View Full Version : Just Went to See a Psychologist for the First Time: My Thoughts


whiteboots21
09-20-16, 01:24 AM
So I went, and they suggested that I do show more of the inattentive symptoms. Things went fine for the most part, and I'm meeting up with them again in about a week from now, and keep visiting for about 4 more weeks and go from there. They suggested that I learn about mindfulness and practice meditation/yoga for my quick mind, and but not jump into medication just yet. I just wish I'd been able to get a psychological testing, but no insurance covers that. I need it to provide documents for proper accomadations. I will say it was a bit weird when they suggested that I don't seem like I don't have Asperger's, suggesting that the testing I got might not be accurate based on my various mannerisms. I won't stop until I get a valid, proper diagnosis, but I will say I am glad that I took the fist step.

Did this visit to the psychologist sound right to you guys?
Like I mentioned, they suggested that yoga and meditation would help, and don't want to jump right into medication, at least not yet. Mindfulness is suggested at this moment. And since I didn't take any psychological testing, I am not officially diagnosed, though they implied that ADHD-PI is likely. Is this how it's supposed to be? I'm sure I asked them all the necessary questions. What's your input? Thanks!

sarahsweets
09-20-16, 04:09 AM
So you were diagnosed with adhd from this psychologist? If so, meds are considered a first line treatment for adhd. I am not sure why yoga would be suggested considering adhd is best treated with meds + behavior modifications. What kind of testing were you talking about? There are no approved tests for adhd and anyone who tells you there are, isnt knowledgable about adhd. I understand that testing seems like a tangible way to get "proof" that you have adhd but there just arent any tests. There are ways to evaluate and rule out other issues but none for adhd.

namazu
09-20-16, 03:16 PM
Do you need documentation for accommodations in school (and at what level of school?), in addition to wanting an evaluation for your own personal knowledge/treatment purposes?

You can be officially diagnosed with ADHD without having had a long battery of psychological testing.

Cyllya
09-21-16, 02:10 AM
Yeah, that psychologist appointment sounds kind of dumb.

Did they at least have the decency to be specific in what they meant when they suggested "mindfulness"? In the past, I tried to look up what mindfulness is, and it seems like it can refer to all sorts of things. Some of the things seemed like good ideas (I already do them, and they aren't helping my ADHD, but I supposed I'd be worse off if I weren't doing them), and some things seemed kind of dumb, sometimes to the point that they could basically be summarized as, "The secret to managing ADHD is to stop having ADHD," (said with total seriousness). To a lesser degree, this could also apply to meditation.

Some practices that fall under the umbrella of mindfulness, meditation, or yoga are effectively forms of self-stimulation (stimming, sensory diet, sensory exercises, whatever you want to call it). In other words, they're telling you do more of what every autistic toddler and most ADHD toddlers have figured out by accident, except you have to look dignified while you do it. :rolleyes: Stimming can help mitigate anxiety, stress, sensory issues, and maybe depression. Here's a list of some activities along these lines (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1802802&postcount=37), some of which are less faux-Buddhist than others.

Regarding the testing.... Psychological tests aren't great for diagnosing ADHD, especially in adolescents and adults. However, there are some conditions where certain psych tests are considered the "gold standard" for diagnosis, so I think when you show up at a psychologist's office with an undiagnosed problem, they are inclined to just put you through the whole battery to test for a variety of things. But you usually don't need to go through such tests in order to get a diagnosis, treatment, or accommodation for ADHD.

I've heard that some people advocate that universities require all sorts of psychological tests before someone is allowed to use ADHD meds. (Combined with a misguided belief that the tests are reliable indicators of actually having ADHD, the goal is to prevent non-ADHD students from "cheating" by pretending to have ADHD so they can use amphetamines to magically become smarter somehow.) Not sure if any universities actually have such a stupid policy. It seems like a couple different kinds of stupid and unethical, and maybe illegal, but individual ADHD students probably don't have the resources to challenge it successfully.

whiteboots21
09-21-16, 07:16 PM
Yeah, that psychologist appointment sounds kind of dumb.

Did they at least have the decency to be specific in what they meant when they suggested "mindfulness"? In the past, I tried to look up what mindfulness is, and it seems like it can refer to all sorts of things. Some of the things seemed like good ideas (I already do them, and they aren't helping my ADHD, but I supposed I'd be worse off if I weren't doing them), and some things seemed kind of dumb, sometimes to the point that they could basically be summarized as, "The secret to managing ADHD is to stop having ADHD," (said with total seriousness). To a lesser degree, this could also apply to meditation.

Some practices that fall under the umbrella of mindfulness, meditation, or yoga are effectively forms of self-stimulation (stimming, sensory diet, sensory exercises, whatever you want to call it). In other words, they're telling you do more of what every autistic toddler and most ADHD toddlers have figured out by accident, except you have to look dignified while you do it. :rolleyes: Stimming can help mitigate anxiety, stress, sensory issues, and maybe depression. Here's a list of some activities along these lines (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1802802&postcount=37), some of which are less faux-Buddhist than others.

Regarding the testing.... Psychological tests aren't great for diagnosing ADHD, especially in adolescents and adults. However, there are some conditions where certain psych tests are considered the "gold standard" for diagnosis, so I think when you show up at a psychologist's office with an undiagnosed problem, they are inclined to just put you through the whole battery to test for a variety of things. But you usually don't need to go through such tests in order to get a diagnosis, treatment, or accommodation for ADHD.

I've heard that some people advocate that universities require all sorts of psychological tests before someone is allowed to use ADHD meds. (Combined with a misguided belief that the tests are reliable indicators of actually having ADHD, the goal is to prevent non-ADHD students from "cheating" by pretending to have ADHD so they can use amphetamines to magically become smarter somehow.) Not sure if any universities actually have such a stupid policy. It seems like a couple different kinds of stupid and unethical, and maybe illegal, but individual ADHD students probably don't have the resources to challenge it successfully.
Yeah, I had my doubts/suspicions about this psychologist in particular, especially when she noted she'd been going through the same thing, but hadn't explicitly stated about her having ADHD. She then stated that since I'm in college, I've come a far way, which made me like...."Sure, I'm in college, but my GPA is a 2.3!" In high school, the highest it'd ever been was a 3.5, but it hadn't stayed there for very long. In fact, I ended up graduating with a 2.8. I explained to her that I'd been dealing with this since elementary school, so this was a nearly life-long problem, but she then not only stated that it wasn't important to know my life story, but also that as long as I overcome this, "I won't need a diagnosis".

In regards to mindfulness, she gave examples, like staring at a dot and trying to focus on it, as if I don't want to focus. I want to focus, and I try to plan it, but it gets hard to. And she stated about schoolwork; I mentioned that I'd try studying other languages, but like all of my other projects, I just never continued. "If that was a class, I'm sure you'd want to finish." Yes, but I'm thinking, "that's not the point".

I need the proper documention for my university. In order for me to recieve medication, if it ever comes up, then I'd have to provide the paper, hence the psychological testing, and I'm also planning to go into grad school and I need the documention to show them that I have a legitimate issue and I'm not "just lazy" as they say.

whiteboots21
09-21-16, 07:19 PM
Do you need documentation for accommodations in school (and at what level of school?), in addition to wanting an evaluation for your own personal knowledge/treatment purposes?

You can be officially diagnosed with ADHD without having had a long battery of psychological testing.
Yes. I attend a university and if it ever came up that I needed medication and I wanted to get it at the school, then I need to provide them proper documents. That, and since I plan to get into grad school, I know I'll need the papers to show them that I have a legitimate issue, and not because I'm "lazy".

whiteboots21
09-21-16, 07:23 PM
So you were diagnosed with adhd from this psychologist? If so, meds are considered a first line treatment for adhd. I am not sure why yoga would be suggested considering adhd is best treated with meds + behavior modifications. What kind of testing were you talking about? There are no approved tests for adhd and anyone who tells you there are, isnt knowledgable about adhd. I understand that testing seems like a tangible way to get "proof" that you have adhd but there just arent any tests. There are ways to evaluate and rule out other issues but none for adhd.
That was also the first thing I thought as well, and I was a bit surprised. She did mention that if I do take medication, then I'd take very light doses, because in reality, "I don't really need it". In some way, I did feel like she wasn't really taking me seriously, but I hope I'm wrong.
It was never really specified about what kind of testing it'd be, so I'm not sure. I do know that they take a very long time to complete.

sarahsweets
09-22-16, 04:03 AM
That was also the first thing I thought as well, and I was a bit surprised. She did mention that if I do take medication, then I'd take very light doses, because in reality, "I don't really need it". In some way, I did feel like she wasn't really taking me seriously, but I hope I'm wrong.
It was never really specified about what kind of testing it'd be, so I'm not sure. I do know that they take a very long time to complete.

I would be leery of any tests that take a long time- because these are not useful in diagnosing adhd. Sometimes they can help rule out other stuff but how well you perform or dont perform on the test should not be indicative of whether or not you have adhd.
And as far as you "not really needing it", that's crap. I urge you to consider a second opinion. You are already dealing with someone who wants to sell you tests that do not help in diagnosing adhd and someone who thinks yoga instead of meds is appropriate. You are dealing with someone who is discounting your adhd treatment before you actually start treating it!

kilted_scotsman
09-23-16, 06:55 AM
It's the first step....

Remember you've seen a psychologist, not a psychiatrist.... big difference..... psychologists are looking at behavioural stuff and decidedly more holistic than psychiatrists.

Psychiatrists often make a DSM diagnosis on the initial appointment, as all they need is a symptom cluster, however all that's going to be good for is getting a prescription and some accommodations. The meds will be a shot in the dark and the accommodations may end up labelling you for the rest of your life.

A psychologist on the other hand is going to look deeper, how has this persons unique life resulted in this behaviour pattern in this environment. Is there anything that the person can do to change that might improve functioning. This is why psychologists are more likely to encourage behavioural change through things like meditation, exercise etc and be interested in any "resistance" to so doing. This takes time....!

Also.. if you're at Uni.... any competent and ethical psychologist or psychiatrist is going to be wary of diagnosing/prescribing on the first appointment. Not diagnosing/prescribing is more likely to be the mark of a good psych than a bad one. Likewise suggesting mindfulness/yoga etc is giving you the option of going and trying something that might help but doesn't involve the psych having to make a formal diagnosis before they feel able to do so.

In my experience, a good psych will establish trust and then use their diagnostic skills to ask open questions to explore the persons life history. It's surprising how often people disclose things after for, six or even twenty sessions, that to them don't have any relationship with their symptoms, but are hugely relevant. These do not change the symptom cluster, but they sure as anything change the possible causation, DSM diagnosis and the likely best approach to symptom relief.

EJIMMa1416
09-23-16, 11:40 AM
It's the first step....

In my experience, a good psych will establish trust and then use their diagnostic skills to ask open questions to explore the persons life history. It's surprising how often people disclose things after for, six or even twenty sessions, that to them don't have any relationship with their symptoms, but are hugely relevant. These do not change the symptom cluster, but they sure as anything change the possible causation, DSM diagnosis and the likely best approach to symptom relief.



This last part of your response is exactly what I was looking for today. I'm currently awaiting my results from all the testing I did this week, and it dawned on me that the only time the psychologist and I actually talked was in our first appointment, and only for 15 minutes, and I only was answering her open-ended questions. I feel like I never got around to "explaining myself" further...stuff that may weigh more on a diagnosis. I'm not sure if I'll have that opportunity before she writes her dx. She said she'd call when my results are back, 2-3 weeks from now. And of course, I failed to remember to question this when I was in last.

ToneTone
09-23-16, 09:38 PM
I also think a really good psychologist is going to ask about your life story beyond ADHD. Family relationships, the ways we were parented, our struggles growing up, our view of the world. There's a ton of important information that good therapists want to include.

Because we are more than just ADHD ... we are specific people, raised in specific families, with specific and quirky habits and strengths and weaknesses and insecurities and coping patterns ... which all affects the ADHD and influences the ADHD.

Put it like this: someone who grew up feeling thoroughly loved and accepted ... well that person will experience life and ADHD probably differently than someone who grew up feeling neglected.

I've done a lot of great work with my therapist on issues that didn't officially have to do with ADHd, but are related to ADHD. For example, how I connected to my own feelings when interacting with people. Well ADHD makes that a challenge for me for sure, but I also had other family issues that made tuning into my own feelings harder. Well, that's been a great tool to develop and I would say it has even helped me cope better with my ADHD.

So you might want to consider checking out some more folks. Offering yoga and meditation seems too pat and simple for one visit. I would think the person would need to listen to you and get your life story over multiple visits ...

Anyway, good luck ...

Tone