Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is It "Miscommunication"—or Could It Be Adult ADHD?

With a warm smile and a kiss, Diane welcomed fiancé George at her front door and then noticed fresh mud on his shoes. In a pleasant tone of voice, she asked him to please leave his boots on the stairs. 

Puzzled, he said, "Your suits stare? Huh? What on earth are you talking about?" Despite her clarification, George remained convinced that Diane had said exactly that. Moreover, she'd said it with that tone (presumably, the disapproving kind). 
  It wasn't this pair's first tangled communication. In fact, it happened so often, George had his hearing checked but it seemed fine. Their couples therapist suggested that George might bear deep-seated psychological resistance to listening to Diane.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Fortunately, George's ADHD diagnosis came just as these "miscommunications" reached fever pitch. He and Diane felt relief when the cognitive therapist explained how ADHD has a common traveling companion called Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). Briefly, it can cause a person to misinterpret content and even tone of voice (more details about CAPD in a minute). The therapist provided the couple strategies for enhancing communications, noting that stimulant medication can often help "strengthen the signal." 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ADHD and Sex: No Shame, No Blame

"Gina, sex is difficult for people with ADHD; it's tough to stay focused!" says a female Facebook friend, responding to my query on this topic.
     What, you say, ADHD affects sex? Who knew? Yes, it's one of those areas, like sleep, where we often fail to connect the dots to ADHD symptoms.  In fact, I open the chapter on sex in my book, Is It You, Me, or  Adult A.D.D.?. with this quote:

Who knew so many women were begging their male partners for sex? It must be the world's best-kept secret. -- Rory

Later in the chapter, I write:

When ADHD does create significant sexual problems, it usually falls into two categories: The ADHD partner initiates sex all the time or almost never. Again, it seems, we encounter these pesky ADHD-related challenges in self-regulation and summoning motivation.

The truth is, ignorance about this critically important connection between ADHD and intimacy creates so much unnecessary hurt. Left with no other rational explanation for sexual difficulties, partners sometimes blame themselves—or each other. In a blog post on Sex and ADHD at Jeff's ADD Mind, the author first considers it as the “problem with no name” and finally “the problem that carries a lot of shame.”