ADHD: A Growing Frustration For Adults

FRESNO, Calif.

"This is the family-only calendar," Melody Bakeeff showed Ivanhoe.

That's how Bakeeff keeps life in order -- calendars and lots of stickers.

"This is all the things: weekly, daily, and monthly," Bakeeff explained.

But a year ago, she was at the breaking point: unable to focus, to organize business files on the computer. "It just came to a point where it was like this should not be this hard," Bakeeff said.

In between play-days with daughter Ana were a haze of work and family problems, even talk of divorce. Then, a therapist suggested Bakeeff may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

"I was like, 'Wow, that's it. It's me, oh my god. It was like to a T. It was crazy," Bakeeff recalled.

Studies show more than four percent of United States adults have ADHD, which translates in to some 10 million people. But less than 25 percent are aware of their condition.

"It's a great thing once it's diagnosed and treated," James L. West, licensed mental health counselor at Total Life Counseling, in Orlando, Fla., told Ivanhoe.

That's because untreated adults have a 300 percent higher rate of substance abuse than others. They also have difficulty staying employed and maintaining relationships. Experts say if you deal with these issues all the time, you may have ADHD, and you need to get evaluated.

"You know, the earlier you diagnose ADHD, the better," West explained.

For Bakeeff, that means medication and stripping sugars from her diet. Now, she can focus and organize her work so family fun can be that way again.

"So, now I can sit down and say, 'I don't do things like everybody else, that's OK'," Bakeeff explained. It's a realization that means everything.

Experts say those with ADHD often have a 25 percent "gap" in their social and emotional understanding. For example, a 16-year-old with ADHD is more likely to act like a 12-year-old and so on. This maturity gap typically catches up between 30 and 35 years of age, but experts say a lot of damage can be done before that time.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at mmedalie@ivanhoe.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: James L. West
Total Life Counseling
Orlando, FL
(407) 248-0030

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