With or without treatment, Visser said many people with ADHD have an uphill battle in life. They often have trouble with relationships, school and jobs, and a high percentage of them are also diagnosed with other mental disorders such as clinical depression and anxiety.
Frank’s children are on medication, which she said has improved their behavior tremendously. She herself tried several types of medication early on but, among other side effects, they made her feel too sluggish. Frank said she now manages her symptoms under her doctor’s watchful eye, with nutritional supplements, diet and behavior modification.
While Visser said every case is individual and each patient will have to manage differently, she cautioned that Frank’s more natural approach won’t work for everyone.
“There’s not a lot of safety data on the use of nutritional supplements in ADHD treatment. We don’t fully understand the risks and benefits,” she said.
Frank said she still has trouble with organization and time management but she tries to focus on the upside of ADHD. She said she’s always full of energy and ideas and she’s a terrific multitasker. Her biggest challenge is getting her friends and family to recognize that ADHD is a real, medical problem that requires medication for her children and behavioral therapy for all of them.
“That is the thing people don’t get. It’s like autism or a heart condition – it does exist. It’s an uphill battle to get people to believe it<” she said.
To share what she’s learned with others, Frank started a Facebook page, ADHD Kid’s Care Support Group. After three years, the page now hosts more than 25,000 members across eight different groups including two for adults with ADHD. She’s also a member of another large Internet support group, The Manhattan Adult ADD Support Group.
Frank said she believed social media can be a powerful ally for families who live with ADHD. That’s why she’s joining ABC News Health for an ADHD tweet chat today.
The chat is hosted by Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical correspondent with ABC News. Experts, advocates and people living with ADHD will be tweeting in to offer their thoughts about how to help anyone of any age with the condition.
If you or someone you know has ADHD, please feel free to join the chat. Even if you’re new to Twitter, learning to tweet chat is easy. Here’s how.