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bookclubI’m very excited to announce a new “book club” as a weekly feature of this ADHD Roller Coaster blog. The first book in the series is the one I know best:  Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?   This book club will be free, fun, and illuminating—plus there is a chance each week to win a copy of the book. It will be helpful if you have read or listened to my book first (so you can better contribute!), but it’s not necessary.

The goal is simple: To provide a far-flung forum for discussing book-inspired epiphanies and broadening everyone’s understanding of Adult ADHD. My book covers a lot of ground, and it’s a very dense book—no fluff! Contrary to the common perception, it is not a book about ADHD and relationships. I designed it to be one-stop shopping for adults with ADHD and their loved ones for “stopping the roller coaster” of ADHD fallout in their lives. (See chapter list at the end of this post.)

A book fan-turned-friend has offered ringlead, and you will be hearing more from Dotty soon. She’s a fantastic writer, and she knows this topic from many personal angles.

Book Giveaway: Each week, anyone making a comment will be eligible for a book giveaway contest. (Yes, one copy of my book will be awarded each week!)

Briefly, the way it will work is this:

1. Each week, we will explore one chapter of the book. (There are 23 chapters plus the intro and three appendices.)

2. Dotty will choose a passage from the week’s chapter, and explain how it has affected her understanding of ADHD, offering examples from her life and that of her friends and family members who also face ADHD-related issues in their own lives and relationships.

3. To that, Dotty will add perspectives from a dozen or so individuals who have ADHD or are in a relationship with someone who has ADHD (and, in some cases, both!). These folks, along with Dotty, belong to a well-seasoned and quite remarkable Adult ADHD discussion group, so expect some interesting insights.

4. Now comes your part: Share your comments about anything in the chapter or in Dotty’s post.

If you’d like to more fully participate by reading or listening to the book first, here are links to sources for purchasing the paperback and audio version:

On Amazon: paperback and Kindle, with audio available as Mp3 downloads or on CDs paperback and Nook (also available at Barnes & Noble Stores)  audio download CDs, Mp3 on CDs, and downloadable Mp3

Thank you, Dotty, for helping to make a long-held wish come true!

And now for the preview of the week-by-week lineup: the book’s table of contents.

Book Introduction                                                                                                                   

Part One

From the Tunnel of Love to the Roller Coaster:

Could Your Partner Have ADHD?

Section Introduction

1    Who Has a Ticket to Ride? Spotting ADHD’s Surprising Signs

2    Laying the Track’s Foundation: What Is ADHD, Anyway?

3    Deconstructing Your Coaster: Why Each Is Unique

4    Financial Loop-the-Loops: “It’s Only Money, Honey!”

5    Driving While Distracted: The Roller Coaster Hits the Road

6    Peaks and Valleys: ADHD in the Bedroom

7    More Mystifying Twists and Turns

Part TWO

Roller Coaster Whiplash and G-Force Confusion:

How Many Plunges Before You Say, “Whoa!”

Section Introduction

8    First Plunge: Explaining the Inexplicable

9    Second Plunge: Managing the Unmanageable

10  Third Plunge: Breaking Down in Illness—Or Through to Truth


Your Relationship and the Art of Roller Coaster Maintenance:

Four Success Strategies

Section Introduction

Success Strategy #1: Taking Care of Yourself

Introduction: The Amusement Park’s Emergency Room

11  Strategies for Right Now

12  Solving ADHD’s Double Whammy

Success Strategy #2: Dealing With Denial

Introduction: Roller Coaster? What Roller Coaster?

13  Psychological Denial: The FEAR Factor

14  Biological Denial: Not Unwilling to See—Just Unable

15  New Ways to Broach “The Conversation”

16  More Solutions and Strategies

Success Strategy #3: Finding Effective Therapy

Introduction: Calling in a Consultant to Help Retrofit Your Ride

17  Why the Wrong Therapy Is Worse Than No Therapy

18  Therapy That Works for ADHD

19  More Solutions and Strategies

Success Strategy #4: Understanding Medication’s Role

Introduction: Tightening the Brakes on the Roller Coaster

20  Making Connections Between Brain and Behavior

21  Rx: Treatment Results That Last

22  Maximizing Lifestyle Choices, Minimizing Rx Side Effects

23 Catch Your Breath and Take Five

Appendix A:

Adult ADHD Evaluation and Diagnosis

Appendix B:

“But I Heard That…”: More Background for the Unconvinced

Appendix C:

Three Views from Decades on the ADHD Roller Coaster




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You know that marvelous feeling you get, when you stop hitting yourself in the head with a mallet? That’s how I felt on September 31, when I turned in a manuscript to Routledge Press. The subject? A professional guide for couple therapists treating ADHD-challenged couples.

That was one tough assignment—there is no existing professional guide for couple therapists treating ADHD—and it took two years of solid, thoughtful, painstaking, and collaborative work. But my co-author (Arthur L. Robin, Ph.D.) and I, with the help of several esteemed contributors, produced one heckuva book, if I do say so myself. Our goal was to leverage our collective knowledge in helping couple therapists guide the thousands (millions?) of people who are desperate for ADHD-informed couple therapy. More about that book in a future post.

I tell you about the agonizing two years of writing because, six years after my first book, Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?, was published, it just received a very well-written review at an entertaining new website devoted to great reads: Despite the book having 175 five-star reviews on Amazon, and having received thousands of letters from grateful readers, it’s always nice to know that someone “gets” my work and the effort that goes into it. In fact, to celebrate finishing the couple-therapy book, I’ve offered the website’s founder, Kyle Wendy Skultety, five copies for a book giveaway contest.

An excerpt:

This book is put together very well, and operates under the premise that ADD is not “so much of a disorder of attention as it is a disorder of self-regulation”, according to psychologist Russell Barkley, who wrote the foreword.  The theme of the book is the ‘roller coaster’ that both ADD’ers and non experience on a daily basis, and so the chapter headings are related to our favorite amusement park rides.  There are three parts; first, what is ADHD and how it affects you/your partner, second, what happens when you hit rock bottom and either decide to get treatment (or not), and three, how to succeed in building your relationship back with different strategies.

As you read, you get the sense that you are part of a support group, as you read others’ stories and get to know what lessons they have learned along the way. The difference between this book and the one I mentioned above, is that this goes into much more detail, with explanations as to WHY these things happen, and HOW to fix them. I found myself highlighting sections, seeing how there are common threads among ADD’ers and their significant others, and even learning more about brain function.  Each chapter contains a few ADHD Partner Snapshot graphs, which show the results of surveys taken from 162 responders.

There are chapters devoted to denial, medications, finances, therapy, co-existing disorders, sex, coping skills, and more. Understanding the spectrum of ADHD takes patience, time, and teamwork, and that is the author’s intent….

 Read the rest—and sign up for the contest—here!

Thanks for reading,


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If you or someone you love is using cannabis to cope with ADHD, it’s time to learn the facts.

Sometimes a video is worth a thousand (or more) printed words. And, this informative, highly watchable piece from Rick Green at hits all the major points on a sometimes sensitive subject: People with ADHD using marijuana. I highly recommend it.

Here is the YouTube trailer, with more information below.

You can purchase the full video here at the TotallyADD website ($18.95 is the price posted right now, and that’s a bargain when you consider how many therapists or psychiatrists you might have to go through in order to get the same information, if you ever found a professional knowledge enough).

From the page:

By adulthood everyone with ADHD is ‘medicating’ themselves.

Whether they have been diagnosed with ADHD or not.

They’re self-medicating with nicotine, caffeine, overwork, drama, chaos, constant change, novelty seeking, risk taking, and addictions to gambling, food, sex, shopping, or exercise.

But perhaps the most common, and least recognized choice for self-medicating is marijuana.

It takes the edge off. I can focus.

It allows me to relax so I can do my job.

It calms me down so that I can sleep.

It shuts off the noise and chatter. I’m not anxious.

In this video ADHD experts reveal why Cannabis does help some ADHD symptoms. In the short term.

Hear from the experts in this video: Dr Lily Hechtman, Dr Edward Hallowell, Dr Ari Tuckman, Dr Stephanie Sarkis, Dr Margaret Weiss, Dr David Teplin, Dr Allan Donsky, Dr David Pomeroy, Dr Umesh Jain, Gina Pera, Laurie Dupar and ADHD & Addiction specialist Dr. Sam Chang.

They also outline the costs, risks, and dangers, both to the body and mind. Science is showing that Marijuana impacts memory, IQ, motivation, and leads to higher rates of psychosis and even Schizophrenia. The latest scientific studies are revealing a shocking reality that the media is reluctant to talk about.

Featuring our ADHD poster boy, Bill, and his wife Constance, this video brims with humanity. And some shocking information. Prepare to have your beliefs challenged. This isn’t scare mongering. This is simply what’s so.

If you, or someone you love, is using Cannabis to cope, this video is a must-see.

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If you have been seeking in-depth Spanish-language information on a variety of ADHD topics, I hope you can join me and a stellar line-up of experts from the U.S., Spain, Puerto  Rico, and Mexico, October 2-4, 2014, for the annual conference sponsored by Proyectodah: Congreso TDAH

The Mexico-City based non-profit Proyectodah sponsors this fantastic event, which I had the pleasure of attending last year. Top U.S.-based experts such as Tim Wilens, MD, and Mary Solanto, PhD, will be presenting, with simultaneous translation provided.

Estoy muy feliz de anunciar que Proyectodah ha traducido el libro al español. La traducción de Is It You, Me, o adulto con el TDA? hará su debut en la conferencia.  (translation: I am very happy to announce that Proyectodah has translated my book into Spanish. The translation of Is it You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? will debut at the conference.

—Gina Pera

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Here on the U.S. West Coast, we definitely have a harder time finding solid ADHD expertise, especially compared to our friends in the northeast. Some say it’s due to the hippie aversion to “not labeling.” I’m not sure, but when the Canadian ADHD non-profit CADDAC asked me to speak at their conference in beautiful Vancouver Nov. 1-2, 2014, I did not hesitate. Especially when I learned about the rest of the program.

A huge bonus for me and conference attendees: Dr. Russell Barkley will be giving four in-depth presentations.

Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

Rumor has it, this might one of his last presentations at a public conference, with semi-retirement beckoning. So, if at all possible, you want to join us. Dr. Barkley and I spoke at the CADDAC conference in Toronto, in 2009, where I saw first-hand the attendees’ rapt attention during his elegant and fascinating talks.

I will give two back-to-back presentations on Saturday, for an in-depth look at Adult ADHD: Real-World Explanations and Strategies. And, because I love facilitating Adult ADHD groups, I have offered to moderate an informal lunch gathering Saturday and Sunday, for adults with ADHD (and their partners).

Dr. Russell Barkley’s presentation topics: 

  1. ADHD: Essential Topics You Need to Know
  2. ADHD, Self-Regulation, and Executive Functioning: Theory and Implications for Management
  3. The Other Attention Disorder: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (or ADD) Versus ADHD
  4. The Importance of Emotion in Understanding and Managing ADHD.

    Gina Pera

    Gina Pera

Other regional experts round out a full slate of offerings for parents of children with ADHD as well as people affected by Adult ADHD, including “ADHD in the Workplace” presented by CADDAC director Heidi Bernhardt.

Learn more about the conference and register here.



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you-may-already-be-a-wienerThank you to readers who entered The ADHD Explosion book giveaway contest!  I am showcasing all 20 comments here, and will announce the winner at the end of this post. With any luck, people who tend to repeat these “annoying things people say about ADHD” might learn how annoying they are—and stop!
—Gina Pera

1. Janet:

The most wrong-headed but oft-repeated opinion about ADHD is that a kid diagnosed with it has an intelligence deficit and never go to college. Both my ADHD sons completed college and one has his doctorate!

2. Dr Charles Parker:

With an interesting endorsement like that I confess I can’t wait to read it! The most wrong headed statement: “ADHD does not exist because none of my clients are hyperactive.” Seriously – Duh!


Author: New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense

3. Heather:

Probably one of the things that surprises me the most is that some people think that people with ADHD can NEVER sit and focus on any one task for a large quantity of time. This is totally untrue. If it is a task that they have a interest in, they can actually hyper focus for long periods of time. My daughter will sit and draw for hours, but if she has to do a math problem she can’t stay still and focused for more then a couple minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enter to win a copy of this remarkable new book; leave a comment on this post with your idea of the most-often repeated wrong-headed opinion about ADHD. I’ll pick an entry from random and send the winner a hard-back edition of the book!

Everyone has an opinion about the  “ADHD Explosion”—one term for  recent years’ steady increase in diagnosis rates and medication usage. Yet, most opinions spring from knee-jerk reaction—or an “alternative” product to peddle. Finally, two experts have produced a lucid, logical, and highly readable guide to understanding the myriad factors behind the headlines. Everyone who cares about ADHD awareness should read The ADHD Explosion—and keep your highlighted copy nearby for handy reference.

You have a chance to win a copy by leaving a comment at the end of this post; just tell us your idea of the most wrong-headed but oft-repeated opinion about ADHD. I will pick a comment at random and send the winner a hardcopy edition of the book.

The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance begins with a solid overview of the costs of unrecognized ADHD, to individuals and society. Next, it explores ADHD’s position “where biology meets culture.” Subsequent chapters emphasize the importance of accurate diagnosis and effective treatment (“Do it Right or Pay the Price”), examine the potential impact of educational policy in determining the variable state-to-state ADHD diagnosis rates, and hit other key highlights.

The co-authors, Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D. and Richard Scheffler, Ph.D., both professors at the University of California, Berkeley, are well-qualified both to substantiate the costs of ADHD and to dissect the confusion swirling around it. Hinshaw, a psychologist, is a renowned ADHD researcher and the author of several books on mental illness and stigma. Scheffler is a distinguished professor of health economics and public policy.

Read the rest of this entry »

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My husband is the real scientist in our house, a molecular biologist by training and profession. But he contends I have strong scientific instincts. I can’t always substantiate my hunches—my scientific education and vocabulary is relatively meager—but sometimes my hunches are eventually proven correct.

Sucpills-in-handh could be the case with iron supplements and ADHD. For years, I’ve worried about this trend of parents giving kids with ADHD iron supplements after learning that ADHD is associated with low iron. Some adults take the supplements, too, for Restless Legs Syndrome, but are their iron levels being well-monitored and other causes being considered?

What if the problem, I wondered, is sometimes not with iron insufficiency in the diet but with the brain failing to “recognize” and absorb iron? This is a question worth asking, because a surplus of iron in the body carries great risks. I had a suspicion that stimulant medication would help to correct this problem as well as other metabolic issues. Preliminary research indicates this might be true.

Thank goodness for the researchers who study arduously for years in order to be able to painstakingly tease out answers on such topics. Emerging research indicates that yes, stimulant medication might normalize iron absorption in the brain (excerpt from a Medscape article: Brain Iron Levels a Potential ADHD Biomarker): Read the rest of this entry »

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Katy Rollins

This week’s guest post comes from my friend Katy Rollins, who writes one of my favorite blogs about living with Adult ADHD: 18Channels.

10 Ridiculous Things #ADHD Makes Me Do

By Katy Rollins

Just 10? I could probably list 100 but why blow them all on one post.

1) Follow my husband around the yard talking at him while he’s mowing the lawn, even though he can’t hear me, until he finally gives up, turns off the mower, and says “Yes?”

2) Decide to make dandelion wine. Then decide to make lilac wine. Then decide to make limoncello. Because three projects is BETTER than ONE!

3) Make a plan for the day – and then throw it out the window like the cheap imitation of a life that it is, if I get a better offer…or a distractingly good snack.

4) Sometimes avoid conversations because totally engaging in them can be totally a lot of work.

5) Keep throwing things in my big day bag because I need to “do” them, then experience confusion when the bag ends up weighing 35 lbs.

6) Headstands. Spontaneous headstands. On my couch.

7) Always lateness. Always working to thwart the always lateness.

8) Leave my purse sitting in random places. Like the middle of the sidewalk. Like around my body, but I forget it’s there. Like on tables in random public places.

9) Dream big. Regret it later.

10) Dream big again.


Check out 18Channels for essays and more from Katy, whose bio in part reads:
I’m a wife, stepmother of three, collector of animals (I AM NOT A HOARDER, we are at capacity at five!), an artstrepreneur, event planner, social media/marketing consultant and compulsive civic project instigator. I can often be seen around town with my ADHDog in tow.

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Thanks to Tom Nardone for allowing me to re-print this post, originally entitled They Don’t Believe I Am ADHD? Oh NO!! What Ever Will I do?

It originally appeared on Tom’s site, ADHD People. I’ve never met Tom but I’ve enjoyed his posts. Italians raised in the U.S. South share a certain kinship. Grazie, paisan!   —  Gina Pera

They Don’t Believe I Am ADHD? Oh NO!! What Ever Will I do?

Tom Nardone

By Tom Nardone

So many of my friends on the internet get angry when they hear people speak about ADHD as if it is a made-up, ridiculous, notion. It offends them to hear anyone say that their medication is unnecessary superfluous drugs usage. I found myself among them for a long time.

It really frosted me for anyone to tell me that my ADHD was just a bunch of bullshit. I would see a post or a comment and I wanted to go to battle stations; many times, I did. There has always been a split: between people who claim to be ADHD, and people who don’t believe in the existence of it. I no longer am angered by this.

This comes as no surprise to me as an ADHD person. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Those of us that are ADHD know all too well that there is a much bigger division among us. There are those of us, who believe in medication, and there those that say, “Absolutely not!” I have seen and I have been involved in heated debates and discussions regarding this. This used to upset me too. It doesn’t any more.

I don’t get mad about this anymore because the beliefs of others do not cause reality. The fact that someone does or doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as ADHD doesn’t make it real or a myth. The fact that someone does or doesn’t believe that there are such things as bipolar disorder, Leukemia, Aids or even a headache doesn’t change the facts. I am ok for people to believe in anything they want to. We live in a world full of people that believe all kinds of stupid shit. Whether they are right or wrong is not determined by the fact that they believe it. Read the rest of this entry »

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