Can you develop ADHD as an adult?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. Those with ADHD will experience symptoms such as struggling to pay attention, impulsive behaviors, and being overly active. Typically, ADHD is diagnosed in childhood and tends to continue into adulthood. But what happens when it is not diagnosed in childhood? Can you develop ADHD as an adult? What are the risks of untreated ADHD?

Untreated ADHD in adults usually means that it was missed as kids. It is possible to misdiagnose ADHD; however, it’s more common that individuals just didn’t have access to care or they found ways to cope with it. In childhood, one of the most common symptoms is when children seem to be “running on a motor.” Untreated ADHD in adults may look less like this and perhaps more like being unable to concentrate on or finish a project. When someone with ADHD is interested in what they are doing, they can dig deep into the topic which is a great skill in some occupations. However, if they are tasked with something that they are not interested in, they may have problems attending to it. They might stare out of the window, doodle, and think of other things.

Bernice Pescosolido is a sociologist at IU Health who looks at the public’s mental health literacy. She elaborated on the idea of whether you can develop ADHD as an adult.

“I don’t think it’s just something you all of a sudden just develop,” Pescosolido said. “We think with things like depression and schizophrenia, there is a critical period between ages 15 and 24 where people are likely to develop serious mental illness, but I think with ADHD, it may have always been there, but it was ignored or interpreted as misbehavior. ” It may also go unnoticed because it might be tolerable in certain settings. For example, when a child goes to school, it may be more obvious because you don’t ask a child at home to sit at a desk for 6 hours.

“We tend to notice mental health problems if you have symptoms and if they interfere with your life,” she said. But Pescosolido also said that their research shows that Americans can identify ADHD and know the difference between ADHD and children who just have day to day issues.

So, the risks of untreated ADHD depend on your living conditions – there are situations that can make it either tolerable or not tolerable. Pescosolido stated that “If you are in a situation where you don’t have to concentrate on something for long periods that you are uninterested in, you probably can get by just fine.” But the question is whether “just fine” is the quality of life people want or should expect.

Children and adults with ADHD can find that their life, their work and their family life improves with medication and other treatments that the health care system can provide, Pescosolido said. For those that are concerned that they might have ADHD, you can visit your primary care doctor, a mental health specialist, or a psychiatrist to find out if difficulties they are experiencing maybe due to ADHD or some other issue.

988 – a 3-digit number that is so small, but so significant

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was officially launched on July 16, 2022. This new number is intended to be easy to remember and quick to allow those struggling with a mental health crisis to connect with a trained mental health professional.

Since 988 is very new, there is little research on the efficacy of this 3-digit number compared to the old 11-digit number. However, it is reasonable to expect that 988 will clear things up and be easier for people to remember. Most of us have been accustomed to the 911 number. It’s easy to remember, and we know exactly what we will get when we call that number. That’s the intent of the new 988 number – that the simplicity of the number will be beneficial, add to the resources we already have, and provide a strong focus on mental health issues.

The past few years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been an influential moment for the recognition of mental health issues. Bernice Pescosolido, a sociologist at IU Health that studies the mental health stigma, said “One of the silver linings for the COVID pandemic, was everyone realizing that we all have mental health and that we are all at risk. Loneliness is a significant trigger. Before the pandemic, there were a lot of people who believed they would be immune to mental health issues, but COVID put them in a position of isolation. It made them realize that they could also be at risk of a mental health illness.” COVID-19 increased the recognition of mental health and decreased prejudice and discrimination associated with mental health issues.

In an interview with 8 News, Danielle Henderson discussed the new mental health crisis hotline number. She noted that it’s been increasingly important to know the resources in your area, community and nationally in the last year or so. Knowing 988 is an option is important in a mental health crisis — putting an individual in a better place if they or someone in their life wants to harm themselves.

Henderson also touched on why this number is specifically helpful in Indiana. “Since 2016, Indiana has had more than 1000 Hoosiers die by suicide annually. This statistic calls for the importance of a resource like 988 in our community.” We already have the crisis help hotline and 211, a number that connects Hoosiers with thousands of health and human service agencies right in their local communities. Adding another resource like 988 is even more beneficial for Indiana.

Suicide is often a spur- of- the- moment decision – an impulsive act. If this hotline can cut that, the 988 number could help reduce suicide rate. “We’re at a moment here – this is a moment for mental health,” said Bernice Pescosolido.

Patients with dementia find ‘Friends’ in Saxony and Tipton

Thanks to Indiana University Health Foundation donors, seniors with dementia have Friends–with a capital “F”–at IU Health Saxony and IU Health Tipton hospitals.

That’s because these facilities have been designated a Dementia Friends Indiana Hospitals, thanks to grants from the IU Health Foundation Regional Grants program—a program that makes sure IU Health facilities can address the unique needs of the communities they serve.

Being named a “Dementia Friend” facility does exactly that—it meets the needs of older patients by training hospital staff to care for patients suffering from dementia and other cognitive disorders. It also provides tangible materials that help seniors with dementia deal with the trauma of a hospital visit.

IU Health Social Worker and Saxony program coordinator Claire Shawver

“A visit to the hospital is scary enough,” said IU Health Social Worker and Saxony program coordinator Claire Shawver. “Add to that someone who is scared and confused, and it can be very traumatic.”

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 110,000 Hoosiers live with Alzheimer’s disease, with the number expected to increase to 130,000 by 2025. In addition, 11% of Hoosiers over age 45 have subjective cognitive decline, an early symptom of dementia.

What this means is that most Hoosiers are affected by dementia. “I can’t remember a single Dementia Friends training session where there hasn’t been a person who knew someone living with dementia,” Shawver said.

To address this reality, every member of the IU Health Saxony Hospital staff has participated in dementia training, regardless of whether they have regular contact with geriatric patients. This same training will soon be available at IU Health Tipton Hospital as well.

IU Health Saxony social worker Claire Shawver (right) and nurse Tai Oliver (left)

The program has been well received. In follow-up surveys at IU Health Saxony Hospital, 100% of team members said they are glad they received the Dementia Friends training, and it has inspired the hospital to consider how the program could broaden the hospital’s impact with additional funding.

According to Shawver, IU Health Saxony Hospital is looking at its facility through the lens of patients with dementia and assessing physical changes that could improve the experience for a patient with dementia. The team is also considering—including expanding the Dementia Friends lessons to include community partners such as ambulance personnel.

“Every day this training comes into play,” Shawver said. “Every day, we have someone here who has some kind of memory or dementia disorder.”

To support dementia-related initiatives at IU Health Tipton and Saxony hospitals, contact IU Health Foundation Campaign Director Michelle Leonard McConnell at 317.453.6517.

Kindness is the best present for Christmas in July

The temperatures are in the 90s, the calendar says July, and yet it feels like Christmas inside Tim Terry’s room at IU Health Bloomington.

A former “Santa” himself, Terry has a special connection to the holiday as he and his wife of 45 years have a tradition of starting to decorate in the summer.

“We were doing Christmas in July before it was a thing,” joked Terry.

But this Christmas (in July) will be different.

Terry recently underwent gallbladder removal surgery at IU Health Bloomington and the nostalgia set in while he’s been recovering in the hospital.

“My wife always starts getting things out about this time and checking all the light bulbs,” said Terry. “She puts a Christmas tree and some decoration in each room, even the bathroom.”

So how could he keep their tradition alive while he’s at the hospital?

That’s where patient care assistant Elizabeth “Lizzy” Lee came in.

Lee bonded with Terry since he came to the hospital. She, too, is a big Christmas decorator.

“I loved asking him questions about the different decorations and the joy his wife would have decorating their entire house. His whole face would light up,” she said.

After a few nights, Lee heard from fellow team members that Terry was feeling anxious and homesick. So once Lee clocked out of her 12-hour shift that morning, she rushed home, grabbed her favorite Christmas decorations, and hurried back to the hospital.

With a white Christmas tree and shiny red and white striped spheres, a milk glass “for Santa,” and even a festive pillow—Lee entered Terry’s room and surprised him with the opportunity to keep his tradition alive even away from home.

“We decorated, laughed, cried, and talked about his wife,” said Lee. “I am just thankful that Tim allowed me to put that kind of joy into his life.”

The decorations put a smile on Terry’s face, but Lee’s kindness is what warms his heart. To him, that’s the best present.

“It makes me feel good that people still like to do nice things for different folks. She’s just an all-around great gal, and I pray for God’s blessings on her.”

Teens get a jumpstart on careers in healthcare

Crispus Attucks students complete a six-week internship within IU Health as part of a community partnership.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior writer,

If you’re of a certain age and you think medical professionals seem to be getting younger and younger, you’re not entirely wrong.

For the past six weeks, future physicians, nurses, researchers and therapists have been rotating through departments within IU Health’s Academic Health Center in Downtown Indianapolis.

These aren’t third- or fourth-year medical students or residents. These are high school students – incoming juniors at Crispus Attucks High School, a health sciences school just a stone’s throw from the medical campus.

They are part of a bold new partnership spearheaded by IUH and Indianapolis Public Schools that gives teenagers a taste of different medical careers that they may aspire to after graduation.

The idea is to build a medical magnet curriculum and career pathway programming that benefits Crispus Attucks students, the healthcare industry and the Indianapolis community. Upon graduation and completion of the fellowship program, students will be offered a job within IU Health, as well as tuition assistance to complete a related post-secondary degree.

“It is designed to support employability skills for our students and provide them with hands-on experiences as they have declared interest in healthcare careers,” explained the Mosaic Center’s Andrea Russell, fellowship program manager.

The pilot program includes 23 students (20 female, three male) in its first cohort, who spent their sophomore year learning in the classroom, but moved into the hospital setting over the summer, rotating through multiple medical specialties in six weeks.

While students are not able to assist with patient care, they are otherwise “immersed in the organization,” Russell said, learning and growing as they go.

Chandler Harris and Aileen Reyes, both 16, spent the past two weeks shadowing clinicians at IU Health Methodist Hospital, where they learned about bedside patient care.

Kathy LeConte, shift coordinator on the renal unit at Methodist, said the idea of exposing students to healthcare careers at a young age makes sense.

“We value our students who come to learn, even these younger students,” she said. “I think it’s great, I think all high schools should do this.”

Before her clinical nurse rotation at Methodist, Aileen got to observe occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech pathologists on the job at Riley Hospital for Children in her first two-week rotation.

“I’ve been interested in physical therapy, so that was really interesting,” said the incoming junior, who received PT in the past for soccer injuries.

Her second rotation was in neuroscience research with the IU School of Medicine, which definitely sparked an interest in her.

“I liked that one because they study mice brains and work with DNA and proteins,” Aileen said.

Chandler was able to learn about ophthalmology research in astronauts and how hospital design and construction teams work with nurses to support patient care.

Both said they found the summer internship eye-opening, and it reaffirmed their plan to pursue careers in the medical field after graduation.

“I want to major in forensics, maybe be a forensics nurse,” Chandler said.

Aileen still likes the idea of becoming a physical therapist and working with athletes, but the internship showed her another possible career pathway.

“I really like research now,” she said. “I found it very interesting.”

Maritza Rodriguez-Bahena, who is interested in surgery, also found herself drawn to research after spending time shadowing team members in musculoskeletal research.

On the day we caught up with her, she and fellow junior Areli Cruz were working in the radiology department in the Riley Outpatient Center. The two spent time in the “reading room,” where radiologists read numerous X-rays, MRIs and CT scans every day.

One learning opportunity was performing an ultrasound on a chicken breast stuffed with olives (to simulate tumors).

Areli, who has thought about a career as an ultrasound technician, was also in awe of the work done in musculoskeletal research, describing how she learned about the body and its organs, including one memorable experience involving a cadaver: “I was able to carry the lungs in my bare hands.”

Maritza said the program has given her “a head start” in her medical career, something she has dreamed about for as long as she can remember. “This is helping me prepare for my future.”

Both said the opportunity to learn more about careers in healthcare has been helpful, even opening their eyes to careers related to the medical field, including grant writing, philanthropy, social media and system operations.

The students chose to attend Crispus Attucks because of its health science focus, but the fellowship program was first introduced to them in their freshman year. The application process was rigorous, involving essays, interviews, grades and more.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for them,” Russell said, adding that the internship is just one component of the broader fellowship program. Students will have two internships, an externship and “have the opportunity to really be hands-on and see what a day in the life of a healthcare worker looks like.”

Students also participate in personal development, taking courses in self-discovery, which has helped them become more self-assured as they move forward, she said. The goal is to prepare them for healthcare careers, not just as workers but as leaders.

That’s why exposing them to careers beyond the clinical side of healthcare is important, Russell said.

“From a business standpoint, we know that healthcare is all of us coming together to provide care for our patients.”

That includes research, system operations, guest relations, volunteer services, philanthropy and so much more.

“This partnership would not have been possible without donor support,” Russell said, so students who rotate through IUH Foundation understand how a gift moves from a pledge to actual purpose and fulfillment.

The first cohort is paving the way for the next class of 45 new fellows who are incoming sophomores. Another 60 students will join the program the following year. All who complete the coursework and training will earn multiple medical certifications while still in high school.

As the leading healthcare provider in the state, IU Health is uniquely positioned to support students who choose to pursue careers in the field, partnership developers said. In return for its investment, IU Health will have developed a pipeline of young people familiar with the industry who understand the culture of the organization.

Photos by Mike Dickbernd and Maureen Gilmer; video by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist,

Previous stories:

IU Health, IPS launch career development program at Crispus Attucks – Upon graduation and completion of the fellowship program, students will be guaranteed a job with IU Health, as well as tuition assistance to complete a related post-secondary degree.

When it comes to information, this team member is a connector

Tyler Wysong’s primary role at IU Health is working in Informatics and Information Services. Many people don’t see his efforts to foster a workplace environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

Ask Tyler Wysong what he does for IU Health, and like most people he offers a description of his job title. He joined IU Health about five years ago and works as a project manager within Informatics and Information Services.

Dig a little deeper and the scope of Wysong’s role both at IU Health and in the Indianapolis community, reveals a personal passion. He is a staunch advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He walks alongside his coworkers on a hot summer day, supporting Pride; he works closely with human resources to offer input on best hiring practices.

Why does he feel strongly about diversity, equity, and inclusion?

“As an openly gay team member, I’ve had my fair share of discrimination. It’s made me realize that there are team members who can’t hide behind their gender identity or physical traits, like skin color. I’m a white male and if I wanted to change the tone of my voice and wear suits every day, I could blend in. I chose to be authentic, but not everyone has that opportunity,” said Wysong. “As a culture, we’re coming around to being more accepting and the only way to be accepting is to understand that we have a diverse team. I want to help others in their journey and to make IU Health a safe place for all.”

Wysong was in his second year of college when he came out to his family. It was a difficult time and one that he often reflects on when he’s advocating for others.

“I grew up in a small conservative Indiana community. My relationship with my family was strained for several years after I came out. Like so many in the LGBTQIA community, I had to rebuild my family life,” said Wysong. “I am forever grateful to those who championed me through those challenges. It has impacted my world view on promoting all dimensions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m happy my relationship with my family is now in a much better place.”

Wysong credits Timothy Tarnowski, Senior Vice President – Chief Information Officer with lending support to DE&I training.

“Through his support, we have been able to start this journey of self-reflection. We have provided additional DE&I Implicit Bias training, stand up a division DE&I Council, pull together a team to focus on our leaders’ hiring practices, and look at IU Health’s onboarding efforts,” said Wysong.

When he talks to others about diversity and inclusion, Wysong encourages them to look beyond the obvious – waving a Pride flag, acknowledging someone in a wheelchair, or someone with dark skin.

“Diversity is an output of how everyone chooses to lead in their daily actions: Do you give everyone the same level of eye contact? Does your tone chance when you talk to different individuals? Do you offer team members a chance to fail in a safe place or are their double standards?”

In addition to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, Wysong serves as a peer mentor to team members expanding their opportunities at IU Health.

“I grew up with humble beginnings. I believe that along your journey you should always lend a hand where possible,” said Wysong. “I’ve always tried to be a connector. I truly seek to understand and recognize that listening is an art,” said Wysong.

“One of the things I like the most about IU Health is we don’t ignore the hard conversations. We know we’re not perfect, but we are an organization that strives to improve the lives of our team members and the community we serve,”said Wysong. “A big draw for me is knowing we have the opportunity for continual growth and we won’t grow stale or complacent.” He encourages fellow team members who want to learn more about diversity and inclusion to join affinity groups and be open to opinions and ideas of others.

More about Wysong:

  • He is happily engaged to his partner Cory Clasemann
  • He received a college scholarship to study at Oxford University
  • He received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from IUPUI.

    Athlete with breast cancer, 27, finds strength through physical therapy

    Her body is accustomed to regular workouts and she’s
    also familiar with the benefits of rehabilitation. When she was diagnosed with
    breast cancer and her oncologist suggested she begin physical therapy, this
    27-year-old didn’t hesitate.

    By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

    Her great grandmother died of complications from breast cancer.
    Her grandmother is a survivor. Janai Mitchell does not have an inherited
    mutation, but with a family history, she was diligent with self exams.

    It was during one of those exams that that she discovered a lump
    in her right breast. In March she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is 27,
    and has been healthy most of her life. In the care of IU Health’s Dr. Carla
    Fisher and Dr. Tarah Ballinger she underwent a lumpectomy and has started
    chemotherapy. She is also part of a unique program that helps in her healing.

    The program, called “Multidisciplinary Oncologic Vitality and
    Exercise (M.O.V.E.) was created by Dr. Ballinger to bring together a group like minded
    healthcare professionals from various disciplines. The goal is to offer
    supportive oncology services as part of every patient’s journey through
    survivorship. Physical therapy is one of those services.

    “The benefits of physical therapy and exercise for patients with
    cancer can touch many aspects of their lives,” said IU Health physical therapist Bryce
    Showers. “We know that exercise can help reduce side effects such as fatigue,
    neuropathy, and overall decline in physical function. By meeting with patients
    like Janai, we want to bring these benefits to light, reduce any fear of
    exercise while having cancer, and help patients maintain their ability to perform the activities they enjoy and love.”

    A long-time resident of Kansas City, Kan., Mitchell played four
    years of basketball and volleyball in high school. She was a middle hitter on
    the volleyball court and a center for the basketball team.

    “I started playing basketball when I was three because
    athleticism runs in my family and I’m tall,” said Mitchell, the oldest of four.
    Basketball became her focus and she received a scholarship to a Kansas City Community
    College and went on to play four years in Wichita at Friends University. A knee
    injury caused her to be sidelined. After surgery and recovery she played for
    Kansas Wesleyan University and graduated in November 2020. The next month she
    moved to Indianapolis to be closer to family. She works at Azenta Life Sciences
    as a Regulated Pharmaceutical Technician.

    “I moved back to be closer to family, but now that I’ve been
    diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s nice to have them close enough to visit me,”
    said Mitchell. “When my doctor suggested physical therapy after surgery, I was
    confused at first. I didn’t know how the two correlated, but after my first
    appointment, I understand the importance of staying active, while doing my
    treatments,” she said.

    During a recent physical therapy session, Showers, demonstrated
    how to work with resistance bands to develop strength. “As we focus on
    accessing her functional status we are incorporating exercises that will limit
    the decline of her treatments,” said Showers, who started with IU Health last

    Showers is part of a team of rehabilitation clinicians trained
    to assess, monitor, and treat patients undergoing cancer treatment. According
    to one study or 163 women with advanced breast cancer, 92 had one or more
    physical impairments – side effects of the disease and treatment – but fewer
    than 30 percent received rehabilitation care.

    Studies indicate that up to 90 percent of
    patients treated with radiation therapy and up to 80 percent of those treated
    with chemotherapy experience fatigue. The National Comprehensive Cancer Center
    (NCCN) recommends exercise as one of the most effective non-pharmacologic
    interventions for patients treated for cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends people undergoing
    cancer treatment, and cancer survivors, perform consistent physical exercise to
    decrease fatigue, and improve the ability to perform normal daily activities.
    Studies show that exercise can improve an individual’s chances of surviving
    cancer. Physical therapists design individualized exercise and treatment
    programs to reduce or prevent many cancer-related problems.

    For Mitchell, who began physical therapy right
    after surgery, that means regaining and maintaining her strength and dexterity.
    Showers is focused on helping her build upper extremity strength with exercises
    she can continue at home.

    “As an athlete, I am familiar with PT and the
    benefits,” said Mitchell. “I walk a lot in my job but the extra workout with PT
    is a bonus in keeping me active and motivated and I know it will benefit me as
    I go through treatments.”

    It’s cancer.

    “It’s cancer.”

    Words no one ever wants to hear, especially when your life has been impacted by those words too many times.

    Misty Motter lost her mother to lung cancer in 2005. Her father was diagnosed with melanoma many years ago, and in late January, he was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and liver.

    Since his melanoma diagnosis, Motter’s father had always worried about his strawberry blond daughter with freckles. Motter did not worry as much but made a promise to her father after his recent diagnosis to get a checkup. Taking care of herself was not a top priority for the mother of four.

    “I always put my kids first,” shares Motter, 41, who admits to not having seen a healthcare provider, outside of while she was pregnant, since she was married 22 years ago. But as her father reminded her: Who will take care of your kids if something happens to you?

    Motter, of Lafayette, scheduled her appointment with family medicine physician, Noor Bakroun, MD. Bakroun took time to examined her from head to toe and ordered the standard preventative tests like a mammogram. Motter had a mole on her neck that she says has been there her whole life, but it was of concern to Bakroun, who referred her to a dermatologist.

    The dermatologist, Kate Hrynewycz, MD, FAAD, FACMS, shared the news that Motter had skin cancer. But luckily for her it was basal cell carcinoma, not melanoma.

    Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring. It is also the most curable and causes minimal damage when caught and treated early. Along with the carcinoma on Motter’s neck, a spot on her back and forehead that need to be treated were also identified.

    Hrynewycz, otherwise known as Dr. Kate, scheduled Motter for Mohs surgery at IU Health Frankfort Hospital—saving her a trip to Indianapolis. IU Health Frankfort is the only facility in west central Indiana to offer Mohs surgery.

    Mohs surgery is considered the most effective treatment technique for basal cell carcinomas. The procedure is done in stages, including lab work, while the patient waits. This allows the removal of all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate while sparing healthy tissue and leaving the smallest possible scar.

    Following through on a promise

    Just days before her Mohs surgery, the unthinkable happened: Motter’s father passed away on April 24.

    Two days before the funeral, Motter showed up for her procedure because she had made a promise. Motter shared the news of her father’s passing with Dr. Kate as the two were chatting during prep. Motter shares that team at Frankfort was so nice and everyone ended up with tears in their eyes.

    “Dr. Kate is the nicest doctor I have ever met,” says Motter.

    Dr. Kate immediately tried to reschedule the procedure, but Motter refused due to the promise she had made to her father. Dr. Kate proceeded with the removal on her back and neck but insisted on rescheduling the procedure for her forehead, as she did not want Motter attending the funeral with bruising that could potentially what would appear as a black eye as a result of the surgery.

    A grateful Motter shares that the Mohs procedure was fairly pain free once the numbing medicine was injected. She primarily felt a tugging and pulling sensation.

    Motter has since returned to Dr. Kate for the second Mohs procedure, on her forehead, and is now cancer free. She will still spend her free time following her kids sports and other activities, but she will lather herself and her children in sunscreen even more diligently. Her teenage boys are not appreciative of her efforts—but she tries.

    And she now holds all her children to the promise of making their healthcare a priority to honor their grandfather.