It is well documented that ADHD in adulthood has wide ranging, detrimental effects on the person whom is afflicted and their relationships. For example some authors quote research which shows that the rate of divorce where one partner is a sufferer, is double the average for the population.
In fact within our group it was often the symptoms which exbibited in failed relationships, disrupted careers, substance abuse and petty criminality which lead eventually to the diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood. For our group the majority of participants are in that category, with a few more being 'rediagnosed' having had a childhood period of treatment or awareness, the supposition that they had grown out of their behaviour was clearly wrong.
Stress is both a result of the uncontrolled disorder, and of course stressful situations exacerbate the individual's negative experience in their often poor ability when tackling the challenge and resulting reduced capacity to create positive or acceptable outcomes and indeed sensible compromises.
ADHD then lowers the threshold often to what is perceived or experienced as stressful. If we define stress as always a negative feeling, while stimulation may be both this and positive..... and do not take the route to discussing what stress is, for better or worse, as some authors do. Stress then by our definition, is an unwanted feeling caused by some external stimulus (or you could argue a largely internal negative course of thinkiing or actions) . The normal or average person in a western society will learn to tackle this with different methods, including of course removing the source or seeking outside help. Often what is considered a mature tackling method will be to assert an objetcive approach and try to detach emotions from the stimulus and thus reduce stress in fact, and aid successful cognitive solutions.
A large minority of participants in our group have attended or been 'prescribed' or even legally bound to take part in courses which can be categorised into: anger management, assertiveness, coping with stress. The key route for improvement of behaviour in all of these is the 'mature-assertive' approach. This is about recognising the emotional element in interpreting and acting on stimuli and situations, and breaking the link to automatic, often semi subconscious response and most often laiden with unduly negative interpretations.
Responsiveness to this type of course amongst our group is varied from no effect recalled to very strong positive outcome in that new tackling methods were learnt. It is impossible to draw conclusive, quantitative proof that these type of courses and their common approach to breaking automated, negative behaviours, from the discussions in our group. However qualitatively we can propose that psychologists and physicians should recommend a specific type of course or adopt this approach more in their own therapy. We do this, from sound ethical ground
because the course can do no harm, and the potential for positive influence is very high.
This brings us back to the contention that the use of psychomodulatory medication , most often Ritalin today, is onl;y part of 'curing' adhd ie reducing symptoms to a stage where the individual does not have adverse effects on their own lives and those around them. Alternatively we can propose that medication is not the best route to tackling the disease because there is no long term clinical studies which assess lifetime use of these drugs, to ascertain if they become tolerated (ie reduced effect over time ) or if side effects become more prevalent.Or indeed the ethical question that individuals become normalised to a level of functionality in society, and in fact are not realising their potential in life.
The Author's Conclusion
Courses with the approach described above can really only help people to have more insight to their feelings, their thoughts or lack of them, and what they can do about them in terms of both the base symptoms of the disease and their abilities in tackling stressful situations and life shaping decision making.