Hot Topics: Adult ADHD Diagnosis, Sleep Issues, and Sex



After 10+ years of moderating the online group ADHD Partner with Gina Pera (an international free online group for the partners of adults with ADHD), I know these are “hot topics.” These posts are designed  to chill too-hot-to-handle issues with sex, sleep, and even getting the diagnosis.

ADHD and Sleep

“To Sleep, Perchance to Turn Off that *&$@# Computer.”

This is a topic I’ve educated about for years. Still, many people (including clinicians) are surprised to learn that many ADHD symptoms conspire to impair good sleep—for adults with ADHD and their partners.  Definitely read the many validating, illuminating comments.

ADHD and Sex

Who knew? A “little kid’s disorder” that makes them “fidget in the classroom” can create problems with adult sexual intimacy, and indeed any type of intimacy?

I started querying ADHD partner members about this issue 10 years ago. I also included pointed questions in the ADHD Partner survey.  Group members and survey respondents reported  the challenges as pervasive (though not universal).

Yet, when I called prominent San Francisco Bay Area sex therapists and even the national association for sex therapists, none had a clue what I was talking about. It would be more than 15 years before the a sex therapist made mention of ADHD in a book on sexual intimacy:  Can ADHD Affect Sexual Intimacy? Leading Sex Therapist Says Yes

That’s why there’s a chapter devoted to ADHD and sex in my book Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster when Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder.

I’ve touched upon several angles, including these:

ADHD and Sex: Post-Orgasm Irritability, Jerkiness

Chapter 6: ADHD and Sex — Peaks and Valleys In the Bedroom

Adult ADHD Diagnosis

The  Adult ADHD Diagnosis: How Is It Made?

It seems that most everything about Adult ADHD is confusing, until you get the straight facts. That includes the Adult ADHD diagnosis itself.

There is a method to the diagnosis. For example, it does not consist of the adult with ADHD asking his family physician, “So, doc, do you think I have ADHD?” And, the physician responds, “Nah, you have a job and a marriage. Stop reading those advertisements for ADHD medications!”

My book contains an appendix on the evaluation process, for which I interviewed a leading ADHD expert, Thomas E. Brown, PhD. It  includes the DSM-IV-TR official diagnostic criteria as well as the criteria proposed for Adult ADHD by another leading expert and research scientist, Russell Barkley, PhD and colleagues. (The DSM-IV-TR criteria was never tested for adults, and that was a huge problem.  Unfortunately, many ADHD experts are very unhappy with the latest criteria revision, in DSM-V).

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Personally, I would go by the recommendation from Barkley and colleagues, at least to best understand the diagnosis.

This post appeared here on ADHD roller coaster, not on the blog I write for CHADD. I include it here as a fundamental “hot topic.”


I welcome your comments

Gina Pera


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