Reply To: Feeling like a failure due to overwhelming emotions

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I will try to avoid talking about myself and get straight to your question about steps to take, now that you have been diagnosed.

I believe that in the early stages it is most important to *learn* about ADhD—what it IS, and also what it’s NOT. And it is vital that you develop a sufficient awareness of what ADhD means *to you* and in *your* life. Yes, there are things about ADhD that are more-or-less typical for all those who struggle with it; however, like anxiety or depression, ADhD is also a very individual experience, which manifests itself variously among those who ‘have it’. It is also typical that ADhD is accompanied by other issues, such as anxiety and depression, challenges with memory and Executive Function, and the complications in life that result.

So, to begin with, below are links to what is likely the most relevant material currently available re. ADhD. Dr. Russell Barkley has spent many years developing his books and video lectures, which are exceptional, always with many explanatory visuals.

The same is true for Dr. Hallowell. These men are pioneers and innovators in the field. You will find Dr. Hallowell’s work to be very approachable, and while Dr. Barkley’s work is more academic, it is extremely thorough, and also very engaging. Check it out.


Dr. Russell Barkley
Dr. Edward Hallowell


Dr. Russell Barkley

Dr. Edward Hallowell
1). Driven to Distraction
2). Delivered From Distraction

Amazon Search: Adult ADhD


Undoubtedly you will find yourself looking back on your life, with greater awareness on one hand (“Oh, now I understand why…”) and regret on the other (“If only I had known then…”). A diagnosis of ADhD brings mixed emotions, including doubts about yourself, concern about your future, and frustration in your relationships with other people. You will have to work through this for yourself, but it’s helpful to know that this is typical.

You will want others to understand you and your struggles with ADhD, and what goes along with it for you. You will find that this is not only difficult to achieve, but also that there is stigma involved, with many accusing those with ADhD of being lazy, making excuses, not applying themselves or being self-disciplined enough, not caring enough, etc…. while at the same time you struggle to simply ‘keep up’ with the ‘neurotypical’ world around you. You are not alone in this.

Medication is a challenge, to get it right, and it takes time. You should know that there is a typical approach that doctors are *required* to take when prescribing meds for ADhD, starting on the ‘low end’ and working their way up. The approach is trial-and-error.

There are basically 2 classes of meds for ADhD: Stimulants and Non-Stimulants. Then, within each of these 2 classes, there is a low-to-high ‘range’ that doctors are required to prescribe within, starting on ‘the low end’ in each class (first the one, then the other if the first is not effective enough).

They typically start with the stimulant class first, then prescribing the least potent of the stimulants first, and at the lowest dose. So, for example, I was started on Ritalin first, at 10mg, 3x/day. We increased the dose a bit, but soon I experienced side effects (pain in my feet and hands, and a feeling overall of being hot). So we moved on to Dexadrine, at a low dose, which we then increased over time. We found that this Rx was not effective enough, so we then moved on to Adderall, which I am taking now, and it has been working well for more than a year.

Each person is different, and you will need to work with your doctor to find what works for you. In my own case, I also take Duloxetine, for anxiety and depression. Some 3 years after my diagnosis, now age 56, I am finally on a fairly even keel, but I have to be diligent to take my meds, eat well, and whatever else my unique situation requires.

This is all I have time for now. START with the links above and LEARN as much as you can, about ADhD in general, and about you and your own experience with it. Something you will find beneficial is coming to the point of at least understanding it for yourself.


PS: If you find that your verbal and writing skills have been negatively impacted by the meds you are taking, tell your doctor right away and *ask* to try something else. They are constrained to a specific approach, but only inasmuch as you must try ‘A’ and rule it out before they are able to prescribe ‘B’, etc. Be sure you are clear about the side effects, and that you are able to clearly explain them to your doctor ‘for the record.’

Bye for now.