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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 22

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach

Joey Meets Grandpa

The herd of zebras was browsing peacefully in the warm golden glow of
the late afternoon sun. Long dark shadows  from the scattered acacia
trees blended with zebra stripes. Joey's white hide shone like a spot
light in the late afternoon dusk. The other zebras kept a discreet
distance from Joey just in case a hungry  lion decided to target him.

A loud braying and a clatter of hooves disrupted the evening calm.

"Where's Joey? Where's my boy?"

Joey's head came up, his ears straight up, poised to run in any
direction. He saw a strange apparition; a monster? No, the head and
ears looked like a zebra. Was it a zebra? It was all black.

"You, must be Joey! I could see you a mile away. I'm your Grandpa."

"Grandpa?? I didn't know I had a Grandpa," replied Joey.  "How can you
be my Grandpa? You have no stripes."

"Well, neither do you, my boy. That's how I know You're my grandson."

"Well maybe you could give me some of your black and I'll give you some

of my white skin and then we'll both have stripes."

"Ha, ha, ha!", Grandpa brayed heartily. "Who needs stripes anyway.
We're just fine. It's all those others who are different. Isn't that
right Joey?"

"For goodness sakes, if it isn't Milton. Where have you come from?",
said Miss Zebrette, Joey's teacher, as she and the other zebras
gathered around.

"Hey Miltie, how y'a doin'? I bet you've got some stories to tell. Look

at you. With those scars you must have been through a battle or two.
Did you ever learn anything?" said another senior member of the herd.

"Learn anything? Humph. Never could remember much. It's the others that

need to learn a thing or two. Everyone I met wanted to fight. Couldn't
get a long with anyone. Now you, Joey, you're different like me. We can

get along just fine."

"Milton, don't you go putting ideas in Joey's head. He's a good boy."

"I know he's a good boy. He's my Grandson. And we're going to have a
real good time together. Isn't that right Joey?"

Grandpa may have ADHD too.

AD/HD is a lifespan difference that affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. Research shows that it is 80% genetic. When junior is diagnosed, Mom and Dad look at each other to see where it comes from. While you're at it, have a look at Grandma and Grandpa, they may have it too.

According to the December issue of "Attention" from CHADD "senior citizens with ADHD may be another under-recognized group". So little was known about ADHD at the time they were growing up that Senior citizens are unlikely to have been diagnosed as children I didn't learn abut ADHD until I was 57.

Seniors may have struggled all their active adult lives with undiagnosed ADHD, or they may have developed successful strategies for coping, but ADHD can still aggravate the challenges of later years in two ways. First the normal process of aging brings physical changes that can look like ADHD. Second, life style changes that come with retirement or unemployment may be more difficult with hidden ADHD.

For women menopause brings a sharp decline in estrogen triggering a long list of symptoms like irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, or depression which look like ADHD. Menopause is known to aggravate existing ADHD or reveal borderline or unsuspected ADHD.

Less well known, men may also suffer from what is called male menopause or andropause triggered by declining levels of testosterone the male equivalent of estrogen. The decline of testosterone is less precipitous than estrogen in women, but as the gradual decline continues it may cause men to become distracted, irritable, disorganized, dissatisfied, depressed and suffer loss of libido.

Again the list looks a lot like ADHD. If undiagnosed ADHD is also present the symptoms will probably be more severe and won't respond to traditional treatments.

In addition, men are less comfortable with their bodies than women and are reluctant to admit to feelings that they see as unmanly weaknesses so they resist seeking help. Like Grandpa Milton, they tend to see external forces as the cause of their distress whereas women tend to blame themselves.

When retirement comes or worse yet unemployment, senior citizens lose the structure and social contacts of the work world. Seniors with ADHD may find it difficult to find new activities to structure their lives or to form new relationships. They risk becoming isolated and suffering from loneliness leading to depression .

Quality of life is just as important for seniors as for their children and grand children. When they are healthy in mind and body they can play a valuable role in bringing up the next generation. Depression, irritability, excessive fatigue are no fun for anybody. Don't just dismiss it as old age.

What can you do?

  1. Learn, learn, learn.
  2. There are many books and internet sites which provide good information about ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD or other neurological problems that you might suspect.
  3. Consult a doctor who knows about ADHD.
  4. ADHD often occurs with other conditions as well as aging. General doctors who know about depression may not look for ADHD. It's important that all conditions present are treated.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Exercise is essential to maintain muscle tone and bone structure. Life style changes may very well lead to reduced activity. Finding ways to exercise within their physical capabilities is a must. Getting outside in the fresh air, walking under trees on grass with grandchild is about the best medicine one can find for well being.
  7. Eat well
  8. With age, the absorption of nutrients declines. Eating a well balanced diet becomes even more important, including appropriate vitamin supplements.
  9. Clear the chaos
  10. You may very well suspect ADHD in Grandparents because of the chaos, the piles of stuff, paper and old clothes. ADHD is about disorganization. Clutter drains energy. Get help.

Zebra Tips in a nut shell:

  • Understand ADHD, depression, and other problems
  • Get medical help from a doctor experienced with ADHD
  • Exercise within your capacity
  • Eat well
  • Clear the chaos

For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

You May Use This Article In Your Ezine Or Web Site

You are welcome to use material from Zebra Stripes in whole or in part, provided its use is non-commercial and not for profit and as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site links. Please send me an email at Sarah Jane Keyser so I know where you're using my material.

Here's the attribution you'll use: "By Sarah Jane Keyser Adult ADD Coach. Sarah Jane Keyser helps adults and parents of children with ADD to live life fully. Please visit her site at http://www.CoachingKeytoADD.com for more articles and resources on living more easily with Adult ADHD."

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