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Avatar universal

Adult ADHD and addiction

I'm a 33 year old woman with a history of substance abuse.  I'm wondering if my problems with illicit drugs stem from an undiagnosed mental health issue, possibly ADHD.  I've been treated for OCD and depression for the past 5 years, but none of the meds seemed to really help, and now I wonder if I was misdiagnosed.  I have all the symptoms of ADHD, including impulsive behavior, which led me to prison.  I made some very impulsive decisions, completely out of character for me.  I've had a problem with that my whole life, not only during my period of drug abuse.  I also suffer from insomnia (I can't seem to shut my brain down long enough to go to sleep most nights), anxiety, difficulty completing a task, and inability to sit still, even when I'm sleeping.  
Where can I go for help with this?  I've lost faith in my doctor, he hasn't been able to help me at all.  I feel like my mental health is dragging me back toward my addiction, and the relief it brought me.  That is unacceptable!  What resources are out there for people like me?
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18 Responses
757137 tn?1347200053
You might want to check whether you have high cortisol (produced by the adrenal gland). This can make for anxiety, jumpiness and insomnia. I always look first for a physical cause for what may appear to be mental or emotional problems. I learned this from grim experience.
Avatar universal
Holy c r a p, you sound just like me...but I haven't been to prison...wow!
Avatar universal
Thank you for the repsonse.  Can you tell me how I check my "cortisol"?  Is it a simple blood test or?  And do you know what the treatment is for this?
I'd be THRILLED to find out there is a physical cause for my craziness, LOL.  Its funny that nobody has mentioned this before.
Avatar universal
Count yourself lucky that you haven't!  The really crappy part is that I feel like my past (substance abuse and subsequently prison) is preventing my doctor from addressing the issue's that probably caused me to self medicate in the first place.  Don't get me wrong though, I take responsibilty for my actions, and obviously I made some seriously bad choices.  I don't want to give the impression that I'm making excuses.  But I'm getting to the point that I'm ready to find another doctor, and NOT be honest about my past this time.  I thought I was doing the right thing when I disclosed my history to my doc very honestly, but maybe not.
189897 tn?1441130118
COMMUNITY LEADER
  Lots of good comments by all above.  And yes, there are several things that can cause ADHD symptoms that are not ADHD - and they should be checked out!  But your symptoms are also classic ADHD as well as your self medication reactions.  To get a feeling for what adult ADHD is like check out the link and the advice posted here.
     http://www.medhelp.org/posts/ADD---ADHD/Being-judged-for-having-ADHD/show/1327105

  You ask about resources for people like you.  My first question would be - what kind of a doctor is your doctor?  I have seen too many stories in my 3 or so years on this forum where the doctor didn't have a clue.  Also (I guess), along with the first question - do you have the insurance to make a choice in doctors?  We can give lots of online resources, but a good doc, is best!
Avatar universal
Magnesium deficiency has been connected with violence, additictions, ADHD, OCD, depression, insomnia, among many other conditions.

PubMed states: "Magnesium supply decreased the intensity of morphine-induced physical drug dependence. In heroin addicts, the plasma magnesium concentration is decreased."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18705537

Violence and nutrition: http://www.parenting-healthy-children.com/children-nutrition.html

Here's a review on Magnesium Taurate from Amazon's website:
"I began taking this product 3 weeks ago for Panic Attacks and Anxiety. After YEARS on various Prescription drugs I recently heard about the effects of Magnesium Taurate on Panic/Anxiety. So far I have cut back to half the dose of Zoloft (which I've taken for the past 4 years) and 75% LESS Clonazepam! Hoping to be prescription Rx free very soon! I'm extremely happy with this product and would suggest it highly."

Magnesium Reduces Drug Dependency, Cocaine Cravings
http://www.bastyrcenterfornaturalhealth.info/content/view/826/


The below article discusses using Magnesium to wean off an addiction to coffee:
"Magnesium is the body's natural energizer. It balances muscle and nerve tension caused by calcium. It also relaxes the bowel, so it has its own gentle laxative effect. Magnesium is calming because it neutralizes adrenalin surges, which prevents anxiety and treats insomnia...."  http://foreign.peacefmonline.com/health/201008/73448.php



George Eby has a fantastic webpage about his recovery from depression, using Magnesium Taurate.


------------------------------------------
The best forms are: Taurate, Glycinate, and Citrate.  Many forms out there are either ineffective and/or unsafe to use.



The medical site "UpToDate" says:

Dosage: RDI: 400mg/day; ODA: 400-600mg/day

Toxic dose: Single doses, equal or more than, 1000mg may cause diarrhea; use caution in renal impairment...

May alter glucose regulation...

Recommends coordinating with healthcare provider if you have renal or diabetic conditions.
Avatar universal
I haven't seen a psychiatrist yet, my doc is just the family doctor.  And I don't have insurance, which of course *****.  But I'm able to self pay in most cases, I have a good job.  
Should I go to a psychiatrist?  And how can I find someone with experience treating ADHD?

Hmmm., magnesium huh?  I'll give that a try.  
Avatar universal
Most substance abuse programs run on the questionable science of addiction, which might explain the high recidivism that such "disease model" programs experience. There is little corroboration that points to higher success rates for those individuals who are treated as if diseased; and such does little to re-center the individual as an autonomous and self-determining individual. There are a lot of social, economic, and even moral considerations to consider when speaking of drugging and drinking, however, there is not anything fundamentally biological about such "external" triggers. In short, substance (ab)use is a choice; a short-term solution to long term problems. Read Jeffrey Schaler's "Addiction is a choice", and you might realize that addiction as disease makes for great court ordered treatment, but says nothing about individual accountability and self-responsibility! I suggest you steer clear of those quasi-religious outfits, like AA, unless your conception of god is that of a drug counselor!
189897 tn?1441130118
COMMUNITY LEADER
   yes, a family doctor is not the best way to go.  You definitely want to see a psychiatrist.  It should be easy with a phone call or computer search to find one that specializes in adult ADHD.  A psychiatrist also has the medical background to help with some of your other problems.  Do check out the link I gave you.  I think you will find it informative.
  It is also common for people with undiagnosed ADHD/ADD to self medicate.  And women tend to be undiagnosed the most.  You are also at an age where the elementary/middle schools weren't very good at picking up on ADHD symptoms.
  By the way, another very, very interesting link to adult ADHD is
               http://jeffsaddmind.com/
The adults involved really hash it out.  Its worth checking out.  If you do have ADHD/ADD it certainly will give you the feeling that you are not alone.
    Best wishes
757137 tn?1347200053
The test I had was a 24-hour saliva and urine test. I think the lab was NeuroScience.
Avatar universal
The fact that more males than females are diagnosed as AD(H)D is highly suggestive of the political and social function of our MH system. This supposed uptick in females being diagnosed is more so a social phenomenon that it is a medical emergent one. For those with gender equity bone to pick, the fact that girls and women are "presenting" with symptoms is most propitious!
Avatar universal
Of course addiction IS a choice, and one of the keys to recovery is accountability.  However, I do believe that some people are more predisposed to addiction due to genetics. Also, I don't think its a coincidence that so many people have a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and some other mental health condition.
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