The Top 5 Most Common Learning Disabilities & Their Symptoms

Kick the Keyboard: Other Ways to Get Text Onto Your Screen

Our writer tests six alternative input methods for users who find it difficult to type on a keyboard.
pen scribbling cursive in a search bar
Emily Waite

A wise man once said, “Words are trains / for moving past what really has no name.” Many of us spend our days working on these railroads, hammering away on keyboards mechanical and otherwise. But do you have to? Not really; a number of products promise to free you from the tyranny of the keyboard, allowing you to lay words down by speaking, writing with a pen, or using gestures.

Some of us, me included, find keyboards frustrating as we get older. Fingers get clumsier, wrists get achier, and the general decrepitude of the human frame of advancing years makes typing more difficult. Combine these issues with the persistent maladies that we humans are prone to and the keyboard can become a source of pain, not pleasure.

To reclaim the lost pleasure of identifying things thundering down the tracks around me, I spent over 20 hours testing a variety of different input methods that switch the tracks from the conven­tional keyboard. I tested the voice-recognition system Dragon Home 15, the pen input of the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, the Livescribe Aegir smart pen, the Wacom Bamboo Folio smartpad holder, and the hand-mounted Tap.

So, do any of these products really replace the keyboard for me? No. Each comes with benefits that make some things easier and more comfortable, but make other tasks more difficult. The dictation software I used was surprisingly effective, but talking to myself all day made me feel like a lunatic. I tested a desktop tablet that lets you write longhand on an E Ink screen, converting your scribbles into text on the computer screen. It had a huge amount of neo-Luddite, focused writing charm, but the handwriting-to-text conversion isn’t perfect. I used two devices that employ “smart pens” and found them great for scribblers and note–takers, but both were quite dependent on good penmanship: If you have a scrawly, illegible hand, they won’t be able to translate your spider scribbles into text.

While none of these products could completely replace my keyboard, they did provide interesting alternatives, and a change can be as good as a rest. Using speech recognition to dictate a paragraph, for instance, gave my aching wrists some time to recover. Switching to one of the pen-based tablets provided a much more focused way to write without interruptions, and importing work into the computer afterwards was pretty easy. We may still be tied to our computers, but these products provide alternative ways to enter text that can help spark the creativity that we crave. And, for those of us who try to ride the train called language for a living, that’s a useful platform to stand on.

Dragon Home 15

We learn to speak long before we learn to write, so what could be easier than talking to your computer? That’s the idea behind Dragon Home 15, the latest version of the veteran voice-recognition software. The $150 program integrates with your computer to listen to your voice, captured through a Bluetooth headset or wired microphone, and convert that into text. I tested it with a Logitech H800 headset, but Dragon itself sells a number of recommended headsets.

Much like ourselves as small children, Dragon Home needs some work to get going with language. Although the product was pretty accurate out of the box, it seemed to struggle on some words: permit was variously interpreted as make it, connect and other words that don’t sound that similar to me, especially when the word was spoken on its own as an attempt to edit existing text, which is a rather clumsy process. That might be more to do with my increasingly mid-Atlantic accent, though. There was also a noticeable pause between speaking and text appearing on screen, a gap that sometimes broke my train of thought. Buy it for $150.

Many modern laptops come with a built-in alternative to the keyboard. Add the $70 Microsoft Surface Pen to the $899 Surface Pro 6 laptop running a Windows Ink–enabled program like Microsoft OneNote, and you get a new way to input text: scribbling on the screen. Think of it as a piece of digital paper that you can scrawl on. When you are done, you can convert your handwriting to cut-and-pasteable text by selecting it and choosing Ink to Text in the menu.

While the handwriting-to-text part of this process worked well, the writing part just didn’t feel right. The screen of the Surface Pro 6 is smooth and glossy, so the pen tip tended to skid and slip around on it, making me feel like a beginner on the ice rink, flailing around rather than making graceful turns and twists. I also found that the screen sometimes mistook my hand leaning on the screen for a finger touch, which set the screen scrolling, rather breaking the illusion of it being a piece of digital paper. So, it worked for note-taking, but it didn’t work for longer pieces. Buy it for $899.

Livescribe Aegir
Livescribe Aegir pen

The Aegir is the latest incarnation of the Livescribe smartpen, which uses a tiny camera to detect an invisible-to-the-eye dot pattern on special paper. It then uses those dots to figure out what you’re writing and digitally record the results. It’s the first Livescribe pen that looks more like a pen than a computer, with the shape and weight of a high-end ballpoint. You shouldn’t chew on the end of this one though: The pen costs $100 and has a micro USB port on one end for charging.

The Achilles heel of the Aegir is that it only works with the special paper from Livescribe. Use the pen on normal paper and it won’t record anything. The paper is available in several sizes from sticky notes to 8.5- by 11-inch notepads. I like the hardcover notepads, which are a good size and weight for coffee shop scribbles or inconspicuous meeting note-taking. Like a Moleskine notebook, they have a tough cover that can stand up to being carried around and shoved in a bag. It is possible to print your own paper, but then the dot patterns are more visible, making it difficult to use. The preprinted pads are the best option.

Once you have finished your scribbling, you import your handwriting into the Livescribe+ app, which is available for iOS and Android (Windows and Mac versions are coming soon). The pen syncs with the app automatically via Bluetooth when in range. In the app, you double-tap on the handwritten text, and it converts it into cut-and-pasteable text. The accuracy here depends on your handwriting: My scrawly lines befuddled the system somewhat until I slowed down and used separate letters. Even then, it seemed less accurate than the other products I tested that rely on text recognition. Buy it for $96.

Wacom Bamboo Folio
Wacom Bamboo

Who’s the smartest folio case in town? The Wacom Bamboo Folio, that’s who. It’s a folderlike case that holds a letter-size paper pad, but with smarts built in. When you use the included pen, an array of electronics built into the Folio sense the movement and pressure of the pen and capture what you write. When you get home and fire up the Inkspace Plus software, it syncs your doodles and notes over Bluetooth to your smartphone or laptop. The Inkspace app can then convert the handwriting into text with a tap.

The Folio can use pretty much any paper you want, either single sheets or a notepad. Two sizes of the Folio are available that hold A4 or A5 notepads, and the smarts of the Bamboo can hold up to about 100 pages. One thing to note: You have to remember to turn the Folio on before you start writing, and to press the button when you start a new sheet, as the device doesn’t automatically turn on when you open it and can’t detect when you turn to a fresh page. The system only works with the included pen: Scribbles with other pens won’t be captured. The pen is pretty good, writing like a decent ballpoint. It doesn’t need batteries, as the Folio powers the pen wirelessly and itself has a built-in rechargeable battery.

I found that it worked pretty well: My scribbles were faithfully captured and synced over to the software, and the handwriting-to-text conversion was fairly accurate. You can only convert an entire page at a time, though, which means it will try to convert everything on the page, handwriting or not. Although it is more designed for doodlers and sketch artists, it works well for writers who want to do a first draft on paper without having to retype everything, as long as you have fairly tidy handwriting. Buy it for $130.

Remarkable Tablet

If a tablet had a brief but torrid fling with a Kindle and was left with the consequences a few months later, the result might look a bit like the Remarkable Tablet. The usual LCD screen has been replaced with an E Ink screen. With the included pen, you can write on it like it’s a piece of paper. It even feels like paper: The surface of the tablet is textured, so you get the raspy sensation and sound of pen on paper. It feels remarkably authentic and comfortable to those, like me, who were raised on analog paper.

A recent update to the Remarkable Tablet’s software (a custom version of Linux OS) added the ability to convert handwriting to text on the device itself: Tap on the Text icon at the top of the screen and it converts your scrawl to text.

That’s the theory, at least. It only works if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, as the system uses a conversion service running in the cloud to do the heavy lifting. I found that it did a decent job, but like the Bamboo Folio, it converts entire pages and sometimes confuses drawn diagrams for text. Like the other pen-based devices, it also works best if you write tidily and cleanly; messy notes and joined-up writing confuse it. Buy it for $650.

Tap sensor on hand
Tap Systems

The Tap resembles a prop from an early ’90s cyberpunk movie. It’s a strange-looking device, resembling something like a high-tech knuckleduster that fits onto the hand, with a sensor on each finger and a Bluetooth connection to your phone or laptop. By tapping fingers in certain combinations, you can enter text, letter by letter. Tap the thumb and you get an A. The index finger gives you an E. Tap both thumb and index and you get an N. Tap the index finger twice and you get an exclamation point. Tap all of your fingers together and you get a space.

It takes some practice, but it is a surprisingly effective way to enter text once you become familiar with it. That’s made easier by the Tap Academy app, which trains you in the various combinations in stages. A number of simple games also help you practice. I didn’t find that the tap was any faster than using the keyboard; it was significantly slower, even with practice. But it can be more convenient, as you can use it on any surface. I used it while sitting on the bus, tapping text out on my knee to curious looks from my fellow passengers. It can also work as a pointing device: An optical sensor on the thumb emulates a mouse. Buy it for $120.

How Technology Can Help You Cope With ADHD

Tech is usually the villain in stories about ADHD, but for many, it can be a lifeline, not an anchor.
Child shape looking a tablet in a futuristic yellow virtual environment
Photograph: Aitor Diago/Getty Images

Like much of what ails us, ADHD is often misunderstood. The symptoms exist on a spectrum, and in some people—both children and adults—ADHD means you can’t sit still or struggle in school or at work. For others, it looks like losing keys and wallets, making impulsive decisions, and chronic distraction.

ADHD can be some of those things, but a person can also have ADHD and not display the typical symptoms. If managed well, and with help from a doctor, ADHD can present as the opposite of what most people think it is. Some people mistakenly believe that ADHD is a side effect of modern life and the rapid increase in handheld devices, but technology has gotten a bad (and factually incorrect) reputation as a cause of ADHD.

If you think you may have ADHD, contact your doctor, or seek one out that specializes in ADHD-related care, don’t try to self-diagnose using the internet. Dale Archer, medical doctor, board-certified psychiatrist, and author of two books on ADHD, says, “ADHD is a combination of genetics and brain chemistry, and you’re either born with it or not.”

Do More People Have ADHD Now Than Ever Before?

ADHD was first defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1968, but since then they’ve made “subtle but important changes” to the way they define ADHD, leading to both clarity about the disorder and an increase in diagnoses. In short, the reason more adults are discovering they have ADHD isn’t that they suddenly develop it but because of an increase in information and diagnostic tools over the past 30 years.

The way ADHD is diagnosed has evolved, but treating it with stimulants—and mental stimulation—dates back to 1936. The reason that stimulants and mental stimulation work to treat ADHD symptoms is by increasing dopamine, which people with ADHD need more of to do things like get into gear and “decide a goal is worth the effort.”

Have Fun: It Gets Us Excited

OK, to-do lists might not be the most fun, but it’s the first thing NBC correspondent Gadi Schwartz does in the morning. Making to-do lists might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but their gamification qualities—such as structure, competition, and a defined amount of time to finish—help some ADHDers stay on task and reach their goals.

Schwartz is open about his ADHD, and through self-discovery he’s found practices for living and thriving with it. For example, Schwartz loves video games, and because they’re fun for him, they result in an increase in dopamine. Schwartz doesn’t do this every day, but he sometimes uses gaming to help him get focused when he has a big task ahead. However, he doesn’t just play a game as long as he likes and hope for the best; there’s a specific strategy he uses so that the game works for and not against him.

Schwartz plays one of two games—Offworld Trading Company or Starcraft—both of which require multitasking and sequencing. He sets the difficulty to Hard and a timer for 7 to 8 minutes. Schwartz knows he’s unlikely to last the full time because he starts at a hard level, and gaming in this specific way sets him up for a successful, focused day. “It might sound funny that I start my most intense days with a 7-minute video game,” Schwartz says. “But it works for me.”

Embrace Routines, Offload Annoyances

Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur and bestselling author of several books, including Faster Than Normal, which is about harnessing the energy and power of the ADHD brain. In addition, Shankman has a podcast—also called Faster Than Normal—where he interviews people who consider their ADHD an asset and pillar of their success.

Shankman’s offerings are far from a support group bemoaning the struggles of living with ADHD. Instead, they’re a collection of inspiring ADHDers who have “learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives,” according to the podcast description on iTunes. Guests include the likes of Raven Baxter, aka Raven the Science Maven; Seth Godin; and Tony Robbins.

Before the pandemic, Shankman had a windowless office where he worked without distraction, but now he juggles homeschooling his 7-year-old daughter and working from his Manhattan living room. Shankman, like Schwartz, doesn’t take medication for his ADHD but has figured out what works to raise his dopamine levels in the morning and get off to the best start.

Shankman wakes up before dawn, but thanks to programmable smart bulbs, he wakes up to simulated daylight. But that’s just the beginning. Shankman also sleeps in bike shorts and socks and keeps his shoes attached to his Peloton pedals.

Within 30 seconds, he’s on the bike for his first dopamine rush of the day. “Five minutes later, you can’t get me off the bike,” Shankman says. “I’m not a doctor, but I understand the basics of ADHD and I know what ADHD does both to and for me.”

What Shankman means—and what most people who thrive with ADHD understand—is that ADHD isn’t a diagnosis to be feared, but rather a gift to embrace. Knowing what works for us is how we create a structure—and use the tools available to us—that enable us to live our best lives.

Use Gaming (No, Really!)

Jeff Ditzell is a Manhattan psychiatrist specializing in treating mood and anxiety disorders, including ADHD. “Our attention is often hijacked from us,” Ditzell said on his podcast, Psychs in The City. “But we also do a pretty good job giving it away.” Ditzell suggests we focus on what we can control as a way to manage symptoms and create lives that work with us and not against us.

People with ADHD often procrastinate but then find that they are increasingly clear-headed and efficient the closer they get to their deadline. “Manufacturing deadlines and creating an 11th-hour strategy is effective,” Ditzell says. “And it addresses the part of the ADHD brain that craves novelty.”

As far as using gaming to help with ADHD symptoms, that’s not a strategy that will work for everyone, Ditzell warns, as it requires both self-control and the desire to move onto the next task. Gaming works for Schwartz, whose fast-paced, interesting, never-the-same career as a journalist is stimulating, and also because he’s figured out how many minutes to play the game before shifting into work mode.

Ditzell says that any process can be made into a game, but the most important component is to create a work situation that we love. “If we imbue our lives with meaning,” he says, “we naturally extract energy from that.”

Technology Works

Technology helps ADHDers by providing brain stimulation, but technology can also help the brain slow down through meditation practices and apps such as Calm, Headspace, and Open, which includes movement with mindfulness. Do we need technology to meditate? Absolutely not. But can it help achieve results? Absolutely.

Kristen Willeumier, a neuroscientist and author of Biohack Your Brain, understands the science behind ramping up adrenaline and dopamine rushes, and referenced the beginning of a ballgame when the music is pumping, the lights are bright, and the intention—for both the crowd and the players—is to get pumped. On a smaller scale, individuals do this by creating playlists so that when they hear a certain song, it signals to their mind and body that it’s go-time. But what about when we need to slow down?

“The first thing to do with ADHD is to take what’s in your mind and get it out,” Willeumier says, “So the apps for to-do lists, productivity, anti-distraction, and meditation are all very helpful, but I like to work with the brain-wave states.”

Neuroimaging shows that meditation increases focus and attention not only for ADHDers but for everyone. However, meditation is often easier said than done, and besides—how do we know if we’re really meditating or just making mental grocery lists or snoozing?

With her patients, Willeumier uses devices like the Muse mediation sensor, which looks like a simple headband but is sort of an at-home version of an EEG. “A lot of people don’t know how to meditate and it’s hard to know when you’ve reached the meditative state,” Willeumier says. “But the Muse headband assesses your brain wave activity and teaches you what it feels like to get into that meditative state and hold it for 15 to 30 minutes, which is what helps with sustained attention.”

For those who want a more tech-heavy option, but don’t want to go for the full EEG, there’s another option called the David Delight Pro. “The David Delight uses light and sound to help modulate brainwave activity,” Willeumier explains. “It can help with focus, attention, and sleep—it’s more of an all-in-one technology.”

From basic to-do lists and productivity apps to the Muse headband and David Delight, there’s a wide range of technology to help ADHDers. For anyone struggling to manage their ADHD, it’s helpful to know what’s worked for others, though the most important thing is to take time to explore the strategies that work best for each individual.

When chatting with Schwartz about his use of gaming and gamification techniques, I told him, “Sometimes I just want to do something different with my brain, and I wouldn’t know what to do with a joystick in my hand, but I often play word puzzles apps on my phone.”

Schwartz responded with a laugh, “That is a total video game—you’re doing the exact same thing!”

The Strengths of People With ADHD

Source: The Strengths of People With ADHD

Young women hanging out at the beach, at sunset
Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

If you or your child are living with ADHD, you’ve probably heard more than enough about your weaknesses, challenges, and issues. The good news, though, is that ADHD — when channeled in the right direction — can be a huge asset. In fact, some speculate that ​entertainers Justin Timberlake and Robin Williams, athletes Terry Bradshaw and Pete Rose, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, physicist Albert Einstein and composer Wolfgang Mozart might all have been “gifted” with ADHD.

If you have ADHD, you are in great company! Different can be good. Why not turn those problems into strengths?


Many people with ADHD are extremely creative and imaginative. They are often graced with tremendous originality and expressiveness. Their fresh, inventive imagination is a powerful tool! Exercise your creative energy through acting, singing, playing an instrument, building, painting, or otherwise exploring your inner artist or engineer. If you have a child with ADHD, consider supporting her creative interests by providing the tools and support she needs to discover her own talents.


What about the risk-taking that sometimes comes along with ADHD? Some of the most prominent people in business moved up in the business world because of their willingness to take risks. The same is true of people who have achieved great physical goals such as climbing mountain peaks, crossing oceans, and earning fame as extreme athletes.

Looking at the Big Picture

People with ADHD are often criticized for missing details and losing focus, yet they are often magnificent at looking at the whole picture. They are often very perceptive and can look at all sides to a situation, rather than keeping a narrow, one-sided view. They are drawn to abstract ideas. All these abilities are perfect for a leader who must provide a vision without micromanaging his team.

Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking outside the box is a common thread among people with ADHD. They are nonconformists and they can generate powerfully imaginative ideas because they do think outside the boundaries that impede others. While this can be a problem in school, it can become a true asset in many different fields of work.

Comfortable With Change and Chaos

Individuals with ADHD sometimes live with chaos and confusion! Yet with specific coping strategies, they adapt well. They are often able to thrive under pressure. Many careers require just those types of skills — including emergency medical personnel and firefighters.

Lots of Energy

Being “on the go” can be good. People with ADHD may have lots of energy. They are gung ho and ready for action. They often have outgoing, spontaneous, passionate personalities. Imagine what an asset that is for someone who heads up an organization, entertains, raises funds, or runs for office!

Our perceptions can have a powerful effect on people. Turning these often debilitating symptoms around and seeing them in a positive light can be helpful. It provides us with more insight into how we may best teach to these strengths, how we can value and embrace these differences.

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How to ADHD!


Welcome to How to ADHD!

Welcome to How to ADHD!


What’s HowToADHD?

Have ADHD? Know someone with ADHD? Want to learn more? You’re in the right place! We post videos with tips, tricks and insights into the ADHD brain. This channel is my ADHD toolbox — a place to keep all the strategies I’ve learned about having and living with ADHD.  It’s also grown into an amazing community of brains (and hearts!) who support and help each other. Anyone looking to learn more about ADHD is welcome here!


Here at HowToADHD we aim to provide a safe, respectful, and welcoming community that help each other out. Whether you are a Brain, a Heart, or simply someone curious about ADHD, don’t worry! Everyone is welcome!


Don’t know where to start? Try here!


Some things about ADHD:

ADHD is a common neuro-developmental disorder that is incurable, but highly treatable. ADHD is also one of the most researched mental disorders, and has many available treatments, such as stimulant and non-stimulant medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, ADHD coaching and strategies such as mindfulness meditation and exercise.

It’s also important to remember that ADHD isn’t the same for everyone! There are 3 different presentations (primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive-impulsive, and a combination of both). ADHD is also on a spectrum  — it ranges from mild to severe — and it is often accompanied by other conditions like anxiety or depression and learning disabilities like dyslexia. Therefore, what works for one ADHDer may not be right for others, but most ADHD brains benefit from a combination of treatment strategies. Medication is not a cure all answer!

Most importantly: Jessica is not a medical professional, nor does she claim to be one.

ADHD can only be diagnosed by a medical professional!


Have a question? Try checking out our FAQ!

Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation

The Gaslighting Risk: Why Adults with ADHD Are Particularly Vulnerable to Manipulation


What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological or emotional abuse — a series of manipulative techniques designed to gain control of another person. By blatantly and repeatedly lying or challenging reality, the gaslighters keep their victims off-kilter and make them question themselves. Many times, a person’s diagnosis of ADHD is used against him or her by the gaslighter. I have been a therapist for 20 years, and lately I have seen more and more clients with ADHD reporting being gaslighted in their relationships and at their jobs.

One of the best defenses against gaslighting is to educate yourself about this kind of emotional abuse. Adults with ADHD may be more vulnerable to gaslighting due to issues with self-esteem, difficulty with past relationships, and feelings of guilt and shame. Know that there is hope, and you can rebuild your life after living with gaslighting for months or even years.

Gaslighting Behaviors

Gaslighters sometimes hide their partners’ belongings and blame their partners for being “irresponsible,” “lazy,” or “so ADHD” when they can’t find the items. A gaslighter may also tell their partner that they don’t need to take medication for ADHD because “I know what you need better than some doctor does.”

Gaslighting behaviors include:

  • Telling you that you didn’t see or hear something
  • Cheating often, but obsessively accusing you of cheating
  • Saying that other people think you are crazy
  • Pitting you against people (this is known as “triangulating”)
  • Idealizing you, then devaluing you, and finally discarding the relationship

[Take This Self-Test: Emotional Hyperarousal in Adults]

Why and How Gaslighters Target People with ADHD

Gaslighters sense vulnerabilities in a person. They specifically target people who are grieving a loss or who feel inadequate or isolated. If you have ADHD, you probably grew up with the feeling that you were “less than.” You may have had difficulties maintaining friendships or relationships. You may have been dismissed by others who said you were “difficult.”

When you meet a gaslighter for the first time, he or she will do something called “love bombing.” They will tell you everything you have wanted to hear from someone, especially after a lifetime of rejection. The purpose of the behavior is to hook you. Once you are committed to the relationship, the gaslighter begins abusive behavior.

Early on, the gaslighter asks you about your fears and inadequacies. It feels good to have someone listening to you and caring about what you have to say. However, the gaslighter is gathering data to be used as ammunition against you later. You may eventually hear, “No wonder your sister doesn’t talk to you anymore. She knows you’re crazy, too.”

[Download This: 6 Ways ADHD Sabotages Relationships]

If you leave the relationship, the gaslighter will “hoover” — drawing you back. They will send messages through friends and family that they miss you. They will promise you the world, but will never apologize. They don’t think they did anything wrong. The threat of losing their ability to manipulate you motivates a gaslighter to get you back in their clutches. But once you return, everything promised to you disappears, and your relationship becomes more abusive than before.

How to Escape Gaslighting In a Relationship

For most people, leaving a gaslighting relationship means “no contact — at all.” Block phone numbers and email addresses. Tell friends and family that you will not listen to any messages sent through them. You should also meet with a licensed mental health professional; having ADHD makes you vulnerable to anxiety and mood disorders. Set up and follow through with an ADHD treatment plan, and re-establish connections with the healthy people in your life. If you have children with a gaslighter, meet with an attorney to establish a detailed parenting plan.

Gaslighting at the Workplace

Sometimes bosses and coworkers take advantage of the fact that someone has ADHD. They will accuse you of being forgetful or not caring about your work.

Ask your boss or coworker to send you an email with instructions or details of an assignment. If you complete the assignment and are told later that you didn’t do what was asked, refer to that email, instead of blaming yourself. Also, get to know the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition of workplace harassment, found at

[Subscribe to the ADDitude Newsletter for Women with ADHD]

Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., the author of Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People, is a licensed and board-certified mental health counselor, and a Florida Supreme Court-certified family and civil mediator based in Tampa. She is a best-selling author, the host of the Talking Brains podcast, and is a contributor to Psychology Today, Forbes, and HuffPost. You can reach Stephanie at

Updated on January 29, 2020

What Adult ADHD Looks Like | Psychology Today

Source: What Adult ADHD Looks Like | Psychology Today

Adult ADHD is more common than you might you think.

Posted Mar 19, 2019

Source: kmac

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a well-known affliction that is characterized by difficulties in impulse control, hyperactivity, and a reduced ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. While it is typically considered to be an issue afflicting children and young adults, a growing body of research has revealed that ADHD does not disappear when one reaches adulthood. It is now estimated that symptoms persist into adulthood for as many as 60 percent of those who are diagnosed with the disorder during childhood.

Unfortunately, because it is so commonly believed that ADHD is something that one simply grows out of, many adults do not seek treatment for the disorder.

The Causes of ADHD 

Genetic factors play a significant role in ADHD. Writing in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, a team of researchers found that, “If one person in a family is diagnosed with ADHD there is a 25%–35% probability that another family member also has ADHD, compared to a 4%–6% probability for someone in the general population.” They also claim that approximately half of parents who had the disorder have a child with ADHD.

Beyond genetics, some other factors the team cited include childhood exposure to high levels of lead, infant hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (when newborns do not receive enough oxygen to their brains), and prenatal exposure to nicotine. Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries have also been shown to exhibit symptoms associated with ADHD, though the National Institute of Health notes that this is not a common cause of ADHD.

Finally, and perhaps more controversially, some have suggested that the increased frequency of ADHD diagnoses in more developed countries may be linked to changes in diet, particularly with regards to the increased consumption of refined sugars. While it is advised that children and adults avoid processed foods and refined sugars for optimal health, it is too soon to say that there is a clear causal link between excessive sucrose consumption and ADHD. More studies are needed.

ADHD and Brain Chemistry 

Imagine trying to read an in-depth news article while on a crowded subway train filled with conversation, music, the occasional panhandler, and frequent announcements about upcoming stops and other issues deemed important by the train’s conductor. Now imagine trying to read the same article in a quiet study without any of the din found on the train. Obviously, it is far more difficult to focus in the former scenario than in the latter.

Unfortunately for those with ADHD, even relatively quiet settings can end up feeling like that crowded train. They feel inundated by external stimuli, thereby making it difficult to filter out the background noise and to concentrate on singular tasks.

While the neurophysiological causes of ADHD are not fully understood, most researchers believe that there are key differences in the brain chemistry of people who have ADHD and the brains of people who do not. These researchers contend that people with ADHD have imbalances in the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters interact to regulate attention.


Dopamine is commonly associated with pleasure and reward, as it activates the so-called reward pathway of the brain. People with ADHD do not efficiently process dopamine, which means they must seek out more activities that activate the reward pathway. According to a 2008 paper published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, “People with ADHD have at least one defective gene, the DRD2 gene that makes it difficult for neurons to respond to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that is involved in feelings of pleasure and the regulation of attention.”


Patients suffering from ADHD do not efficiently make use of the neurotransmitter and stress hormone norepinephrine. When an individual feels endangered, a flood of norepinephrine is released to increase alertness and to enhance our sense of fight or flight. At more normal levels it is linked to memory and allows us to maintain interest on a given task.

Dopamine and norepinephrine impact four distinct parts of the brain:

  • The frontal cortex, which gives us the ability to plan and organize while focusing on and identifying internal and external stimuli;
  • The limbic system, which regulates our emotions;
  • The basal ganglia, which regulates communication between different parts of the brain;
  • The reticular activating system, which can be characterized as the gateway to our consciousness. It is the part of the brain that allows us to determine what to focus on and what to tune out as white noise.

Other Theories 

However, not all researchers agree that ADHD is caused by irregularities in the processing of these neurotransmitters. An intriguing study by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom found that ADHD may be caused by “structural differences in the brain’s gray matter.” After providing both healthy volunteers and patients with ADHD medication that is known to increase dopamine levels, they found that the drug improved both groups’ ability to concentrate. This would suggest that there is no underlying problem with the neural pathways responsible for processing dopamine.

Professor Trevor Robbins, one of the study’s co-authors said, “These findings question the previously accepted view that major abnormalities in dopamine function are the main cause of ADHD in adult patients.”

Regardless of which theory proves correct, one should not conceive of ADHD as a weakness or a character flaw. One should treat it as one would treat any other disorder.

What Adult ADHD Looks Like 

For those whose ADHD persists into adulthood, the imbalances of norepinephrine and dopamine continue, as well. However, the symptoms of ADHD tend to manifest themselves in adults in a way that is slightly different than how they manifest in children. While children who have ADHD are known to be easily distracted and to have problems following rules at home or at school (which can lead to underachievement and underutilized potential), the symptoms of ADHD in adults are subtler, though they can be just as pernicious.

In most instances, ADHD that persists from childhood and remains present in adulthood is less about hyperactivity and more about restlessness, impulsive behavior, and the inability to plan or manage things like time, finances, and even emotions. These symptoms can make sedentary activities difficult and can also have a negative impact on relationships with coworkers, friends, and loved ones. More extreme symptoms can lead to the fraying of these relationships, financial difficulties, and employment problems. An increase in these stressors can trigger more troubling disorders like anxiety and depression.

For those who have a difficult time concentrating and feel as though it is not simply a passing phase, it is possible that you may still have ADHD (provided you were diagnosed with the disorder while in childhood) or you may have a mild form of the disorder that did not meet the threshold of DSM-V when you were first evaluated. (There is also the distinct possibility that there may be a late-onset disorder that shares the symptoms of ADHD, but it has yet to be given a name.)

Then again, not every person who has difficulty concentrating has ADHD. The good news is that through an evaluation, medical professionals can determine whether or not you have adult ADHD. They can also provide highly effective medications that can help individuals manage these symptoms.

However, it is imperative that one does not self-diagnose. It is even more dangerous for patients to self-medicate with the kinds of drugs that are often prescribed to patients with ADHD. These stimulants improve symptoms in those with valid cognitive problems, but they do pose potential risks for abuse and can produce secondary side effects. Even if misuse has become a common phenomenon, particularly among young adults who are in college or pursuing a post-graduate degree, these medications should not be taken by individuals who have not been prescribed them or taken in dosages higher than what is recommended by a medical professional.

It is vital that one consult a physician for an evaluation to determine the best course of action.

ADD & Coaching: You Don’t Have To Go It Alone 

Source: ADD & Coaching: You Don’t Have To Go It Alone (Video Download) | TotallyADD Shop | ADHD videos books products

Rick Greene:

Why waste precious time struggling alone? If you have questions, concerns about cost, or simply never thought an ADD Coach could be valuable, this video will show you the magic of having a partner who gets ADD and can help you get—and stay—on track.

Why coaching? Because ADD causes problems with what’s called Executive Function, which makes things like planning, organizing, prioritizing, tracking progress, finishing and managing time super challenging. ADD Coaches? They’re specifically trained to help you with Executive Function. It’s like getting a second brain custom designed to help you flourish!

  • Get answers to questions about the how and why of finding a coach and working with them.
  • Understand the crucial differences between coaching and doctors, therapists and support groups.
  • Learn how the right coach can help you generate the results you want by overcoming the hidden saboteurs that can plague your progress.

Impatient with the progress you’re making (or not making) on your own? It’s time to consider an ADD Coach.

On a personal note, after years of giving my best effort and falling short, I took the plunge and tried coaching. It’s been transformative! –Rick Green


“This informative video finally demystifies coaching and explains it in a way that reaches those who need it. Rick’s use of humor, practical information and experts in the coaching community all come together to provide what has been missing for so long.” – Robert Tudisco, Attorney, Nonprofit Consultant & Motivational Speaker.

“Thanks to Totally ADD for creating the first comprehensive ADHD coaching video with the most concise, effective overview of what ADHD coaching is, the process, the skills, and the benefits of having a well trained ADHD Coach. This highly entertaining video  will automatically engage your interest right from the start.” – David Giwerc, Founder and President of ADD Coach Academy, Master Certified ADHD Coach (MCAC)

“I never wanted to have a coach—I couldn’t possibly fit it into my already overloaded schedule. A year later, I cannot wait for our sessions. Her ability has made what I do fun again.” – Rick Green

“Finally!  A video that explains in a fun way exactly what ADHD coaching is and how a well-trained ADHD coach could help someone impacted by ADHD.” – Barbara Luther, MCAC, President, Professional Association of ADHD Coaches. Director of Training, ADD Coach Academy

“How much does it cost to get help for your ADHD? Question is, how much is it costing you NOT to get help?  If you are sceptical of other treatments, or if therapy hasn’t helped, this is a video you can’t afford not to watch!” – Jeff Copper, ADHD and Attention Coach.

“This video presents good information about ADHD Coaching while sprinkling light-hearted humor throughout. Rick Green is very entertaining!” – Robin Roman Wright, BCC, Career & ADHD Coach.

“Had enough of the chaos? So has ‘Bill Smith’. He has decided to get an ADHD coach but has no idea what that entails. Bill looks for help with his unorganized mess – an ADHD coach.

Watch this video to get a comprehensive answer to the question, “What is ADHD coaching?” and avoid hours of procrastination and endless researching.” – Mindy Schwartz Katz, MS. Your Life – Plan B, ADHD & Life Coach

“If coaching makes a difference in managing ADHD, does that mean you need to hire someone with a clipboard and a whistle to tell you to try harder?  Not so much. Watch this terrific video and let the wisdom of Rick Green and his guests explain what ADHD Coaching really IS, and how it can help.” – Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, PCC. Parenting Coach and co-Founder, ImpactADHD.

“If you want to know what ADHD Coaching is, this is the video to watch!” – Laurie Dupar PMHNP, RN, PCC. Nurse Practitioner and ADHD Specialist.

ADHD in girls often misdiagnosed, leading to mental health issues in adulthood –  CBC Radio

While ADHD has long been portrayed as a disorder afflicting hyperactive boys who have trouble sitting still, doctors are learning more about the way it manifests in females — and why so many girls and women with the disorder go undiagnosed.

Source: ADHD in girls often misdiagnosed, leading to mental health issues in adulthood – Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio

Girls with the disorder ADHD often present the condition differently than in boys and leads missing a diagnosis.

Girls with the disorder ADHD often present the condition differently than in boys and leads missing a diagnosis. (amenclinicsphotos/Flickr cc)

Listen 22:54

“Almost every year in the [report card] comments, regardless of the subject, it would say Anna needs to focus more, she has trouble paying attention.” – Anna, 17-year-old high school student in Toronto with ADHD 

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than girls.

But increasingly doctors and researchers who study the condition believe those numbers can mean girls are being underdiagnosed with ADHD or misdiagnosed altogether. That’s because ADHD can look very different in girls than it does in boys.

And mental health experts say misdiagnosing or missing ADHD in girls can lead to mental health issues in adulthood.

Guests in this segment:

  • Dr. Doron Almagor, child and adolescent psychiatrist and chair of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.
  • Katherine Ellison, diagnosed with ADHD when she was 48. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has authored three books on ADHD.

Do you know a girl or woman who has struggled with misdiagnosed ADHD? 

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Leave a comment on this story on ourFacebook page. Or email us.

This segment was produced by The Current’s Catherine Kalbfleisch and Willow Smith.

If Your Friends Ever Say They Have ADHD, Just Show Them This.

If Your Friends Ever Say They Have ADHD, Just Show Them This..

ADHD is about having broken filters on your perception.  Like the writing below!!
Normal people have a sort of mental secretary that takes the 99% of irrelevant crap that crosses their mind, and simply deletes it before they become consciously aware of it. As such, their mental workspace is like a huge clean whiteboard, ready to hold and organize useful information.
ADHD people… have no such luxury. Every single thing that comes in the front door gets written directly on the whiteboard in bold, underlined red letters, no matter what it is, and no matter what has to be erased in order for it to fit.

As such, if we’re in the middle of some particularly important mental task, and our eye should happen to light upon… a doorknob, for instance, it’s like someone burst into the room, clad in pink feathers and heralded by trumpets, screaming HEY LOOK EVERYONE, IT’S A DOORKNOB! LOOK AT IT! LOOK! IT OPENS THE DOOR IF YOU TURN IT! ISN’T THAT NEAT? I WONDER HOW THAT ACTUALLY WORKS DO YOU SUPPOSE THERE’S A CAM OR WHAT? MAYBE ITS SOME KIND OF SPRING WINCH AFFAIR ALTHOUGH THAT SEEMS KIND OF UNWORKABLE.

It’s like living in a soft rain of post-it notes.

This happens every single waking moment, and we have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was we were thinking before it came along, if not. Most often we forget, and if we aren’t caught up in the intricacies of doorknob engineering, we cast wildly about for context, trying to guess what the hell we were up to from the clues available.

On the other hand, we’re extremely good at working out the context of random remarks, as we’re effectively doing that all the time anyway.

We rely heavily on routine, and 90% of the time get by on autopilot. You can’t get distracted from a sufficiently ingrained habit, no matter what useless crap is going on inside your head… unless someone goes and actually disrupts your routine. I’ve actually been distracted out of taking my lunch to work, on several occasions, by my wife reminding me to take my lunch to work. What the? Who? Oh, yeah, will do. Where was I? um… briefcase! Got it. Now keys.. okay, see you honey!

Also, there’s a diminishing-returns thing going on when trying to concentrate on what you might call a non-interactive task. Entering a big block of numbers into a spreadsheet, for instance. Keeping focused on the task takes exponentially more effort each minute, for less and less result. If you’ve ever held a brick out at arm’s length for an extended period, you’ll know the feeling. That’s why the internet, for instance, is like crack to us – it’s a non-stop influx of constantly-new things, so we can flick from one to the next after only seconds. Its better/worse than pistachios.

The exception to this is a thing we get called hyper focus. Occasionally, when something just clicks with us, we can get ridiculously deeply drawn into it, and NOTHING can distract us. We’ve locked our metaphorical office door, and we’re not coming out for anything short of a tornado.

Medication takes the edge off. It reduces the input, it tones down the fluster, it makes it easier to ignore trivial stuff, and it increases the maximum focus-time. Imagine steadicam for your skull. It also happens to make my vision go a little weird and loomy occasionally, and can reduce appetite a bit.

Hope this helps and please do share this so that more people can learn what its really like to have ADHD.

Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management

Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management « Dr Hallowell.


Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management

by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and
John J. Ratey, M.D.

The treatment of adult ADHD begins with hope.

We break down the treatment of adult ADHD into five basic areas:
•    Diagnosis
•    Education
•    Structure, support, and coaching
•    Various forms of psychotherapy
•    Medication

Following are 50 Tips for the non-medication treatment of ADHD:

Insight and Education
1.    Be sure of the diagnosis. Make sure you’re working with a professional who really understands ADHD and has excluded related or similar conditions such as anxiety states, agitated depression, hyperthyroidism, manic-depressive illness, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
2.    Educate yourself. Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD in the first place. Read books. Talk with professionals. Talk with other adults who have ADHD. You’ll be able to design your own treatment to fit your own version of ADHD.
3.    Coaching. It is useful for you to have a coach, for some person near you to keep after you, but always with humor. Your coach can help you get organized, stay on task, give you encouragement or remind you to get back to work. Friend, colleague, or therapist (it is possible, but risky for your coach to be your spouse), a coach is someone to stay on you to get things done, exhort you as coaches do, keep tabs on you, and in general be in your corner. A coach can be tremendously helpful in treating ADHD.
4.    Encouragement. ADHD adults need lots of encouragement. This is in part due to their having many self-doubts that have accumulated over the years. But it goes beyond that. More than the average person, the ADHD adult withers without encouragement and positively lights up like a Christmas tree when given it. They will often work for another person in a way they won’t work for themselves. This is not “bad”, it just is. It should be recognized and taken advantage of.
5.    Realize what H is NOT, i.e., conflict with mother, etc.
6.    Educate and involve others. Just as it is key for you to understand ADHD, it equally if not more important for those around you to understand it–family, job, school, friends. Once they get the concept they will be able to understand you much better and to help you as well.
7.    Give up guilt over high-stimulus-seeking behavior. Understand that you are drawn to high stimuli. Try to choose them wisely, rather than brooding over the “bad” ones.
8.    Listen to feedback from trusted others. Adults (and children, too) with ADHD are notoriously poor self-observers. They use a lot of what can appear to be denial.
9.    Consider joining or starting a support group. Much of the most useful information about ADHD has not yet found its way into books but remains stored in the minds of the people who have ADHD. In groups this information can come out. Plus, groups are really helpful in giving the kind of support that is so badly needed.
10.    Try to get rid of the negativity that may have infested your system if you have lived for years without knowing what you had was ADHD. A good psychotherapist may help in this regard.
11.    Don’t feel chained to conventional careers or conventional ways of coping. Give yourself permission to be yourself. Give up trying to be the person you always thought you should be–the model student or the organized executive, for example–and let yourself be who you are.
12.    Remember that what you have is a neuropsychiatric condition. It is genetically transmitted. It is caused by biology, by how your brain is wired. It is NOT a disease of the will, nor a moral failing. It is NOT caused by a weakness in character, nor by a failure to mature. It’s cure is not to be found in the power of the will, nor in punishment, nor in sacrifice, nor in pain. ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS. Try as they might, many people with ADHD have great trouble accepting the syndrome as being rooted in biology rather than weakness of character.
13.    Try to help others with ADHD. You’ll learn a lot about the condition in the process, as well as feel good to boot.

Performance Management
14.    External structure. Structure is the hallmark of the non-pharmacological treatment of the ADHD child. It can be equally useful with adults. Tedious to set up, once in place structure works like the walls of the bobsled slide, keeping the speedball sled from careening off the track.
15.    Make frequent use of:
◦    lists
◦    color-coding
◦    reminders
◦    notes to self
◦    rituals
◦    files
16.    Color coding. Mentioned above, color-coding deserves emphasis. Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color: files, memoranda, texts, schedules, etc. Virtually anything in the black and white of type can be made more memorable, arresting, and therefore attention-getting with color.
17.    Use pizzazz. In keeping with #15, try to make your environment as peppy as you want it to be without letting it boil over.
18.    Set up your environment to reward rather than deflate. To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADHD’ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations.
19.    Acknowledge and anticipate the inevitable collapse of X% of projects undertaken, relationships entered into, obligations incurred.
20.    Embrace challenges. ADHD people thrive with many challenges. As long as you know they won’t all pan out, as long as you don’t get too perfectionistic and fussy, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.
21.    Make deadlines.
22.    Break down large tasks into small ones. Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.
23.    Prioritize. Avoid procrastination. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.
24.    Accept fear of things going well. Accept edginess when things are too easy, when there’s no conflict. Don’t gum things up just to make them more stimulating.
25.    Notice how and where you work best: in a noisy room, on the train, wrapped in three blankets, listening to music, whatever. Children and adults with ADHD can do their best under rather odd conditions. Let yourself work under whatever conditions are best for you.
26.    Know that it is O.K. to do two things at once: carry on a conversation and knit, or take a shower and do your best thinking, or jog and plan a business meeting. Often people with ADHD need to be doing several things at once in order to get anything done at all.
27.    Do what you’re good at. Again, if it seems easy, that is O.K. There is no rule that says you can only do what you’re bad at.
28.    Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADHD’ers, and mini-breaks can help ease the transition.
29.    Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket. You never know when a good idea will hit you, or you’ll want to remember something else.
30.    Read with a pen in hand, not only for marginal notes or underlining, but for the inevitable cascade of “other” thoughts that will occur to you.

Mood Management
31.    Have structured “blow-out” time. Set aside some time in every week for just letting go. Whatever you like to do–blasting yourself with loud music, taking a trip to the race track, having a feast–pick some kind of activity from time to time where you can let loose in a safe way.
32.    Recharge your batteries. Related to #30, most adults with ADHD need, on a daily basis, some time to waste without feeling guilty about it. One guilt-free way to conceptualize it is to call it time to recharge your batteries. Take a nap, watch T.V., meditate. Something calm, restful, at ease.
33.    Choose “good”, helpful addictions such as exercise. Many adults with ADHD have an addictive or compulsive personality such that they are always hooked on something. Try to make this something positive.
34.    Understand mood changes and ways to manage these. Know that your moods will change willy-nilly, independent of what’s going on in the external world. Don’t waste your time ferreting out the reason why or looking for someone to blame. Focus rather on learning to tolerate a bad mood, knowing that it will pass, and learning strategies to make it pass sooner. Changing sets, i.e., getting involved with some new activity (preferably interactive) such as a conversation with a friend or a tennis game or reading a book will often help.
35.    Related to #34, recognize the following cycle which is very common among adults with ADHD: Something “startles” your psychological system, a change or transition, a disappointment or even a success. The precipitant may be quite trivial. This “startle” is followed by a mini-panic with a sudden loss of perspective, the world being set topsy-turvy. You try to deal with this panic by falling into a mode of obsessing and ruminating over one or another aspect of the situation. This can last for hours, days, even months.
36.    Plan scenarios to deal with the inevitable blahs. Have a list of friends to call. Have a few videos that always engross you and get your mind off things. Have ready access to exercise. Have a punching bag or pillow handy if there’s extra angry energy. Rehearse a few pep talks you can give yourself, like, “You’ve been here before. These are the ADHD blues. They will soon pass. You are O.K.”
37.    Expect depression after success. People with ADHD commonly complain of feeling depressed, paradoxically, after a big success. This is because the high stimulus of the chase or the challenge or the preparation is over. The deed is done. Win or lose, the adult with ADHD misses the conflict, the high stimulus, and feels depressed.
38.    Learn symbols, slogans, sayings as shorthand ways of labelling and quickly putting into perspectives slip-ups, mistakes, or mood swings. When you turn left instead of right and take your family on a 20-minute detour, it is better to be able to say, “There goes my ADHD again,” than to have a 6-hour fight over your unconscious desire to sabotage the whole trip. These are not excuses. You still have to take responsibility for your actions. It is just good to know where your actions are coming from and where they’re not.
39.    Use “time-outs” as with children. When you are upset or overstimulated, take a time-out. Go away. Calm down.
40.    Learn how to advocate for yourself. Adults with ADHD are so used to being criticized, they are often unnecessarily defensive in putting their own case forward. Learn to get off the defensive.
41.    Avoid premature closure of a project, a conflict, a deal, or a conversation. Don’t “cut to the chase” too soon, even though you’re itching to.
42.    Try to let the successful moment last and be remembered, become sustaining over time. You’ll have to consciously and deliberately train yourself to do this because you’ll just as soon forget.
43.    Remember that ADHD usually includes a tendency to overfocus or hyperfocus at times. This hyperfocusing can be used constructively or destructively. Be aware of its destructive use: a tendency to obsess or ruminate over some imagined problem without being able to let it go.
44.    Exercise vigorously and regularly. You should schedule this into your life and stick with it. Exercise is positively one of the best treatments for ADHD. It helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way, it allows for noise-reduction within the mind, it stimulates the hormonal and neurochemical system in a most therapeutic way, and it soothes and calms the body. When you add all that to the well-known health benefits of exercise, you can see how important exercise is. Make it something fun so you can stick with it over the long haul, i.e., the rest of your life.
45.    Make a good choice in a significant other. Obviously this is good advice for anyone. But it is striking how the adult with ADHD can thrive or flounder depending on the choice of mate.
46.    Learn to joke with yourself and others about your various symptoms, from forgetfulness, to getting lost all the time, to being tactless or impulsive, whatever. If you can be relaxed about it all to have a sense of humor, others will forgive you much more.
47.    Schedule activities with friends. Adhere to these schedules faithfully. It is crucial for you to keep connected to other people.
48.    Find and join groups where you are liked, appreciated, understood, enjoyed. Conversely, don’t stay too long where you aren’t understood or appreciated.
49.    Pay compliments. Notice other people. In general, get social training, as from your coach.
50.    Set social deadlines.


Dancing with a hole in her stocking:Blog | One woman navigating life with ADHD

Dancing with a hole in her stocking | One woman navigating life with ADHD.


So, you have ADHD. Now what?

I received a message from a woman who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and found herself feeling pretty overwhelmed as she tries to come to terms with this new way of seeing herself. For her, and for anyone facing a recent ADHD diagnosis, here is the most important advice I can share:

Stop reading and start doing.

Look, you have your entire life ahead of you to learn about ADHD. I want you to do one thing today to combat your ADHD.

(If you’re not sure what one thing to do, choose one from the list below. Just one.)

Just having an ADHD brain is overwhelming enough. Then we get a diagnosis. And we try to figure out what that means. We read a book (or start to read it). And another book. And another book. We look for information online, and findCHADD, and ADDA. We read blogs. We start blogs. We go to support groups and meet-ups and conferences. We discover the New York Times’ sanctimonious crusade to keep ADHD stigma alive, and in our shock and hurt and anger we drive up pageviews until we realize we are the NYT’s most trollable audience. We sign up for list-serves and subscribe to podcasts and buy coaching materials and shiny smartphone apps and organization tools. And we work so hard tounderstand our ADHD that we are exhausted before we ever get around to doing something about it. Use this drive and curiosity and nervous excitement to start making real steps toward managing your ADHD in a way that will make you and your loved ones happier.

10 Things You Can Do TODAY to Better Manage Your ADHD:

(1) Go get some exercise. Walking counts.

(2) Look at your calendar.

(3) Eat some healthy protein.

(4) Have a conversation with the sole goal of listening to what the other person has to say.

(5) Set a timer and spend 15 minutes decluttering one piece of your life. When time is up, stop. Try your purse; your to-do list; unopened mail; a drawer; a space on your desk; the kitchen sink; your inbox; your unused smartphone apps.

(6) Write down something you want to remember. Now you won’t forget it.

(7) Strike one thing from your to-do list and put it on the back burner, so you can focus on what’s most important. Just because we rarely prioritize doesn’t mean we can’t. Start now.

(8) Thank someone. Your spouse for taking care of dinner when you worked late. Your kid for calling you out when you weren’t paying attention. Your colleague for reminding you of a task. Your friend who forgives you for interrupting.

(9) Turn devices off an hour before you want to fall asleep. Phone, TV, computer – anything with a screen. Let your brain wind down so you can fall asleep.

(10) Go to bed at 10:00 p.m. Even if you lie awake for a while – let your brain and body rest (and you might fall asleep sooner than you think).


Let’s See Some Natitude: Why You Should Pay Attention to the Washington Nationals

The Nationals have no shortage of story-lines unrelated to ADHD, including a joyous All-Star ace who dominates in Chicken Mode with curveballs and slip-and-falls, the most talked-about pitcher who won’t pitch in the postseason, theleast talked-about pitcher who will pitch in the postseason, a rock at third base who’s savoring his first chance at a championship since Little League, a shark roaming center field, a Beast who needs neither bat nor ball to hit a grand slam, and bullpen readings of Fifty Shades of Grey. Heck, even the Nats’ broadcasters are compelling: Color commentator F.P. Santangelo visits Abner Doubleday’s grave, follows closer Drew Storen’s mom’s Twitter feed, and can still barehand a foul popup from the press box.

Amidst this fabulously entertaining season, the Washington Nationals are quiet but compelling evidence of a fundamental sea-change in how people talk about, think about, and manage adult ADHD.

The Accidental Poster-Child of ADHD

The Nationals sparked interest on the ADHD front heading into the 2011 season when they signed Adam “Cool” LaRoche, the veteran first baseman with thesweet swingsnappy glove, and the most publicly diagnosed brain in the major leagues. Around the same time, the Nationals signed Tom Gorzelanny, a left-handed pitcher who is also open about having ADHD but whose diagnosis received far less public scrutiny than LaRoche.

Then again, perhaps no one’s ADHD diagnosis has received as much publicity as LaRoche, the son and brother of professional ballplayers who made his own major league debut with the Atlanta Braves in 2004.

Before Andres Torres became Gigante, before Shane Victorino and the “Own It”project, Adam LaRoche was a talented young Atlanta Brave who ”unlocked” on a routine defensive play in May 2006, leading to 4 unearned runs and anointing LaRoche the accidental poster-child of ADHD in professional sports.

Take nothing away from the courage of Scott Eyre, who in 2001 became the first major league ballplayer to publicly admit having ADHD (Eyre, a left-handed reliever, played 13 years in the majors with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Phillies). But Eyre’s announcement some 5 years prior did not prevent the popular derision that rained down on LaRoche when his diagnosis became public in 2006.

LaRoche has handled the public examination of his personal challenge withgrace and courage, urging people – especially children – not to be ashamed about asking for help. He’s brought the same poise to the ballpark in 2012, providing consistently excellent offense and defense that has carried the Nationals through a remarkable spate of injuries that threatened to derail their season. Tomorrow, October 7, 2012, after years of bad teams, bad luck, and bad injuries, LaRoche will be back in the playoffs for the first time since that fateful mental mistake in 2006, batting cleanup for the top-seeded team in the National League.

The Rookie Who’s No Accident

As if LaRoche’s tale of quiet vindication wasn’t enough, I started playing around with a post on the Washington Nationals in mid-June, when teen phenom Bryce Harper matter-of-factly explained how he’d felt sitting on the bench for the first time in his brief major-league career, then scoring the winning run as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning:

“I don’t like sitting. I have really bad ADD, so I’m always off the wall, and just crazy when I sit . . . . [In] spring training this past year, sitting down and really trying to learn the game while . . . sitting really helped me out here.”

– Bryce Harper, MASN post-game interview, Fenway Park, June 10, 2012

That wasn’t the first time the rookie had publicly described having ADHD, and  it probably won’t be the last. Sure, he’s only 19, but Harper has spent plenty of time in the spotlight, simultaneously heralded as the next Ruth / Mays / Mantle / Junior / insert-all-time-great-ballplayer-here while somehowexceeding all expectations. He’s an attention magnet with a flair for the dramaticand un/intentionally hilarious.

But for all the attention paid to Harper’s every word and deed, his occasional mentions of having ADHD seem to prompt, at most, a shrug.

It’s no big deal.

Harper, like any ballplayer, makes the occasional mistake – not often, but occasionally – and when he does, it’s not blamed on ADHD; reporters don’t call up experts who’ve never met him to opine on how ADHD is affecting his batting average or his personal life; no one speculates on whether he’s taking medication or gaining some unfair advantage; there aren’t insinuations that he might not “really” have ADHD.

Instead, as the rookie leads the Washington Nationals’ first-ever charge into the postseason, we wait with breathless anticipation to see what Harper will do next.

It Is a Big Deal

Compare today’s collective blink to the scorn LaRoche faced 6 years ago. For Harper’s ADHD to be no big deal is, in itself, a very big deal.

It’s a big deal to hear ADHD treated as simply a challenge to be addressed, rather than a shameful secret or a punchline.

It’s a big deal to learn that having ADHD doesn’t give the world a free pass to delve into the most personal quirks of your brain.

It’s a big deal to see people with ADHD excel on the same playing field as everyone else by cultivating other abilities to overcome this disability.

It’s a big deal to know that people with ADHD can reap the benefits of well-directed hard work.

So, to Adam LaRoche, and Bryce Harper, and Tom Gorzelanny, and everyone else who wakes up every day facing ADHD along with life’s other challenges – thank you for the inspiration, keep up the good work, and LET’S GO NATS.

You mean I can get credit for this?!

So many of us have accepted that the effort we put in is unrelated to our result. For people with unmanaged (or under-managed) ADHD, that’s frequently true. But it doesn’t have to be.

It’s a hard mental path to break. For starters, if effort is related to result, we have to take responsibility for poor outcomes – and we usually have buckets of ‘em.

But the benefit of shouldering responsibility for the bad results is that we actually get – and deserve – credit for the good ones.

Example: I’d been thinking about changing my dental insurance from my super-primo plan to a basic coverage level that would take a smaller chunk out of my salary every month. Then last week at my routine exam, my dentist identified some dental issues and referred me to a specialist, who confirmed that I need some relatively minor but important dental work done that will probably run a couple thousand dollars. My initial reaction: Man, I’m lucky this happened before I gave up the high-level dental coverage.

But I realized that luck had nothing to do with it.

  • I scheduled my routine dental checkup before switching my insurance coverage.
  • I took the time to prepare for my dentist appointment ahead of time, writing down all my questions ahead of time (This tooth feels funny / Is my gum supposed to look like that? / Is this normal?).
  • I double-checked my list when my dentist asked if I had any questions.
  • I asked my dentist for a referral before I left his office, and scheduled my appointment with the specialist right away.

I did everything right – so I get to take credit for saving myself a couple thousand dollars. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Procrastination = love

This about sums it up:


Why we don’t get the benefit of the doubt with ADHD


We all tend to cut ourselves breaks that we won’t or don’t extend to others. See LifeHacker’s Why You Think You’re Unlucky When Others Think You’re Careless and the BBC’s rundown of fundamental attribution error.

But this general human unfairness can be especially harsh for people with ADHD, because with poorly managed ADHD we use up our “free passes” more quickly than others do. Ari Tuckman explains the impact on friendships and other relationships:

Although we all make the occasional social blunder, most people are pretty forgiving if it doesn’t happen too often. However, those with ADHD tend to use up their free passes too quickly, causing others to make deeper assumptions about their character. As a result, people with ADHD can be seen as irresponsible, self-centered, or rude, even though they’re really not (or at least not any more than anyone else!).

So, yes, life isn’t fair. But it’s not that people with ADHD get fewer chances than others – we just tend to blow through them. I like Tuckman’s podcast response, to earn more free passes. I sometimes need the reminder to nudge myself from bemoaning the unfairness to actually taking steps to overcome it. One reason many of us with ADHD get stuck on the unfairness is our frequent lack of insight into how our actions (rather than out intentions) affect others, coupled with our notoriously short, or unreliable, memories.

A tool I use to combat this is a chart- or calendar-style checklist that lets me seemy recent track record on a few key ADHD-defeating, personal-contentment-boosting habits, such as exercising 4 days a week, checking my calendar every day, and dedicating 15 minutes a day to overcoming my ADHD. There are many apps that do this sort of habit- or goal-tracking, of course – I use Track N Sharemyself (test the free trial version first), and also like previously mentioned HomeRoutines for ticking off daily or weekly routine items. But I find pen and paper helpful for keeping my basic priorities on the front burner, mentally speaking, because I can’t snooze paper, turn it off, or do it only halfway, and even when it’s done, I can still see its importance (unlike a digital to-do that disappears once completed). There’s something satisfyingly absolute about a big blue check or a big red X. Writing the basics out by hand each week also forces me to prioritize in a way that a feature-rich tracking app doesn’t – I only have so much room on the page.

There are also some elements of Seinfeld’s productivity secret, not wanting to break the chain. If that motivation factor works for you, great. Most valuable to me, though, is the reliable, unignorable snapshot of how well I’m actually keeping some of the key promises I’ve made to myself. I am generally convinced I’m not a slacker (just unlucky, of course) – but this comfortable assumption can lead me to not recognize those times, or days, or weeks, when I do slack off. A tracking chart replaces my assumptions with actual information; and with a more accurate self-assessment, I can actually make meaningful choices instead of winging it.



The New York Times published a lovely profile of Bubba Watson, whosees connections other people don’t:

“In the beginning, [Bubba Watson] said, ‘I just want to let you know that I have A.D.H.D.,’ ” [Andrew] Fischer said. “I told him, ‘No, you have a hyper-observant ability. You can look at a ton of things and process information like a Mac computer.’ When people call Bubba childish, I correct them and say he’s childlike. He has an unbelievable ability to tap into his imagination, an ability most of us lose as we grow older and try to conform.”

It’s a poignant sketch of a very human man and unparalleled golfer who happens to have ADHD. Worth a read.

Make it fun (with apologies to Tim Gunn)

I love bright colors – always have, judging from parents’ good-old-fashioned photo albums. A particularly eye-popping outfit of my choosing was a ROYGBIVrainbow striped shirt paired with a pastel blue, pink and green plaid skirt, captured in a Polaroid when I was about 5 years old. Small wonder, then, that I was so drawn to Barbara Kingsolver’s heroine in The Bean Trees, Taylor Greer, who like her mother

…went in for bright colors. It was a family trait. At school it was a piece of cake to pick me out of a lineup of town girls in their beige or pink Bobbie Brooks matching sweater-and-skirt outfits. Medgar Biddle, who was once my boyfriend for three weeks including the homecoming dance, used to say that I dressed like an eye test. I suppose he meant the type they give you when you go into the army, to see if you’re color blind, not the type that starts with the big E. He said it when we were breaking up, but I was actually kind of flattered. I had decided early on that if I couldn’t dress elegant, I’d dress memorable.

While my penchant for splashy clothing may be…noteworthy, I’m not alone among people with ADHD in responding well to bright colors. Consider:

Color code everything that you can….You want bright colors that really stand out so you can still seem them when you shut your eyes to remember….

from Additude magazine, and

Use beautiful things. Plain things may feel invisible to you….I use ones with designs on them — birds, patterns, funny sayings — because the designs help me to remember what is inside them…. If it’s not pretty, I’ll lose it or forget it. If I like looking at it, chances are I won’t forget about it.

from Unclutterer.

Anyway, I decided to put my bright-eyed obsession to use when I had to replace my running shoes: I opted for some neon-safety-orange sneakers that are bright enough to stop traffic (which I suppose would be helpful, if the need arises). They are AMAZING. I don’t actually see them when I’m running, but I set them next to my dresser every evening, so each morning when I lurch out of bed to turn off my alarm that’s strategically just out of reach from the bed, I see my neon sneakers.

I LIKE my neon sneakers.

So I put them on and go for a morning run, instead of falling back into bed.

Should you tell people you have ADHD?

Whether to reveal you have ADHD can be a pretty momentous decision. Ari Tuckman gives a thought-provoking rundown of some of the major considerations here (for CHADD members) and here (free podcast).

To tell or not to tell?  For me, for now, I have told the people I’m closest to who are affected by my ADHD and who can help me deal with it and can deal with me more effectively and happily with that knowledge. I do not tell co-workers, loose-lipped friends, or most other people in my life. A primary reason for this is my profession, which is notoriously…well, unwelcoming of ‘other’ in whatever form. I’m not saying this is OK – but I am determined, for now, not to personally shoulder this stigma professionally. Not yet.

I’m not ashamed of having ADHD, and I believe any stigma attached to having ADHD is unfair and uninformed. But the stigma exists all the same.

I keep saying ‘for now’ – not because I believe popular (or unpopular) prejudices about ADHD will change, although I hope they will. I say ‘for now’ because I know my complacency with keeping my ADHD hidden could change with another’s heartbeat.

Any biological child of mine is more likely to have ADHD. It is not a certainty, but it is a probability (as wanting children makes it more probable, but not certain, that I will have children).

I wouldn’t want my child to be ashamed of having ADHD, to feel the basic, unalterable wiring of her brain is a shameful secret to be hidden from the world.

Wouldn’t I be my child’s first example? Her first and lasting glimpse of how to handle this quirk of biology?

If I hide, wouldn’t that say I was ashamed of her?

I cannot ask a child to be braver than I; I cannot demand courage from another that I do not demand of myself.

Does this mean I must be open about my own ADHD before I even know whether I will have a child with ADHD? For my words of pride and strength to ring true, do I need to speak them before there is someone listening?

For now, at least, I choose to stay hidden, but not silent. I don’t have to tell people I have ADHD to challenge prejudice, ignorance, or negative comments.

NAMI StigmaBusters

The ‘Own It’ Project (submissions through June 6, 2012)

‘Gigante’ (forthcoming documentary on Andres Torres)

ADHD Awareness Week (October 2012)

ADHD: Is Stigma Back in Style? (February 2012)

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes About ADHD (June 2011)

ADHD: The Stigma Is Gone (July 2010)

Social Stigma Awaits Kids with ADHD (May 2007)

Career Advice from Powerful ADHD and LD Executives (December/January 2005)

Finding a Career that Works for You (undated)

Myths and Misconceptions about ADHD: Science Over Cynicism (June 2003)

Overcoming the ADHD Stigma (April/May 2003)

ADD (ADHD) in the Workplace (from Kathleen G. Nadeau’s 1997 book)

Born late

Probably shouldn’t be surprised by the recent finding that babies born post-term are more than twice as likely to develop ADHD as babies born at term. The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (abstractfull text).

We really were born late.

Some news coverage of the study:

Daily Mail
NZ Herald


Why are there so many cooks in my kitchen?

Cooking with ADHD is . . . let’s just call it an adventure, shall we?


Preparing a meal requires a vortex of executive functions that are particularly challenging to people with ADHD, including planning, budgeting, calculating ingredients and servings, attention to detail (did I already add salt?), time management (do I have time to make this now?), awareness of time passing (is it done yet?), multi-tasking, and impulse control (no you can’t eat it yet / yes It needs to include vegetables / no I shouldn’t add in a side with 60 minutes of prep if I want to eat in half an hour).

So it is with great pride that I present the following recipe for what is quite possibly the greatest meal I have ever made: Broiled salmon fillets with asparagus and fingerling potatoes.

Why is it so great?

It was easy for me to make. Notice I said easy for me to make. The instructions are precise, complete, and brief. I worked out the exact timeline for each portion of the meal so I knew when to do each step so that everything would be ready at the right time. There is very little that needs to be done (and could be overlooked) in the last several minutes before things are done cooking.

Remember, ‘easy’ doesn’t mean ‘simple,’ especially for people with ADHD. Prime example: This “it’s too easy” recipe for 15-minute tomato sauce, which my boyfriend tried his hand at when I was traveling. He made it as quickly and easily as advertised, loved it, and passed it on to me, thinking I would thrive with such a simple recipe. In my hands, it was a disaster. I should have been suspicious of ingredients like “a bit of garlic if you like that kind of thing” and time estimates of “I usually start the sauce just as I begin to get the pasta ready, and they both are done at just about the same time.” Simple, yes – easy, no. For something to be easy, for me, I need structure, I need precision, and I need to know when the heck to put the water on to boil.

It’s good for me to eat. Good for everyone, really.

Broiled Salmon Fillets


Salmon fillets (6, about 4 oz each, skinned)

Plum tomato (1, finely chopped)
Olive oil (1 Tbsp)
Red wine vinegar (2 Tbsp)
Rosemary (1 Tbsp
Sage (or thyme) (1 tsp)
Lemon zest (1/2 tsp)

Preheat broiler or grill. [If broiling, cover cooking sheet with tin foil, shiny side down, and position oven rack approx. 4″ from heat source.]
Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Marinate fillets in Ziplock bag for 30 minutes to 2 hours (keep in fridge). Discard marinade.
Broil salmon fillets on sheet for 5-6 minutes. Flip fillets and broil for 4-5 more minutes (until fish flakes easily with fork).


(1) Marinate salmon, above.
(2) Preheat broiler (top rack 4″ from heat, bottom rack at least 6″ below that) and cover 2 cooking sheets with foil, shiny side down.
(3) Parboil potatoes until just soft (10-20 minutes for fingerlings). Drain, place in oven-safe dish, add herbs and drizzle with olive oil, and set aside.
(4) Place asparagus on foil-covered sheet; drizzle lightly with olive oil, toss, and set aside.
(5) Place salmon fillets on sheet on top rack and place asparagus on bottom rack. Cook 5-6 minutes.
(6) Flip salmon fillets. Place potato dish next to asparagus on lower rack. Cook 4-5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a knife.

And some more takes on cooking with ADHD:

On the challenges of cooking with ADHDEven real chefs have ADHDTerry Matlen, Why I Hate to CookIdeas/discussion board for cooking, and following recipes, with ADHD

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD | World of Psychology

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD | World of Psychology.

Associate Editor

9 Myths, Misconceptions and Stereotypes about ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about four percent of U.S. adults (Kessler, Chiu, Demler & Walters, 2005). Still, many myths, stereotypes and downright fallacies abound — everything from questioning the very existence of ADHD to downplaying its seriousness. Below, we spoke with two experts who treat individuals with ADHD to set the record straight.

1. Myth: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.

Fact: ADHD is a mental disorder with a strong biological component (like most mental disorders). This includes an inherited biological component, notes Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, a national certified counselor and licensed mental health counselor and author of four books on adult ADD, including Adult ADD: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

For instance, studies have identified several genes associated with ADHD (e.g., Guan, Wang, Chen, Yang & Qian, 2009). One study revealed that kids with ADHD had hundreds of gene variations that weren’t found in other children (Elia et al., 2010).


2. Myth: ADHD only occurs in children.

Fact: Contrary to common belief, most people don’t magically outgrow ADHD. Rather they continue to struggle with the disorder, but their “symptoms just look different,” Sarkis said. Mainly, hyperactivity tends to diminish, said Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a psychologist and author of More Attention, Less Deficit: Successful Strategies for Adults with ADHD.

“However, the inattentive symptoms still exist and if anything become more disabling because adults are expected to manage all the boring details that tend to fall through the cracks for folks with ADHD,” he said. According to Sarkis, adults might “still feel a sense of ‘inner restlessness,’” which she describes as “wanting to be on the go, an ‘itch’ or need to be active or on the move.”

3. Myth: Hyperactivity affects all adults with ADHD.

Fact: As mentioned above, for some people, hyperactivity — which Tuckman refers to as the “most visible symptom” — declines with adolescence and adulthood; other people were never hyperactive to begin with.

Some people “have what is known as the inattentive type of ADHD and struggle with distractibility, forgetfulness, poor time management, disorganization, etc.,” he said.

4. Myth: ADHD stimulant medication leads to addiction.

Fact: There’s actually no indication that taking stimulant medication causes addiction. (Not to mention that it decreases debilitating symptoms.) People with ADHD who take stimulant medication tend to have much lower rates of substance abuse than people with ADHD who don’t take the medication (e.g., Wilens, Faraone, Biederman & Gunawardene, 2003).

A recent long-term study looked at the link between childhood and early teen use of stimulant medication and early adulthood use of drugs, alcohol or nicotine in a group of males with ADHD. Researchers found neither an increase nor decrease in substance use (Biederman et. al, 2008).

(By the way, here’s a brief response from one of the researchers inADDitude magazine.)

5. Myth: “Everyone has some ADHD these days,” Tuckman said.

Fact: Our technology-driven society has definitely caused many people to get easily distracted and overwhelmed. We get sidetracked during one project and feel forgetful about everything else. But as Tuckman clarified: “The difference is that people with ADHD pay a much higher price for their distracted moments and it happens much more often.”

Think of it this way: All of us feel anxious and depressed at certain points in our lives but that doesn’t mean that we have a diagnosableanxiety disorder, depression or bipolar disorder.

6. Myth: “People with ADHD don’t ‘want’ to focus or complete tasks,” Sarkis said.

Fact: It isn’t a matter of desire, but a matter of ability. As Sarkis explained, “It’s not that they don’t ‘want’ to follow through on projects; they just can’t. It’s not that they don’t want to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work; they just forget.”

7. Myth: “ADHD isn’t a big deal,” Tuckman said.

Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Individuals with ADHD typically struggle in all areas of their lives, from the big responsibilities like job performance to simple tasks like paying bills on time, according to Tuckman. ADHD is also tough on relationships.

Plus, “There has even been research showing that people with ADHD have lower credit scores and higher blood cholesterol levels, revealing their difficulties with managing a broad range of lifestyle matters,” Tuckman said.

8. Myth: People with ADHD “don’t care about consequences,” Sarkis said.

Fact: Caring about consequences isn’t the issue; it’s the processing of consequences that’s a problem, Sarkis said. “We know we need to do something a certain way, but it’s tough to get that ‘certain way’ to stick in our brains.”

9. Myth: “People with ADHD just need to try harder,” Tuckman said.

Fact: While effort is important in overcoming obstacles caused by ADHD, it isn’t the whole story. Tuckman likened the misconception of working harder in ADHD to poor eyesight: “We don’t tell someone with bad vision that he just needs to try harder to see well.”

He added that: “People with ADHD have been trying harder their entire lives, but don’t have as much to show for their efforts. This is why it’s important to address ADHD with appropriate treatment and ADHD-friendly strategies that take into account how the ADHD brain processes information.”

Here’s a thorough look at ADHDsolutions for common symptoms andhow to succeed on the job.


Advice for Adults with ADD: Finding a Career That Works For You

Expert Advice for Adults with ADD: Finding a Career That Works For You | ADDitude – ADD & LD Adults and Children.


Finding a Career That Works For You

There are no inherently bad jobs for people with ADHD. Here’s how to find the best one for you.

Filed Under: Focus at WorkADHD Career Paths

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Finding a Career That Works For YouADDitude Magazine

Everyone has personal challenges of one sort or another that may interfere with job performance.

There are no ADHD-friendly jobs.
Sorry to be so blunt, but people send email all the time asking “What is a good job for an ADHD person?,” as if all people with ADHD have the same interests and abilities. Sorry. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s move on.
There are no jobs that ADHD would prevent someone from doing. Just as there is no one “perfect” job that fits all ADHD people, there is also no limit to the things that an ADHD person can accomplish. For example, the idea that someone with ADHD should avoid detail work such as accounting simply is not true. There are accountants who have ADHD. There may be other reasons why you can’t bean accountant, or a salesman, or a respiratory therapist, but being ADHD is not one of them.
“Everyone has personal challenges of one sort or another that may interfere with job performance,” says Wilma Fellman, a career counselor and author of the book Finding a Career That Works for You. “Instead of tossing aside an otherwise great idea for a career because of the threat of challenges, work with someone who can help develop strategies, modifications, and accommodations that might make it a good match for you.”
In other words, don’t give up.
Find Out What You Want To Do
Much has been written about job accommodations for people who have ADHD. In fact, ADHD is included in the American’s with Disabilities Act, which means that employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for those who have been diagnosed. Of course, getting accommodations from your employer means that you have to tell them about your ADHD, which may create more problems than it solves. Some people who disclose their ADHD find that their employers perception of them changes almost immediately, and not always for the better.
Rather than depending on someone else to provide accommodations for you, Fellman recommends being more proactive and choosing a career that works for you. “Understanding your career interests and finding a job that matches these interests will improve your chances of being happy and successful in the career you select,” she says.
A lot of the problems that ADHD people have as students comes about because we are forced to sit in classes that either don’t hold our interest or don’t match up well with our abilities. Why force yourself into a career that is just more of the same? Adults have more freedom than children. You don’t have to feel like a square peg being hammered into a round hole.
How many careers can you name? A dozen? Maybe 100, if you really try? The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the U.S.Department of Labor, lists over 27,000 occupations, covering nearly all job descriptions available in the United States. Many of these are jobs you probably never heard of and certainly haven’t considered as a possible career. But they exist, and you would probably be interested in several of them, if you knew you had those options.
Turning Things Around
If you have AD/HD, then you know that it affects your behavior and your abilities to do certain things. On the job, ADHD can show up as clowning around, not appearing to take things seriously, missed deadlines or in other ways that could cause potential problems between you and your employer.
Lynn Weiss, Ph.D., author of A.D.D. On The Job, believes that many of these behaviors can be used to work in your favor in the workplace. “Remember,” she says, “although your ADD-related behaviors can cause problems in a work environment, they can also be used in a constructive way to your advantage.”
As an example, Dr. Weiss talks about being extra sensitive to criticism, a trait that is very common among people who have ADHD. “Being hypersensitive is difficult and sometimes painful. But it does have a flip side that can serve as a tremendous asset for you in the workplace: a keen sense of intuition.” She continues: “Most of the business world’s top salespeople have good intuition, often called a gut-level feeling. For example, successful salespeople seem to just know with whom to spend their time, when to close a deal, and what the other person needs in order to be satisfied. Believing in and depending on this sense of intuition pays rich dividends.”
Again, successful ADHD people are those who have learned to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. These people don’t force themselves into a positions that don’t fit. Instead, they find or create situations that allow them to make the most of their abilities.
Jeffrey Mayer, author of Success is a JourneyTime Management for Dummies, and other books about succeeding in business, writes that all successful people share five characteristics:
  1. They have a dream.
  2. They have a plan.
  3. They have specific knowledge or training.
  4. They’re willing to work hard.
  5. They don’t take no for an answer.
You can find a career that works for you. Now, just go do it!

The 3 Steps for a Successful ADHD Marriage

The 3 Steps for a Successful ADHD Marriage.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can present many challenges for parents. Raising children with ADHD can be both exhilarating and exhausting. But when an ADHD child grows up and enters a relationship with another person, it can be even more taxing. Adult ADHD can be a mystery to those with ADHD and those who love them. Sometimes adults are unaware that they have ADHD and only realize after months or years of difficult and unexplained tensions in a marriage or committed relationship. Regardless of whether or not the ADHD was diagnosed in childhood or adulthood, there is hope for marriages partners dealing with it.

In a recent article, Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., an author and psychotherapist, says that sharing responsibilities such as finances, chores, and parenting can bring ADHD symptoms to the forefront of the relationship. How couples address the symptoms and work through the tasks has a significant impact on the severity of the ADHD and the emotional status of each partner and the relationship as a whole. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. Once this has happened, couples can work together to manage the symptoms, the treatment, and their shared household responsibilities.

Gina Pera, an author and expert on adult ADHD, says that having structure and simplicity is essential in an ADHD relationship. When one spouse understands the limitations of the other, they can pick and choose the chores that are best suited to each person’s capabilities. This is true in every relationship, whether there is an underlying psychological condition or not. The most important things to remember when living in an ADHD marriage are these three elements: education, action, and empathy. Pera says that couples should learn about ADHD and copy strategies other successful couples use in their marriages. Take action to overcome the hurdles and work through the problems respectfully and as a team. And finally, be understanding of each other. Pera adds, “Having empathy and compassion for each other is vitally important in these relationships.”

Sarkis, S. (2012, July 9). ADHD and marriage: An interview with Gina Pera. Retrieved from

ADHD: It’s not just kids who suffer

It’s not just kids who suffer from ADHD – The Globe and Mail.

In the last decade, there has been an explosion of cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among Canadian children. Everyone knows a Grade 2 student who cannot stop fidgeting in class or focus on the lesson of the day. With Ritalin, and other forms of therapy, these children can learn to live and thrive with ADHD.

However, ADHD in adults has not received the same level of recognition. Many in the medical community still associate the disorder only with children – even though almost two-thirds of patients never outgrow their symptoms. The disorder is also highly genetic, making it probable that if a child has it, so does one of her parents.

A failure to properly recognize, and treat, the disorder among adults costs everyone. The disorder’s key symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness – can become a source of shame and embarrassment at work, and prevent creative people from reaching their potential. A Harvard study reported that untreated ADHD costs the workplace an estimated $70-billion a year.

Adults with untreated ADHD are also at significant risk of developing problems such as low self-esteem, addictions and obesity.

Although the prevalence rate for the disorder in adults is about 5 per cent, there is a shortage of adult psychiatrists in Canada who specialize in attention disorders, notes Umesh Jain, an ADHD researcher at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Many patients end up being misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression. A 2006 U.S. study found that only about 10 per cent of adults with ADHD receive appropriate treatment. “Many attempts have been made to educate psychiatrists about adult ADHD, but many doctors still don’t believe in it,” says Dr. Jain.

That leaves many people earning below their potential, or masking the disorder by choosing highly intense professions or extreme sports to give them the stimulation they crave. Once these roles end, they can have tremendous difficulty coping.

Adult psychiatrists and family doctors should become more aware of ADHD in adults. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should clarify how it presents and evolves over time. With effective treatment – including medication and psychotherapy – a person’s life trajectory can be dramatically altered, and the underlying explanation for years of irritability, suffering and other problems can be correctly identified.

More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD

More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD.

Welcome to the site, the podcast, and the book!

March 20th, 2009

Welcome to, where you will find audio excerpts of the book More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD. This free podcast contains practical information for adults with ADHD and those who care about them.

I also have information here about More Attention, Less Deficit, as well as my first book, Integrative Treatment for Adult ADHD: A Practical, Easy-to-Use Guide for Clinicians. I also have information about upcoming presentations I’m doing and some other cool events that you may be interested in.

I feel really proud of both books and think that you would find them useful, so check them out if you can.

A Million Things to Make Your Life Better

Whenever I meet a new client with ADHD, I always feel compelled to tell her a million things that can help her understand her ADHD and enjoy life more. This book and this podcast is those million things. It’s everything I want to tell new clients and audiences at presentations. It’s incredibly interesting and extremely important. This is the kind of information that can change your life. Yes, I will be that bold to say that it can change your life. It won’t change everything, but it can change a lot. You will do some things differently, and you will feel different about some of the things that stay the same. Knowledge has that kind of power.

As I was writing this book, I kept coming back to the idea that life is different after being diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD can make your life really difficult-before you know what’s tripping you up. Once you know it’s ADHD, life gets much easier. Then you know what you’re wrestling with and can start to get a hold of it. Then it becomes a fair fight.

The goal here is merely to tilt the odds of success, to make you more likely to do the right thing at the right time. Not all the time, but most of the time. Not perfect, but better. ADHD takes away your ability to be consistent, so the information and strategies in this book and in this podcast are here to give you back some of that consistency.

In this introductory podcast, we talk about this podcast, the book More Attention, Less Deficit, and why learning about ADHD is so important.