Adult ADHD Clinic ADHD Provider Why Choose Us

Why Choose Undivided Attention?

I have ADHD. I was diagnosed at age 48.

My personal experience, professional expertise — and passion for helping others — has given me a unique set of skills and qualifications to diagnose ADHD and evaluate for syndromes that can mimic, create and/or worsen ADHD symptoms. 

As an ADHD expert, I provide in-depth psycho-education/executive functioning counseling, and lifestyle coaching that focuses on things like diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene, etc. In addition, I can prescribe the right medications to get you feeling and functioning your best. 

One of the concerns my clients consistently inquire about is stimulants, which I totally understand. If this is a concern of yours, there are many other drug classes for us to work with. And if you prefer no medication, we can work with that too.

It’s vitally important for people with ADHD to discover and capitalize on their strengths and bolster their weaknesses so they can live the meaningful life they deserve. I’m here to help you do that. As Temple Grandin says, “the world needs all kinds of minds.”

Concerning evaluation and management of ADHD, I’ve found there are few clinicians in Wisconsin with the same background and skill set as I have been lucky enough to develop. And the demand for help is huge. My goal is to enhance mental health services in Wisconsin by providing compassionate and well informed specialized ADHD care for women.

This is a journey and I’m here to walk it with you.

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More About ADHD …

ADHD is Real

First and foremost, ADHD is real.

Even though ADHD has been in the medical literature since the 1700s, it was only discovered that it persists into adulthood, and that it affects females too, around 1996. The first medication approved by the FDA for adult ADHD has only been around since 2003.

So the concept of female and Adult ADHD is relatively new in science.

Research into all brain-based disorders exploded in the early 2000s, and even more so in recent years. On average, it takes about 17 years for new research findings to be implemented in clinical practice. So, in general, most practitioners are still operating on outdated information.

As it stands, roughly 7% of the adult global population has ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that doesn’t go away. Symptoms may evolve depending on the person’s stage of life, what support structures are in place for them (knowingly or not), their general state of health, and other factors. It is estimated that 75% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed.

ADHD is Treatable

ADHD is a serious health issue. It can reduce life expectancy by 12-20 years and has adverse impacts on every domain of life: social, emotional, financial, educational, occupational, and legal.

BUT, it is the MOST TREATABLE mental disorder. 80% of people with ADHD will benefit from stimulant medication (only about 40% of people with depression respond to antidepressants).

Women and Girls are a Particularly Vulnerable Group …

… which is why this is where I have chosen to focus my practice.
Girls may have more inattentive symptoms and, as opposed to boys, their symptoms tend to worsen, rather than abate, in adolescence.

Women and girls are 3 times more likely to be misdiagnosed with a mood disorder. Unrecognized ADHD in girls and women results in internalized symptoms of shame, self doubt, and reduced realization of potential. There is much research yet to do in this population as well as how ADHD impacts transgender and minorities.

It’s hard to believe, but the average age of diagnosis for women is 32.

ADHD, Intelligence and Executive Dysfunction

ADHD and Intelligence are unrelated, and yet many people with ADHD have heard, “you can’t have ADHD, you’re too smart.” This is categorically false and damaging. ADHD is a disorder of cognition, not intelligence.
Many folks with ADHD have above average intelligence, but think, “if I am so smart, why do I feel so dumb?” Especially those who are gifted. When you’re gifted and challenged, hard things are easy, and easy things are hard. And this dichotomy often makes no sense to the individual who experiences it, nor to their teachers, parents, partners, etc.
Dopamine and norepinephrine deficiencies, a smaller prefrontal cortex and a 30% delay in brain maturation — as well as many other structural differences in ADHD brains — result in something called Executive Dysfunction.

Executive Function can be described as all the cognitive processes that are required to make you think and act now, so that you can be a better/happier/safer/more stable you in your future. In other words — self control.

In ADHD, the Following Cognitive Processes May be Impaired:

  • Working memory 
  • Motivation
  • Task initiation 
  • Persistence
  • Prioritization
  • Organization
  • Emotional control
  • Impulse control
  • Sense of time 
  • Regulation of alertness 
  • Response inhibition

Due to Executive Dysfunction, traditional therapies, methods of organization, systems of rewards and punishment, etc., do not work. Often suggestions like, “have you tried using a planner?” drive the nail deep in the low-self-image-coffin. 

As Russel Barkley, PhD (my personal favorite ADHD expert), likes to say, “ADHD is not a disorder of knowing how to do things, it’s a disorder of doing what you know.”

ADHD is Genetic

It runs in families. So when a child gets a diagnosis, it makes sense for siblings and parents to explore this for themselves as well.

Understanding Languishing

Most of the millions of undiagnosed adults in the United States had likely been getting by, barely, with the help of external scaffolding (external structures, routines and timelines society had in place) — getting kids to school, going to the office for work, attending social functions, holidays, etc. These structures enforce what activity a person should be doing, where they should be doing it, when and, for the most part, why. Executive Functioning is how one does the right thing at the right time.

During the 2 years of COVID lockdown, that scaffolding was yanked away pretty much overnight. A large percentage of (neurotypical) people experienced a sensation known as languishing as the lockdown dragged on.

But, ADHD brains tend to experience languishing as a baseline mental state. Some describe this as a constant state of being underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time, chronic low grade frustration, ADHD paralysis, etc.

It’s a bit more than just feeling bored …

So it stands to reason, there is now a major uptick in adults (and females) who believe they have this disorder. COVID lockdown exacerbated all of their symptoms to an absolutely intolerable level and even with things returning somewhat to normal, they’re still not ok.

And what about the teens who were previously undiagnosed, and even those who were?

They are DEFINITELY not ok. Throw puberty into that mix and now you have Executive Dysfunction in full swing.

Recall the 30% delay in brain maturation mentioned earlier? This is why a teen may be 18-going-on-12.

The college years are a particularly delicate time for ADHD. Again, take away all that structure and scaffolding of mom/dad/guardian, school, sports, social life, clubs, family, etc., and young adults start to say, “I’m just not doing well.” This can be mistaken for anxiety or depression if they haven’t come to school already bearing the ADHD diagnosis.

Watch this great TED Talk on languishing by Organizational Psychologist, Adam Grant.

These are some of the major things I help my clients with — and it’s important to look for this knowledge base in your ADHD specialist. It’s also important for you to be informed about these topics so you can gain a better understanding of what you are experiencing. There are currently no questions on the adult psychiatry board exam about adult ADHD. The majority of the medical and mental health communities in the US (including Dane County, WI, in my experience) are operating on very little — and very outdated — information on how to diagnose and manage this condition. Hopefully what I’ve shared here has proven helpful.

Finally, I also want you to know that I understand. I truly understand what you are going through. I understand the immense frustration of trying to navigate one’s way through a world not built for an ADHD brain type. And, I understand the difficulty of finding a provider who understands ADHD. That’s why I’m here to help.