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by Joel L. Young
W. W. Norton, 2007
Review by Diana Pederson on Jan 8th 2008

ADHD Grown Up

ADHD or ADD affects approximately nine million teens and adults in the United States. It is estimated that seven million of these people do not know they have this 6problem. Instead, they are struggling through life, often as underachievers. Somehow, they never seem to get either their employment or relationships just right.

The first question I asked myself about this book was why did the author write another book on ADHD? Here is Young's answer:

My goal in writing this book was to provide the clinician dealing with ADHD, as well as the patient suffering from it, a concise overview of the many issues associated with this disorder through adolescence and adult hood. ADHD is a highly researched area, and every year brings new developments. My hope and expectation is that new findings will soon replace the words written here. Toward that end, I encourage readers to use this book as a starting guide. My hope is that it will give greater perspective into a condition that affects so many and quietly causes so much human suffering. [Page xix, Introduction]

Book Organization/Topics

The first section of the book titled, Diagnosing ADHD in Adolescents and Adults, is very suitable for clinicians and patients alike. This section should be read by every family member of a patient with one of the forms of ADHD because it may provide insight into their own life difficulties. I was surprised to learn that there are three forms of this disorder. The patient may be ADHD with both hyperactive and impulse control problems. They may be ADHD with inattentive problems or they can be combined into two types. 

The next section, "ADHD Patient Populations" discusses the disorder as it appears in adolescents and young adults. It includes chapter discussing ADHD in females versus males. The comparison charts showed me that I had life-long symptoms of ADHD. The final patient group combines ADHD with substance abuse problem. This last group of patients is extremely difficult to treat without identifying and dealing with both sets of problems at the same time.

The final section, "Medical and Psychological Aspects of ADHD Treatment" talks about using medications, psychotherapy, and life coaching to help people overcome the difficulties of living with ADHD. The chapter discussing ADHD combined with substance abuse problems was enlightening because my son's doctor had warned me about this possibility when he reached his teen years.

The final chapter in this section, "ADHD, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, and Associated Syndromes" was of major interest to me since I live with the three conditions specifically named in this chapter. I hope that researchers determine if there is a true link between ADHD and fibromyalgia or chronic pain.

Young concludes the book with three appendices containing self evaluation and self report scales for ADHD. Both professionals and non-professionals can use the diagnostic tools to identify patients with a possible ADHD disorder. These self-diagnostic tools could be used by primary care physicians to identify patients needing additional psychiatric diagnosis procedures.

Writing Style and Contents

This book is written in language that most patients and clinicians will easily understand. Young's ability to discuss technical information in an easily understood manner is exceptional. I almost felt like I was sitting in a corner of his office while he diagnosed and treated ADHD patients.

His writing style, use of patient stories, and provision of generally accepted diagnostic tools makes this a useful book. It definitely accomplished his stated goals for writing it. It is not often you find an author able to write for a dual-audience successfully. Young is one of those rare authors.

Who Should Buy This Book?

This book is required reading for several groups of people. The first group is comprised of parents with newly diagnosed teenagers. It explains how ADHD affects this age group and what treatments will assist them in learning to live with it. It may help your sanity as you guide these teens toward adulthood. This professional diagnosis will allow your teen to access services available to students with special needs.

Middle-School and High School teachers are in the second group because they need hints on helping ADHD students become successful in school work. It may also help them identify students with undiagnosed ADHD so they can suggest parents seek a professional diagnosis/treatment program.

The third group consists of adults who have been underachievers and/or suffered from social problems that may be attributed to ADHD. These people are often very frustrated with life. They can't meet their own work-related employment goals or the goals employers have for them. They may have difficulties in relationships because of their own actions. Reading this book may help them seek out the professional diagnosis needed for them to request work-place accommodations available to those with any form of physical or mental disability.

© 2008 Diana Pederson

Diana Pederson lives in Lansing, Michigan.