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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Identifying Adult ADD

09/22/1998

Question:

There are times that I will be talking to my husband and he really seems to be looking straight at me but when I stop talking I find out that he's in like a trance and then he asks you what you were saying. What does this sound like to you? What can be done about it? Also this person does not have insurance. I'd also like to know what safe guards can be taken so that this person won't get hurt out in the street if we know what to watch out for.

Answer:

What you describe may or may not have anything to do with attention deficit disorder (ADD). As an adult, he would best be served by seeing a doctor for a thorough workup. Since he is without insurance, is there a clinic in your area that accepts a fee based on a sliding scale? Is he eligible for Medicare? Watch in your local shopping mall for a health fair that may offer free blood pressure or hearing checks. Such a fair could also have a list of neighborhood health resources that could be within your income. Inattentiveness certainly can be associated with ADD, but usually there are other behaviors such as impulsiveness or lack of organization. Other conditions that are known to have some of these behaviors are Alzheimer's disease, a hearing loss, or a non-disease state, such as differences in communication between males and females; certainly there are many more possibilities. Offering a specific cause or diagnosis is not within the scope of this service. In addition, this expert provides information specific to children. In the meantime, since you are concerned about his safety, be certain someone is with him when he is outdoors, if possible. When speaking to him, try speaking directly to his face and eyes so you have his full attention. Ask him to repeat what you said back to him periodically to see if he truly understands. Also observe him when other people are talking to him to see if does these same trance like behaviors on a consistent pattern. These are some of the strategies that have also been proven effective in working with young children with attention problems. Good Luck. Marcia Hern, R.N., Ed.D.

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Response by:

Marcia   Hern, RN, EdD Marcia Hern, RN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati