Was tested and told I don't have ADD. Should I try again?

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    • #85064

      I’m 33, female and have been struggling with mental health issues for over 15 years. In the last few years I kept running across ADD symptom lists and recognizing myself very strongly, especially thinking back to how I struggled in school as a child and how I ultimately failed in college because I couldn’t get anything done. I was even on medication for depression and anxiety for a few years. Apparently my story is pretty common with girls with undiagnosed ADD/ADHD. But… a few years ago I found a psychiatrist who ran me through a battery of tests for anxiety, depression, overall brain health etc. and ADD. The latter test was a kind of computer game where I had to click every time a letter showed up on screen unless the letter was X. Apparently I failed… or rather, passed? I did too well on a task that was supposed to be too boring for anyone with ADD/ADHD to get through, but I honestly didn’t find it all that boring at all. I was hyped up and desperate to perform well. But I don’t know how much that matters.

      Has anyone else been tested in this manner? Has anyone gotten a diagnosis just on the strength of that one test? I guess I just don’t understand how I can fit all the patterns of a female ADD sufferer so exactly and still not have ADD. I’m in a new area now, and I’d like to try to get some kind of treatment, but I don’t know if it’s worth it to try again.

      To be honest, part of me is thinking this is wishful thinking. If I do have ADD after all, then all the struggles I’ve had over the years weren’t completely my fault. But if I accept that I don’t have ADD, then I have to go back to thinking that I’m just lazy and stupid.

    • #85117
      Penny Williams

      That test is not the best practice for evaluating for ADHD. The evaluation should be much more thorough and attempt to determine if symptoms were present in childhood. Here’s what an ideal ADHD evaluation should look like:

      Your Complete ADHD / ADD Diagnosis Guide

      In light of that, I do think you should seek an actual ADHD evaluation, since this clearly wasn’t a full eval.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #85125

      That type of test is probably too stimulating for you. My son, who has ADHD, would have passed that test because 1)it’s a game, a competition, which stimulates him 2) it’s a computer game and the blue light from computers and smart phones is stimulating . Plus there was probably some distractions in the game and if so, that makes it more interesting, which would cause one to focus on it more. ADHD is tricky in that way. I think games are a poor use for diagnosis but a great help for ADHD kids to learn.

      If you live near a Hallowell Center, all they do is focus on ADHD so their psychologists are well equipped to recognise the subtleties of ADHD. They are a great place to get evaluated. If not, try and research psychologists to find one who focuses primarily on ADHD and deals with adult ADHD. Many psychologists are not up to date on ADHD and it is such a fast changing field for psychology they miss things. A good way to judge a psychologist is to see if they do ADHD testing for high school students to get accommodations for the SAT….those tests are extensive, as required by the College Board, so they should be more knowledgeable. Hope this helps.

    • #85208

      This helps a lot. Thank you both.

    • #85370

      I was tested twice, about 40 years apart, and not diagnosed either time. (2nd time in a horrible little office with a flickering fluorescent light- grrrr.)
      Get evaluated by a human professional. If you still are not diagnosed, perhaps you are a good test-taker/compensate well for your “shortcomings”. Example: using strong artistic skills to visualize how a flat shape will look folded vs. having spatial strengths.

    • #85381

      Dear nightmaresandglitter,
      I agree with Bert that you should deal with a human on making this evaluation. I also encourage you to continue to listen to yourself and follow all healthy options for care. I will share my story in hopes that you might find some direction for yourself.

      I am a 56 year old woman who has led a pretty simple and happy life. About five years ago I began to have some serious struggles with persistent feelings of sadness and anxiety that were inconsistent with my blessed life. I was diagnosed with depression and informed I had mild depression my whole life, but I had very strong coping skills through my life. With age, and hormone changes, I could no longer maintain the proper health without support. I found much relief in a prescribed homeopathic remedy. FAST FORWARD to two years ago. I decided to find a psychiatrist while I was healthy and centered so that if I ever dipped really low again, I would have someone good all ready to help.

      FAST FORWARD to two months ago, I met with that psychiatrist again. I explained my struggles with anxiety and with some new challenging life circumstances. I explained to her that after reading more about adHd, I think it could be connected, and I think like depression and anxiety, I likely had adHd my whole life and have compensated really well. I told her that I was not interested in going through evaluation (because of expense, time, and misdiagnosis), but that under her medical care I would like to see if meds would help me. She trusted me from learning that I do know myself and that I am safe in caring for my health. So she agreed, and we started with 20mg. adderal. It helped in these ways: MY THOUGHTS ARE SIMPLY CLEARER, MY THOUGHTS ARE LESS TANGLED WITH EMOTION, MY EMOTIONS ARE PRESENT BUT NOT CONFUSING. I FEEL LIKE A HEALTHIER ME, I WORK THROUGH MY PROBLEMS APPROPRIATELY AND AM NOT CONSUMED BY THEM.
      Last month, I met with my doctor and requested that I try 25mg. It seems to be working even better.

      My final thoughts: 1) Search out excellent medical professionals for YOU! and 2) Find a meditation practice that speaks to you .. then meditate daily.

      With gratitude for you, Lotus.

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