I am new here, hello and.....help!


I am new here and my partner Archie has only just being diagnosed with ADHD [he is 45] even though we have been together for ten years and I have suspected for a long time that this was one of his traits.

I have got a lot of different questions and information I would like to gather!.....but my first question is a bit random, I am hoping someone might help:

The thing is that partly due to Archie's ADHD he is very fidgety, easily dstracted and socially awkward and he often sweats and blushes when he meets new people. He is a professional musician and has mentioned that in social/professional situations people often tend to avoid talking to him due to his awkward demeanour and some have even mistaken his behaviour for being on [illegal] drugs.

I feel this is a particularly unfortunate phenomenon for him, because he is actually quite strongly opposed to drugs [even though in the music business they are often present and colleauges of his have been known to take them, he does not]. One manager of a band he is currently touring with even said to a colleague: "I bet that Archie takes a lot of drugs" just based on his observations of Archie's [possibly erratic, though innocent] behaviour.

This is beginning to really get him down, as he feels he is often mis-perceived and misunderstood and, at worst, could be detrimetal to his career opportunities.

It is sad and frustrating for me to hear him struggling in these ways with people, when he is actually a very sensitve, kind and likeable person.

I suppose my question is how could he best address this so people do not perceive him in this way and that he is given a fair chance to speak to/work with new people?

Thank you in advance for any thoughts,







social awkwardness

There are some psychiatrists offices, such as the Hallowell Centers, that offer group sessions to help people learn how to present themselves better - socialization, if you will.  There are Hallowell Centers in New York and Boston, if that helps.  Else talk with his doctor or with a career counselling service about how he can learn to present himself in a way that won't raise peoples suspiscions.  Another option would be a coach.  They can teach him strategies to control fidgeting, learn to take a breath before responding to questions, etc. (probably can't help that blush, though!)

meds and social effects

Rebecca, I was quite resistant to taking meds (I just generally don't take much of anything, and I tend to need a kid's dose when I do) but one of the big surprises when I finally tried them was that social situations just plain got easier. I hadn't realized quite how much energy they took before, only that I didn't much like those kinds of casual large-group scenes where you know lots of people but not all that well and you can't sit down and have a real conversation... I take a kid-sized dose of adderall and in addition to being able to be on time most of the time (without having to plan every minute and focus on nothing but being on time) I find that those "social hour" situations have gotten WAY easier. Maybe he could try a very small dose a few times to see -- the paradox of the ADD brain is that stimulants calm you down, smooth things out, quiet the distractions. I can hyperfocus on playing music with no meds, quite easily -- on anything I'm interested in -- as I'm sure he can too. I also wasn't diagnosed until I was in my 40s, I have lots of coping strategies, and they basically work. But I had no idea how much energy some things took -- casual socializing being one of them -- until I tried adderall. The meds do also wear off, so he might even be able to plan his timing so they're pretty well gone by the time he's performing -- in case he finds his med-brain is a different kind of musician, which seems possible to me. Also get hold of Hallowell and Ratey's _Answers to Distraction_ where there are lots of non-med ideas -- exercise makes me less fidgety, I think fish oil helps, I think some of the drawing-with-two-hands-at-once exercises help (but I'm not consistent about them). I have found that ADD gives me a new paradigm -- a new framework -- for understanding how I navigate the world, how I already had taught myself to navigate the world. I was already doing quite a few things on the helpful organizing lists, etc. All good. And I could manage the social stuff... but as I said, I just had no idea how much energy it took. Kind of amazing to feel what it feels like for it to be so much easier -- though I had long since observed that some people actually enjoy these things! I always labelled it "shy" but now I think the attentional issues are part of the mix. New mode of analysis. I hope this helps, Lupin.
milagro5's picture

Social Skills

Rebecca, Michelle Novotni (former ADDA president) has a good book on social skills called What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?

I found this book very helpful

Devoted's picture

My first thought is that he

My first thought is that he might have been misdiagnosed and actually have Asperger's.  Asperger's can often contain all of the same symptoms as ADD but also include others such as more social awkwardness, sometimes traits of anxiety or OCD-like behaviors-- I'm probably not describing it very well, lol, you should look it up.  But anyway, if he does have Asperger's there are support resources (many online) for adults with Asperger's.  Asperger's is often misdiagnosed or missed in adults because they have learned to cope better than when they were kids, obviously.  It is also very often missed in people with high IQs.  Just knowing that I have Asperger's makes a huge difference-- and I still identify myself as ADD to people, sometimes, too, because if I didn't have the extra Asperger's symptoms I would qualify as ADD and people usually understand that better than Asperger's. HTH!


I'm pleased that you are following through with a developmental assessment for your child. There are developmental components to take into consideration that could explain many behaviors and the interactional style. If you are a bit depressed yourself and feel you may have ADHD you may also be focused on behaviors that stress you. A caution not to have a "sickness" perspective is also important. Perhaps if you evaluate and treat your symptoms the parenting piece will feel less burdonsome. However, 3 young children and stress are normal companions. If you haven't already explored it there is distractability, irritability and poor focus with depression and several other disorders. I hope you have a good evaluation and follow those recommendations.
Devoted's picture


KJH, if it's okay, I'm going to reply to your response on my other thread, since it seems more fitting there.  :)