Tanya Ruckstuhl Valenti, LICSW

Life with Attention Deficit Disorder

“Life with Attention Deficit Disorder”
By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW

Here is the bad news: Without emotional support and a systematic learning program that teaches coping skills, people with ADHD are more vulnerable to major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and more subtle, painful feelings of chronic overwhelm.

In relationships, people with ADHD can unintentionally create resentment in their partners due to not “pulling their weight” in tasks ranging from keeping a job to cooking meals and mowing the yard.

In spite of putting forth huge effort, folks with ADHD feel under the gun, behind the eight ball, constantly trying and failing to do the work they see others doing easily. This is a maddening experience!

In my work with ADHD clients, I recommend a three-prong approach starting with a medication evaluation by a qualified psychiatrist. Taking stimulant medication can make life a lot easier and when you are struggling with ADHD you want to “stack the deck” in your favor. Secondly, support groups such as the ones led by Don Baker can provide both emotional support in a climate of acceptance as well as practical tips and tricks aimed at helping you understand and manage your condition.

Finally individual, couple, and/or family therapy with a licensed therapist such as me can help you to unpack some of the frustration, pain, shame and anger that build up over a lifetime of trying to fit into a world that punishes the very characteristics which underlie ADHD. Couples and family therapy can help family members understand each other better, build upon strengths and negotiate areas of conflict in a neutral setting.

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