Adult ADD, Part 3
Adults diagnosed with ADHD may also want to reevaluate and diversify their support systems, so that they rely less heavily on spouses, coworkers, friends, and relatives. "Plenty of people with ADHD are happily married, with kids, and successful in their work," says David Goodman, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the director of the Adult ADD Center in Baltimore. "Usually they've set up effective support at work, such as a really good secretary, and at home as well."
Thomas Snodgrass was one of those people who'd always looked like he had it all together—and for the most part, he did. Early in 2004, he and his wife were about to have their first child. At the same time, he'd just taken on a new full-time job and was also attending graduate school. That's when his coping techniques—such as pulling all-nighters to write papers he'd ignored until the last minute, and working twelve-hour shifts on four hours of sleep—started to backfire.
"I had way too much on my plate," recalls Snodgrass, who works on a transplant team at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "I wasn't sleeping at all—I'd just lie there and go over everything I had to do. I'd forget to take off work on the days I was supposed to watch the baby. I was always losing my keys and my cell phone."
Tired of feeling disorganized and overwhelmed, Snodgrass looked through his insurance company's list of participating doctors, picked a psychologist's name, and called for an appointment. "I basically said to the doctor, 'You can tell me I have ADHD.'" A series of conversations, followed by a clinical evaluation, confirmed his suspicions.
"I kind of liked having ADHD. I could do 1,000 things and get nothing done!" he says, half-jokingly. But he's noticed lots of good come from treatment. "One of my biggest problems has always been saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'd be sitting in management meetings, and all of a sudden I'd blurt out something totally off the topic. Now, I have much more control."
Some names have been changed to protect privacy.
This article appears in the February/March 2005 issue of ADDitude.
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To connect with adults recently diagnosed with ADHD, visit the Just Diagnosed With ADHD support group on ADDConnect.