Medication for ADHD in Adults

Parent Q&A

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  • 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 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.

    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! 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


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!

Psychiatrist who works with adults with ADD

August 2008

Does anyone have recent experience or recommendations for a psychiatrist in the East Bay who works with adults diagnosed with ADHD? Thank you East Bay Mom

Are you looking for someone to handle medication management? My husband is happy with Dr. Donald Stanford in Berkeley. If you are looking for other kinds of support, Linda Lawton in Albany is a good ADHD coach. anonymous

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

Psychiatrist to prescribe meds for adult ADD

Jan 2007

Any suggestions for psychiatrists to prescribe meds for adult ADD? Saw a couple suggestions from the past but thought maybe there are more out there, ideally someone in Oakland. For a new resident, health plan unconfirmed, but possibly BlCr, BlSh or Healthnet. Thanks for any leads! anon

I highly recommend Dr. Michael Ratener for Adult ADHD. Many years ago I worked for Dr. Ratener, and I was so impressed by his unique combination of compassion and expertise. He's very good at listening to patients, and he has a great deal of knowledge about ADHD and other issues such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. His office is at 2914 Domingo Ave, Suite B in Berkeley. His number is 510-981-0800. Best of luck. Rona

Psychiatrist to help adult with ADD

Sept 2005

I am looking for a recommendation for a psychiatrist or other doctor who can help an adult with ADD (both through counseling and prescribing appropriate medications). Thanks. can't focus

I have been working with Dr. John R. Rostkowski in Walnut Creek and found him to be a big help, especially compared to the previous M.D. I was visiting.

I have had tremendous success with Neurotherapy as a method to reduce the effects of adult ADD. There are a few practicioners in the Bay Area: is a web site where there are listings. I can recommend Carolyn Robertson at Advanced Neurotherapy in Walnut Creek (925) 906-0420.