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Gina Pera

Joined: 07/27/2011
Expert Profile:
My foray into the field of ADHD began by chance. In 1999, I picked up a library book about the brain. And what I read changed my life and my husband's life. Funny enough, that book was Dr. Daniel Amen's Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.

In that book, I read about something called Adult ADHD, and suddenly I had a clue why, as much as we loved each other, my then-fiancee and I were driving each other nuts! I showed the book to my husband, a neurogeneticist who, as luck would have it, could vouch for the authenticity of the material. "Doesn't this sound like you as a kid?" I asked him. " And, well, doesn't it sound like you now?" He agreed. And off we went to navigate our mental healthcare maze. Meanwhile, I figured other "partners of" were in a similar position, so I started an online discussion group.

It's not enough to say that I was stunned at the widespread ignorance about ADHD, including among professionals. Frankly, I was outraged. There is quite enough suffering in the world that cannot be prevented. The suffering that comes from unrecognized ADHD is not one of them. We have a strong knowledge base about ADHD. We have good treatment strategies. All we lack is more people willing to step into the 21st Century.

Deciding to put to use my background as a print journalist, I became a very persevering (nagging?) advocate for better awareness and evidence-based treatment standards—by lecturing, writing, and leading discussion groups in Silicon Valley and a 1,000-member Internet group for the partners of adults with ADHD internationally.

After a few years, the need became clear for a nuts-and-bolts guide to Adult ADHD, especially as it affects relationships. A guide not only to understanding Adult ADHD symptoms but also the "emotional baggage" that comes with late-diagnosis — baggage carried by both partners in the relationship. I also wanted to provide readers with a consumers guide to Adult ADHD treatment strategies: the particulars of therapy to seek (and avoid) and the medication protocol that so few prescribing physicians seemed to know about (and perhaps that's why so many people had unnecessary side effects). Then there's that big deal breaker: dealing with a loved one's "denial."

That's why I wrote Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder (1201 Alarm Press, San Francisco. 2008).

I am grateful to the many top experts who granted interviews, fact-checked chapters, and endorsed the book. It has won four national book awards and, last I checked, has 100+ five-star reviews on Amazon. It's a book I am thrilled to be able to hand to people who are struggling. (Because, after all, I couldn't keep typing the same advice in our support group for another 10 years!) It has been translated into Turkish and will soon be available in Spanish.

The book and my advocacy have been a giant labor of love for several years now, and is my greatest joy to have connected with so many thousands of people and played a small role in elevating their lives.
I write three blogs on Adult ADHD:

http://www.YouMeADD.org
http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.org
http://www.ADHDPartner.org

Thank you for your interest in Adult ADHD, and please try to keep an open mind if you are just beginning to learn about it. One fact is clear: ADHD is real, and it affects real people's lives. Maybe even your own or that of someone you love.

Best wishes,
Gina Pera

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