Methylphenidate Moms: The Surprising New Face of ADHD
Hearing a lot about "methylphenidate moms" lately? Many women in their 20s and 30s (both with children and without) are being diagnosed with ADHD. However, these aren't necessarily "new" cases. Rather, the condition often appears differently in boys than in girls, so these cases are going undetected until later in life. For many, finally having an answer as to why they are struggling so much is a welcome relief.
In high school, Kate was known as a scatterbrained daydreamer, although somehow she did well enough to get into college, where she struggled a bit more but still managed to stay afloat academically. Her dorm room was never what you'd call "tidy," but it wasn't a pigsty either. She developed a system involving sticky notes and e-mail reminders to manage her responsibilities, including laundry, classes, and finals.
Fast-forward a few years. Kate now has a career, a husband, and a few kids. Now she is responsible for a host of duties, including planning and preparing the family's meals, grocery shopping, coordinating the children's activities and appointments, keeping an entire house clean, and doing a mountain of laundry each week, in addition to her increasing duties at work. Her old system of sticky notes and e-mail reminders just isn't cutting it anymore, and it shows.
It's now to the point where Kate can't tell which piles of unfolded laundry are clean and which are still dirty. She guiltily feeds her family fast food or microwavable meals most nights, since she never seems to be able to plan meals ahead of time. The house has been a mess for months on end, and she's chronically late. Last month, she failed to pay several bills on time, simply because they got lost in a pile somewhere.
Kate's seven-year-old son has recently been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and his doctor has just told her that studies show that there is a good chance that either she or her husband has ADHD, since it appears to be somewhat genetic. All at once, in one life-altering light bulb moment, Kate realizes why she feels like she is drowning. She discusses the possibility with her own doctor, and he confirms that she does, in fact, have adult ADHD. Her doctor prescribes a medication to help with the symptoms, and she has just joined the fastest-growing group of people taking medications for this condition: "methylphenidate moms."