My Forum Comments
Hi, your little girl is only 8 years old. And these are potent drugs she is taking. I’m a middle aged adult and and Just a childs dose of various adhd meds severely affected my mood and changed my thoughts in a marked negative way. Also for those children and adults who may also be highly sensitive and possibly on an autistic spectrum too, they a’re often highly highly sensitive to medication too.
I would recommend that you book her in to see if mindfulness might help her to focus and be steadier in mood over time and going out into green spaces. Martial arts will help too and other exercise.
Im not saying dont medicate, because a tiny tinydose of a stimulant helps to my surprise! However, please think of other options for your little daughter rather than medication being your first ‘solution’ because you are giving her powerful drugs in reality. I hope that this helps.
Hi Inak, you are likely to be assessed and diagnosed by a psychiatrist with specialist training in neuro-behavioural psychiatry. The two I have seen were both very lovely. I was treated not like something off another planet but as a person with different brain wiring who has struggled and deserves to give myself break at last! They were lovely understanding people. I felt I was treated as ‘normal’ for having adhd. It was a lovely experience, but I was petrified beforehand just like you!
Go For It!!!
I’m in the UK too. Just a couple of hopefully helpful tips for you:
1) Early on in the diagnosis journey its usual to feel grief for not being ‘normal’ and like everyone else. However i reached a point a year in when i dont want to be like everyone else and I’m proud of my differences that others don’t have e.g. ability to hyperfocus; creativity; innovation; high level of intuition and empathy etc. I hope you can reach this point too. There was a tv programme in the UK about Rory Bremner and his journey to diagnosis and it said in that in evolutionary terms adhd brained people were the lookout, the hunters, the adventurers in early societies… the vital cogs in the wheel therefore!!!!
2) to get diagnosed visit your gp and ask for a referral for diagnosis. A book with a great adhd questionnaire in in is called Delivered from Distraction. I scored on 90% of those questions, that pushed me to ask for a diagnosis too.
The gp will refer you to a specialist mental health team and you’ll be put on a waiting list. In my area the waiting list is a year. So get on it now! The assessment is about 2 hours plus they like to speak to a family member if possible for the historical information. You will hopefully then get a diagnosis a and discuss treatment options. In some areas of the country there are CBT for ADHD groups instead of meds. Mindfulness groups for ADHD are also being considered. Unfortunately meds are the main thing offered across the UK with not so many other options. Hoping this will change soon!! There are ADHD coaches available but You would have to pay for these. People diagnosed with autism seem to have more options available e.g. educational and coping skills group work than for ADHD in the UK.
I hope that helps! Good luck with it… or should i say “GO FOR IT”!!!
Hi adhd meds can affect blood pressure and heart rate there’s no doubt about it. You are taking a powerful drug into your system. Thw effects are very individual.
I had to stop methylphenidate and atomoxetine due to increase in heart rate and blood pressure that was too high. Over time this can be dangerous for physical health. We are all different. I’m on Elvanse and i dont have problems on 10mg (yes that’s all I can take) of it, but feel some good effects still.
Yes get to your doc for blood pressure and heart rate checks asap. You may need to stop it or lower the dose. A consistent heart rate of 100 is too high in resting phase.
The good news is when I stopped atomoxetine my one went back to normal again. The same show happen for you. But your dose or brand really needs reviewing.
Adhd meds do affect physical health no doubt, and some of those effects can be serious later on on heart function and also high BP can cause a stroke if left unchecked.
Hi Inak, I felt the same as you.
Diagnosis for me was a great thing, helped me be less critical of myself and be kinder, and say “well done you’ve struggled more than most people in life so far. Well done for getting this far and still achieving stuff”.
Diagnosis doesn’t need to lead to medication. I took a 6 months to decide, the doctor didn’t force me until it was my decision. CBT and mindfulness and reading Additude and Books about adhd was how I coped first. I didn’t want meds.
Then something changed. I kept reading about meds being like glasses lenses that don’t take away the sight problem, they just help you to read with less stress. So i tried 3 types of meds over the next year on a very tiny child’s dose because I’m highly sensitive to medication (like you i get side effects v badly) 2 types caused v high blood pressure and I had to stop. I felt awful. But now I’m on a child’s dose of Elvanse and have had no problems so far! I am too sensitive to tolerate an adults dose so i have to use lots of other coping alongside to manage daily life and adhd symptoms. I’m glad I chose meds in the end, they have taken the edge off the racing mind and restlessness.
If you do ever try meds make sure they regularly monitor heart and blood pressure in the early stages and start on a very small dose. I was 3rd time lucky. And I don’t think the other 2 meds caused me long term damage because I stopped as quickly as poss.
Take care and get diagnosed one day at least it will make you feel better about yourself over time…
Hi again thanks everyone for the interesting replies.
Just to add. I practice meditation and other forms of mindfulness like listening to the birds, every day at least once before and after work. I have a really solid practice. I am a mindfulness teacher. However despite this (and adhd medication small dose) this processing ‘difference’ continues for me.
What im learning from this is:
1) this must be a different way of processing in my Neuro diverse adhd and Autism brain. Meds has taken the edge off but not wholly. And my processing is in vivid pictures too.
2) self criticism: i used to tell myself I’m a bad mindfulness teacher or practitioner or useless person because I have this processing style.
3) then I got diagnosed in midlife with Adhd and autism and started reading about these problems. It all started to make sense in relation to having different brain connectivity and way of processing than neurotypicals.
4) Rumination to depression?
I now realise that when thoughts were negative and difficult things in my life the repetitive thoughts were usually negative too and might make me depressed if i didnt change my attention focus.
So now if i notice repetitive negative processing is going on in my mind I try to notice earlier on. Put fast music on headphones to stimulate my body and mind and distract me. Unfreeze my body by going out to a garden and into nature walking. Increase my meditation. Give myself 10 minutes after work to really think hard about the day, then make myself go outside or to the gym. Perhaps talk to someone I trust about the particular problem that’s going round. Write each day in a positive events diary one good thing I achieved. Meditation has been key through this.
I hope this helps. Now I’m more accepting of this hamster wheel mind of mine as a different way of processing, I don’t give myself such a hard time about it.
Thank you for this! I do this too. I have played over usually social interaction situations in my head my whole life whilst awake unless distracted. . And because I think in pictures it’s like a film, replaying my day, and imagining conversations. It’s very tiring and makes me feel anxious and low if I’ve had a difficult day and interactions.
I try to notice I’m doing it now as soon as poss, but yes it’s 100% hard to stop because it’s a habit. So at a level of intensity when it becomes really unhelpful rumination, then I have to go to the gym, dig at the allotment or practice meditation.
I have recently been diagnosed with autistic spectrum after an adult diagnosis of adhd. Repetitive, visual processing, and socian sensitivity can be a part of autistic spectrum too I believe.
Thank you for writing this post, at least I know now I’m not the only one with this.
Hi Jonny Vegas thanks for sharing your story. It rang bells for me. All the posts have done!
Having adhd and autism conditions diagnosed in mid life has been really helpful now I’m recovering from the post diagnosis shock and shame.
I realise now (help from therapy too) that I’ve always worn a mask around other people in my world because i just believed i was failing and less than everyone else. So I tried for perfection and copying neurotypical others all my life based on that wrong belief. But perfection isn’t real and it made me more ashamed to just be me! I’ve tried to fit in and tried so desperately to hide the real me who is wacky, kind, creative, amazingly intuitive etc etc.
I read a great vid though recently on a site called ‘Aspergers from the Inside – how to help your aspie friend’. Take a look, it is all about the importance of finding not just social connections for the sake of it but finding friends who will truly accept me for me warts and all including when I make mistakes, turn up late, blurt things out etc etc.
I am in mid life now and this is going to be my practice and project for the rest of my life, ive spent too much energy trying to be like the neurotypicals in the world. It will be hugely difficult and scary, and I’m not really sure where to start. But despite finding social aspects of life so hard (hence the mask) I need to do this to be truly content and flourish from the inside out.
Good luck everyone,
I would like to give the balanced view if I may.
I too can feel frustrated with those who talk about meds as the ONLY panacea, and are on large prescribed doses.
I was diagnosed late in life with both ADHD and autism. I managed my symptoms for 3 decades using exercise, meditation, and behavioural strategies (without realising I was treating myself). These have made me really resilient generally in life now and I’m grateful for that.
However I have really struggled, and have many missed opportunities in life I could tell you about.
And I do quietly wish my parents had got me diagnosed as a child, because I may not have experienced so much struggle, and feeling a failure…
I have now finally accepted a tiny dose of medication, I was very reluctant and anti meds. I told myself I was failing if I went on them! Well, I’m glad I did! The alternative strategies above (including no caffeine and a good diet) are much easier to consistently apply now and I feel calmer and much more focused in daily life. I am grateful for my tiny dose of meds despite my reluctance! I now believe the theory about brain differences in ADHD and autism.
Just to note, for those with autism too we can be highly sensitive to normal doses of any medication including ADHD meds. so I am on a less then paediatric dose of stimulant and it’s having a great effect!
Keep an open mind to all options I would say, it has helped me to keep my job and to feel I have an ok future ahead in mid life.
Hi I bought a book called ‘Delivered from Distraction’ by Edward Hallowell before I was diagnosed. It has a large but really good adhd symptoms questionnaire in it. This helped me to realise yes I do have ADHD regardless of what others say who can be dismissive. There is definitely a prejudice in society that adults don’t have ADHD!
Try some formal questionnaires. And if you score highly go for a formal diagnosis if you choose. Nothing to be ashamed of and it might change your life.
Hi I can’t help you with meds for children. But just to say that ADHD and high functioning Autism sometimes go together. Dyspraxia and Dyslexia are common in autism. In ASD anxiety isn’t standard anxiety it’s more related to sensory overwhelm. Autism is a social communication disorder. I am an adult diagnosed late with both. Though it’s a relief to now understand I wish it had been picked up in childhood.
Having ASD means however that I can only take miniscule doses of ADHD medication, due to the underlying autistic spectrum condition which creates high sensitivity to a large amount of things including normal doses of medication!
I have used Behavioural methods, exercise and meditation as my treatments through life, and have made me really resilient now as an adult. A tiny dose of Elvanse meds just takes athe edge off.
It is sad that a 10 year old girl is on anxiety meds and other. Explore other options rather than just meds if you can which will help her in life to be resilient. And If anything I said about autistic spectrum condition rang a bell do some reading about it. Her anxiety may not be standard anxiety and may be due to high sensory (including social) sensitivity instead. There is a book called ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ which I found really helpful and let me to diagnosis.
Hi sounds difficult. I was diagnosed at age 47. Diagnosis has been a relief and explained a lot. But I felt low for a while too and resentful that no one had told me earlier. I reflected on many lost opportunities, rather than on future possibilities and hope. I realise now a year on that this was part of natural grieving and then accepting diagnosis.
I have been unable to have children or long term relationships I think largely because of undiagnosed ADHD and autism. I am not close to family either. They know I’m diagnosed and on meds but thats as far as conversations go. It can feel lonely at first.
Your therapist doesn’t sound great, if you are finding their advice unhelpful! I would say tell them that, I assume you are paying for the sessions! I went to a therapist who told me he didn’t think I had ADHD so I chose not to continue with sessions.
Coming to terms with a lifelong diagnosis and brain difference is hard!!!! There is more ongoing community support for adults with autism in the UK than for us with ADHD. The self critic can be a big problem for us because we ve been criticised most of our lives!
I found that ‘coming out’ to colleagues and telling them about certain work adjustments was helpful but needs to be carefully planned and isn’t for everyone. We are covered under the Disabilities Act I think which is a positive! There is 1 work colleague who I trust and is more of a friend who I can talk more to but never in huge detail.
So yes coming to terms with diagnosis can be tough and feel lonely. But there is hope! I have found this site so helpful with lots of hopeful articles, these forums, webinars, a regular meditation practice, and regularly trying to notice and change my self critical thoughts.
Learning as much as I can about ADHD has helped hugely. 3 books I liked ‘Focused Forward’ ‘the Gift of Adult ADD’ and ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Adult Adhd’. Plus this website.
Over time you will get a sense of who to tell and who not to. And explore your interests and creativity! I am creative and sporty and am slowly finding people with my interests who don’t judge me. We share common interests and meet for coffee now and then.
I hope that your life opens out and your confidence builds. We all need to feel connected, and maybe you can flourish from now on beyond the boundaries of your marriage, and begin to love who you are as a person.
Us with ADHD were born with different wiring, life has been harder for us, therefore we deserve to feel proud and confident! We are creative and innovative if only we can realise these qualities!
Good luck. Take it slowly. Do lots of reading. Explore your interests and strengths. Your life might well change for the better….
Dear DROFAS thank you for your message, you have inspired me also! So fantastic that you were diagnosed at 69 and sound so resilient and applying coping, despite the challenges over your life. Thank you, you have given me much hope for the future too!!!
Hello yes I can give you hope I hope! I was diagnosed at 46. It came as a huge shock with sadness, loss and anger that no one had told me sooner. I work in healthcare and watched students I have trained up over years get promotions above me, be able to move to a decent house, have an intimate relationship and have children, not get bullied by others, be tactful around their boss, and not hold a constant fear of getting sacked etc etc. Due perhaps to adhd i realise now and my executive brain function differences, I have not managed to achieve any of those things…yet.
Since diagnosis I now try to say “well done” daily at least, and remind myself of what I can rather than can’t do. I garden at an allotment, walk in nature when I can, and meditate and remind myself often of the beauty around me like a bird singing or the groundedness of my feet as I walk.
Diagnosis has helped me to silence the 46 year old v loud self critic at last and tell myself each day instead “you have really struggled. Well done for tidying that drawer, making that phone call etc Well done for not giving up and for still being here right now doing the best you can.” I recognise that I am actually tougher than most, absolutely not a failure!
Getting out in nature as often as I can makes me feel grateful and connected to my heart rather than my head. Mindfulness practice is a daily saving grace, and exercise too.
Please seek help from professionals if you are suicidal. Just because we have adhd doesn’t mean we don’t also sometimes get depressed and need an urgent appointment. One of the adhd medications also made me depressed so don’t ignore that, get help.
We are amazing, we have struggled undiagnosed with a different brain structure in a neurotypical world since birth. Wow! We so deserve praise and love starting with love for ourselves at long last. If like me there is no one else there to praise me, I make sure I praise myself… daily!
Look into mindfulness at some point too it changed my life by helping to build self-compassion and learn ways to stop the incessant Thought Train which is 20 x worse for those of us with adhd.
I wish you luck, please don’t give up, others have so much to learn from your strength and resilience through your life and struggles. You and i are truly amazing and tough we must remember that…daily!!
Take care too.
Hi i hope I can give you some hope. I have been diagnosed firstly with adhd last year and now with autistic spectrum this year after 2 separate evaluations. I am an adult in middle age.
Yes it is possible to have both I now know! I have impulsivity hyperactivjty and scatteredness of adhd, but I also like certain routines, find change difficult, and struggle socially.
I wish someone had diagnosed me age 6 because I could have received the support i needed and have much better self esteem than I do now in my 40s!
It is good news for the future for your daughter and I hope you both get the help that you need so that she can flourish as an adult.