basic information

  • you remain responsible for your behaviour – both legally and in terms of school performance, and parenting

ADHD may make some things harder but it doesn’t take away responsibility. Get a speeding ticket, and you’re still going to have to pay. Not bother to hand in assignments and a letter from your doctor isn’t going to keep you from failing or being expelled. Universities may give you extra time to write an exam, but not to complete assignments.

It is your responsibility to work around your limitations. Revenue Canada is not going to be sympathetic. The courts aren’t going to ignore you getting distracted while driving and then hurting someone.

Thing is, You may get distracted, and bored, and be prone to procrastination, but we know from the military and very strict private schools and involved parents, that you can do the work, you can be responsible a trouvé.

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  • diet, supplements, sugar, and food colourings have nothing to do with ADHD
  • caffeine plus stimulants increases risk of agitation, especially at the beginning

It may be ‘common wisdom’ that sugar makes kids hyper but there is no evidence to support ADHD being caused or made worse by junk food, sugar, food colourings etc.

There is also no evidence to support the many alternative treatments for ADHD. Biofeedback can produce a limited and narrow scope of improvement, while it’s being done, at vast expense, but shows no residual benefit after it’s stopped. To be fair, neither does medication, but at least medication is a lot cheaper.

Meditation can help but if you are restless and unfocused, it’s really hard to learn a trouvé. Better to combine medication and meditation or medication and counselling, or medication and strategies – it’s so much easier to remember and apply strategies if your ADHD is already being helped by medication.

There are chiropractors who want to manipulate your spine to fix ADHD, optometrists who claim that eye exercises and special glasses will help, and doctors who deal with addiction and think that there is no such thing as ADHD. I can only say that there is zero evidence to support these theories, but unfortunately the internet is democratic – any crackpot, any one with an agenda, anyone with a lot of knowledge in a very limited area can espouse their ideas, and looking impressive and being persuasive have little to do with the validity of the ideas.

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  • exercise is good for ADHD, even the innatentive type

There’s good evidence in kids for lots of activity helping focus during the rest of the day and I’m sure it’s still true for adults. And this seems to be not just wearing down the hyperactive but helping anyone with ADHD focus better.

ADHD gets worse when kids no longer have recess and physed programmes are no more.

Exercise helps ADHD and depression and anxiety, at all ages and not just in the hyperactive.

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  1. Any job you love – that does a lot to help you focus.
  2. A job that involves many short tasks and few prolonged tasks.
  3. a job that is unpredictable – not knowing what will come at you next keeps you alert and focused.
  4. a job that lets you move around, get outdoors, be physical, especially if you’re the hyperactive type.
  5. sales – people with ADHD often excel in sales. They get bored with the same old approach, and use their sense of humour and ‘funness’ to get and keep customers. The last thing you want in a salesman is to be boring. People with ADHD are NOT boring.
  6. Mechanical things – not sure I can explain it but often people with ADHD are good with their hands and with machinery, making great repair people, service technicians and mechanics.
  7. Teaching – who’s better to help kids perform than the person who WAS the class clown. Teachers with ADHD tend not to be boring, and can help kids by using lots of strategies to get information across, instead of the standard one only louder. Remember Not being boring – kids engage better with teachers who have ADHD, whether they have ADHD or not.
  8. Anything creative – broadcasting, video, art, design, architecture etc.
  9. Computers – programming and web designing and IT support. It seems creativity and inventiveness trump obsession for detail, and that can be learned, inventiveness not so much.
  10. medicine and law – yes, really. While obsessing with details seems like a strength for a doctor, the ability to look at the big picture and to think outside the box are huge strengths for a doctor to have. To practice effectively, they do need to establish strategies that get used and do work, and have good staff to back them up.
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  • start them off with something like the CBC Nature Of Things Episode on Adult ADHD
  • next have them at least flip through ‘Taking Charge Of Adult ADHD’ by Barkley

The book, ‘Is It You, Me Or Adult ADHD’ by Cera is entirely about this issue. It’s a book for the partner, not the patient, though patients could read short sections. The book has strategies for reaching the patient and persuading them to seek assessment and to get treatment.

Motivating someone to seek treatment is largely about what is it costing them to not treat the adhd, and to a lesser extent, how hard it is on their loved ones to put up with the symptoms. Even getting them to wander through this site might be enough to motivate. Typically pressure from the partner to get help is not well received, even when it’s well meaning.

It’s common for adults to first recognize they are adhd when they witness the assessment of their child or partner – so you sure want them to be there.

Leaving a book like ‘Taking Charge Of Adult ADHD’ in the bathroom can be a great idea. Or have them watch the CBC Nature Of Things episode on adult ADHD with you – see resources for the link.

Sometimes, people won’t be willing to do it for their partner, but they might for their kids, and they might be open to suggestion from just about anyone but their partner – so a friend or other family member could make a suggestion.

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  • if you love learning and are good at reading, school can be easy, the rest of life not so much

If you really enjoy your courses and like your profs, you may excel. I had a student who in fourth year, had a perfect 4.0 grade average. Yet, her personal life was a disaster, her apartment a pig sty, her friends frustrated with her, and she was unable to manage a relationship – quickly getting bored if the partner didn’t get frustrated first.

Doing well academically may be because somewhere you had good habits drilled into you – parents who made sure homework was done on time, school programmes that taught you how to study.

I talk elsewhere about the ways that some patients with ADHD are very organized, either naturally or to manage their adhd or because anxiety drives them to be organized.

I sometimes see teenagers who have few symptoms of ADHD but it’s because of helicopter parents, who watch them like a hawk, who stand over them as they go out the door, checking that they have the right books, and their lunch, and bus money, and the homework the parent helped them complete last night. These often turn out to be students who want to go away for university, far, far away. You can guess how well it works when the supports all disappear.

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  • boys with hyperactivity and impulsivity show symptoms around age 2 or even earlier
  • girls may not show symptoms till junior high
  • those with only inattentive symptoms may not be noticed till much later

Most often, boys develop symptoms of ADHD early in life, showing symptoms before starting school if we’re talking combined type with restlessness and impulsivity. Inattentive is usually there at this age but not picked up until much later – often in university or after. I’ve had a number of mums tell me they knew which child had adhd in utero. Some girls follow the same pattern but we also see a pattern of girls who show few ADHD symptoms till adolescence, somewhere in Junior High. We don’t know if this is hormonal or inherent differences between boys and girls or exactly what. Dr. Patricia Quin is famous for taking an interest in this area of ADHD, doing research, lecturing and writing on the subject.

Sometimes it doesn’t occur to anyone that there might be adhd until much later in life. Lots of parents were first diagnosed when their kids were going through assessments and the parents realized they had all the same symptoms. I this case, the symptoms were always there, just no one had picked up on it. In other cases, focus seems fine until a certain threshold or load is reached versuchen sie diese seite. That might be a promotion at work, or a change in job to something that is more linear, or a job that involves a lot o desk or paper work. It might be the distraction of having to be responsible for people under you while dealing with the pressures of bosses above you. It can be the birth of a child and now you have to be a parent, a partner, a bread winner and a maid. Of course, diagnosis and onset are separate issues.

Occasionally I’ll see someone with a few ADHD symptoms till, say, two years ago and now they are severe. In the absence of changes like the above, this is more likely to be depression than underlying ADHD and treating the depression is the way to go.

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  • there’s no upper age limit – it depends on goals, stresses, frustrations and effects on family

If ADHD was only about work, then I suppose possibly not, but it’s also about enjoying reading, listening to your partner, following through on intended tasks, managing money, avoiding impulsive decisions that don’t tend to work out. It’s about learning new things and exploring new opportunities. You may be retired but your’e not dead!

It’s about being less anxious, being resistant to depression, and improving quality of life, so yes, there’s definitely value in exploring possible ADHD.

There is no contraindication to treating ADHD at any age, although some health problems that are more common in people 65+ could be an issue, for example atrial fib.

Interestingly coronary artery disease is not a contraindication and while we need to be more cautious when there’s hypertension, it’s not a contraindication.

I do start treatment for people in their 70’s and the highest I’ve heard of was someone who was 97.

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  • grow out NO, cope with MAYBE

There are lots of adults for whom ADHD isn’t a problem, but it’s debatable whether they truly grew out of it. More likely is a combination of coping strategies, the right job, and the right partner. Sometimes coping with ADHD as an adult is very successful but comes at a high price in terms of anxiety and treatment can be very helpful.

When young adults who had adhd as children are surveyed, some 20% think they still have adhd. When their parents and partners are surveyed, they think that 80% of the patients still have ADHD – quite the discrepancy.

Care to bet on which group is right?

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  • it’s all ADHD

What we now call Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has had many names over the years, and ADD happens to be about the easiest to say, so even though it’s out of date, we still use the term for convenience.

Officially it’s all ADHD and it can be inattentive type or combined type, the latter including restlessness and impulsivity. Some refer to a third type in which there isn’t inattentiveness.

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