Goldie sat down for the third time that night to pay the electric bill.
“Oh, I forgot to turn on the dishwasher,” Goldie remembered, jumping up from her seat. While rushing to the dishwasher, she tripped over the pile of papers waiting to be sorted.
She put the soap in the dishwasher and headed back upstairs to pay the electric bill. When she noticed the pile of papers on the floor, Goldie bent down to try to organize them. She began to put the bills on the desk, the magazines on a rack, and the invitations in a pile to be put on the fridge. Then, she came across the previous month’s electric bill. Had she remembered to pay it?
While her husband had slowly taken over most of the bill paying responsibilities, somehow Goldie was still responsible for paying the electric.
“Hmm, I can’t remember. Let me get my checkbook. I need it anyway to pay this month,” Goldie mused.
On her way downstairs for the checkbook, Goldie remembered that it was her daughter’s birthday and she was supposed to bake a cake. Instead of heading for the checkbook, Goldie went into the kitchen and began taking out the ingredients for a chocolate chip cake, her daughter’s favorite. She would figure out the electric later.
Just then, the lights went out. It had been months since Goldie had paid the electric bill, even though she had the means and intention to do it. Something always managed to get in her way.
You might be surprised to learn that Goldie is exhibiting symptoms of adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Today, children are regularly diagnosed with ADHD. What most people don’t realize is that ADHD can be present in adults as well. However, it doesn’t just suddenly appear, rather it was present throughout childhood and likely went undiagnosed.
Dr. Brian Doyle, in his book, Understanding and Treating Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, explains that “When we examine the lives of adults who struggle and fail, repeatedly, sometimes we find symptom patterns like those of children with ADHD…Once they have a proper diagnosis and full treatment, adults with ADHD can change their lives profoundly.”
Like Goldie, adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems. But, what are some common behaviors and problems associated with adult ADHD?
- Persistent lateness and forgetfulness
- Low self-esteem
- Employment problems
- Difficulty controlling anger
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Chronic boredom
- Relationship problems
Heredity and ADHD
Frequently, parents will bring their children who suffer from ADHD to me for help. Sometimes while discussing their children’s problems maintaining focus, sitting still, keeping track of items, one of the parents chimes in, “Oh, that sounds just like me when I was a kid. But, no one ever called it anything. I was just an active kid, and sometimes a troublemaker.”
I remember one father telling me, “We can never get Noam to sit down and eat dinner, let alone do his homework. It was the same with me. My mother would say, ‘Go run around the house a few times so that you can sit for a few bites to eat.’” I asked the father how he made it through school and he shrugged his shoulders, “Very poorly. I almost didn’t graduate. That’s why I’m so worried about Noam.” Today, we can help him – he won’t have to run around the house in order to do his homework.