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More Adults Being Diagnosed With ADHD

ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- If you often lose your train of thought at work or spend too much time focusing on small tasks, you're not alone. These are characteristics of a condition that is more common in children, but more adults are being diagnosed with.

Bill Johnston was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) around 2005. Johnston, from St. Paul, sought help after it was getting in the way of running his own business.

"One day I was sitting at my desk and realized that for three days I hadn't produced anything," said Johnston, who was 55 years old at the time.

Johnston said he would be at his computer, reach for the mouse, and forget what he wanted to work on.

"I think that's something people think, 'well, that happens to me.' But that happens to me 12 times a day," said Johnston.

Research suggests that most children with ADHD will take it into adulthood. Since the disorder decades ago wasn't as prevalent as it is today, ADHD diagnosis are coming much later in life.

"That explains a lifetime of mysteries to me," Johnston recalled saying when he was diagnosed.

At first, he thought he was depressed. He also suffered from severe anxiety. After seeing his doctor and then a psychiatrist, he was diagnosed with his disorder. The psychiatrists suggested an ADHD coach. That's when Johnston found Jay Carter who specializes in helping adults with ADHD to be more productive and successful in the workplace.

"We began to identify specific areas where Bill would get off track," said Carter about when he started working with Johnston.

It was easy for Carter to relate to his clients since he was also diagnosed with ADHD when he was 42 years old.

"The agenda with coaching and specifically with ADHD coaching comes from the client, and the coach is there as a sounding board," said Carter, whose clients are lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and engineers.

After two years of working together, Johnston said he's living with much less anxiety and has more control over his diagnosis.

"A bad day doesn't necessarily mean a bad week, a bad morning doesn't mean a bad day anymore. It's been colossal," said Johnston. "When I'm selling, I sell with more confidence because I know if this one doesn't happen, the next one will."

Johnston said what really helped manage his disorder was recognizing what was getting in the way of being productive and limiting the amount of time he'd spend working on less important tasks.

The statistics on adults with ADHD vary, between 1 and 10 percent of people who've been diagnosed.

Twin Cities psychiatrists say more adults are seeking help for ADHD than in the past. Carter believes that only 15 percent of people with ADHD have been diagnosed.

Carter meets with a client four times a month for 45 minutes the first few months and less often after that. The sessions are mostly conducted over the phone and Skype.

You can find more information on Carter's ADHD coaching by clicking here.

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