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Adult ADD/ADHD ???

What is the process of being diagnosed for Adult ADD/ADHD?

I am 44, have a 10 1/2 yr old son w/ ADHD (amongst other issues), and the more I read about minimally ADD, the more I see myself falling under that diagnosis.

It's become more apparent to me as my late husband was OCD and our behaviors off-set each other. I'm not one to keep things organized, he was amazing at doing that! He cleaned, because I didn't do it the way he wanted. I could go on, but unless it's necessary, I won't.

I have limited funds to go through evaluations, I do have access to an MD and a LCSW that's married to a PsyD (and I'm sure if I asked, they would help out).

I must admit, I've tried some Ritalin (only 10 mg and only when someone was around and aware) and it made a noticeable difference for me, but I can't help but wonder if that is simply because I knew I was taking it and wanted a result.

8 Responses
Avatar universal
I just realized I posted in the wrong forum ... sorry!!
Avatar universal

Ok ... so this is in the right place ... I can't afford to post it on the 'Ask the Doctor Forum' right now ... ARGH!!
785504 tn?1236349485
after 25 yrs of wondering what was wrong with me, i finally starte  adderall, 15 mg, and it started helping a little, still adjusting, which i dont like to do , my ocd sees to that. ha ha my son has started metadate, and helps, he is 6 and just diagnosed with apraxia , as well as add... the fruit doesnt fall from the tree... good luck to ya.
765070 tn?1384873394
I am 33 years old and I take the adderall short acting form.  The adderall XR which is extended release really did not work since it made me crash really hard.  The other thing with the short acting form is that it is a generic form and is really inexpensive.  I only pay $10 for a 30 month prescription of 60 pills which is written for 20 mg two times a day, but with me I cut the 20 in half and take 10 mg 4 times a day.  This seems to work great and I have  been through every single add med out there.  All of the meds worked but made me crash extremely hard when it wore off.  This I at least can control and I do not have trouble sleeping.  My concentration is consistent.  Before, I was not even focusing and would be all over the place.

Anyway, when I was 20, I went to a friend of ours, which is a psychologist and he went through and asked me typical questions to see if I had any symptoms of ADD.   Here are the questions he asked:

Do you:

have difficulty concentrating on one thing at a time?

tend to be disorganized?

have a hard time focusing or paying attention during conversations, listening to others, or while reading?

often forget things like appointments or obligations?

have trouble following directions that have multiple steps?

have difficulty starting and finishing projects?

tend to procrastinate?

have trouble prioritizing information?

get impatient easily?

often feel restless and antsy?

lose track of time and have trouble with time management?

often misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?

act before thinking through consequences?

speak or blurt out before thinking about the impact your words will have on others?

tend to have lots of racing thoughts?

get bored easily?

tend to make careless mistakes when you have to work on a tedious or difficult project?

take risks frequently?

he got these questions from the American Psychiatric Association and from some healthgroup network for adult ADD.

if you answered yes to most or all of these questions then the chances are that you definitely have ADD, but getting an evaluation done by a doctor is key.  To find a doctor in the area you live you can go to the ADDA or CHADD websites and also they have local meetings which are free that you can go to.  You need to get a doctor's evaluation in order to even get a prescription since the meds are controlled substances.

There is a natural med that I have heard and read about that really seems to work.  Actually, Did you ever here of anyone in China actually having ADD, well that is because they have a specific ingredient or vitamin in there tea that helps with focus and moods.  They are so even tempered and seem to be very focused.  The vitamin is calle L-Theanine and if you take the pill form within 30 minutes, just like ADD meds, helps with concentration, mood, energy and focus.  

One thing that I did to understand and cope with ADD is to do alot of research on this disease.  This will help you as well as make you feel successful in something because you will actually accomplish something that you can feel proud of.  That seems to be what keeps us ADD people going.  Like a motor, we always have to be moving and in control of every and any situation.  Meds will definitely help with this and improve your way of life.  This does not mean that you don't have to work at it, it will just help you in getting there.  We still must be responsible for our own actions, but just need a little brain stimulation.  Sort of like shock therapy for the mind.

I hope  this has helped.  
Avatar universal
That helped me a lot too actually! Basically my entire life I have been a constant daydreamer. Very creative, always daydreaming and very random. And I had this habit of walking back and for maybe 2-3 hours and just thinking. That's right, I would just think about stories and things happening and make up instances and I would be going through the words and the motions in my mind and it would be like I was there. Well those thinking habits did not stop and lasted until I was 21. I'm 22 now and I don't do them because I don't have the energy or time anymore. I always procrastinate, I have such fast thinking and random flight of ideas, it's unbelievable. I am constantly thinking about everything and anything and it's like I cannot control it. It literally hurts me to focus on one thing. And I do not realize that I was thinking 10 minutes about a million things until 10 minutes later that I realize I was staring into space and I have to get back. I am always fatigued, yet always restless. I am always fidgeting, twitches, you name it. They are not exaggerated (not movement disorder or anything) so people do not notice them and I do well to hide them. But with family I am free so my mom usually observes if they increase or decrease.

Well, I am a college student now doing pre-med, neuroscience. People assume of course that I just have bad study habits, or I like to party or something and I think I have ADD. But my brother has always encouraged me to be tested, because he knows I'm smart and he knows how hard I try and how things just don't click together. Literally, when I look at something to read I can't go word by word. I start in the middle then skim top then skim all over. When I walk into a room, I take in everything all around me jumbled up together. I finally know now that no matter how hard I try to study and do it by myself, I can't force my brain to network differently. And so I am going to be evaluated for ADD. I should have trusted my instinct before but instead I just kept putting myself down, saying I"m a bad student and wasting time and grades.

People think I'm imagining it because they say, why did you get the symptoms all of a sudden in college. No, I've had the symptoms my entire life. But in the past, things are easy for me in classes so I got A's and honors and I never actually, truly studied.  They started becoming a problem when I went to college and took incredibly intensive courses.

So as hopefully a future psychiatrist/neurologist, I decided to test myself at least until I could get an appointment for evaluation (they are very busy.) I had taken 10mg, 20mg Aderall in the past once or twice for the cram study sessions. However, I took 30mg extended-release pill to last me throughout the day.

Did I feel extra hyper? No.
Did I feel energetic? Yes.
Did I feel sick? no.

I have low blood pressure naturally, so the medicine is making it normal actually.
So I feel normal for once. I don't feel like my mind is all over the place, and I am a mess.

So I am taking it daily to observe side effects. The only one I need to really watch out for is aggressiveness and mood swings, but I'm actually much calmer and not as hormonally crazy. I am focused and fine, and I am not fatigued. I am not superhyper and ready to charge on the world. NO, I feel fine with normal energy levels. I feel normal, I can't stop saying that because it's so true. Between excessive detailed, vivid dreaming by night and all the overthinking by day I was getting so desperate, depressed and anxious. I feel relieved for once.

If you guys have any comments, advice, tips or something to share do message me or reply here. Thanks for reading my story, take care!
Avatar universal
Hi jemom!

After spending 20yrs trying to complete my college degree (bachelor's) I finally decided to get help!  I went to my primary care physician who referred me to a psychiatrist.  After ruling out other possible conditions (bi-polar, depression,....???) the psychiatrist referred me for neuro-psychological testing.  It took a while for my insurance to approve the testing which I believe was submitted at a cost of $750.00.

I will honestly tell you that I believe the neuropsych testing didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.  And it revealed a few things that I didn't want to know.

After going over the results with the psychologist I felt humiliated and about an inch tall.  It's now official and in writing.  I have a written report that points out every little detail of my DIS-order and inadequateness.

And now I get montly Rx's for Adderall which I sometimes take on the days that I'm working.  I would say that the medication helps with maybe 20 percent of my problem.  The remainder of my problem would need to be worked out with behavior modification, planning, and getting organized.  And that's if I can get motivated.  Just thinking of doing all that wears me out!  

I simply cannot understand WHY anyone would actively seek out an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. It seems that some people think having a diagnosis (even a self diagnosis) makes them special and "gifted".  Perhaps I'm the only one who views her diagnosis and symptoms as a ball and chain?  Loosing things, forgeting things, disorganization, procrastination and a poor conceptualization of time are a handful of "cute" and "endearing" traits that I struggle with daily.  These symptoms are often debilitating and a major source of frustration and anxiety.

So my suggestion is...if you're looking for stimulant medication (Adderall, Ritalin, etc...) by all means go to a doc who is willing to prescribe the medication freely.  

Avatar universal
Hi Jemom,

I skimmed through the responses to your question and didn't see this mentioned.

1.  I believe that you need to have what is called a TOVA test to see if you have ADHD and what tendency you have.  I am an older adult who was recently diagnosed with ADHD (tendancy toward inattentive).  Through speaking with my therapist, she picked up on things I was saying about my disorganization along with memory and concentration problems.  I'm thinking that you need to discuss this with your  LCSW and MD.  They will ask some very personal and intrusive questions before deciding whether to refer you to being tested.

2.  I am not sure if the process is the same for all testing, but I once I was referred to testing, I had an appointment for pretesting in which I was asked many more intrusive questions which were used to gain insight into me and to decide whether I should actually be scheduled for the test.  

- I saw it mentioned above by someone who felt humiliated by going over these questions with the therapist/tester.  I felt that also.  But, I think that with each intrusive, humiliating quesiton I had to answer "yes" to, I felt a glimmer of hope rise inside of me.  Could there finally be an answer to a lifetime of feeling disconnected and misunderstood?  Aha....     Could there be something that might actually help this go away or at least allow me to function better?  

3. Received the TOVA test

4.  Another appointment for the results.  More and more intrusive questions before giving me the results of my testing.  Basically, a complete history of my life was taken to fill in the blanks from the previous question and answer sessions.  

5.  Appointment with prescribing physician.  

It is a long process or it was for me anyway, but should find a way to do it so that you can have some calmness in your future.
Avatar universal
My neice was recently diagnosed with ADD. She was doing very bad in school and never could learn anything. I took her to a psychiatrist that did a very good test on the computer. The computer does all the grading and timeing. It breaks the test down to quarters and then by half and then as a whole. It tells what level of ADD/ADHD you may have. It compares it to other people of the same age and sex. The psychiatrist also had her to go to a neurologist for an EEG. Then she had to try a number of meds to see which one was the best for her. Hope this was some help. It takes some time to get a real diagnois from a psychiatrist, but it is the best way to do it to make sure it is not anything else.
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