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I would like information on adult add, how is it diagnosed and when is medication perscribed

By February 2, 2009 - 7:43pm
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Betsy, I know exactly how you feel. Finding out for sure that you have ADD and perhaps getting some help for it is quite a relief.

ADD is just as frustrating once you've been diagnosed, but at least we know what we're dealing with, and that it isn't that we aren't trying. In fact, it's actually been proven that in the ADD brain, "trying" actually inhibits the ability to focus even more.

There's one more book I'll recommend, while you're looking at them:

Attention Deficit Disorder, A Different Perception, by Thom Hartmann.


It's one of the classics, I should have mentioned it before. Hartmann is wonderful. He writes about how we are "hunters in a farmer's world." Farmers, he says, are the types of people who can till the earth, plant seeds, nurture them, and wait for the crop to come in once a year. Hunters prefer to go out each day and see what they find; if they are following rabbit tracks and come upon deer tracks, they will change their path to follow the deer. Hunters cannot be farmers, and farmers cannot be hunters -- neither would be happy.

But we have a world set up for farmers. Children are asked to sit quietly in rows; adults are asked to meet deadlines in cubicles. We are rewarded for stability and forward motion (not side-to-side motion), and for starting, finishing and following through (not changing paths). Our brains simply aren't wired the same way, and instead of being made to feel that our brains don't work RIGHT, it's good to realize that we just work DIFFERENTLY.

Good luck in finding more out about yourself, and please come back and let me know what you find out and how you're doing!

February 3, 2009 - 10:53am

Hi, Betsy, and welcome to Empowher!

I have adult ADD myself. I was diagnosed at age 43. Because there is a genetic component to ADD/ADHD, many adults find it in themselves when their children are diagnosed. They recognize some of the same patterns in themselves and realize they've been dealing with the same issues their entire lives.

ADD affects people in different ways. Some of us find it difficult to focus on anything. I am of the type that can hyper-focus if I am interested in something, but can barely focus at all on routine tasks. Many times, you will find ADD adults with piles of projects that are unfinished. They may be chronically late on paying their bills (even when there is money in the account) simply because they can't make themselves sit down and do it, or because they had the bills ready to mail and couldn't find stamps. ADD/ADHD (the H stands for hyperactivity; not all ADD patients have the hyperactivity) people can have difficulty with relationships (especially in school or the workplace) because of the attributes of the disorder.

People without ADD can regulate their ability to focus better than people with ADD. A person without ADD can say, "Now I'm going to sit down and finish this," and then do it, even if they don't like the task. A person with ADD can find it nearly impossible to accomplish the same thing. We are too easily distracted (both by the outer world and by our thoughts); we fidget; we struggle; we set time limits that may or may not work; we look for something to engage us, to turn on the chemicals in our brain that help us focus.

People who grew up with ADD in the years before it was regularly diagnosed may have gotten the constant message that they were not trying hard enough, or that they were lazy. In fact, one of my favorite titles for a book about ADD is, "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?" by Kate Kelly. I know that my parents were constantly confounded by how unfocused I was as a child. I was very smart, but not at all focused. I was very creative, but wouldn't finish things. I could get distracted and lose all sense of time, even doing something as simple as getting ready for school. I would lose things and have no idea how.

The truth is, I was as confused as they were as to why these things were so. I knew that I did try hard; I knew that I wanted to do well; I just couldn't figure out why I "didn't get around to it," or couldn't finish something without nearly tying myself to a chair. (Which wouldn't work anyway.)

It used to be thought that people "grow out of" ADD/ADHD. Now we know that you have it all your life. But we can develop coping strategies that help a lot, and there is medication that also helps.

If you think you or someone you know has ADD, you can start with a couple of reputable checklists to see how many of the symptoms you find. It's a good place to start:



If you find yourself scoring highly on these diagnostic tests, it's likely you have ADD. You can take your suspicions and your scored test to a doctor, therapist or psychiatrist for confirmation.

If you believe you might benefit from ADD medication, you need to see either a doctor or a psychiatrist, because they can talk to you about the different drugs and can write prescriptions for them.

Here are a couple of very good ADD sites:



There are some absolutely awesome books that help people with ADD. A couple of my favorites:

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood to Adulthood, by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey


Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program that Allows you to See and Heal the Six Types of ADD, by Daniel Amen:


ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau


Betsy, what kinds of things make you think you or someone else may have ADD? IS there more specific information I can find for you?

February 3, 2009 - 10:19am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Dear Diane,

Thank you so much for all your wonderful information. I will check out the web sites and books you suggested.I feel you gave me some direction now in knowing where to start. I have always thought I was add and always just delt with it, but I am so frustrated in not being able to start some major projects and finish things due to an overwhelming feeling that all this time thought I just have to live with. My sister-in law is add and now takes medication for it. We were talking over the Christmas break and I became more interested in receiving some help.I talked to my Dr.and she said to be tested by a phycoligist sp?....so that is where i'm at!

February 3, 2009 - 10:34am
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