, we both do but he needs his own therapist and we need counseling together. We know a lot about ADHD but need someone who can help us differentiate between which behaviors he can change and what we both need to live with. HIs self-esteem has suffered tremendously in the last few years and his anxiety has sky rocketed. We are definitely in crisis mode and the whole family is suffering. Please send recommendations that have worked for you. Thank you. 

    Call Cindy Blackett.  (510) 540-5409. Her office is in Berkeley and she knows a LOT about ADHD. When my partner and I went to see her we were just looking for a couples therapist but it’s because of her suggestion that my partner might have ADHD that we looked into that further and discovered that is exactly what he has and that this was the source of so many of our conflicts. Cindy was extremely helpful with just the thing you mentioned: figuring out what things we have to live with and what things can be changed.Good luck to you

    Phil Mansfield would be a very good place to start. Near Rick and Ann's, across from the Claremont. He is extremely skilled working with couples, using EMDR, which is indicated for PTSD.  He helped my husband overcome fear of heights and agoraphobia, both of which were affecting his functioning.  Then we went to him for couples work, which was extremely helpful. Best of luck to you!

    If you are a Kaiser member, they offer group classes and guidance for people with ADHD.  If you're not a member, maybe you can pay a fee to take the class, or they can recommend something outside.

    Also, explore the idea of medication with a psychiatrist. Many people are ardently anti-medication, but the situation you describe is very close to crisis, and medication can sometimes provide the extra help to get things stabilized.  Serious stress and anxiety are likely to make things much worse.   I have had years of therapy, but medication is the only thing that has provided long-term relief.

    Hi, Check out Robert Gorden in Berkeley. We've recently begun to see him and are pleased. Admittedly, he is quite busy, so it did take us a couple of months to connect and find a time available in his schedule that worked for us as well. Best of luck!

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  • Adult ADHD skills-training and/or medication management recommendations?

    (2 replies)

    Hello, everyone (first time posting here!).  My SO was diagnosed with Adult ADHD a little over a year ago.  Since that time, we've experienced various headaches regarding finding skilled counselors/therapists who can offer real help with his condition. 

    The major priority is finding someone (a therapist, counselor, coach, etc.) who can help with executive-functioning related issues (organization, prioritization, time management, motivation, emotional regulation, etc).  Or even some sort of group or class where people receive training in executive-function skills.  He'd also benefit from speaking with a doctor or psychiatrist who is knowledgeable regarding medications for ADHD treatment ...someone who has ADHD as a specialty or at least has significant experience with it.

    We have Anthem BlueCross insurance, so if anyone could offer a suggestion for a provider who's in-network, this would be immensely appreciated.  However, we'd be willing to go out-of-network for anyone who truly knows their stuff. 

    We live in the East Bay, but there's no real preference for location ...would be up for anyone in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, San Francisco ...or even the South Bay, if necessary.  Finding someone who's helpful & skilled is, ultimately, the most important factor here.  I just want to ensure he'll finally get the treatment he needs.

    Tremendous thanks ahead of time for any guidance or suggestions you're able to provide. It's truly appreciated...

    Hi! I am an adult recently diagnosed with ADD. (39 year old female).

    I would like to recommend Ellen Walters, MFT for counseling and therapy. SHE IS AMAZING. I can't stress enough how knowledgeable, kind, and helpful she is. She helped me find so many practical ideas, systems, and strategies for every day functioning. Her office is in Lafayette and she doesn't do insurance but she's worth it. She helped me with communication skills with my husband, emotional regulation, self esteem, and with practical organization and planning strategies. (My ADD is pretty severe- she literally helped me figure out how to manage and complete daily chores like take out the garbage, laundry, etc. and how to begin to be a functioning adult rather than a hot mess.) 

    And I love the Additude magazine as well. They also do a podcast that covers so many topics-it helped me learn more about the condition and is a treasure trove of information. 

    One thing I want to say is that your SO is lucky to have such a supportive partner. It's a roller coaster of emotions when you get diagnosed as an adult. It's shocking to realize you've lived for so long without help. And it can be trying to say the least to navigate the world of treatment options. Having someone I your side and simply supporting you makes all the difference in the world.

    I would start with a good therapist like her and ask for a rec from her for a doctor or psychiatrist. She specializes in ADD. One last thing-  I didn't even think ADD was real even after I got diagnosed. But Ellen really worked with me and took time to see what I really needed. She has ADD herself and she truly gets it. Good luck! 

    Hi, I don't have advice about where to go in the Bay Area, but I do know an excellent online resource that has helped our family a great deal. My 57 year old husband has ADHD (as well as our kid) and I have found Additude Magazine to be so helpful and full of resources. There is a lot on adult ADHD/ADD and the effects it has on marriage, as well as some support groups where either or both of you can vent and learn. You might find something in there.

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  • Affordable Adult ADD Testing

    (3 replies)

    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. 

    RE: Affordable Adult ADD Testing ()

    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.

    RE: Affordable Adult ADD Testing ()

    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.

    RE: Affordable Adult ADD Testing ()

    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.

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions about Adult ADD Related Pages

2010 - 2013 Recommendations

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

Communication with spouse: ADD problem?

Feb 2013

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 outings, finally!

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! also afflicted
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! Organized person

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... Good luck! Jonathan
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 talking about. 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. Anon

Support group for ADD spouse?

Dec 2012

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 for resources. CHADD is the national organization for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Local Librarian
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. attentiondeficitspouse [at]

Husband with ADD laid off, aimless

Nov 2012

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 you.

Wishing you both the best -- sounds like a tough time, but one that you can definitely get through together... Anon

Did you take ADD meds while pregnant?

Oct 2012

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 it.

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. Erica
Hi there, 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! ADD Mamma

Frequency of Psychiatrist appts for ADD meds

April 2012

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. Anon

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.... anon
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

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.

Adult ADHD Experiences

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

Treatment for Adult ADHD (non-drug preferred)

April 2011

Hello -- I am seeking ideas to help treat adult ADHD. I'd like to start with non-drug approaches. ADHD

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 symetrick [at] Good luck Lan

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

Seems clear my husband has ADD; drives me crazy

Jan 2010

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.

Thanks! 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 Dianna
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 is that:
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- stimulant meds.
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 status.

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

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

Husband diagnosed with ADD, I'm doing all the work

June 2007

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 personally or intentionally. I actuall y have a lot of compassion for him as I see ho hard he struggles. 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 and a 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? frustrated

For loads of information and support go to 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 necessary. DS
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 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 He'll be welcomed and appreciated. LL

I have pretty severe ADD but also anxiety

Jan 2007

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. Rosa
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: www.chaddnorcal. org www.help4adhd. org All support groups are free for CHADD members; a $5 donation from nonmembers is appreciated. LL

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

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. Ginger

Couples' Therapist with ADD expertise

Jan 2005

Hi, 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

    2003 & Earlier

    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)
    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 adult ADD.

    '' 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 recognized treatment.

    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

    Adult ADD evaluation

    Jan 2003

    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 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