Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD

I’m spending quite a bit of time these days thinking about how to get men with ADHD to realize that their ADHD affects those around them more than they think.  At least two men I can think of who have ADHD say they wish someone (other than their wives) had “hit them upside the head” with information that would convince them that their ADHD was causing real problems.

Ned Hallowell likes to say that ADD is a “gift that’s hard to unwrap”.  Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about the “gift” idea – instead I tend to think of ADD as something that can be “sweet and sour”.  When a person with ADD is in what I think of as “good alignment” (or perhaps their “sweet spot”) life can be very sweet.  But when it’s sour everything can be awful! 

Tara McGillicuddy is an active ADHD coach and educator.  Her online work, in particular, has brought coaching to a much larger audience of people who might benefit from it.  I asked her to put together an overview of ADHD coaching to post here. 

I have an old friend who has finally, in his mid-life crisis, decided to determine whether or not he has ADD.  He has started to write me about his self-exploration, and the process he is going through is so positive that I would like to share some of the key elements here so that others with ADD can benefit from his learning and, possibly, follow his path.  I’ve been getting many questions lately along the lines of “Please, tell me what I can do to keep my life, and marriage from falling apart!”  Here are some concrete ideas.

Just read an entry on Sari Solden's blog about what to look for when searching for a marriage counselor if one or more of you has ADHD.  Go to this link to read her suggestions.

It’s common to have concerns about taking medications for ADHD.  “I don’t want to be medicated every day” is a common theme, as are concerns about side effects.  But not taking medications also has side effects.  Today I thought that I would try to cover some of the pros and cons of this difficult issue.


One of our readers commented on his experiences with vastly improving memory since his diagnosis of ADD, so I went to Dr. Hallowell to ask him – does ADD affect memory?  His response was typical Hallowell in the very best sense:

It is common that people diagnosed with ADHD as adults go through a period right after diagnosis in which they seem to make progress, then get into the doldrums.  Adults are different than kids.  With kids, the natural forward momentum of their development help keep progress with ADHD treatment headed in a positive direction.  With adults it’s just the opposite.

Note:  This entry includes ideas for conversation-starting exercises to improve your understanding of yourself and your spouse.

Medications sure can help your relationship – as can non-medicinal treatments!  But the spouse with the ADHD may not realize it – that’s where you need to give him (or her) some constructive feedback.  This comment is typical of what happens: