About Gina Pera

About Gina Pera wedding photo with Dr. Goat

Welcome to the ADHD Roller Coaster, specifically the About Gina Pera page.

Finding solid ADHD expertise on the Internet—or even in the mental-health profession—can be tricky!

  • How do you know if the information is reliable?
  • Moreover, how do you round up all the bits and pieces into a useful, actionable whole?

For 25 years, I’ve helped folks find their way—adults with ADHD and their loved ones. Compassionately. Responsibly. Comprehensively. With humor, when it’s appropriate. Along the way, I’ve earned the endorsements of preeminent ADHD experts and the folks riding this ADHD Roller Coaster with me.

I will never forget what it was like, to feel so alone and misunderstood by the public and the mental-health community.  My lemons are your lemonade. Drink up!

On this page, I briefly offer my credentials.

New! Online Training!

I am excited to announce that my long-awaited courses are not only here—they’re battle-tested!  Solving Your Adult ADHD Puzzle.

Gina Pera Adult ADHD course

Sections In This About Gina Pera Page:

Mission: Elevating Lives Through the ADHD Lens

My goal since the late 1990s has been three-fold:

  1. Reducing suffering and elevating lives by providing support, validation, and solid education
  2. Providing intelligent and informed conversation around Adult ADHD—and its evidence-based treatment standards—for the average person
  3. Emphasizing that ADHD couple therapy requires educating and supporting each partner and the relationship—in a fair and equitable way.  That is, not simply asking the partner to be “more understanding” or executive secretary to the ADHD partner.

My published body of work, including this blog, two major books, a chapter in Dr. Russell Barkley’s clinical guide, online training, and group support carries out this mission.

Gina Pera and Dr. Goat wedding photo with gina getting wet


Why This Mission?  I’ll Tell You

In 1993, I was a print journalist living in San Diego. Then I met my future husband, a scientist. In the process, I accidentally discovered Adult ADHD—and the overwhelming need millions of people had for knowledgeable support.

It all left me stunned—the lack of awareness and professional help. It felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone! Twenty years later, it still does!  Each year, research tells us more about the personal costs of poorly managed/unrecognized ADHD. We must do better.

See that photo above? It’s our wedding, in 1999. Notice me in the dripline? See the soaked fabric on my shoulder.  I didn’t know I was in the dripline!  I thought it was just raining hard. My husband didn’t realize he’d put me in the dripline! Consider that literal and metaphorical, for years until we found our way.

Once I realized how common our challenges were for millions of others, I decided to shine a light on the path behind us. My husband has supported me every step of the way. He is a life scientist highly also motivated by elevating lives and health.

About Gina Pera and her brain mold
A reader gifted me with a brain mold — now it’s a Thanksgiving tradition

“But What Are You Exactly, Gina Pera”?

I get that question a lot.  Trouble is, my work defies easy categorizations—just as ADHD itself!

ADHD couple therapy training gina pera

So, I lack a simple marketing message. But smart folks manage to find me, and I am grateful for their company. We make fast progress!

They say they know I’m in their corner. They count on my cross-disciplinary knowledge to help them to solve many a mystery in their lives. Who knew XYZ [sleep apnea, addictions, driving safety, balance issues, sensory processing and auditory processing disorders, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, etc.] might be related to ADHD?  Not their physicians. Not their therapists.

Sure, this is more common knowledge in ADHD world now. But it wasn’t for many years. And yes, I am happy to credit my efforts toward making that happen.

The truth is, there is nothing simple about ADHD. You deserve a comprehensive understanding and evidence-based knowledge—one that helps you understand your particular ADHD-related issues and solutions. I make that accessible to the average person and to mental-health professionals. Even as a humble person, I can say you’ll find no better, more clear expertise anywhere.

The ADHD Relationships Lived Experience

Let’s back up. My direct experience with Adult ADHD began in the late 1990s, while still trying to make sense of my new husband’s inexplicable behaviors. Browsing the library’s “new books” section, an interesting title caught my eye:  Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, by Daniel Amen, MD.

That book changed my life alright—along with my husband’s life and many tens of thousands of people my work has helped.

So shocked that we didn’t know about adult ADHD—that none of our couple therapists knew, either—I started volunteering in my community to organize lectures and groups. My online group for local partners of Adult ADHD soon grew international, by demand.

That’s how I started on my path to becoming an author and internationally recognized Accidental ADHD Expert.

Service and “In the Trenches” Research

  • Founding and leading for almost 20 years an online group for the partners of adults with ADHD—10,000 members have come through and 14,000+ posts overall
  • Leading two face-to-face groups in Silicon Valley for 15 years: One for adults with ADHD, one for the “partners of”; both free and open to the public
  • Attending years of high-level conferences on ADHD—taking copious notes and asking questions (paying my own way, too, having rejected pharma support of any kind)
  • Reading hundreds of published papers—and dozens of books
  • Conducting the most comprehensive survey on Adult ADHD, the ADHD Partner Survey, the findings of which are included in Dr. Barkley’s clinical guide
  • Earning endorsements from luminaries in the field of both ADHD and couple therapy with my co-written guide, Adult ADHD Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions

ADHD relationship books by Gina Pera


Gina Pera’s Writing and Speaking

  • Writing this award-winning blog for 14 years—the longest-running website of any kind on Adult ADHD
  • Publishing in 2008 the groundbreaking, award-winning Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? —the first and only book to comprehensively detail Adult ADHD, the impact of late-diagnosis, the dual nature of “denial”, the potential effect on loved ones, and evidence-based treatment strategies
  • Being invited by a preeminent ADHD expert, Russell Barkley, PhD, to write the first-ever chapter on couple therapy for his “gold standard” clinical guide, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment.
  • Being asked to produce for Routledge Press the first clinical guide for treating ADHD-challenged couples:  Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions, with esteemed ADHD authority Arthur L. Robin, PhD.
  • By invitation, speaking at international high-level ADHD conferences
Russell Barkley Clinical Guide Gina Pera
With my new copy of Dr. Russell Barkley’s clinical guide, containing the first-ever chapter on Adult ADHD couple therapy (yes, I wrote it!)

ADHD Roller Coaster Blog: Bridging the Gaps

Everything that affects people with ADHD concerns me. “ADHD Relationship” issues don’t operate in a vacuum. Everything that affects the ADHD partner affects everyone else in their sphere.

You’ll find here blog posts on a huge range of topics—from first-person essays to key research findings.

ADHD Consumer Watchdog:

What good is “pursuing treatment” when the prescriber or therapist metaphorically drops you on  your head? And maybe discourages you from ever trying again? Sorry, but “talk to your doctor” too often proves a dead-end. Or worse.

My first book was supposed to be my “exit strategy” from so much pro bono work. But then the economy tanked (2008) and I heard too many disappointing stories about care providers. So, I kept at it.

Sampling (just use the search box to find the topic that interests you; links will be messy!):

  • Successfully lobbied the FDA to downgrade the first two Concerta generics—so consumers who rely on their medication working would not have to accept an inferior substitution
  • Helped consumers navigate the new mess after the 2017 White House administration’s new FDA chief approved a flood of inferior Concerta generics
  • Concerned about the misuse of genetic tests to guide ADHD medication choices, I recruited my scientist husband to join me in writing a seven-part blog post series.
  • Warned about the risks of Adderall 20 years ago—and ended up being right, darn it  (The Tragic Truth Of Prescription Adderall, or “Madderall” remains my most popular post)
  • Among the first to warn about differences between brand and generic medications, in the context of ADHD

Adult ADHD Educator

Combing cross-disciplinary research to help the public understand that ADHD is a physical condition—it affects more than “attention” and “focus”

These blog posts are among my most popular—and in most cases, the topics appeared here first:

Adult ADHD Relationship Expert

Everything that affects the adult with ADHD affects the partner (and children). When you stop and think about it, it’s not hard to understand.

You deserve a comprehensive education and strategies targeted to your needs. Not “Five Tips and Tricks”. Not standard couple-therapy beliefs uncomfortably shoe-horned into ADHD relationships.

In addition to my published work, I’ve covered the gamut on this blog:

  • You Me ADHD Book Club — Recognizing the neglected needs of dual-ADHD couples, I asked two women with late-diagnosis ADHD (husbands same!) to write chapter-by-chapter essays based on their reactions to reading Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?   Their essays also illustrated that ADHD relationship issues are not simply “ADHD vs. Non-ADHD”
  • Educated readers on the link between ADHD neurobiology and behaviors such as empathy and reciprocity
  • Wrote first-person essays on my own marriage, through the lens of Adult ADHD
  • Explained common Adult ADHD phenomenon that, misinterpreted and left to continue, could wreck lives (Adult ADHD and The Automatic No and When ADHD Leads to Self-Medicating with Argument)

No Pharmaceutical Industry Support

Compared to when I started this blog (2008!) and the few glorious years after, the Internet has become the Wild West on Adult ADHD.

Anyone can say anything. The louder they say it, the more credibility they are accorded. The  online marketing cabals, as they are called —a sort of mutual-admiration society echo-chamber—mislead for their own purposes and their non-disclosed funder. Amateurs market themselves as experts. Desperate consumers don’t know the difference.

There are no “gatekeepers”.

Consider the stakes: The difference between accurate and skewed information is the difference between a life or relationship well lived — and a life or relationship hobbled.

Since the beginning, I have been entirely self-funded. Why? Because conflict of interest is real. With my background in print journalism, I know it is a slippery slope.

Also: My book was the first to take a solid “pro-medication” stance. That was a risk in 2008 when the “ADHD is a Gift” campaign dominated in the popular press!  Medication is the single most effective tool in the ADHD toolbox, and I did not want this message tainted any apparent conflict of interest.

To be clear: You’ll never hear me castigate “Big Pharma”. The pharmaceutical industry has funded much ADHD research, and that’s often a very good thing. It has helped to legitimize the diagnosis. Researchers must provide evidence and undergo peer scrutiny. Their reputations, careers, and other types of grants depend on it. And they must by law disclose this support.

By contrast, the financial support behind many ADHD-themed websites and personalities is typically done covertly, with no disclosures.  That’s a problem.

Award-Winning Print Journalist

About Gina PeraAs an old-fashioned veteran journalist with a reputation for accuracy, I’ve brought to this topic since 2000 my skills in

  • Listening and asking good questions
  • Parsing statistics
  • Vetting experts as being reputable and truly expert
  • Assessing and gleaning key points from the published research—and gauging the strength of the research
  • Chasing down facts (and following the money)
  • Synthesizing complex information into everyday language
  • Knowing the limits to my knowledge and referring for more information to vetted research and/or specialists
  • Merging all this with the detailed stories from thousands of adults with ADHD and their loved ones.

Thank you for spending time with me. I’ll try to make the most of it!  Let’s work together to elevate our lives and the standard of Adult ADHD care.

Gina Pera

35 thoughts on “About Gina Pera”

  1. Hi Gina,

    I’m an adult with ADHD, diagnosed less than seven months ago at the age of 44. I’m also on active duty in the military. My marriage is currently going through a tough time, and my wife is likely going to file for divorce. We had a significant argument, and she is very upset. I am deeply worried about losing her after 16 years together. Additionally, I am concerned about my career, as the incident has had a severe impact on me.

    Although I am taking medication, the behavioral health resources in the military, especially overseas where I am currently stationed, are very limited. I pray that she understands that I love her and that I am not a bad person. I really don’t know what to do.

    Best regards,

    1. Dear R,

      I’m sorry to read of your situation. Poorly managed ADHD — and lack of education all the way around — can create so much unnecessary suffering among good, well-intentioned people.

      And perhaps the worst part is, you say you are “pursuing treatment.”

      The good news is that we have solid treatment strategies, proven effective. The bad news is, we can’t typically get them from “care providers.”

      One thing you might tackle right away is your medication. ADHD prescribing is too much “one size fits all” — with sometimes disastrous results.

      What are you taking and when? Are you also consuming caffeine or nicotine? How is your sleep?

      Care to say what the fight was about? Maybe I can shed light.

      My online training is available from anywhere, for you and your wife. I am happy to provide a military discount.


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  8. Alison Thomas

    Have just ordered your book,Thankyou for writing it,sounds great.

    I am an RN have a son who grew up with ADD,was on Ritalin to cope with school.Now as a 32 year old adult is having huge problems,with his marriage just hanging on,has been treated for a year with a anti depressant,makes him worse I think,with impotence and weight gain,not good.After waiting a year,he is finally getting to see a psychiatrist in a month,I have no doubt all his problems are ADD,

    how do you get doctors to listen and accept that not everyone has bipolar? My son has anger issues,also forgetting to brush teeth etc,I think the anger is frustration,he was like this as a teenager when he came off the Ritalin.We are in Australia,will let you know how he goes,fingers crossed,he just wants to be happy,then we are all happy,so hard on spouses and children and parents!!! Thankyou

  9. HI Devon,

    Thanks for bringing that study to my attention. In fact, I am familiar with it. I tend to follow the more interesting research on ADHD.

    I’m glad that that author brought up a very important point, and which the researchers should have stated as a limitation of the study (and, it should be noted, it’s one study, unreplicated):

    “The first thing I do when I see a study like this is I look at who the sample is, and that creates a little bit of an interesting issue in terms of interpreting it,” says Dr. Steven Kurtz, senior director of the ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York. “The subset of folks who have ADHD who are there have been able already to exceed a bunch of hurdles.”

    Dr. Kurtz emphasizes that ADHD presents so many challenges for children—focus, task completion, perseverance—that getting through high school successfully is a feat that requires proper support from both family and educators.

    “When I read this, I thought of Kinko’s. You know why?” Dr. Kurtz asks. “Because the guy who started Kinko’s, who is an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 of ADHD… was able to think outside the box. He had an extremely high IQ, an incredible amount of support, and the appropriate accommodation in school.”


    1. Omg Gina !! Your site just popped up on my phone this morning ! I just don’t even know where to begin about myself !??

      I’m relating to so many people in your Blogs ! I’m 71 yrs old. I was officially diagnosed with ADHD in my early 50s. There’s so much more I could say ! But, rt now, I need help !! I can’t focus, concentrate, organize, finish any tasks, or even start them !!

      I have low energy, no motivation & procrastinate !! I’m so frustrated with myself, I just don’t know where to turn !!? I’m on adderall 20mg tabs 2x per day, it’s definitely not working !!? My Dr. can’t help me !! I’m a very self help reader, but, I can’t seem to fix myself, etc. !!? But, I want n need some, answers & action in my life now today !!?

      I have Depression, Anxiety, Hashimotos Thyroid and on May 10, 2021, I had a TIA, No answer’s why ? So, I’m on a Heart Monitor for 30 days now, to hopefully find a reason !!? I’m taking Lipitor 40mg daily now n I’m calling my Neurologist today, bc of all of my extreme Side Effects from it !?? Oh boy ! I know I’m a mess ! !

      Gina, I can tell your very knowledgeable about ADHD and You Care !!! looking forward to your reply !! TU, for letting me vent n respond !!

    2. Dear Connie,

      Feel free to vent here any time. Thank you for seeing that I am knowledgeable and I care.

      Here’s my little vent and validation for you:

      It’s absolutely CRAZY that adults with ADHD are largely left to figure out their diagnosis for themselves—and then cobble together treatment from a mental-healthcare field that barely acknowledges ADHD, much less knows how to treat it.

      Also: That physicians seeing what are likely signs of ADHD—or its physical fallout—and not knowing it. Diabetes. Obesity. Sleep apnea. Probably Hashimoto’s, too. etc.


      Why are you prescribed Adderall (assumed generic) 20 mg tabs 2 x day? How did your prescriber arrive at that choice? Or is all you’ve ever been given?

      Most people with ADHD do better on a sustained-release stimulant — not the ups and downs of an immediate release or extended release in a clunky and cheap delivery system.

      If you haven’t tried brand Vyvanse (also in the amphetamine class, as with Adderall) or brand Concerta (in the methylphenidate class), you might not know what you are missing.


      Adderall can increase your heart rate and precipitate “cardiac events”— if it’s not the right Rx for you. All the more reason to try something else.


      TIA and now Lipitor? Why? Actual high cholesterol or physician just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks?

      Lipitor might actually push some people toward dementia, according to recent preliminary research (in addition to earlier research). That is hardly what someone with ADHD symptoms needs.


      Notice that the other class of statin does not appear to carry the dementia risk.


      The researchers found that of 300 older adults with mildly impaired thinking and memory, those using “lipophilic” statins were more likely to develop dementia over the next eight years.

      Lipophilic statins include such widely used medications as simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) and lovastatin (Altoprev).

      They’re considered lipophilic because they are attracted to fat and can cross into many body tissues, including the brain. That’s in contrast to hydrophilic statins — like rosuvastatin (Crestor) and pravastatin (Pravachol) — which act mainly in the liver.

      At the very least, you might ask your physician about Crestor or Pravachol instead of Lipitor.
      Try other stimulant choices, perhaps Vyvanse and Concerta. These represent the most popular choices in the two classes of stimulants, amphetamine and methylphenidate.

      I hope this helps!


  10. Hi Gina, I am curious…has your book been translated into French? My Fiance is French and though he speaks and reads English well I am afraid this book would be too much for him at this time (he has yet to move here and “live in English” full time yet but I KNOW this book would really help us out. I tried looking around and guessing at what the title would be but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Are there plans to get it into French?

    On another note it is completely frustrating to me that, at 33 years old and just diagnosed a few months back I am running around like crazy trying to find a new doctor. I had started meds (life-changing, and yet, I’m still me – I LOVE IT) and well…I missed an appointment (at this time I can only get refills on a month to month basis with an appointment (Dr. and Insurance make more money this way, they must love it! And me, I have to get time off of work, lucky I am an educator and have the days I can take) and well, yes, how very ADHD of me, I missed an appointment. I didn’t like the original appointment I was given but could not find any other day to get in so I took it and in the end I couldn’t make it. I have been calling my doctor’s office for a month (it’s always just the answering service that calls) and they keep taking my messages but I never get called back. I have been off my meds and wow, a month of of them and things are spiraling out of control — this used to be my normal? HOW? WHY? WHAT? I am trying to find a new doctor and it’s more complicated now because my employer is switching insurance companies come September 1st. I’m going crazy. I really wanted to use thiswhole summer to prepare for the next year and be super productive. Good luck to me finding a new doctor, getting in (waiting lists are horrible) and then getting them to agree to my diagnosis and not assuming I am some kind of addict or drug dealer etc….Anyway, thanks for the book, thanks for the blog!

    1. Hi Faith,

      Congrats on the diagnosis — and that Rx works well for you. That’s big!

      re: my book in French. Unfortunately, it’s not available in French yet. Many people in Quebec have been very interested in a French translation. In France itself, ADHD awareness is in the basement. It’s very expensive to have a book translated and made available in another language. So, unless a generous donor comes along, it won’t be anytime soon that the book will be en Francais.

      re: your month-to-month Rx. It’s actually a federal law for the stimulants. One way around it is to see if your insurance coverage offers a 60- or 90-day mail order benefit. If you have it, that’s the only way to go, imho.


  11. Ellen Mandeville

    Dear Gina,

    I found your fabulous book through one of your articles at http://www.additudemag.com. Our daughter was diagnosed just over a year ago with ADD. While reading about it, I began to realize that I wasn’t just reading about our daughter, but also about me. When I started reading about the symptoms of ADD and realized that they described me, one of my first thoughts was, “You mean these ‘character defects’ are actually diagnosable?!?”

    I won’t bore you with our saga before and after diagnosis, but suffice to say that I finally got around to researching ADD meds in preparation for today’s appointment with my psychiatrist. I enjoyed, in an ER humor sort of way, the irony of reading questions such as, “Do you wait until the last minute to get started on important tasks?” Um, yeah, I’ve only known for a month that I’m going to have this appointment, and that we’re *finally* at the point of seriously considering prescription medications. So, okay, a few days before the appointment I’ll finally start truly researching the available meds. Sheesh…

    Anyway, due to our daughter’s adverse reaction to one medication–anger, aggression–I was pretty gun shy about trying stimulants for myself. In your book I skipped straight to the chapters on medications. What I learned there caused me to be willing to try a stimulant with a “start low, titrate slow” approach. And that’s what were doing. I discussed what I’m reading with my husband and how his observational input is really needed to find the right medication at the right dose with the right delivery mechanism. The book is now on both our Kindles.

    We’ve endured nightmares–some years long–while finding the right medication for me for depression. Starting another round of the medicine roller coaster has been filling me with dread. The find-the-right-medicine detective strategies I’ve learned in your book has turned that dread into cautious hope.

    Thank you so much for your book. My undiagnosed ADD has caused much grief in our marriage and family. I’m so thankful that you’ve written about the huge impact this disorder can have on relationships. I’m looking forward to working with my husband to make our marriage stronger than ever before.

    BTW, personally I think ADD should really be called VAS: Variable Attention Syndrome.

    1. Hey Ellen,

      I love you so much!!! 🙂

      Do you know how many times people have written me to say they loved my book, and then they report bad results with medication because they didn’t really read the medication chapter — or somehow thought the doc would “handle it.”

      You are among the RARE number, in all these years, that has actually made clear note of that chapter and, more importantly, has used it to help you over your fears.

      This leaves me impressed and happy!!

      And I’m happy the rest of the book has helped, too!

      Remember now, at least half of folks with ADHD have a co-existing condition. Often, it is depression or anxiety. Sometimes those are caused by the frustrations of untreated ADHD. But sometimes they are neurogenetically based. And, that means sometimes the stimulants will exacerbate the depression or anxiety.

      That is typically no reason to stop the stimulant, if it’s effective for ADHD symptoms. It’s simply a reason to keep trying — maybe a different class of stimulant or a different delivery system, maybe add a medication to address the depression/anxiety (or maybe an amino acid)…or many other options.

      The important thing to know is that you can go slowly and keep adjusting until it works for you.

      Best of luck. Please keep me posted on your progress!

    2. Ellen Mandeville

      Thanks, Gina!

      But careful now… don’t love me too much. I somehow managed to let my psychiatrist give me an Rx for Adderall knowing that there were some good reasons to start with the methylphenidate class stimulants. **HUMPH** Well… it is a super low dose, but I’m wondering if I’m merely wasting a month starting here.

      And as for co-existing conditions, I was diagnosed with depression 7 1/2 years ago. I should write sometime about *that* medication roller coaster. ugh! I’m currently on bupropion 150 mg and Deplin 15 mg, which seems to be helping me manage the depression.

      Now to sleuth out the right medicine, right dose, and right release mechanism for ADD. *sigh* Can I just go hide now? 😉

    3. Haha! Okay, maybe I got carried away there. But I’m sincere….you are the rare bird in that respect! And I worked so hard on those chapters.

      Hey, maybe Adderall will work great for you. It does for many people. I just urge caution with trying it first, for many reasons. Also, most people I know who did well on Adderall did better on Vyvanse — and many who did not tolerate Adderall tolerated Vyvanse. So, there’s that.

      Super-low dose is good. You can always go up. More and more, I see the wisdom of not “shocking” the body with a larger dose, anyway. Starting as low as possible and increasing slowly is a smart way to go, in my opinion.

      It will be interesting to see what happens to your depression (a squishy word) when the stimulant is on board. The bupropion might be helping your depression because of the stimulating effect.

      Don’t hide now. You’re almost there! 🙂

      Good luck!

    4. Ellen Mandeville

      Hey Gina,

      Hope you don’t mind me clogging up your About page with my comments and queries!

      I’m currently on my first ADD medicine trial of Adderall. I started on 2.5 mg 2x/day and yesterday titrated up to 5 mg 2x/day. Yesterday and today, I can see improvement in my focus, but am also noticing myself becoming easily, outrageously irritated and emotional after five hours. I’m trying to decide between continuing on with this trial (plan is to bump up the morning dose in a week to 10 mg), or calling my doctor and calling this trial quits. I would appreciate your thoughts.

      We’ve unwittingly suffered through nasty side effects during medicine trials for depression in the past. My biggest fear right now is becoming a raving bitch to my family. I really don’t want to go there again.

      I’m so thankful for all your research into ADHD. My saint of a husband has stood by me through thick and thin. Okay, so often he was standing over me with blame and frustration in his eyes…. At least now we’re understanding it better and are seeking ways to mitigate ADD’s detrimental effect on our lives. Anyway, thank you for all you’ve done, are doing, and will do. My husband and I both appreciate it.

    5. Ellen — I was perhaps more subtle than I could have been in my book, my observations about Adderall.

      In short, I recommend avoiding it until learning that other options don’t work.

      The reasons are that, in my long observation, it tends to provoke more irritability. There can be other reasons for the irritability. (I think I answered that before). But I bow to no MD who claims that it has no greater side effect potential than Ritalin. None.

      Start with the MPH class, and try a very low dose. Don’t titrate quickly.

      Go back and read my Rx chapter in the book! 🙂


    6. Ellen Mandeville

      Thank, Gina. I’ll re-read the chapter. I think I’m done with Adderall.

  12. This book has been a Godsend for me.I,m positive my wife has ADD.I,ve read many relationship books over the years but nothing seem to fit until I read this book.The solutions here are great.Many of them work like magic.We,ve also done Imago and that has helped greatly.It has helped my wife stay focus,which seems very hard for her.I haven,t approached my wife yet for fear she would become to angry.She doesn’t,t believe in ADD and I think she would be greatly affended by the idea.Many thanks,your book saved my life.Now everything makes sense.

    1. HI Rick,

      I am so happy to know that the book has helped you to such a degree. I am working now on a book for couple’s therapists, to help them to recognize ADHD in the couples seeking their help and knowing ADHD-specific strategies. We have modified Imago to apply to ADHD couples.

      I hope that the more that you become grounded in your knowledge in ADHD, the more your wife will be willing to consider it. Don’t give up!


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  14. Gina-
    I stumbled upon a comment of yours on another site that referenced rates of prevalence around military bases…wondering if you can suggest any research that’s out there? It’s exactly the data I am looking for- I’m a Navy Mental Health NP student working on my final paper and havent seen much on pubmed, etc. with regard to ADHD numbers in the military. Any help is much appreciated!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for writing.

      You know, I think hard and fast figures will be hard to come by. I’ve seen no definitive studies on overall rates of ADHD in the military.

      At a few ADHD conferences, I’ve made a point to identify military representatives and ask them about the situation. What I’ve learned is that the level of awareness about and treatment for Adult ADHD is highly dependent not only upon the branch of the military (the Air Force seems to be the most “enlightened” when it comes to treatment, but that’s just my impression) but also upon the specific base. Treatment availability can vary widely base to base.

      Further complicating the picture: I’ve learned from moderating the online group for partners of adults with ADHD that many serving in the military are afraid to ask for an evaluation or treatment; because it will mean dismissal. So, whatever “official” number is out there, you can bet the “unofficial” number is higher.

      It seems the best way to get a handle on the prevalence is by looking at specific studies and extrapolating. Often the first part of published papers details the existing background knowledge on the subject, and so these papers might even include the numbers you’re looking for.

      Here are two such studies:


      I suggest that you keep looking through PudMed and also write to the researchers asking if they can help with specific questions you have. There is usually an e-mail for the lead researcher just below the title information. Most researchers try to be helpful, and since this is their topic area they have no doubt larger knowledge of the demographics.

      I wish you all the best with your research; it is much needed!


  15. I think my husband has ADD/ADHD and after reading your book, I am almost positive! I have been trying to search for help in the Reno, Nevada area, but cannot seem to find anyone or get any recommendations. My husband is very successful and does not think he needs any help because people with ADD/ADHD aren’t as successful as he is, so he cannot not have it. I need to find some kind of help in my area and I am getting desperate! Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
    Thank you so much for writing the book, I don’t feel alone anymore and that means everything to me right now.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Joell,

      I’m so glad my book has helped you not be alone. That does count for a lot, I realize, as there wasn’t such a book for me 12 years ago. 🙂

      I can suggest two options for you.

      1. I offer limited telephone consultations. Sometimes just an hour or two of talking with someone who truly understands can be a big thing!
      2. I moderate an online discussion group (not a “chat” group but e-mail based). Here is the link:



  16. Hi Gina,

    I have only been researching this for a day and a half now and already reading your articles, comments, and joining the yahoo support group has given me some peace of mind that “I am not crazy” and my partner does love me!

    My partner and I have been together for 2 1/2 years. She was diagnosed with AD/HD as a child and has never received any support or medical attention. Her mom went the natural route with keeping her daughter active and exhausted to curb her symptoms. But as an adult that was left to her to do and she struggled with it!

    One way she self medicated was by doing just that….self medicating. She became addicted to pain pills and abused them for 15+ years. She is 2 years clean now, but once off the treatment she is on I/we worry how the AD/HD might manifest into the addictive feelings she feels that makes her feel like using.

    Can you speak on what you know about AD/HD and addicts….addictive personalities.

    Thank you, Heidi

    1. Hi Heidi,

      I’m glad you found my blogs. You will probably find my book equally helpful — if not moreso. I wrote it as a comprehensive guide to understanding Adult ADHD, including its impact on relationships, and knowing about its evidence-based strategies.

      As for your partner’s mom, yes, the “natural” route often ends in the scenario you describe: with unhealthy self-medicating. The sources of substance-abuse are many, and include sexual activity, alcohol, marijuana, pain killers, food, gambling, driving fast/recklessly, etc.

      I wouldn’t call it an “addictive personality,” however. I would call it untreated ADHD. My book will help you understand the role played by dopamine in the brain’s reward systems and how ADHD neurobiology can hijack that reward system.


  17. Gina,
    I’m on meds for my Adhd.
    My problem is that I give up on therapy when I’m not in crisis.
    I don’t know what to talk about when it’s not imminent danger Etc.
    Have you any experience with hypnotherapy?
    Any other suggestions?
    Thanks as always.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Well, anyone who hears me talk on these topics knows that I’m likely to ask, “what meds, how did you select them, and how long throughout the day are they in effect?” Because so many times the medication isn’t what it should be.

      I would also ask what kind of therapy? Is it ADHD-focused therapy that helps you to develop new habits of planning, so that you don’t want for crisis to get you dealing with certain things? The best ADHD therapists employ practical skill-coaching, too.

      But to your question, yes, I think hypnotherapy is often a great idea. But it depends on what you’re needing it to accomplish. It’s not going to help you with practical skills (organizing one’s time, priorities, or stuff). But it can help with getting better sleep, avoiding substances such as cigarettes and caffeine, and calming the mind so you stay more mindful.

      I hope this helps,

  18. Pingback: Adult ADHD – VictoriaClaytonWrites

  19. Donna Stanley

    Hi Gina , as spouse and parent of ADHD son/husband I cannot put into words how important your book has become to me since I ordered it from Amazon I was desperate for some information/help/empathy for partners.
    Here in Ireland the ignorance is worse than what you would find in USA
    I am determined to find some funding to purchase as many copies of your book as I can and ‘spread the word’,I cannot be sure but in a country of over 1 million people, I would bet I am the only one who has a copy of this book and my mission is to change this for all the other people in the same situation and dont even know it.
    Thank you for putting it together and I thank God I found it.

    1. Bless your heart, Donna, and thank you for writing. It means to much to me to know that you’ve found the book helpful. It’s been a rather mammoth undertaking, but to learn from people like you that I’ve achieved my goal –bringing others out of isolation and doing my bit to end the suffering that comes with ignorance — well, it’s hard to ask for more. THANK YOU.

      When I spoke at the ADDISS ADHD conference in London last year, I met a few people from Ireland. Perhaps ADDISS could put you in touch with some local advocates. It seems that, as it was in the U.S. until a few years ago, the emphasis remains on children and not adults.

      take care,

      I haven’t checked with Andrea Bilbow (director of ADDISS) to see if they will hold another conference next year. If they do, it’s a marvelous opportunity to learn and to gain support from others who “get it.”

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