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What if I stay like this forever?

I am a 47 year old male and I suspect I may have some type of ADHD. I stress “some type” as it does not appear to be a “one-size” fits all condition. I mentioned this to my GP a few months back and he looked at me as if I had ten heads! I even went so far as to ask him to set up a consultation with a psychiatrist. It was a massive step for me and I felt very very nervous. I don’t live in the USA where ADHD and its “acceptance” appears to be light years ahead of us in Europe. Americans seem comfortable to talk about their “meds” and culturally you seem to be able to say to anyone “I’ve gotta go…I am meeting with my therapist now to get him to renew my prescription” - I envy you! I am aware that I display a lot of the symptoms discussed on this website. I am not sure its ADHD or whether I suffered some sort of trauma earlier in my childhood which has contributed or magnified these symptoms. I know I am a caring, friendly person capable of so much but there seems to be a lot going on inside me which prevents me from reaching my potential and my goals. To elaborate somewhat, I seem to have lots of things racing through my head at any given moment. I start tasks but then either get side tracked or I become bored easily. I also find it difficult to make decisions and I procrastinate a lot. I am also capable of outbursts where I can say and behave hurtfully towards people I love. I tend to draw the wrong conclusions based on how I feel or (mis)interpret situations and make bad choices as a result. I find I am on edge a lot and I have had so many incidents with friends, family and even work colleagues who can “rub me up the wrong way” or appear to do so causing me to dismiss them. I am not sure which steps to take next as getting a diagnosis for ADHD in Europe is not easy. Many medical people see this as a form of psychosis and this in turn is aligned with conditions such as schizophrenia. I am not totally convinced about Ritalin and Aderell as I have read a lot of reports where people who were given placebos convinced themselves they felt a lot better and their symptoms had eased or gone away in some cases. I would be interested in hearing from individuals who are either in the same situation or have moved on from similar and have improved in some way with their condition

Replies

Dazzpazz,
Things are not that easy here in the States either. I hope your GP was referring you to a psychiatrist for evaluation of possible ADHD. If he was not, get a new GP. You don’t say what country you’re from, but if there isn’t an ADHD support group nearby, there’s probably one you can join online.

Posted by Mike50 on May 01, 2014 at 11:02pm

I live in the States and have schizophrenia and ADHD.  I keep it to myself.  Only my immediate family members know.  There’s a lot of stigma associated with mental health conditions here, and there’s a lot of bias in the workplace.  Unless it were an immediate family member, I would never tell someone, “I’ve gotta go…I am meeting with my therapist now to get him to renew my prescription.”  In my opinion, there’s too much at stake with being that open.  Some people think that to remove stigma people with mental health conditions need to be more open about their condition(s).  I have a co-worker who’s very open about her condition.  She’ll tell co-workers that “they’re switching my meds.”  She hasn’t been fired, but she hasn’t advanced in her career, either, though there’s been ample opportunity, and people have nothing but negative things to say about her.  They say she’s unstable, even though she’s done nothing to show that she’s unstable, aside from speaking up about her mental health condition.  It can really create a negative environment.  Maybe some day I’ll be brave enough to share with people that I have schizophrenia and ADHD, but for the time being, I’m going to play it safe and keep it in the family.

I know my spiel didn’t address your concern, but I think you have a misconception about how it is in the States.  It may be easier to get an ADHD diagnosis here, but it’s not necessarily looked upon kindly.  People have their preconceived notions, and they’re not afraid to share them.

I hope you find the help you need to get your situation under control.  As far as the meds are concerned, I take Vyvanse and it does wonders.  But it’s not just the Vyvanse that helps me, I also went to a therapist for 2 years to learn better ways to handle my ADHD tendencies.  So, it was a combination of meds and therapy that helped me.

Good luck.

Posted by csiagent32 on May 02, 2014 at 12:34am

In hindsight, I’ve had low to moderate symptoms since at least kindergarten. I’m old enough that ADD wasn’t recognized or treated then. Many 30+ adults also slipped past as the meme was that people outgrew it.

I’m 59, and just dx’d officially a few months ago after suspecting it for some time. I had some other health issues to clear up first. These might be worth checking yourself as some do seem linked with ADD in quite a few people.

Thyroid and adrenal function as well as sex hormones in both sexes. Low adrenal function and low cortisol levels were giving me low blood pressure. Norepinephrine is used by the body as one of the factors to make adrenaline and cortisol. Perhaps my body had to choose which to make with limited raw materials and brain function lost to overall body function. As function of those improved, so did my symptoms but not enough to avoid meds.

Food and chemical sensitivities make me worse. Wheat, at least US wheat, makes me worse but I can tolerate other gluten grains like 100% rye bread, barley and oats. High salicylate foods—aspirin related and chemicals make me worse. Tomatoes, potatoes and mint, wintergreen,clove extracts do also along with some things like walking through the cleaning section of stores, garden areas when herbicides or pesticides and such are out and smelly, auto department and smelly tires. Limiting all that exposure helps.

I have also tried various amino acid precursors such as tyrosine and DLPA. Again helped some but not enough. Hard exercise helps a great deal but my body can’t handle what it could in my 20’s -40’s.

The placebo affect has to be taken into consideration in all drugs. I think the overall placebo response is about 40% across the board. I do wonder how long those placebo effects last? And how severe the symptoms were to begin with?

My own experience over the years leads me to conclude that my Adderall is having a major benefit and effect. My sweetheart is very observant and has seen me respond to hormones and the ADD meds. I purposely do NOT tell him when I switch and he can virtually always know when I have used my meds. At times, he may mistake me not having taken a dose for the times I’m spacey after coming home from having been exposed to a chemical or stupidly think that a baked potato or pizza once in a while won’t be a big deal.

3 psychiatrists, several mental health counselors and other doctors missed my ADD. It took a primary care doctor with ADD herself to see it. To her it was obvious as I reflected so many of her own symptoms and we saw each other regularly for my hormones. It might be that the novelty of the other office visits helped me focus enough they didn’t see it and the stresses I was under at the time led to dxing anxiety and depression. Benzo class tranquilizers and several sorts of antidepressants could help a bit but all had side effects much worse than the Adderall and nothing close to the benefit. I was not high enough on the symptoms for even the experts to catch when the stress situations I came in for help with here severe enough to have caused panic attacks and depression in many.

Good luck. If you do find someone willing to give you meds, hang in there. It may take some tries to find the right one for you and the right dosing schedule. Generics may not work as well and different generics are better/worse for some than others. The binders may take longer to release or some other ingredient give a reaction. But from my first dose of Ritalin, I knew something that had long been missing in a needed amount was there. Ritalin did give me unpleasant side effects. The generic adderall has had a minor variance in 2 brands—supplier can’t always get the one I have a slight preference for. But both have been a major improvement with no significant side effects.

Posted by Gadfly on May 02, 2014 at 12:36am

Dazzpazz,
Hi my name is Fred, I am 54, live in Michigan, USA.
I have ADHD, maybe I can shed some light on the subject for you, based on my experience. First I would like to suggest a book “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” by Russell A. Barkley, PhD. Guilford Publishing. I would also suggest looking a few resources online: http://www.chadd.org “Children and adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (I known its in the US, but
it has a lot of links to serious resources and info.)
http://www.addiss.co.uk - National ADHD information and support
http://www.add.org Attention Deficit Disorder Association

All of my life I’ve had trouble focusing, staying on task, concentrating, organization, following through on instructions like homework, chores, duties at work. Losing things need to accomplish tasks, easily distracted, forget to daily activities, racing thoughts, can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking, listening to others, I interupt others or talk over others, struggle getting my point across, restless, impulsiveness,  list goes on.
In 1995 I was diagnosed with Severe Chronic Depression.
In 2006 my personal physician started treating me for ADHD, I was having problems with ADHD, severe anxiety attacks, depression and mood disorders, in 2007 she referred me to psychiatric clinic and to see a therapist and psychiatrist. I still the same therapist, my third Psychiatrist (He specializes in ADHD in Adults and Children). I can’t emphasize how important and what a difference that makes, because any doctor can prescribe Adderall, Ritalin, meds.
The few important things I was told I needed to understand about ADHD/ADD by all my doctors is this:
You can only have ADHD/ADD if you had it when you were child.
There are no magic pills.
People with ADHD are not stupid, just the opposite children and adults w/ADHD are highly intelligent and creative.
Try non-stimulants firsts example Straterra
learn about meds

Posted by Fredman59 on May 02, 2014 at 2:39am

I don’t go around advertising I have ADHD, but im not ashamed to talk about it. I’m 54y and recently returned to college fulltime in Summer of 2013, because ADHD is a disability, I’m eligible for educational support services, free tutoring, etc. I also found that it makes a difference when professors know students have adhd, it helps them understand how we learn. Amid the US Federal government lists ADHD as a disability so Employers are required follow regulations and provide accommodations etc.

Posted by Fredman59 on May 02, 2014 at 3:24am

Hi, Dazzpazz, I was not diagnosed with ADHD until my 50th birthday.  My psychiatrist at the time actually listened to me when I told him that I was tired of medications that did not do anything to help me.  I had been researching based on my problems and symptoms and the only diagnosis that made sense was ADHD Inattentive Type.  I told the doctor what I had learned.  He asked me to take some tests both on the computer system and on paper.  He was chuckling when he told me that I was right. 

He did not stop there.  He also ordered tab tests to determine if anything else might be contributing.  He found that I was not producing enough T3, which is a Thyroid hormone.  He contacted my GP and asked that he switch me from the T4 only medication to a natural Thyroid compound.  That made all the difference! 

Rather than give me medication for the ADHD, he sent me to a therapist who also had ADHD of the same type.  Together we developed strategies and routines and I was introduced to the concept of using “tools” to help myself.

That is when my computer became my “best friend”.  With the use of a good PIM program, I was able to create my own “to do” lists, set my schedule and enter appointments.  Being able to print all of this out for my planner made a huge difference.  With the more recent addition of a smart phone, I have been better able to stay on track and on schedule. 

I have an address book that can be printed out whenever I want a new one from the PIM program.  That is really handy at holiday time.

My PIM and the smart phone are used to remind me to take my meds; keep appointments; or run my errands. 

Getting the diagnosis was only the first step.  After that, I was able to build on what I had learned and change it “as needed” so that my life continues to run smoothly, insofar as it can given all of the unexpected things that can come up.

In the midst of this, I discovered that diet can make a huge difference, too.  I eat a low gluten, high protein diet.  That helps to keep my energy levels where I want to have it so that I can get things done.

My social contacts have noticed the difference and my husband thinks these changes are terrific.

I am disabled due to other reasons, but did not need accommodations while in college.  The accommodations would not be available when I went to work, so why depend on them at school? 

My husband even made sure that our car is helpful to me.  My phone has Bluetooth and so does the car, so getting directions is easy.  My tablet has a bigger display, so most of the time, I use the tablet for directions in the car. 

Some people do need medication, but it should be remembered that when you are older, the medication will not undo a lifetime of behavior.  I found that therapy helped more with those issues.  A good therapist can sometimes accomplish more than a prescribing doctor with a host of prescription medications.  Meds do not fix ADHD, they only help you make changes to make your life better—more like you want it to be.

If you try medication, keep a journal of how it is working for you, including any side affects like feelings of anxiety that were not present before.  Use the journal to talk to your doctor during medication checks.  Always keep the information that your pharmacist provides so that you can tell whether something is a side affect or an allergic reaction.  Sometimes medication can just stop working.  Tell your doctor when that happens.  He needs your input as much as he/she needs his clinical training to get things working well for you.  If he/she does not want your help in this way; find a better doctor.

I hope that some of that is useful for you.  Keep what works and just lose the rest.

Wishing you the best!

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on May 02, 2014 at 5:47am

Hi dazzpazz, I was diagnosed about age 50.  I am on a low dose of Ritalin.  It helps with the concentration.  My body will not tolerate much of it.  But I like the way I think better when I’m taking it.  At a higher dose I had some chest pain.  So we backed off on the dose and I’m happy with the concentration help.  I feel like I can hold a line of thought longer and contemplate it better on the Ritalin than off.

Posted by whizinc on May 02, 2014 at 8:43am

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this
thread. It has given me a lot of good for thought and
it is comforting, if that’s the right word, to see how
others are coping with ADD and other mental conditions. I guess everyone is on their own personal journey and fighting their own battles along the way. I
know I am getting closer and closer to arriving at a solution for my personal circumstances. I have read a lot of other peoples personal stories on this website and it’s evidently affecting millions of people around the globe most if whom struggle through life never knowing they have ADD or ADHD.

Posted by dazzpazz on May 07, 2014 at 10:17pm

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