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Avatar universal

ADD or Anxiety?

Hi, I'd appreciate any advice. I'm a 22year old female.

My symptoms won't let me live a normal life, and I've lost all motivation to pursue my career, so I am jobless and broke. I keep wondering if I have ADD or Anxiety. Here's some of the things I go through:

When I drive, I get flustered. I have no clue where I'm going. I mean I can drive to the same destination over and over and still not remember the directions how to get there and home.

Also, when I go to the mall, I again get so flustered, I feel like my brain leaves my body. I'll forget everything I came for, become confused when looking at prices and just go home.

Finally, one of my worst symptoms is trouble concentrating. When I talk to people, whether my professor or friends, I sound like a 2 year old. The words don't come to my head and I can barely make sentences. I also used to read so much before, but now when I read, I again, get confused. I can read the same line over and over but still not comprehend anything. The reason I think it's  ADD is because in high school, I was always getting in trouble for not sitting still and paying attention. But I also think it's anxiety because of my dad dying and lack of sleep ever since my parents broke up. So anyway, my psychiatrist won't test me for ADD, he says it's anxiety/depression. I'm on like my 5th drug trial, it's Sertraline 150mg per day, and 100g of Seroquel at night. Also Clonazapam 3 times a day. None of it's helping.

How can I get tested?
5 Responses
189897 tn?1441130118
   The problem is - ADD can cause the anxiety/depression.  
Check out these two sites aimed at the adult ADD sufferer.  See if what they are talking about sound familiar to you.  If it does, find a psyc that specializes in ADD.  The sites are totallyadd.com and http://jeffsaddmind.com/for-first-time-visitors.
               Both sites are done by people with ADD.  totallyadd was actually a PBS special and consequently is a series of short videos.  Quite entertaining and useful.   Jeffs add mind really reflects him.  Has much more adult interaction.  Both are worth checking out
Avatar universal
This won't seem to answer your question right away, but bear with me:

I'm 31, was diagnosed with ADD when I was 16, also diagnosed with OCD when I was 29 (although it is pretty mild- mostly anxiety triggered by various things such as my children getting sick or something, but I do not really have compulsive activity).  I also tend to get onsets of depression (again, not severe). I have a prescription of Xanax to use "as needed", which ends up being maybe once or twice a month for the most part.  I've been on Lexapro for probably 6 years now.  It helps to keep me more on an even-keel, but doesn't help (and isn't supposed to really) with my concentration issues, and doesn't help with the occasional anxiety spells.  About 4 years ago I went on Vyvanse (to treat the ADD, this was before I was dianosed with OCD), and it was an entirely different world.  It made me alert and focused, but most of all, it worked way better than Lexapro or Xanax ever did for depression.  The Lexapro/Vyvanse combo put me in an extremely happy, positive mood, to the point where I would occasionally find myself being a chatterbox when talking to people.  However, I wasn't "amped up" or jittery.  I actually found it very easy to just sit at my desk and work all day.  I would even not want to go to lunch because I was comfortable and in the middle of tasks (plus it kind of kills your appetite).

After about a year, I ran into a period at work where I had lots of things to do, in very different types of work (actually in a way you could say I kind of had 2 jobs at the same time with the same employer).  All of these tasks in my mind made me feel very scatterbrained, which I incorrectly thought was caused by the Vyvanse.  After being on Vyvanse for about 8-9 months, I decided to stop (still continued on the Lexapro).  After a few months, I noticed that I would still occasionally get scatterbrained in the same types of situations, which proved that it was not caused by the Vyvanse.  Shortly after that, I had some extreme anxiety issues due to what they thought might be a problem with my newborn child's heart (which after a couple of months turned out to be nothing).  My Lexapro was doubled, and I took Xanax pretty regularly.  After a couple months with a therapist and about 18 additional months of just taking the Lexapro, I've started to get depressed more frequently, as well as have concentration issues (which I always have had, but is magnified when I am depressed).  

I just went on Adderall (basically the same as Vyvanse, but much cheaper, and shorter acting so you take it twice a day instead of once) a couple of weeks ago.  Right from the first day my mood was much better and so was my attention span and ability to focus.

If your psychiatrist won't even allow the possibility of ADD, you can always go to another.  I'm not saying to go from doctor to doctor until one agrees with what you think your problems are, but doctors can be wrong.  A mental issue like ADD, like Sandman2 said above, can cause other issues like anxiety or depression which mask the symptons of the underlying issue.  Maybe you can ask your doctor to give you a one week prescription for Adderall or Vyvanse to see if it has a benefit to you.  They work right away, not like antidepressants which have to build up in your blood stream.

Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Wow thank you for your insightful response. I live in Canada and although Im lucky to have free health care, the problem is the doctor's have too many patients. I travel an hour to see my psychiatrst and he talks to me for 5 to 10 minutes about dosage adjustments. If I request a new psychiatrst, it's going to be months on a waitlist.

But I know I have anxiety because I have panic attacks and trouble sleeping. The trouble concentrating started in university when I got overwhelmed, but now it's ALL the time. My Psych said since I get good grades, it's not Add. But Im always the last one to leave a test, and it takes me forever to read one page.

Also when I was younger, I was a really angry person, which I've attributed to not having a dad, but the more I think about it, I was ALWAYS gettin in trouble for shouting out in class, talking to friends, falling asleep, or not paying attention. They just labelled me bad, but now I really suspect Add.

My psych won't request it and I dont have a family doctor, so I'm going to have to go to the walk in clinic and pray they refer me.

Thank again for a great response!
Avatar universal
ps: just reading your comment, made my brain foggy and I had to come back to it.
Avatar universal
I generally got good grades as well, but it was less from studying and more from being generally fairly smart and able to figure things out easily.  I was in advanced placement classes from 3rd grade until halfway through junior year of high school.  At that point, the material became difficult to easily understand without putting at least a minimal amount of effort, which was hard for me obviously, so I chose to switch to regular classes instead, which once again I excelled in with little or no real effort.  Starting from sophomore year of HS, I also generally became increasingly withdrawn in class- sleeping, daydreaming and generally not paying attention. I also had anger problems as well, and tended to go from calm to raging from very insignificant triggers (my friends had lots of fun with this of course).

For your "brain fogginess", I would also look into non-medical solutions.  There are workbooks you can buy online or in a bookstore that can help sharpen memory and thinking.  Just do an Amazon search for "brain training", "brain exercises", etc.  Additionally, if you have lots of tasks to do, write them down.  Even if it's just a general "to do" list, once you put it on paper, you don't need to remember it anymore, and it is one less thing your mind will be struggling to remember, clouding your thinking.
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