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Thread: ADHD in adults

  1. #1
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    ADHD in adults

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    I am curious if anyone suffers from ADHD here on TE? Based on problems I have been experiencing over the last several years I think I have ADHD. Two of my cousins were diagnosed with it and apparently it is 75% genetic. Just to give a little background, I have been talking to my school counselor about some issues I'm having regarding inability to concentrate, sleep, plan ahead, prioritize and stay focused on one thing at a time. After these conversations I am beginning to realize these problems have been present since I was in grade school. As an adult I have compensated in various ways, i.e. long distance cycling, ahem. Since my time has been greatly reduced for things like cycling I am finding my concentration has suffered dramatically. I know that the treatment for ADHD is stimulant therapy. In the past I have used Mini Thins to stay awake on long drives etc. The odd thing was they made me extremely focused and I was very calm after taking them. Most people take Mini Thins to be "juiced up" if you know what I mean. After some research about how stimulants affect the brains of people with ADHD, it sounds as though I was treating it unknowingly with the Mini Thins. I noticed a huge improvement. I have read in many cases of ADHD that patients are typically very dependent on coffee and since they don't react the same, it actually helps to calm them down. This describes me to a 'T'. I can drink coffee and it will help me sleep at night. To be honest my concentration has been absolutely awful this semester, no change in study habits seems to help either. Like I said I have been talking to my school counselor and she has recommended I seek an evaluation for ADHD. I am planning to find a doctor next week after the holiday is over. Its strange because I sit here thinking that if this has been going on for as long as I suspect, how extremely hard I have been pushing myself over the last 8 years. I have had bouts of depression over the years and now I must wonder if that too was induced by ADHD? I know many people are misdiagnosed with this disorder but after reading about the symptoms, history and genetics of this disorder I think there is a very high probability I have been struggling with this for years! I feel kinda hopeful that I will be diagnosed with it so I can have some relief! That may sound crazy but I can't describe the mental anguish I have been through over the last 2 years especially.

    I would love to hear from anyone with any insight into this disorder. I will share what I find out as I learn more.

  2. #2
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    I don't know that you can blame depression on ADHD itself.
    My husband (age 60) was diagnosed as hyperactive way way back when and he's definitely ADHD. he drives me nuts, always dropping things, not finishing what he starts. He has a good job where he has to keep track of A LOT of details. It's very hard for him but he gets great reviews. he drinks a lot of coffee.
    Bicycling makes his life manageable I think.
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  3. #3
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    Ha, I could have typed your post.

    I have not been diagnosed...but my son is VERY ADHD (he's a little Jekyll/Hyde depending upon whether he's on his meds), my brother is ADD (not really hyperactive, though he has always had that constant jumpy leg thing). My sister and I are both spacey, disorganized, and have a really hard time motivating ourselves...easily distractable.

    I think depression can be a component of ADD/ADHD. Not necessarily from a chemical brain imbalance, but depression due to frustrations and struggles dealing with work and every day responsibilities. Drug/alcohol abuse are particularly common in untreated adolescents and adults with the disorder...our son's pediatrician explained that people who aren't receiving any sort of treatment for the disease are much more likely to "self-medicate."

    Sometimes I think I should go ahead and be assessed...mostly to confirm what I already know. But I don't know at age 38 if I would pursue medication or not. My brother was diagnosed when he was about 34. Incidentally, his GF was diagnosed in her mid-20s. It's not all that unheard of for adults to have managed their way through childhood and college prior to diagnosis. My brother's GF was diagnosed early in her law school career. She is absolutely brilliant...I mean seriously one of the smartest people I have ever met (she and my brother are both shockingly intelligent). She failed the bar on her first try, even though she pulled pretty much straight As through school...testing is just really difficult for her, even while medicated.

    One thing that gives me pause to go through the diagnosis process and take meds is the side-effects. They can cause heart damage. They also have a tendency to really kill one's appetite (our son's growth is almost certainly going to be a bit stunted, since it's hard to get him to eat). Yeah, I'd LOVE to drop some weight, but not if it means bonking on a regular basis during workouts. My brother's GF has to make herself eat when she's not hungry...she sometimes remembers to eat when she starts to shake and notices her stomach growling.
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  4. #4
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    I think I probably have some ADD tendencies, though caffeine does rev me up and keep me up at night so that alone probably rules me out. But I can definitely sympathize with lack of planning, not being able to focus, starting projects and not finishing them, and just generally not very organized.

    I'd imagine you're going down the right route to try and get it officially diagnosed and go from there in terms of treatment and dealing with it. We are so much more aware of this now than ever before, so you'll probably find a lot support.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    I don't have ADHD, but my boss is the poster child! Often times, people with ADHD are brilliant, it is just hard to focus all the brilliance! So, you can look at the glass as half empty or half full, your choice! I'm sure it would not hurt to look into this for yourself and perhaps you can find out some of the tricks that help ADHD people function and focus better.

    Good luck in your journey

  6. #6
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    "My brother was diagnosed when he was about 34."

    That's right about where I'm at now.

    I definitely can't sit still, never could. Sometimes I wake up with racing thoughts and daydream the same types of thought. My mind is always busy with many things at a time. Sometimes I will have a cup of coffee and just feel so much more at ease. I don't like the idea of taking a stimulant all the time either but its so hard to function effectively like this. I found I have 4 cousins with ADHD and my niece was also diagnosed with it.

  7. #7
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    This is so me...I saw this recently. It made me laugh and shake my head at the same time.
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  8. #8
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    *disclaimer* 3 weeks until I'm actually a therapist... but, I have 30+ years experience with ADHD with kids, teens, adults as a teacher and as a counseling intern. Both of my kids and my DH have ADHD, primarily attention, not hyperactivity.
    So, yes, many people are diagnosed as adults. The thing is, that ADHD is a diagnosis by history. There's no "test" for it. There is a huge genetic component. And many times, it's comorbid with depression and substance abuse, especially in adults when it's untreated. Adults with ADHD often have difficulty in maintaining employment and with their relationships, if it's untreated. About thirty percent of the incarcerated population in the US has undiagnosed ADHD, and if you talked to them, you'd discover most of them are very smart people.
    My advice is go to a neuropsychologist to get diagnosed. If you can't do that, find a psychologist who specializes in ADHD, hopefully, knows something about it in adults. There are a lot of strategies that you can learn to compensate and develop routines to structure your studies and your life in general. I am not anti-medication at all, but if you go to a physician, you will get the meds, but not the other part of the treatment. A good neuropsych or psychologist will work as a team with a prescriber.
    People with ADHD tend to throw themselves into interests and sports, like cycling, because there's a direct connection between the neurotransmitters that are processed when you do endurance stuff and the same ones that calm someone with ADHD.
    Have you read this?

    http://www.bicycling.com/news/featur...ing-my-ritalin

    PM me if you want to.
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  9. #9
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    one other thing.
    Once upon a time when people were not required to sit and stare at computer monitors (or tiny print) all day, ADHD was unknown.
    Guys like my husband worked hard physical labor all day long and when they were done working, they went to bed... and never had a problem with all that energy...

    Your body is blessed with a lot of energy and it is extremely taxing (and bad for you) to live our modern life style. So you bike. Ride like the wind. Enjoy it. Walk, run, swim. That's what you were designed to do.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    one other thing.
    Once upon a time when people were not required to sit and stare at computer monitors (or tiny print) all day, ADHD was unknown.
    Guys like my husband worked hard physical labor all day long and when they were done working, they went to bed... and never had a problem with all that energy...

    Your body is blessed with a lot of energy and it is extremely taxing (and bad for you) to live our modern life style. So you bike. Ride like the wind. Enjoy it. Walk, run, swim. That's what you were designed to do.
    But it's not that simple. It's not about excessive energy, it's about abnormal brains. The brains of people with ADHD are not the same as "normal" brains. It's why stimulant drugs don't hop them up, instead they make ADHD folks focused...because that unstimulated area of the brain is properly activated.

    I really hate when people just casually suggest that it's a matter of getting adult and kids active. My 10 year old son can ride 35 miles on the back of our tandem...that doesn't take his symptoms away. It helps tire him out, but he still cannot focus and is jittery.

    Not all people have exactly the same symptoms with ADHD. My brother has never been "hyperactive." His symptoms have never been as severe as my son's, which is how he managed to graduated 2nd in his HS class. He got very good at coping.

    During kindergarten screening they encouraged us to hold our son back (we didn't, instead we enrolled him in a Montessori school, which has been amazing for him), even though the kid now scores advanced on standardized tests and has read the first 5 Harry Potter books in 2 weeks. He simply could not cope without his meds. No amount of physical activity eliminates the bulk of his symptoms.
    Kirsten
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    We read that article when it first came out and it definitely played a HUGE role in our decision to dump a lot of money into a Co-Motion tandem with the Periscope rear seat post. Aside from the positive effect it has had on our son, it's a helluvalot of fun. I don't care for riding on the back of the tandem (I can't see squat around my broad-shouldered, 6'2" hubby), but our son is like a pig in mud back there. He sings songs and yells "pedal faster, dad, we can drop mom!" Jerks.
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  12. #12
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    you're lucky that Montessori worked for your kid. They threw my 4 year old OUT of Montessori school. His ADD was too much for them.
    You'll never convince me that such a huge percentage of our children are somehow defective. If they didn't go to school and have to sit all day and then come home and sit and play computer games, I bet people would just say "what healthy active children you have!".
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  13. #13
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    I'm more suspicious of things like pesticides or other environmental chemicals playing a role in people developing the condition. I grew up in an agricultural area (mostly fruit orchards) and we had a well. We now live in an agricultural area (corn, soybeans, sunflowers, and grain) and have a well. Mine, my siblings', and my child's exposure to pesticides is almost certainly higher than that of the average American living away from agriculture and drinking water from sources away from farmland.
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  14. #14
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    Mimi, my kids most definitely did not sit at home and play computer games. They were exploring in the woods and playing sports, creating art, and playing music. But, neither of them could remember anything. They still both have terrible short term memory. My younger son was called "la-la" boy, because it seemed like he was in la-la land. Academically, they were both above average. But, the older one never did his homework and lost everything, until he got to 11th grade and college was looming. He couldn't take medication, but my younger son did for 7 years. He took himself off of it when he went to HS, but doing homework for AP classes took a toll on him. Cycling was the last in a very long chain of "obsessions" he had. While he wasn't hyperactive in school, he is impulsive about many things and gets bored easily... hence joining the Marines. It's all a part of ADHD. He's very successful, but in a way, this is a typical pattern of underachievement for someone with ADHD. I can't tell you how many times he has been asked by commissioned officers, "Why are you an enlisted Marine? Did you take the SATs? Did you go to private school?" because of his vocabulary and general knowledge, compared to others who enlist. If you met him, you might not know he has ADHD, but I smiled when I heard his wife say, "He can walk past me and not remember a thing I say." Yeah, he doesn't.
    My other son was fine once he got to college and could study what he wanted to. Of course, he had a few "extended deadlines" and incompletes that took a few weeks to finish, but he has been a star in his professional career. Yet, he doesn't remember things or organize his personal stuff well; we laugh about it now, but I am glad his wife sort of helps him deal with it.
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  15. #15
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    Crankin, you're describing my family members too. Both of my sons were total disasters in school until almost the last year of high school. Now my younger son is going for his PhD in pure math while the older is still bobbing along the river of life.

    zoom-zoom the pesticide stuff sounds really scary!
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