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How to get help, when my primary care Doc says "NO?"

Dear Readers:

Any advice is appreciated.

I am 57 and did not realize I might have ADD until my daughter was diagnosed at 14, during the transition to middle school and dealing with the “mean girls syndrome,” that is so prevalent today. She is now 21 and graduating from college in a year. She has benefited immensely from treatment. I see many of the traits in her that I identify with and realize my own mother had them as well.  My other daughter, eight years older did not and she is a success in her own right.

I finally felt I was brave enough to tell my Doctor, who is my age, and who I have always loved and trusted, that I was sure I also had ADD. She was very nice and polite when she said, “NO you don’t.” Your diabetes is what is causing your lack of focus and the way you are feeling. I’m not treating anyone your age with ADD drugs, when you are already on Type II Diabetes drugs. I was shocked. I had only had Type II Diabetes for four years, but I now recognize that I’ve been identifying with the traits of ADD ever since I was a child. And my Diabetes is under good control and my numbers are where they should be. 

Today I saw the Katie Couric show about adult ADD. I think I related to 80% of the questions.  Most heartbreaking is the main theme I could relate to at this time in my life.  Not feeling I’ve reached my full potential and scared I won’t, which seems overwhelmingly important to me.

It’s the fact that I feel I have so much potential and I’m an idea person who has always been optimistic, the glass overflowing type. I have two degrees, yet I have not been successful in my quest to find my place in a career that will last more than a few years. I have been laid off many times in the 90’s and in 2008, or I have been successful in short bursts, and had several different types of jobs, such as Exec Assist/Corporate administrator to CEO’s, Catering Director, Medicare Auditor, and Rep.

I should add that for seven years, between 1996 and 2005 I was the caregiver, in my home, for my mother who had cancer, and the life manager and business manager for my Dad’s portfolio, running a staff of four, for my father who had stroke based dementia, skin cancer and finally Alzheimer’s in his home, while raising a three and 11 year old, being a wife, and getting my second degree.  I took the time off from work to care for my parents, as I’m an only child, and then had a terrible time trying to re-enter the workforce. No one thought I could do my job as a manager anymore ~ go figure, since what I was doing above was obviously multi-management on steroids.

I have a B.A. in English Composition/Journalism and one in Digital Video Production with honors. I wanted to write children’s books early on, and start my own niche business doing memorial and tribute videos, but I feel paralyzed or too scared to try it seems. After viewing “Katie,” I realized I am the idea person who many times needs the solid accounting or administrative partner to make it work.

Should I try to find a Doctor who specializes in ADD and go to them? How can I be so wrong about how I feel? And how can I be so wrong when I see I am not moving forward in my career? Feeling very frightened since I am in the last third of my working life.

Thank you for any help you can give.



Hi Gail!

I recommend you seek another opinion. You can go directly to a specialist for evaluation if your insurance allows, or seek out another GP who will provide the referral.

Take this online quiz to confirm you are on the right track.

This article outlines the right way to get the right diagnosis as well:
Good luck!

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Aug 07, 2014 at 1:24pm

I trusted and truly liked my doctor, too, but when I felt that he was not helpful with a problem, then I took it on myself to find answers.  In the end, I was right, he was not right, but we still worked well together.  He admitted afterward that he did not know everything there is to know, but he thought that I was handling life well with or without the ADD diagnosis.  I understand that, but if there was help for me that made handling my life better and easier, then I was certainly “allowed” to look into it.

That is some of the problem, right there.  Since when do we need a doctor’s or anyone else’s permission or approval to investigate things?  I don’t even need my husband’s approval to do that.  Hmmm.

You have diabetes.  Okay…  Does that mean that you cannot deal with any other health problems?  Your primary diagnosis would be the issue that requires the most constant care, so Diabetes is the primary concern.  However, your doctor’s statement infers that she would have the problem of dealing with the additional medications for ADD.  No, those medications would be handled by your prescribing psychiatrist or neurologist.  It would only be your obligation to make both doctors aware of what medications you are taking and a smart move would be to get on really good terms with your pharmacist so he/she can be on the alert for possible interactions and side affects.  That is why these people make the big bucks! 

Any time I see a new doctor for any reason, I give them a list of current diagnoses and medications.  That is my job.  It is their job to not prescribe things that will mess badly with what is already working well.

But, here is something for you to keep in mind…  You may have ADD and be able to live well with it without taking medication.  I have been at it since 1996, diagnosed at age 50, and I use tools and no medications for it.  It is not always a case of what we do.  It is sometimes a case of how we do what we do.

In the end, however, this is something that you get to decide.  seek an official diagnosis or ADD and see what kind of help you could get, then decide on which thing or things you should use.

Get an answer to your question, “Could It Be ADD?”, then figure out which way will work best for you. 

Keep us posted!

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Aug 07, 2014 at 6:55pm

Definitely get a second opinion!

Posted by BC on Aug 09, 2014 at 3:26pm

+1 on getting a second opinion.

I’m in a similar situation with getting a diagnosis of adult ADHD. I honestly think there is a real absence of awareness among physicians / psychiatrists (I’m having difficulty finding someone that specializes).

I’d definitely find someone that is familiar with diagnosing the disorder.

Trust yourself. You know yourself best.

UPDATE: 02/02/2015
I hope your own journey is going well. I was able to get a second opinion through a qualified neuropsychologist that concluded I had ADHD. I’m very glad I got a second opinion.

Posted by JimMidWest on Aug 18, 2014 at 10:24pm

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