(Closed) ADHD as an adult

posted 6 years ago in Wellness
Post # 2
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770 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

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KingsDaughter:  My husband wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his early 30s. He was unable to get through college and barely made it through high school. No one believed that he may have had ADHD because his parents didn’t believe in medicating him. I understand that because there are lots of misdiagnoses amongst kids these days. However, he really did suffer because he never got treated. 

After he went to see a doctor a few years ago for the first time he was prescribed a low dose amphetamine. It was like night and day for him. He was able to learn a trade and now he has a wonderful job that pays very well. He’s very intelligent; he just had a very hard time focusing for much of his life so it REALLY affected his abilities in school and then work. He mainly only takes his medication during the week but he can go a few days without it and be okay. It really does help him immensely! 

Post # 3
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2673 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

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KingsDaughter:  I’m guessing the doctors may have brushed you off because they may have assumed you were just drug seeking. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for people to abuse/misuse ADHD meds. That can make it difficult for people who really are struggling to be taken seriously. I hope things work out for you!

Post # 6
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1146 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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KingsDaughter:  I was diagnosed as an adult, at about age 25 or 26 I belive. It’s something I have probably always had, but because I have a very good memory I was always able to effortlessly get good grades through school and college. It wasn’t until law school and the professional world that I really came to believe I may be affected, despite the fact that my brother was diagnosed as a child and it’s largely genetic.

I atually got the same thing you di from the first doctor I saw — she said there is no way I could have made high grades consistently and gotten into a top 20 law school if I had ADHD — that is completely off base. I would avoid doctors who tell you that as it’s a complex disorder that can manifest very differently in different people, and you should never asses based on outcomes/results, but should look at daily behaviors and patterns.

Thats said, 1) not sure why you’d feel the need to go anon, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a biological thing you can’t really help 2) You need to see a psychiatrist and have them formally assess you. ADHD goes well beyond “not being able to focus” on things — in fact it’s really not simple that at all. You need to find a psychiatrist that “believes” in it and understands how to properly assess and treat it. Medication changed my life, and it very well could change yours too. It’s worth seeing different psychs until you find one that can help you and will put in the time to do so. Finally, 3) don’t give a second thought to what “people” think about this — I don’t think you need to even talk to anyone about it besides your doctor. There are a lot of misconceptions about it and layman opinions won’t help you.

When you go to your appointment, try to communicate the details of your life from morning to night, not just diffculty focusing on work. It can vary by individual, but for me, ADHD manifested by making me very susceptable to obsessing about performing tasks so perfectly I would break them down into minute details and end up wasting all kinds of time, no matter how irrellevant the detail was. I was incapable of sitting down and performing a single task from start to finish without thinking of a million other things I needed to do or look up or should do first…and then I would get anxiety over forgetting those things if i didn’t stop to do them right away…so i would interrupt my task to do one of them, only to interrupt myself again with another round of the same cycle. I was always late, because my attention would be so fragmented I would try to do way too many things in the amount of time I had — even if I had 2 hours to get ready, I’d stretch what should have taken 45 mins into that full 2 hours and then some. I was incapable of settling down and watching a movie…I had to also be eating, and reading, and doing my skincare, and texting….etc. In the rare moments where I would let my mind “rest,” I would often become paranoid or worried about irrational things, like natural disasters or my parents being killed in a car accident and me not knowing.

I could go on and on…but again — i tell you all this to help you see examples of what looking at your behaviors in every day life looks like, because thats the sort of thing you need to tell the doctor. everyone has challenges with motivation and focus at some point, but these are the types of things that set ADHD apart from a normally functioning mind. All those things I described come down to an “attention deficit” but it’s the way that it manifests that makes it true disorder and (thank god!!!) very treatable with the right medication.

I would really recommend the book Driven to Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and John J. Ratey M.D. — it really helps you understand ADHD especially as an adult who managed to function well enough to fly under the radar as a kid.

Post # 7
Member
5540 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

Adults certainly can have it and people don’t “outgrow” it! Dh took meds as a kid for his adhd but stopped when he went off to college, where we met. It took him 4 years and 6 degree plans to figure out he hated college and went to tech school, which he loved and now works as a mechanic. But he still had such trouble focusing despite his best efforts, so he went back to a doc to talk about it. They got him on a med regime that works for him, He has doubled the amount of work he does at his job, he remembers to help around the house and is generally less chaotic than off the meds. For people who need them, ADD/ADHD meds are great, it can take tweaking to figure out the best way for you to take and what, but it’s worth it for a lot of people. Unfortunately they are also fairly easy to abuse so it makes getting them hard for a newly diagnosed adult. Heck, I am one of those people who functioned well enough as a child but really probably meet the diagnostic criteria now but it isn’t worth the hoop jumping to me. 

Post # 8
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1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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KingsDaughter:  YES. I got diagnosed a bit less than a year ago. I kinda had known for a while. Had tried different coping techniques and learning skills. My main fear was being officially diagnosed and being prescribed drugs. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. Never have, and never tried drugs. You hear so many horror stories that you get scared. But honestly, after almost a year, I can tell you I can stop taking them when /if I want to. In fact, I asked for medication that does not take three weeks to build up the right levels. Just because I want to be able to take breaks. And if on the weekends, for example, I don’t have to be sharp for work or anything important, I want to Take a break. 

Things got tough. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was going nowhere…. No matter how hard I tried. And that my talents were being wasted just becauss I have one good idea … After a Great idea followed by an awesome idea BUT… Couldn’t execute. Got too distracted with it all and things just followed the same stupid circle. 

I decided I was going to get help. But not from any general practitioner. By a  psyquiatrist. I started a thread just like this one you started. I was also nervous and very confused. A  bee suggested a neuropsiquiatrist. Found one and it’s been great. He started me on a very conservative dose. We went up bit by bit. We had to switch to another medication as the coming down of the first one was being way too hard on me at the end of each day. I love the one I am on right now. Smoother. I can just focus and concentrate better. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that it might take a few attempts and tweakings to get the right medication for you and the right dose. 

before going to the evaluation, I made a commitment and promised myself I would stick to treatment for one whole year. Of it didn’t work, then I could drop it. The only reason I could drop it was if there were serious health complications with the medication . Otherwise, I wouls stick to it. I am super happy I took that step. I hope everything works well for you!

Post # 9
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1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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KingsDaughter:  oh! My doctor said if as a kid you are not climbing walls and getting on people’s nerves, “you are not a problem”. And usually if you are not a problem, “nothing’s wrong with you”. You just need to try harder, be more disciplined etC. He says he sees this a lot in women as girls tend to be a bit more calm than the boys. And also, when we were kids. It was less common to seek help for kids with ADHD as most people thought it was just laziness, bad behavior, lack of intelligence… You name it .

At least I know I performed decently enough and didn’t cause trouble and was not getting on people’s nerves. So then no one saw a problem :-/. I was only “daydreaming” all the time according to teachers at the time -.-

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Sporty-Bee.
Post # 10
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1378 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base

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polyblonde:  Ditto everything she said. 

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chasesgirl:  I disagree on the fact that you can “outgrow” ADD/ADHD.  I am one of those that did “outgrow” the childhood diagnosis.  

My story, I remember sitting  then standing repeatedly in 1st grade.  When recess would come I would run and run until my nose would bleed.  The recess teacher always had paper towels for me.  I remember fidgeting  (still do).  I went on meds and never ran again.  

I probably went off of them by 4th grade or sooner.  Made it through High School, College including the Dean’s List 3 semesters while working a full time job.  I could multitask like no other.  

Then along came my 40’s… it started with post it notes in one pocket then transfer to the other pocket only to proceed to go back through the to make sure I remembered everything.  I’m talking every little detail of what needed to be done.  I could not remember what came next or what I was asked to do.  I felt stupid.  Finally I decided to tell my psychiatrist (I’m diagnosed with clinical depression),  and show her my post it’s from one day.  She told me that child ADD/ADHD usually returns as an adult.  I currently take Adderall.  Couldn’t live without it.  

Today I went to Walmart with a budget of $120.00 should have been easy since I do accounting.  Ha!  I left with $159.00 of stuff.  I probably lost track 20 times of where I was in adding.  My 4 year old was remembering to my totals for me.  Of course today was the day I forgot to take my medicine and didn’t get home until 6:30pm.  

I have no shame with my diagnosis I need to function and that’s all that matters.  

For the record, I personally don’t understand how they can be abused.  I feel normal when I take them.  

Post # 11
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1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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PinkQueen:  it’s hard for me also to even imagine how they can be abused. I think it just takes a bit of a more addictive personality. I once took Oxycodone for a surgery and I was seriously puzzled at how people get hooked on that. Then I remembered rule number one of physiology (athlete) . Every body is different. And responds differently to many things. Some people get high on Oxycodone. I didn’t. It just made me vomit lol. And took the edge of the pain away. But I could talk and walk perfectly and felt perfectly normal. 

i was on Aderall at the beginning. Was doing ok. Took a break during the holidays and when I started again, my body was reacting so bad at nights. We switched to Vyvanse. I love this one. I feel like it’s a better fit for my needs. I am definitely happy I decided to seek help!

Post # 12
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6105 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

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KingsDaughter:  I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD in college. I’ve always had problems with focusing on the correct things (I would focus on details that weren’t important), fidgetting, etc. I would have to read things over and over again because I would start to wonder what would come next and not really read the words. However, high school was just easy enough to make it through without really having to put in much effort. When I got to college, I really had to focus on my work and study and that’s when it became a problem. I went to my family doctor and she wasn’t comfortable diagnosing me so she referred me to a psychiatrist. After some tests, he diagnosed me with ADD/ADHD and prescribed me Adderall. It worked really well and I was able to focus on my studies and I was able to significantly bring up my GPA. After graduation I willingly stopped seeing my psychiatrist (I told him I was stopping) and decided to no longer take meds. I wasn’t addicted or anything but I just didn’t want to have to be on pills for the rest of my life and wanted to try and work through it on my own. There are some days at work where I just can’t stay on track but I always end up getting my work done sooner or later. I do think that I could benefit from meds still, but like I said, I don’t want to be on them forever.

My husband is one of those people that doesn’t really “believe in” ADD/ADHD but he never gave me crap for it or made me feel bad about it.

Post # 13
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1146 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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PinkQueen:  Aw, thanks. It’s nice to be reminded I am not alone and relate to someone — I don’t talk about this with many people in real life because everyone “omg has ADD, i just can’t focus!” And it just isn’t like that!

Totally get the shopping thing — I buy 90% of what I buy online because of this exact issue!! Now thanks to Amazon Pantry and Fresh I even do the majority of household and grocery shopping online. That way i won’t have one of these “sprees” occur after hours when my meds are wearing off 🙂

Meds are truly a godsend. I can see how they could be abused, as I have let friends have a few here and there and they turn into manic, hyper people on them…but like you i finally feel “normal.” The only regret I have is not going on them sooner as I definitely would have had a much different experience in law school and during my first job. Unfortunately I was too influenced by the negtative stigma growing up (even by my own parents) so I was very anti-med until I just got so fed up and decided something had to be done. I went from having difficulty holding conversations with people and either losing control over everything I tried to do or barely churning out deliverables at the last minute — to reaching a director level position by 30 in a role that is very largely communicative.

I wish the OP the best — come update us after your appointment today!!

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