Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums FAQ WHAT LED TO DIAGNOSIS?

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    • #99400

      Good morning everyone!

      I am a recently diagnosed adult female with ADHD – and let me tell you – I have never felt so validated and vindicated in my whoooooole life! After years of under-performance both academically and personally, I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a series of tests and formally diagnosed me with ADHD, Inattentive Type. also, after reading “Driven to Distraction” and breaking down in hysterically happy tears now that I knew I wasn’t going completely insane, my whole outlook on life has changed for the better. What drove you to your doctors office? And what symptoms of ADHD were the most disruptive and detrimental to you in your daily life? For me it was my poor memory and lack of attention to detail. Silly mistakes nearly cost me my college degree AND my life after that. Now that I am on Adderall, I feel 50% better – well enough to use the other 50% of myself to focus on cognitive therapy and other alternative practices to calm my tornado of a mind. Anyone else in the same boat?

    • #99490

      Katejo5 – I am just now in testing, but expect the same answer. I can relate to the concept of mind tornado. The more I research, the easier it is to see glaring issues and their impacts on my family. Best of luck to you.

    • #99534

      Hi Kate,
      I decided to sign up to AADitude, upon reading your comment today… though I had been following the magazine for a while.
      I feel like relate to you, as I am new to this and also an adult (I am over 50). I am going to get back to this thread in the days ahead, because as part of trying to help my focus, I only allow myself a few minutes on the web, as well as keeping my phone on airplane mode most of the day.

      So, yes, I too was prescribed adderall and am seeing amazing improvements.
      Mine is the inability to focus and prioritize.
      I relate to the “under-performance” too.
      So much to share.
      I wanted to quick reply now, so I don’t lose this thread. Will check back in when I get a chance.
      Full steam ahead in our new journey!


    • #188772

      I am currently awaiting a full assessment but hoping (sounds odd to be hoping for diagnosis of a disorder) I will be seen and diagnosed within a few months.

      I talk A LOT and this has caused issues in my current and previous job. About 2 years ago or more a colleague jokingly suggested that I might have ADHD, I was really offended, this was due to my own misconceptions of ADHD and thinking it was mainly boy with a lot of energy not adults!
      About a year ago a friend and colleague was diagnosed with ADHD and I was so shocked, she suggested I might also have it, we are quite similar in a lot ways but also quite different. At the time I dismissed it and only looked in to it a little bit, I saw some similarities to what I experienced but didn’t think I needed to do anything about it.
      Cut to now where I’ve been looking into ADD and emotional hyperarousal and I wish I’d noticed years ago and looked for support/diagnosis. However, it wasn’t until I started my new career where organisation and prioritising is a major part of the job and has really affected my ability to do well. I have been going through low level disciplinary due to not completing task and struggling to get used to all the forms that need completing (it’s not logical and they are all on different systems).
      Due to this and having some time off work through the summer due to ‘anxiety state’ I started to look in to ADD again as my work was slipping again, I was feeling exhausted forcing myself to get back on task and not starting a different task BUT I wasn’t feeling anxious just exhausted.
      I have discussed my referral for assessment with my senior at work and hope this will help them understand how and why I work the way I do. I have also applied for a new job, hoping to hear about an interview this week, which is a bit more fast paced but I will be able to focus on a smaller number of tasks and have deadlines.
      Since looking into ADD I can see so many experiences through out my life that are perfect examples of what I’m experiencing now but I have always just been chatty, a bit disorganised and a bit messy but until recent years it hasn’t had such an impact on all areas of my life so I’ve been able to mask without knowing it, assume it’s how everyone else feels and not ever thought there was anything specific to diagnose.

      I hope you are getting on well as your initial post was from 2 years ago 😊

      Hopefully I’ll be able to update on the forum once I have a diagnosis or find out I have something completely different 😂

      Thanks for reading the long post, I know I tend to skip long posts so thanks for sticking with me!!

    • #188798
      Dr. Eric

      Failed out of my first University.
      Transferred and had to take some classes over, got D’s and F’s in classes that I knew the material.
      Talked to someone in the university support office who knew about ADHD. (Rare in 1993)
      Referred me for assessment while handing me a brochure that described me perfectly.

      • #189059

        Now you are a “dr.”.Amazing! What major did you make?
        Oh, I am a mom of a 16 years old girl, with ADD. She just started her medication methylphenidate. Some side effects shows. Her blood pressure rises up and her heart rate is faster after she took medicine. \
        However, she insists to take it, because she can do better in school.
        I am struggling.
        Is the medication a must-have to finish her college ?
        Last, I wish everybody here happy and enjoy the weekend!

      • #189083
        Dr. Eric

        Took a side route.
        University #1 (Course 5 (Chemistry) then 7 (Biology).
        University #2 – (Microbiology which became psychology with Pre-Med.

        University #3 – Masters in educational psychology.
        University #4 – Doctor of Education.

        I have self-studied twice. I am literally six times more productive with my meds.
        However, every individual is unique in their response both therapeutically and side-effect wise.

        I have been on meds since 1993.

      • #195158

        Dr. Eric, I went to your University #1 (Course 14, Economics). You are obviously high achieving. Was it the meds that helped you or did you find other coping mechanisms?

        I wonder whether I have ADHD, the inattentive type. I remember when I was in college, I really really struggled to pay attention during lecture. I always attributed it to my insomnia I had back then. Now I am thinking the insomnia might have another symptom as I had a lot of things racing through my mind. Today, I still exhibit lots of the inattentive symptoms…having trouble focusing, easily distracted, often misplacing things, procrastinate on task that requires concentration, etc. A therapist indicated that I didn’t seem present and suggested I should get checked for ADHD. I went to a psychiatrist, but he told that I was suffering from anxiety (going through divorce at the time). Moreover, he doesn’t recommend any meds for high achieving individuals.

        Divorce is now over and I still have inattentive symptoms just as I long have. I am wondering whether to get a second opinion. Do you think it’s worthwhile to try meds if I am already high achieving. I feel like I can achieve so much more if I didn’t have to spend so much energy trying to focus and stay on task.

        Your thoughts would be appreciated.

      • #195196
        Dr. Eric

        I would have been a lot more high achieving if I did not need to transfer out the week before my Committee of Academic Performance hearing…

        I can tell you what did not help, the stupid planner they gave me when I asked for help from the Student Support Services office. When I transferred from MIT to UMass, they picked up that I needed an eval immediately. My gpa went from a 2.7 to 3.7. I did a self-study twice, once in school and once a few years ago. I am about 6 times more productive on meds versus off on similar workload tasks.

        Here is a good reference to see if a high achiever may have ADHD.


    • #188978

      As I have read more than one other person state, I figured out I had ADHD by reading…”Driven to Distraction”, also Sari Solden’s book, “Women WITH ADD”. I’ve read a lot of ADHD books, but one book that’s not entirely focused on ADHD gave me some of my best information. It is John Ratey and Catherine Johnson’s book, “Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders That Sabotage Us”.

      Wow. Anyone with any interest in ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Addiction, Hypomania or Intermittent Rage Disorder should read this book. It is SO good. I had to stop myself from highlighting sentences in nearly every paragraph.
      Despite the book being 22 years old, John Ratey describes the “noisy” brains of us who have ADHD with extreme understanding and compassion. And to me, he is “spot on” as to how it feels to have ADHD.
      What brought me to reading these books??
      Three years of failing to be a good middle school counselor because my brain doesn’t understand the meaning of “organize”, and then one particular child with ADHD who, I realized, thought and spoke just like me.

    • #189587

      I too am an adult female who was just diagnosed! Went through all the feelings as well. What led me to diagnosis was re-starting therapy because of having anxiety attacks related to a job change. The new job requires switching context constantly, listening to people one on one, planning/organization and long complex tasks. I started therapy and happened to mention that I tend to be an “obsessive” person — obsessing about whatever is my latest interest and using it as a distraction from work. My new therapist mentioned ADHD and after our session I googled it. When I read the description I felt like I was reading a list of my ‘personality traits’. I’ve always been known as messy, disorganized, impulsive, daydreaming, starting and quitting hobbies/interests, ‘lazy’. What really clicked was the symptom of not being able to pay attention to someone speaking directly to you… my most common marital fight from my husband that I’m ‘not paying attention to him’, even if I have nothing to be distracted with. Got tested and sure enough got diagnosed. I’ve hired a coach and started testing meds to help!

    • #192465

      KATEJO5 I read your story and there is SO MUCH that reminds me of my journey. Looking back, I never lived up to my full potential: my jobs have been a little all over the place including losing two jobs and I’ve always had the persistent feeling that I was just “getting by” in life. Recently, I found out that one of my brothers was worried about my future.

      Part of my research that was part of my discovery journey starting in September and culminated with my formal diagnosis, which I received 3 days ago. Like you, I read a Ned Hallowell book, but, in my case, I read Delivered From Distraction. In my case, I not only received a diagnosis of ADHD-Inattentive, moderate…plus ASD. My main issues are mostly with attention (sometimes, sustaining it, procrastination) and some impulsivity (my emotions going from 0-60). Also, sometimes, at work, I’ve sporadically slipped up. While, overall, I do well, some of my mistakes are a “little silly” (my words): things that I should have caught.

      When I received my diagnoses, I did shed a few tears. I was fine with the process and relieved at the news. My main thing is now to leverage this information to see how I can handle my life at a better level. I want to do better for myself and for those around me. I’m trying to figure out what this all means and what my next steps are.

      Congrats for finding your answers and I wish you well in your continued journey.

    • #192989

      I actually picked it up before the psych did as I was pbsessed with researching what was wrong with me. I couldn’t work out why I was constantly losing things, couldn’t keep appointments , couldn’t be an adult so I went to the psych who tested me for it and I was correct. I wasn’t at all surprised.

    • #193103

      Three years ago, at 41, I was filling out an ADHD rating scale for a student and I thought to myself, “I have that problem too…” but didn’t think much of it. Then the parent told me after the child was prescribed Adderall that the dr. wanted to give her a prescription too. I had just been learning about how it’s hereditary and my mind just went nuts. I thought of my father, who had passed, and realized he checked every box! I started reading more about it and listening to some podcasts, and the thing that most resonated with me was the emotional part. I have never been able to stop myself from interrupting people and I hated it, but I literally had NO control over it. I was always shoving my foot in my mouth and it caused me so much anxiety to the point I would avoid interacting with people. In school, I did well, but every report card said, ‘Talks too much.’ I would finish my work quickly and be bored and start talking to whoever was next to me. My emotions were always to the extreme about everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had Borderline Personality Disorder too. I had been prescribed every antidepressant and anxiety pill out there since my teen years, but they only masked the issues and I never felt they were really working. I was prescribed Klonopin at the time, but still had panic attacks and anxiety at times. I decided to make an appt. with a new dr. and he sent me to go through the whole battery of tests. The first time we talked, I guess I looked past him at a painting on the wall and started talking about it, and he said, “That’s ADHD.” I couldn’t believe it. I did that ALL the time to people:-(

      Everything came back to me from growing up like a flood hitting me. How I wouldn’t do any studying in high school and college until the night before something was due and I would read everything and get an A. I wrote my master’s thesis the week before it was due. I could only get motivated when I had a huge looming deadline and then I’d stay up all night. I thought everyone did that. I would have piles around my classroom as a teacher and go from one to another, never really finishing anything unless it was pressing, but I would come up with a fascinating lesson in the shower that morning in 10 minutes. I had the hardest time sleeping at night, so much that I’d just lie there with my mind racing and thinking about everything I needed to do.

      Once I started Adderall, my life instantly changed. No longer do I have to worry I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth, as I can listen to others and think about what they’re saying before I respond. My husband doesn’t have to come looking for me after I’ve wandered off for 20 minutes during a project we work on together. His complaint now is that I get too focused on work. But the anxiety is completely gone and I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I don’t have to have 50 post its everywhere reminding me of what to do and my brain is quiet and not scattered. I wish I had figured this out in my 20s. I’d have kept more friends. Now, I am not known as the bossy one, but rather the teacher my colleagues come to for help with planning and organizing.

    • #193761

      Just turned 55. Two days later, today, finally an ADHD diagnosis, also of the inattentive type. I too feel vindicated and relieved. I wasn’t looking for an ADHD diagnosis. My psychiatrist went there himself. I was surprised, but quickly learned that like most people, I had ADHD dead wrong.

      I cannot tell you how excited I am to see how things change now. I am jumping out of my skin in excitement. It’s a bit of a weird feeling actually.

      I am also disappointed for my past self. Life would have been so hugely different with an earlier diagnosis. There has been so much pain and confusion. I’m sure you understand what I mean.

      I am also pleased that my daughters now have new information for themselves. Pleased also that this is so much earlier in their lives than mine.

      Mostly though, I feel relief. I have not been able to think about anything else all day. I just cannot let go of the reality of the assessment. For the psychiatrist it seemed like a small thing. For me, oh my god, it means so much!!!!

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