A few years ago we diagnosed 3 members of our family with ADD/ADHD symptoms. We have been working with both chemical and behavioral approaches to dealing with these issues. I took a minute today to access our progress.
1. Shanna – her issues have impacted her in 3 main areas: social, academic, and driving. Socially she is still behind, but very comfortable with herself and has a handful of good friends that includes both girls and boys. Academically she does much better with the medications, and may always need some level of chemical help. That said, she has managed to get into BYU, maintain an excellent GPA, and participate in the honors program. I would consider that successful. Driving – she has chosen not to drive. That may not be the ideal outcome, but it is safer and cheaper than the alternative. I would say that both with and without medications she has developed successful skills in dealing with life. She has also taken significant levels of responsibility as far as understanding and dealing with her challenges herself. That has taken a significant load off of me.
2. Jeremy – I noticed this year that there have been some real changes in him. I won’t say that his symptoms are under control – because they most definitely are not. I have noticed that his abilities to deal with them have exponentially increased. There was a huge increase in his maturity levels, and his impulses are more controlled in areas of personal safety and personal responsibility. He will always be impulsive, that is part of who he is – but I doubt he’ll kill himself or anyone else with it. That’s a huge relief. He also has fewer sibling conflicts as a result. His organizational skills in school this year improved from about a 2 to a 7. His social skills seem to be on grade level now as well. Also a huge relief for mother.
Right there I need to be thankful for that huge burden that has been lifted.
3. Les – Les’ ADD has impacted the entire family the most. Not only has it caused extreme difficulty in his work life, but the medications have caused severe havoc in his personal life. That is a post for another day. Basically medication works wonderfully for him, but are no longer an option. 6 months ago he was re-accessed and re-diagnosed with ADD. I realized yesterday that his symptoms have subsided. It may be temporary, but he actually no longer meets the diagnostic criteria. I don’t know why he has been given a reprieve from that particular challenge, but that is exactly what has happened. I was baffled yesterday when he picked up on some subtle hints I had dropped and immediately was able to access and respond to the situation. (Subtle and Les don’t usually work in the same sentence.) He also has been organizing issues in his work life in ways that he had previously not been capable of. Don’t know how long this will last for, but I feel the need to recognize it right now.
ADD/ADHD is generally not something that you cure. Even the medications are only designed to control symptoms. Many people do “grow out of” being unable to manage their symptoms by finding ways to adapt as they mature. That is part of what is going on with Shanna and Jeremy. Les, however, has had it all of his adult life. The chances of it suddenly going into some sort of remission are very slim. I belive he still has it and always will, but it is a minor miracle that we are not dealing with it right now. I have not seen him this well since he came home from his mission over 20 years ago.
- The Truth About Living With ADD (jaclpetersen.com)