WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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school, ruin childhood, ruin a career, ruin a marriage, ruin everything. The prisons, the halls of the addicted and unemployed, the multiply divorced, the depressed, and the people who attempt and complete suicide, all are over-represented by ADD." Thomas says that that his adult ADHD definitely ruined his first marriage. "My hyperfocus can be tough on relationships. I expected that everyone else could do this, including my first wife," he says. According to Web MD, adults with ADHD often face other mental conditions as well. "You may also have a learning disability, anxiety or another mood disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or a depend- ence on drugs or alcohol," it goes on to say. Dr. Rachela Elias, a psychiatrist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital who treats adult ADHD, notes, "ADHD is a challenging diagnosis to make. It can be overdiagnosed. Some people would rather think they have ADHD than depression or anxiety." ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment Diagnosing an adult requires getting a childhood family history (ADHD is often hereditary) and current family history, and conduct- ing a series of detailed tests. Often, one would have a neuropsychologi- cal evaluation, which assesses how one's brain functions on multiple tests of attention and origination. It should be noted, according to Hallowell, that there is no definitive test for ADHD. According to Elias, after a diagnosis is made, the patient is generally treated with prescription medication, usually stimulants (like Adderall or Ritalin), and behavioral treatment. These two approaches together can make a big difference, she says. Weaver notes that while medicine does help, it doesn't give you strategies, which his center offers. "We have a long history of having all the necessary services this population needs in one place: coaches, doctors to prescribe medicine, and therapists who help with cognitive behavioral therapy." According to Hallowell, treatment first includes education about the good and bad parts of ADHD. Then there is coaching to help with executive functioning; lifestyle modifications, such as proper exercise and sleep; positive human connections for people who are used to only being reprimanded; and medicine, which he says helps symptoms in about 70 to 80 percent of cases. How to Learn More It's ideal if ADHD is diagnosed by age six, says Hallowell, but clearly most 40 or 50 year-olds today did not have that option years ago. According to Weaver, "When I opened my office 30 years ago I was the only clinic anywhere that focused only on this group of folks. Over the past two decades there has been more research done on ADHD than any other issue for kids." And more and more is being learned about adult ADHD as well. If you think you or a family member may be experiencing some of these symptoms, you can contact Weaver, Hallowell, or Elias at www.weavercenter.org, www.drhallowell.com, or www.nwh.org. fitness & health "while medicine does help, it doesn't give you strategies" 150 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 6

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