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A few months ago, I got diagnosed with ADD.

 

I had no idea anything was amiss until I was well into my 20s. Circa 2008, I took 4 or 5 IQ tests to help a psychologist get their Master's degree (they have to practice administering tests), and the results were pretty surprising because my high school and college grades had always been so mediocre. The scores were higher than either of us expected, but I had teetered on the edge of washing out of college. That person more or less told me I probably had some kind of undiagnosed learning disability, but it wasn't entirely obvious what.

 

By ~2012, I started suspecting I might have ADD. I felt like I could write manuscripts, reports, etc. better if I wore a hoodie, or hat, and I would listen to EDM music to muffle outside noises. Finally, this last winter I got talked into seeing a psychiatrist, and after a few rounds of testing she said yeah you've got ADD.

 

A week into the new prescription drugs, and I was just shocked at how much easier life became. Sure, it's basically speed, but I felt like I was able to just do something without some kind of stimulus-drowning ritual. I thought back to all the parent-teacher conferences where teachers basically called me a lazy dumbass...how people thought I was just slacking. The thing is, I cared. I always cared, and I actually do have a good work ethic, and that was just so frustrating and stressful to want to do something and not be able to.

 

I talked to my parents about it after the diagnosis and they kind of suggested maybe I should just try harder, but now I realize that's like telling a guy with erectile dysfunction his only problem is willpower. I wish this had been caught sooner, but at least I know now at 31 years old. I have a chance to deal with it and not let it completely hold me back.

 

One of my good friends was also diagnosed as an adult, and it's been nice to talk with him about it. People are so quick to dismiss it I haven't told anyone outside my family and that friend.

 

Do any of you all deal with this? Any insights, comments, etc.?

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My son has most all the obvious signs but he's still so little I feel really unsettled about medicating him while he's still growing and developing.

I try to keep him really active, humor him when he needs to do his homework with a boxing glove on his left hand. He has a high protein diet which helps a lot.

But yeah, once he's clear of puberty I want to consider meds.

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A friend of mine got diagnosed at age 30, and so many things fell into place for her once she had medication in her life. We always just thought she was quirky and a bit irresponsible, but her behavior makes so much more sense now. The only issue she's had with the medication is how it affects her alcohol tolerance. She has to be very careful to only drink in moderation now.

 

It's also been sad to see her brothers disregard it and look down on her for getting the diagnosis and starting treatment. Her family is Hispanic, and they seem to have a lot of prejudices against mental health care.

 

She hasn't shared it with many others either.

 

Best of luck with your ongoing journey!

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I was diagnosed last spring with adult ADD. ADD has manifested itself in two ways that impact my daily life.

 

First, I have difficulties falling asleep due to my mind racing and being full of distractions. Once I fall asleep, I can sleep through most anything. When I was a child I found a mechanism that significantly helped me. I would turn on the radio loud enough so I could hear it, but soft enough I would have to focus. Today, podcasts are a real blessing. I love History of Rome and similar podcasts that I think the content is interesting so my mind is focused, but it is very monotone so it bores me to sleep (no offense to Mike Duncan; he does exceptional work).

 

Second, I need frequent breaks to move. I pace when I need to think something through. Physical movement allows me to focus. In my occupation, I do get to walk quite a bit throughout the day, but I also have to sit frequently through long meetings. I have been called out multiple times by my bosses for quickly appearing disinterested in very important meetings (they are usually correct). The nice thing about being in charge is that I can call for a break if the meeting is going on too long. Also, when I begin the meeting I always say, "we are all busy and I want to be respectful of your time" to help keep the meetings running smoothly.

 

Reflecting back to my childhood and teen years, I always enjoyed and did better in classes (regardless of the content) that was after lunch, PE, started the day, etc. For example, I was excited my junior year of high school to finally take astronomy. Science was always my favorite subject and astronomy was my favorite area. I had it third period (so I have gone a few hours without an extended break to move around) with Mr. Bell and to sit on these tall lab seats without back support. I couldn't sit still or pay attention to save my life. My senior year I had a significantly more difficult class (and I didn't particularly enjoy the content) with Mr. Bell and those same stupid chairs. However, this time the chairs were easier to sit in and I enjoyed the class. The difference (I think) was I had it first thing in the morning after I got to walk around so I felt fresh.

 

I have many stories like these, but the idea is still the same. Figure out what helps you and communicate that to the people you are with. I bet if I knew I had ADD as a teen and I explained to Mr. Bell I needed frequent breaks to help me focus, astronomy class would have gone much smoother. The problem is, some people just don't care and believe you can suck it up.

 

The other thing to add is that it is physiological. In MRI's, we can see a brain with someone with ADD v a non-ADD brain light up, so to speak, differently. For someone with ADD, parts of their brain are not working up to par, so other parts of their brain need to overcompensate, which causes the hyper-awareness. Speed (or caffeine), causes this lower performing part of the brain to catch-up, thus allowing the over performing part of the brain to resume normal activity and thus ending the hyper-awareness. Despite this very real physiological cause, there will always be people that will tell you to suck it up or whatever while at the same time, they may be taking blood pressure medication or Rogaine. **** them.

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What medication are you on, if you don't mind me asking? My husband was diagnosed in his preteens, and they tried medication but he thought it made him "foggy". I wonder if it was a misdiagnosis or just a different medicine. As an adult, he's fine at work, though. But he really struggled in a classroom environment.

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Cashmere, I hadn't thought of the alcohol. I am too busy to drink anyways, but at a conference I had a beer just drinking socially. I noticed halfway through one bottle of beer that I was feeling it, but I chalked that up to low tolerance from just not drinking much. Could be be both I suppose, but good to know.

 

Darth Ender, sounds like I have the inattentive type (ADD?) whereas you have ADHD. Before being diagnosed, I didn't even understand the difference. I just thought, well, I'm not hyperactive, so that can't be it.

 

They're giving me Adderall, 15mg in morning, 10mg after lunch.

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Cashmere, I hadn't thought of the alcohol. I am too busy to drink anyways, but at a conference I had a beer just drinking socially. I noticed halfway through one bottle of beer that I was feeling it, but I chalked that up to low tolerance from just not drinking much. Could be be both I suppose, but good to know.

 

Darth Ender, sounds like I have the inattentive type (ADD?) whereas you have ADHD. Before being diagnosed, I didn't even understand the difference. I just thought, well, I'm not hyperactive, so that can't be it.

 

They're giving me Adderall, 15mg in morning, 10mg after lunch.

Not necessarily. Like most things in mental health, everything is on a continuum. I do have a few hyperactive tendencies, but I am not impulsive.

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Do any of you all deal with this? Any insights, comments, etc.?

It's a bummer people aren't believing you or telling you to "tough out" something you've experienced for years, as if just gritting your teeth a little harder will change your perception of the world around you. That said, I'm glad you have found something that works for you, something that opens doors that may have been closed in the past.

 

----

 

In my limited PNW perspective, I think we're living through a truly schizoid (in the offensive, informal "split personality" meaning) era when it comes to brain chemistry. Very unhealthy all-or-nothing attitudes, IMO. Two best examples I can think of below:

 

When I was in grade school, it wasn't at all uncommon for parents to be told by school authoratahs that their kids -- who were usually just wriggly boys who didn't like having to sit for long periods of time... nothing terribly unusual or wrong with them -- should be medicated. I don't think this happens nearly as often now, but we're dealing with the blowback today: a lot of people I know who have kids understand the side effects and remember how strong the push was to diagnose/label otherwise normal kids who were disruptive/unfocused in class; they are now extremely resistant when it comes to their own children, in some cases, to the point where they're ignoring options that may be genuinely beneficial (and of course when those kids become teenagers, they often just self-medicate).

 

But if the pendulum has swung away from medicating younger kids/teens, at least among the college upperclassmen and grad students I know... sweeeeeeeet Jesus. I know far more who swear by Adderall than who don't, and I'm sorry, but do not believe they all have ADHD. The claim is always "I'm too anxious and can't focus and end up missing deadlines," and I hate to come off as smug or like I'm diminishing your struggle, but maybe if ya didn't spend 95% of your spare time outside the classroom composing your EDM "masterpiece" or ranting about whitey on your social justice blog you'd be less anxious and able to finish your papers on time :p

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All my SJW friends definitely have unhealthy anxiety levels.

 

And then you have my husband, who distrust medicine in general because of his negative experience. So when Ethan needed reflux medicine, it was a huge stink. (Fortunately, once he saw what happened after the medication wore off, he was a convert.)

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I was diagnosed with ADHD a while ago. I think it's all ADHD and then they specify the type. At least last I checked. I haven't had any active treatment for a few years either. Two of my kids have autism. At some point, in taking care of things for them, someone asked me if I'd ever been diagnosed with ADHD, and that got the ball rolling. There was a time in my life where I could get totally lost staring at a spot on a wall and not know how long I'd been doing it for. I was hyper focusing on meaningless things. After some time on medication, it really helped with stuff like that. I hadn't previously realized I was doing stuff like that. I don't take any medication anymore, but now I can realize I'm going there and stop myself from doing it. There was something I took, I think strattera at some point, that I felt like I was in a fog. I'd just be standing in a grocery store with no idea of what I was doing there. Not the same as when you're there and you know you need something and can't remember what, but having no idea why I was even there. Medication for kids makes me nervous before they are of an age that they can say if they have side effects. One of the ones I took made me horribly motion sick. I actually had trouble figuring out what it was. Many of them can kill your appetite. I know a lot of people who have their kids on something for when they're at school, and take them off on breaks so they can eat normally.

I feel like I underachieved my way through school. When it was easy, I did awesome. So, they'd try me in something harder. When I had to put in some effort, I had no clue how to do it. In the early grades, stuff was easy, so I'd rush through, and then teachers would tell me to take a nap. I've always got background noise going, and I like to chew on stuff (Certain fast food plastic straws I love).

An interesting sort of thing, I have trouble making decisions that aren't impulsive. If I sit too long on a choice, I won't do it. One of the other little fun things I found out later on in life is that I have a bit of compulsiveness. This is real fun when you live with a other person with some OCD like tendencies who insists upon things differently than you do. There are certain things I insist be lined up a certain way, and I've got a kid who likes them going a different way. So, the rule is that you cannot turn another person's things to a different orientation. If not, I'd be at war with him turning each other's stuff.

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^talking bout dodgey side effects.. Anti-depressants often come with side effect warnings that range from nausea to "suicidal thoughts/feelings" WTF? Does any ADHD/ADD medication have side effects that worrying?

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^talking bout dodgey side effects.. Anti-depressants often come with side effect warnings that range from nausea to "suicidal thoughts/feelings" WTF? Does any ADHD/ADD medication have side effects that worrying?

I only know people who use Adderall. Without reading the label, I know a few people who have mentioned feeling anxious and depressed. Also know of sexual side effects that are associated with it (e.g. somebody who has always had a low libido suddenly having sex on the brain 24/7, taffy penis, etc.).

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Huh. Not often I hear of increased libido as a side effect!!

I think if you don't actually have ADHD, Adderall has a better chance of making you hypersexual as a side effect. The girl I am thinking of said she was always like whatevs about sex, just put up with it because letting her bf poke her as she contemplated the next grocery list was easier than fighting. But when she first started taking Adderall, literally the next day when she woke up, sex was all she could think about up until she built up a tolerance.

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^talking bout dodgey side effects.. Anti-depressants often come with side effect warnings that range from nausea to "suicidal thoughts/feelings" WTF? Does any ADHD/ADD medication have side effects that worrying?

I only know people who use Adderall. Without reading the label, I know a few people who have mentioned feeling anxious and depressed. Also know of sexual side effects that are associated with it (e.g. somebody who has always had a low libido suddenly having sex on the brain 24/7, taffy penis, etc.).

 

 

 

Wow, that hasn't been my experience at all. My libido has decreased, but I'm writing five manuscripts for publication, aiming for a promotion, dealing with multiple family health issues, and caring for an infant and toddler. I don't really have time to think about sex, and I'm not sure if I can chalk that up to Adderall. Any anxiety I had was gone. I'm guessing I was anxious because of tasks and deadlines I struggled to meet.

 

I was diagnosed with ADHD a while ago. I think it's all ADHD and then they specify the type. At least last I checked. I haven't had any active treatment for a few years either. Two of my kids have autism. At some point, in taking care of things for them, someone asked me if I'd ever been diagnosed with ADHD, and that got the ball rolling. There was a time in my life where I could get totally lost staring at a spot on a wall and not know how long I'd been doing it for. I was hyper focusing on meaningless things. After some time on medication, it really helped with stuff like that. I hadn't previously realized I was doing stuff like that. I don't take any medication anymore, but now I can realize I'm going there and stop myself from doing it. There was something I took, I think strattera at some point, that I felt like I was in a fog. I'd just be standing in a grocery store with no idea of what I was doing there. Not the same as when you're there and you know you need something and can't remember what, but having no idea why I was even there. Medication for kids makes me nervous before they are of an age that they can say if they have side effects. One of the ones I took made me horribly motion sick. I actually had trouble figuring out what it was. Many of them can kill your appetite. I know a lot of people who have their kids on something for when they're at school, and take them off on breaks so they can eat normally.

I feel like I underachieved my way through school. When it was easy, I did awesome. So, they'd try me in something harder. When I had to put in some effort, I had no clue how to do it. In the early grades, stuff was easy, so I'd rush through, and then teachers would tell me to take a nap. I've always got background noise going, and I like to chew on stuff (Certain fast food plastic straws I love).

An interesting sort of thing, I have trouble making decisions that aren't impulsive. If I sit too long on a choice, I won't do it. One of the other little fun things I found out later on in life is that I have a bit of compulsiveness. This is real fun when you live with a other person with some OCD like tendencies who insists upon things differently than you do. There are certain things I insist be lined up a certain way, and I've got a kid who likes them going a different way. So, the rule is that you cannot turn another person's things to a different orientation. If not, I'd be at war with him turning each other's stuff.

 

One of my friends took that drug and had similar results. I talked to him about it (he was diagnosed over a decade ago) and suggested he try Adderall. He hated Strattera, said he was a zombie.

 

In my limited PNW perspective, I think we're living through a truly schizoid (in the offensive, informal "split personality" meaning) era when it comes to brain chemistry. Very unhealthy all-or-nothing attitudes, IMO. Two best examples I can think of below:

 

When I was in grade school, it wasn't at all uncommon for parents to be told by school authoratahs that their kids -- who were usually just wriggly boys who didn't like having to sit for long periods of time... nothing terribly unusual or wrong with them -- should be medicated. I don't think this happens nearly as often now, but we're dealing with the blowback today: a lot of people I know who have kids understand the side effects and remember how strong the push was to diagnose/label otherwise normal kids who were disruptive/unfocused in class; they are now extremely resistant when it comes to their own children, in some cases, to the point where they're ignoring options that may be genuinely beneficial (and of course when those kids become teenagers, they often just self-medicate).

 

But if the pendulum has swung away from medicating younger kids/teens, at least among the college upperclassmen and grad students I know... sweeeeeeeet Jesus. I know far more who swear by Adderall than who don't, and I'm sorry, but do not believe they all have ADHD. The claim is always "I'm too anxious and can't focus and end up missing deadlines," and I hate to come off as smug or like I'm diminishing your struggle, but maybe if ya didn't spend 95% of your spare time outside the classroom composing your EDM "masterpiece" or ranting about whitey on your social justice blog you'd be less anxious and able to finish your papers on time :p

 

I agree, I saw it misused when I was in undergrad. I grew up in the 90s (mostly) and saw ADD waaay overdiagnosed, which was a huge reason I didn't address it for years. I thought, "Hell, I'm a tough enough guy. I'll deal with it." which works to an extent.

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I've heard both ways about the sex thing. I'm super tactile defensive. I get really weirded out by most people touching my feet or my back. There are people who I can't stand them even being behind me and breathing, they make my skin crawl. I never had this problem with my husband. Then again, I probably wouldn't have married someone who I didn't like touching me. But prior to him, I didnt like it. I don't recall being so tactile defensive on adderall, so I could see where that would change things. Strattera on the other hand, that messed me up so much. I was in a fog, which made me super anxious, because being in the middle of something and suddenly having no idea why you're there or what you're doing will do that, and then you'll worry about when it will happen next. I'm pretty sure that's the one that made me motion sick. Sex is just not the first thing on your mind when you feel like shit. It took me a while to figure out the problem, until someone else finally figured it out for me that I was okay on days I forgot to take it. Until then it was like, wtf, why am I nauseous and mentally screwed up but I'm not pregnant.

I didn't really think a lot of things were a problem. There was a defintely a time there where stuff was being overdiagnosed. I didn't say anything to a good portion of my family, and only a few close friends. Given the reaction to stuff with the kids, it wasn't worthwhile. That shit really weeds out the people who really care. The people I've continued to surround my self with are people who are pretty nice about it when they call me out on things. I've probably pissed off a good number of people too, but I don't know exactly who all those people are. I didn't realize some of the things I do until adderall. People don't jump from one subject to the next seemingly at random. People don't say something and then forget what they said within a minute. The people who put up with me really do love to tease me when I do that one. On the other hand, this drives one of the kids up a wall. Put together a person who jumps topics seemingly at random (in my mind there is reason, you said this word which rhymes with this word, which makes me think of this other thing- that makes sense) with someone who could stay on a subject for hours, it's a winning combo.

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My older son was on Strattera for a while. It absolutely made him crazy. Like freak out, throttle himself, self harm and go for the knives in order to self harm some more, then later forget he'd done any of it crazy. Turns out that sort of behavior - increased aggression and whatnot, are rare but not unheard of side effects from being on it. Since weaning him off of it he's been way, WAY better.

I've been on and off dexedrine over the years. I find I need to eat a good deal less, and don't sleep near so much. While taking dexedrine, I'm fine or 4 or 5 hours sleep. And libido wise - well, let's just say the wife likes it because it's back to the way it was when we first started dating. This is generally true even on a low dose.

Withdrawl from dexedrine is not much fun. Mild dizziness and nausea, moodiness and irritability and extreme fatigue were my experiences.

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