How did you get your ADD diagnosis?

I’m very grateful that I can feel very secure that my ADD diagnosis is solid, because of the way it came about.

I’d been struggling with all the issues that ADD creates (the one exception is communication issues, aside from that, I’m the poster child.) my whole life, therapist after therapist.

Then, ten years ago, I quit smoking. Overnight, literally, I stopped being able to sit and read for any length of time, particularly fiction. Just vanished. One day I was sitting in the patio reading for hours on end and smoking, next day I was not able to tolerate it for more than 15 minutes.

My then therapist, on hearing this, said “You may have ADD… nicotine is a stimulant…” I brushed it off. No way! How silly.

Well, five more years of therapy, and it’s just getting worse. (There’s a lot of “induced” ADD in the world today, thanks to computers and related tech - for those who already had it, disaster.) Finally I meet a therapist who immediately, on the phone, says he wants to send me to a shrink for evaluation. Shrink confirms, meds begin, and the dawn breaks.

When I went to another therapist later, he initially referred to my ADD in air quotes. When I told him about the stop-smoking thing, he said “Oh. You do have ADD.”

This also explained why when I started smoking I went from being a non-smoker to smoking more than a pack the very first day I began smoking. My brain said HEY! LOVE that…

So what about you?
And on a related note…besides meds, have you ever found anything that helps? food, supplements, training, behavior mod, anything? Cuz I’m five years on meds and they don’t work as well as they used to. My lifestyle and personal situation don’t help at all. (I live alone and I have almost no real accountability. This is disastrous.)

My son was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten, but we had to eliminate all the other possibilities first. It was sort of a diagnosis by the process of elimination. We tested his hearing, eyesight, etc., he had psychological evaluations (that included evaluating us parents) and then he had brain scans, MRIs, neurological examinations, to eliminate any sort of brain malfunction or physical cause. When everything else came back normal, they said, “Well, then, must be ADHD.”

Then he was started on medication, and the effect was almost immediate (within two days). We also worked on behavior modification techniques and coping skills to help him learn more efficiently and effectively. He was classified with a learning disability, so he has been able to get “accomodations” to help him with his education. He is now 19. He is in college now and doing fairly well, but it has been a struggle his entire life.

I was an obnoxious brat. Clearly I had ADHD! Oh, and I had one of those moms who loved to brag to other parents about how creative I was!

I guess my disease just went away. I’m still an obnoxious brat but I don’t bounce off the walls anymore.

I technically got my diagnosis after 8th grade, but there had been strong suspicion for some time before that. I had some intermittent tics as a kid (which is strongly correlated with ADD), along with all the usual behavior and issues going forward.

Maybe a year before the technical diagnosis, I had a regular doctor’s appointment, and my mother gave me a note to give to the pediatrician about her suspicions in this area. After my appointment, the doctor apparently called my mother and told her that he thought there was a good chance I had ADD. Mom’s immediate reply was a very nonchalant “uh huh.”

“I just told you your son may have ADD; that’s your response? ‘Uh huh’?”
“Well, I kinda figured. That’s why I wrote you the note asking you to evaluate him for it.”
“Oh, I see. Heh. So, you think he remembered to give me the note?”
Apparently, I was not a particularly hard case to spot.

I was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 34. I had started seeing a counselor for yet another bout of depression and talked to her about how I kept running into the same obstacles over and over. It was the third session when she pulled out the DSM-IV and started quizzing me. Of 21 symptoms, I had all but three.

It was illuminating. Even more illuminating was when I mentioned it to close friends, their response was inevitably the same: “What, you didn’t know?”

So, now I take 10 mg of amphetamine every morning and have half a day when I can get stuff done.

I still don’t have an official, as in from an actual doctor, diagnosis. But I figured out what was wrong with me when my nieces and nephews started getting tested and diagnosed. My two siblings and I looked at the tests, started reading up on ADD, and were absolutely stunned.

All three of us completely and utterly fit the pattern. Unfortunately, the doctor I went to didn’t believe in ADD and insisted I was depressed, so I got SSRI’s which didn’t help at all. I guess I should try again one of these days.

Far and away the most dead-accurate and complete picture of what ADD really is is Russell Barkley’s view. I read that and with a few exceptions its like he followed me around my whole life to use me as the example.

Before I knew what the issue was I used to describe myself as Felix Unger trapped in Oscar Madison’s body. A lot of ADD people seem to feel that way.

Adult diagnosed. Was going through some non-related issues, saw someone for a spell. Couple months later, after a lot of history was on the table (e.g., high school dropout but Ivy League graduate kind of dichotomies) she recommended I see someone for some comprehensive testing. I wasn’t sure of the exact purpose, but had good insurance at the time so went with it.

Three days of testing later, with pattern blocks and stories/lists to recite forward and backward, buttons to press when I saw the number 9, funky connect-the-dots with colors and numbers and whatnot, and a slew of other tasks, I received the diagnosis. Some severe deviations from the mean with regards to performance on key indicators (i.e., average slowdown for text X with Y changed is Z, but my results were Z’).

Tried some various medications, but nothing ever seemed to help. I can still focus on a project or, say, this post, but in the larger scheme of things I have minimal ability to hone or focus attention on things for more than a moment. Shortish projects take longish times, even with me knowing what’s going on. Anything new out there treatment-wise?

Not really. Being diagnosed as an adult is a bitch… our patterns have run grooves in the brain.

You need meds and behavior mod.

If it’s that bad, how do you earn your living? (If you don’t mind my asking)

I had a similar problem. I had problems paying attentions, so obviously I had ADHD. It couldn’t be the OCD they already had diagnosed me with.

And then it turns out the stimulants I was being given were actually making the OCD worse.

I’ve often considered it, especially whenever I read that one of the symptoms was “static” in your head. When I was a child that happened frequently but I didn’t know how to describe it.

I went to a therapist once for this and she immediately discounted ADD without any tests and told me to read project planning books.

I think I need to talk to my MD and insist on seeing a shrink for proper testing.

On question though. I find working out to be terribly terribly boring and can’t seem to make any attempts at a work out schedule last more than a few days. Is this a symptom of ADD or just me being lazy? I don’t mind the actual exertion, it’s just the mind numbing boring that makes me dread it. Regular distractions like TV and music don’t help much either.

Some people don’t. My mom stopped working when she and my step dad got married (she was 44) because he made enough to support them and he knew how bad it was for her. She had been suffering before that, badly. She lived in constant fear of her boss and her job. She cried constantly throughout the day because of all the mistakes she was making. Her job involved doing the exact same thing every day which was the ONLY reason she hadn’t lost her job. She had very strict instructions written down for what to do and when. In spite of that, it was still torture for her to do what she was supposed to be doing.

Shortly after she stopped working, her psychiatrist suggested treating her for ADD. Once the treatment started, she was hugely improved.

She still has major issues though. She’s been on treatment now for between 12 and 15 years (I don’t remember when she started) but she still has problems leading me to wonder if her medication needs changing or if she is suffering from early onset Alzheimer disease. She sees her doctor and her psychiatrist regularly and they constantly monitor her medication but I’m becoming very worried about her inability to retain a thought or to even remember a conversation from one day to the next.

Her psychiatrist determined that she is incapable of holding a job in spite of the medication and she has been on disability for about 10 years.