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For the 37 years my husband lived without benefit of ADHD diagnosis, he developed many coping strategies. One was implementing organizational systems to eliminating time-wasting or unnecessarily frustrating himself by hunting down often-used items—keys, Swiss Army knife, umbrellas, and the like.  For the pre-diagnosis years of our relationship, I also developed systems, such as installing a white board in the kitchen for important communications.

These days, when people ask my advice in addressing their own or their partners’ ADHD-related challenges, I suggest they first focus on organizational strategies.  Perhaps even consulting a professional organizer before seeking therapy or couples counseling.

Yes, therapy can be important. Yes, medication can be foundational. But so many individual problems and “couples troubles” around ADHD stem from chronic disorganization. In fact, in my ADHD Partner Survey, disorganization was the top problem area reported by the partners of adults with ADHD!

In the early days of diagnosis, I consider it vital to instill a sense of optimism that life can truly get better. And one of the best ways to do that is to immediately focus on environmental strategies and supports.

Below, I have highlighted some products on Amazon.com that can help you get organizational traction. Quickly and cost-effectively.

The list is not exhaustive; I plan to highlight specific categories in the future (bedroom, closet, office, etc.).  Right now, the main idea is to get you thinking strategically about problem-solving —”dealing with stuff” and reducing your stress.

Check out my brief captions on each product! Click on any product to place it in your shopping cart. (It might take a second or two ro load, and might not work in Google Chrome browser.)

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“We can celebrate the successes of some people with ADHD without misrepresenting ADHD as somehow conveying cognitive gifts or other benefits, which it clearly does not.”

—Russell Barkley, PhD

Understanding complex issues requires complex thought—and tedious research. Yet, the online world skews towards simplistic opinion—and clickbait. While serious ADHD-focused clinical and scientific investigators toil in the trenches, with little time for blogging or writing op-eds (even if The New York Times were interested in legitimate ADHD experts), other folks with more time on their hands tend to dominate the online world.

If one reads only certain self-proclaimed experts, one would never guess the Mack truck-sized holes in their arguments. Worse, these pieces often go “viral.” And, like a virus, their harmful distortions risk insidiously further weakening the public’s understanding of this highly variable condition called ADHD and, thus, many dimensions of public policy.

Countering the logical, factual flaws in many pieces about ADHD online would be a full-time job, so I try to be selective. For example, when a highly problematic piece is published on Scientific American’s site (“The Creative Gifts of ADHD”), that is worrying, even with this tiny, hard-to-find disclaimer:

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

The author reposted the piece a few weeks later on Alternet.org, with an even more provocative clickbait headline: ADHD Brains Are the Most Creative: Why Do We Treat It Like a Disability?

(The headline provides the reader’s first clue that the story following will be binary nonsense: the idea that there are “ADHD brains”—instead of millions of individuals who have various manifestations of a highly variable syndrome, along with endless variations on other human characteristics. By the way. creativity is a human characteristic.)

After I left a comment at Scientific American, I read other comments. To my surprise, Russell Barkley, PhD, a preeminent research scientist in the realm of ADHD, had already left a comment. He has given me permission to re-print it here. Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, in personal e-mails, or whenever you need a solid counter to the online nonsense. Instead of dumbing-down the dialogue around ADHD. we need to constantly work to emphasize the complexities of the human brain.

 Dr. Barkley Responds:

Despite repeated assertions by trade book authors on ADHD, especially in adults, and now the author, Mr. Kaufman, the entire body of evidence available on any link of ADHD with increased creativity does not support such a link. What it does show is that people with ADHD range across the entire spectrum of creativity, variously measured, as does the general population. But there is no significant correlation between ADHD or its symptom severity and increased creativity. Read the rest of this entry »

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The best news! The FDA announced today that the two approved generic versions of Concerta manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Kudco have been downgraded. It’s horrifying that so many people have already been adversely affected, and without warning, not to mention having their concerns dismissed by some pharmacists. “It’s the same as the brand,” some pharmacists said. “No, it’s not!” we said. And the FDA heard us.

You can bet ADHD Roller Coaster readers had much to do with that!  Many of you followed through by filing a complaint with the FDA’s MedWatch program, as I’ve encouraged repeatedly over the past year. (I would share the links but I’m on the road, traveling with a very slow connection, and wanted to get out this news stat!). That form was NOT easy to complete, especially if your meds were underperforming! And I’m sure Dr. Kristen Stuppy, who blogs at Pediatric Partners, is celebrating. She has worked hard to publicize this issue, too.

Congrats and hooray!

The full press release is below, but I’m pulling out this very practical point here for emphasis: Read the rest of this entry »

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Canadian-Maple-Leaf-FlagThis past weekend, I presented at the CADDAC ADHD conference in Vancouver, where I learned that Canadians are dealing with their own generic Concerta.

CADDAC stands for Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada; it is the national advocacy organization. And Heidi Bernhardt’s is the steady hand steering much of the ongoing progress in Canada around ADHD awareness, including organizing conferences and working on public policy. If you live in Canada and have ADHD, be glad that Heidi is in your corner!

We talked about Canada’s challenges with generic Concerta (different manufacturers than in U.S.). When I asked Heidi to provide an update for my blog’s Canadian readers, she responded with this:

“We are having very similar issues with the generic Concerta that is available in Canada, Teva Methylphenidate ER-C. To access additional information on this please click on this link at the CADDAC web site. Dr. Kenny Handelman’s blog post on the topic is also excellent.

“We are currently surveying medical practitioners to discover how much of an issue they are finding generic mental health medications. It seems that sensitivities to alterations in mental health medications are greater and cause more fallout than with other medications.

“If you would like to let CADDAC know about issues that you have had or are having with generic medication, please send an e-mail to me, Heidi Bernhardt.

“We also encourage patients to report issues with less efficacy or increased side effects to Health Canada. Health Canada has let us know that nothing will be done unless they hear from enough people. For more info on this please access http://www.caddac.ca/cms/page.php?230.

Heidi Bernhardt
President and Executive Director, CADDAC

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Following this post, where I provide a little background on the problems with The New York Times viewing ADHD not as a legitimate condition but the juicy pinata of clickbait, here is my friend Dotty’s excellent Letter to the Editor (as yet unpublished).

Dotty, who has ADHD and whose husband has ADHD—both diagnosed in their 30s—writes:

I’m thankful Dr. Richard Friedman laid out the truth about ADHD’s biological roots: It’s something we’re born with. It’s related to brain function and structure. However, his prescription to “treat” our ADHD was to relieve our “boredom”—comparing us to a nomadic Kenyan tribe who needs the stimulation to find food and a mate.

There’s only one problem: Nomadic tribal peoples don’t get to write screenplays. They don’t get to have good teeth. Their kids don’t get antibiotics, or a good education, or even clothing. (There’s no mention of the infant mortality rates. Or how long the adults live. Or even of the smell that they endure every day.) These tribes live every day in “crisis mode,” searching for the next thing that will feed them—just for that day!

Oh, but you don’t want us to actually become nomads; you just want us to be “stimulated” by doing things like running our own businesses. The only problem is that, according to Forbes magazine, 8 out of 10 new businesses fail! Nomads and entrepreneurs don’t make their kill every day, Dr. Friedman. Read the rest of this entry »

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The New York Times has made Sunday a day of un-rest for people with ADHD—and the people who love them. It is always the Sunday edition, with the highest circulation, that features the latest hit piece by non-experts on ADHD. This past Sunday, it was called “A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D.” (My policy is not to encourage this behavior by sharing the link.)

My friend Dotty fired back with a Letter to the Editor, which she has graciously allowed me to share (see next post). But first some background.

Each New York Times ADHD hit-piece artfully includes a few “shiny” facts amidst the dreck. These Trojan horses serve to first beguile and then misinform the non-ADHD savvy public. On Twitter, therapists and newspaper columnists who should know better were re-Tweeting the “Natural Fix”, publicly betraying their own ignorance of the topic.

On Twitter, my friend Michael and I established the hashtag #ADHDClickBait to call out these and other sensationalist pieces. As I wrote in a rebuttal to a disastrous Esquire piece on ADHD a while back:

Esquire joins The New York Times in treating one of the most well-researched and documented conditions in medical history as a piñata. Bash ADHD and all the goodies fall out. Web traffic soars. The immense anti-psychiatry blogosphere races to showcase the latest proof that they’ve been right all along. Esquire actually calls this piece a “blockbuster investigation” — just in case the ASME judges missed it.

Lost in the shuffle: Accurate reporting on a critically important public health issue affecting millions of Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 to 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!) Read the rest of this entry »

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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: GimmeThatBook.com. 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 TotallyADD.com 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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