Clarkston woman shares struggle of living with adult ADHD

Published: Jul. 17, 2018 at 3:20 PM EDT
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(07/17/18) -- Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, talking excessively, and impulsivity-- they're all symptoms of ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

It's often associated with children, but as many as 10 million adults in the U.S. have the disorder, but are never diagnosed or treated for it.

A Clarkston woman sat down with ABC12's Mark Bullion to talk about her struggles and how she hopes to inspire others who may be silently suffering.

"I grew up and didn't really realize there was any problem besides the fact that in school, I just talked a lot," said Jeannie Craig, who has adult ADHD.

9 years ago, after a neuropsychology test, Craig was diagnosed with the disorder, which interferes with a person's ability to focus, remember things and be organized.

"I lose my keys on a normal basis versus someone who does it every once in a while. I can search through everything and not find it and still be on me," Craig said.

The disorder is also characterized by a high level of impulsivity.

"It creates for very bad spending, creates very easily to be an addict, it's very easy to become addicted to things, you want the high, you want the adrenaline," she said.

And that adrenaline, like in Jeannie's case, can sometimes either be a good thing or a not so good thing.

"I walk in the door and, oh you're supposed to clean up something, and to try and remember, like for my kids who were supposed to clean up something, that it's not immediately to yell at somebody."

Dr. Recco Richardson, a Clinical Therapist with Hurley Mental Health Associates says there's a big difference between an adult with ADHD and an adult without it.

"They're wired to go. To do. To move, sometimes without thinking, it's like ready set, fire, forget the aim, just fire," Richardson said.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing; especially if the person is aware of their behaviors.

"I think that's 50 percent of the battle. It's not some type of mysterious ailment that overtakes you in the middle of the night and my goodness your life is changed for the rest of your life," he said.

So if it's known that a person has ADHD, what can you do?

"Helping them and encouraging them and guiding them isn't a put down, it's not something they detest. They understand this is how they think and they appreciate supportive people," Richardson added.

As for Jeannie, she treats her ADHD with medication on a daily basis; but sometimes, medication itself isn't enough; especially, when she's overwhelmed or stressed out.

"We just got a punching bag downstairs, so I will use something like that, I will get myself moving in some way to help myself," Craig said.

Jeannie encourages those who are suffering to have an open line of communication with others to help break the stigma of adult ADHD.

"It's being open and humble in yourself to going okay, I have this."

Which bares the question -- what is that person going to do about it?

In Jeannie's case, she got tested, is managing her ADHD with medication and lets people know she has the disorder.

"Wow I can move forward with this and learn from my deficiencies and develop positive coping skills."

Both Dr. Recco and Jeannie encourage people to get tested, and to talk to your doctor about symptoms you may be having.

ADHD symptoms, often times can mimic those of anxiety.

Self-diagnosis is a lot more common when it comes to mental health, but only your doctor will be able to make an official diagnosis.