The face of adult ADD: An overlooked, undiagnosed issue

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 12:45am

Amy Martin is a wife and mother of three. She owns her own successful photography business and is well known in the Baton Rouge and surrounding area for her amazing work. She's a busy woman, who at 32, had managed it all, until she couldn't anymore.

" I was miserable and thought, I must need to be on depression medication," she said, "like, something is wrong with me. I realized the problem was that I was so stressed out from not being able to focus at work and get my work done and I was taking it home."

Amy was diagnosed with Adult ADD at 24 and was on medication for it for several months. But, like many, she didn't like the way that medication affected her.

She says, " It was wearing off about the time my kids were getting home from school, so it made me super grouchy with them. It wasn't worth it."

That's when she decided to try and manage her symptoms on her own. But, it wasn't long before she realized it wasn't working. She says she could do a lot of things at one time, but finishing any of them to completion was a challenge. Amy says she was a champion procrastinator, a common symptom of ADD, both in adults and children.

Medical professionals, like Nurse Practitioner Joey Bonin of The Bonin Clinic in Zachary, say 80 percent of adults who have ADD actually had it as children, whether they knew it or not. According to Bonin, "When you dig back into their past and their history, you know, they had classic signs of ADD that was overlooked, undiagnosed."

For Amy, a new mediction to help her focus was part of the treatment for her symptoms. But, experts say there are many other ways that can help adults cope with ADD. Bonin says, "There's really great medication to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. But it's way more than that. You know, it's counseling, frequent follow up, up, giving them the tools they need to organize the things they do have in their lives."

In Amy's case, it was a matter of re-organizing the way shw worked. She decided to set and keep regular business hours at her studio, instead of burning the midnight oil at home. Now, she says, " When I'm home, I'm able to be home. Not...let me hurry up and runyou to practice and get back so I can sit back at my computer during dinner."

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