Joseph, a 36 year old married father of 3 presented to my office. “I’ve always been a bit easy to distract but recently, my inability to follow through on work assignments has become a real problem.” Joe continued to explain how he’s been quite successful in his career and about 2 years ago started his own company. He’s highly motivated to be successful but over the past 6 months or so, he’s struggled to organize his time, has forgotten several important events that he was supposed to attend with his kids and finds himself frequently interrupting his wife or asking her to repeat herself when she’s talking to him. His sleep has been increasingly disrupted and he often lies in bed worrying about everything he needs to do or worrying that he’s forgotten to do something important that day.
Upon further exploration, I discover that although Joseph is clearly very intelligent, he struggled to complete high school and eventually dropped out and got his GED. He attempted to complete college courses at a local community college on several occasions in his early 20’s but each time struggled to keep up with the course work and would eventually drop the class. He started working for a small company and quickly moved through the ranks to become the lead manager. A few years later, he left to start his own company. He works long hours, is very good at managing others and has built a successful business. However, last year, his mother, whom he was very close with, got sick and after an intense few months of illness, passed away. Shortly after her death, his wife was diagnosed with Lupus and their youngest child was diagnosed with a learning disorder.
It is very common for adults with undiagnosed ADD / ADHD to present to my office during a time of high stress. External and internal stressors can render all of the coping mechanisms a person has developed over their lifetime largely ineffective. Joe’s external stressors had led him into a season of poor sleep, excessive worry, decreased focus and difficulty with concentration. His listening skills were suffering and his tendency to impulsively interrupt others, which he normally controlled very well, was starting to become a serious problem. Careful review of Joseph’s past, all the way back to elementary school, showed a clear pattern of personal struggle with focus, concentration and impulsivity.
Joseph was diagnosed with adult ADD / ADHD and started on medication to help improve his focus and concentration while decreasing his impulsivity and tendency to interrupt. Two weeks later, Joe presented to my office again and reported he was sleeping better, feeling less anxious about his company and was finishing work projects on time for the first time in months. In another 3 months, with continued treatment, Joseph reported that his business had experienced 20% growth and a significant increase in revenue. His wife was managing her Lupus well, their youngest child had started tutoring and was improving in school. He felt more in control of his life, his business and his relationships.