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Book Review: Your Life Can Be Better by Douglas A. Puryear MD

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When my husband and I set out on the daunting journey of understanding ADHD, Douglas A. Puryear MD's book, "Your Life Can Be Better," beckoned to us with the promise of insights into a better life. Join us as we revisit this transformative book and share our thoughts on how Dr. Puryear's personal journey with ADHD resonated with us.

Who is Douglas A. Puryear?

Douglas A. Puryear is a retired psychiatrist who discovered his own ADHD at the age of 64, became a guiding light in our quest for understanding. His journey, marked by personal trials and triumphs, infuses a genuine quality into the advice he imparts. As we delved into his world, exploring his successful private practice and enduring marriage, Dr. Puryear emerged as a living testament to what many ADHD spouses aspire to achieve. Even in retirement, he continues to share his wisdom through his blog, ADDadultstrategies.

What do I think of this book?

Revisiting the book allowed me to delve deeper into its profound insights. Dr. Puryear's comprehension of the attention challenges faced by ADHD readers is evident throughout the book. He cleverly ensures that the content remains accessible, relatable, and sprinkled with humor. The book's 71 chapters, each ranging from 2 to 5 pages, masterfully engage readers in weighty topics like shame, making the content not just informative but also enjoyable.

While my spouse and I agreed that the book felt a bit lengthy, it became clear that Dr. Puryear poured his heart and soul into this work. As more adults over 55 discover ADHD later in life, we believe this book is a valuable resource for understanding ADHD and implementing strategies to enhance their lives.

Three Reasons Why I Recommend This Book to Older Adults Who Just got Diagnosed:

1) Easy to Read

The brevity of chapters caters to short attention spans often associated with ADHD. Dr. Puryear's writing style, both informative and light-hearted, makes the content approachable and enjoyable. His personal struggles with ADHD are woven into each chapter, creating a relatable narrative. Additionally, he avoids technical jargon, like executive function, neurotypical, DSM-5, etc., making the book more enjoyable and palatable for readers. For examples, in chapter 18, he shared what red flag is to him and how he use it to take action.

Red flag can be warning of danger or just a signal to alert us to something. Some of my personal red flags are, "I'll do that later," and "Oh, it'll be OK," and "I have plenty of time." We can learn what our red flags are and recognize them when they pop-up. We can be conscious of little bits of available time; using them decreases the pressure we feel.

The "I'll do that later" is a common phrase my husband uses and "that thing" is forgotten as soon as he finishes the sentence. It prompted us to agree to a deadline and set a reminder right at that moment if that phrase pops up in our conversation.

2) A Real Strategy Book

What sets this book apart is its focus on practical strategies. From the first chapter, Dr. Puryear offers tips he discovered even before his diagnosis. His ability to connect these strategies to ADHD symptoms, explained with logic and clarity, makes the book immensely valuable. This approach helps readers quickly connect the dots in their own lives, especially those diagnosed later in life.

Here are a practical strategy he shared in his book that made a lot of sense to us on keeping and sustaining focus on chapter 21.

What turns our focus center on? Personal interest, Novelty, Challenge. Heavy immediate deadline. We can play mind games to trick our focus center into turning on. We have some ability to control our attitudes, and one way is to choose what kind of language we are going to use to ourselves. Should's and 'have to's tend to stall us even though they 'should' encourage us.

His strategy here did not just taught my husband, but also myself on how to prepare for errand conversations with my husband when I know the errands are something he does not enjoy.

3) Successful ADHD Couples' Stories

While primarily about individual strategies, the inclusion of a chapter about Dr. Puryear's experiences with his wife adds a unique touch. Stories like "how to ensure he leaves the toilet seat down" resonate universally, reminding readers that navigating challenges is a part of every couple's journey, ADHD or not.


"Your Life Can Be Better" stands as a beacon of practical wisdom for ADHD spouses who found out about the ADHD diagnosis late in life. Dr. Puryear's sincerity in wanting to help others is palpable throughout the book. The unique approach of focusing on challenges, tying them to ADHD symptoms, and then providing strategies makes the complex topic of ADHD more digestible. This book is not just a guide; it's a success story that inspires readers to overcome their challenges and thrive personally and professionally.

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