View Full Version : Medicate before a proper diagnosis?


PaulCamR
01-17-17, 08:33 AM
I am new to these forums. I have had attention difficulties all my life, but little to no stereotypical hyperactivity. I always knew I had difficulties that felt different from others, but I never knew what it was. I didn't know why I couldn't read even a page of a book during silent reading from Grade 1 to Grade 12, in any sort of class. I didn't know why I could never, ever get to work on any project, or start studying, until the night before anything was due. I didn't know why when there was any distracting noises, voices, sounds, I couldn't watch any bit of a movie, do any work, get anything done. Of course the list goes on, but I won't bore you.

Here is the question:

I have a regular family doctor appointment this Thursday. She may or may not prescribe me medication. I will seek out a psychiatrist referral. I have been to a few ADD/ADHD forums, subforums, etc, lately, to ask questions. What I keep being met with is the grumpiness from people who don't like me typing too much, or brief rudeness from people who question if I have ADD/ADHD because I didn't give enough info. So what I'm wondering is... if a family doctor prescribes ADHD medication, but you haven't been diagnosed yet, what do you call that stage of the process?

I feel fairly certain medication will help me stay focused on my work when I really truly want to be focused, and just otherwise cannot.

namazu
01-17-17, 08:42 AM
ISo what I'm wondering is... if a family doctor prescribes ADHD medication, but you haven't been diagnosed yet, what do you call that stage of the process?

If the doctor is willing to prescribe medication, then they've essentially made a provisional diagnosis of ADHD (or some other condition that might be helped by the medication).

Depending on how they've come to this decision, their knowledge about ADHD/related conditions and about ADHD medication, the evidence before them, and the care with which they monitor the treatment, this could be a completely reasonable stopgap measure, or it could verge on malpractice.

I would caution you, though -- especially if you do have ADHD! -- not to put all your hopes in the medication basket. Meds often help -- sometimes considerably -- but most of us need to develop other strategies as well, and can't rely on medication alone for motivation or follow-through. So look into non-medication ADHD management strategies at the same time; these may help you regardless of whether or not you eventually walk out with a formal diagnosis.

Good luck!

sarahsweets
01-17-17, 12:36 PM
I guess Im wondering why you want so badly to start medication without a diagnosis? Wouldnt it make more sense to figure out what the issue is, even if it is ADHD or some other comorbid, similar disorder before medicating it?

PaulCamR
01-17-17, 07:10 PM
The reason I want to start medication so badly is because I have made it so far, I have worked so hard on coping strategies, and I'm 27 now... and I need to move forward.

All things point to ADD. My mother (a principal and life-long educator) thinks that ADD is very likely. The psychologist I spoke with thinks it's likely (although the conversation was far too brief to say much). I've thought it for years but avoided seeing anyone. Coping skills are things I've built up, clearly, since I got through university.

sarahsweets
01-18-17, 05:33 AM
The reason I want to start medication so badly is because I have made it so far, I have worked so hard on coping strategies, and I'm 27 now... and I need to move forward.

All things point to ADD. My mother (a principal and life-long educator) thinks that ADD is very likely. The psychologist I spoke with thinks it's likely (although the conversation was far too brief to say much). I've thought it for years but avoided seeing anyone. Coping skills are things I've built up, clearly, since I got through university.

I get that- believe me I do, I just want to caution you that it might not be the magic solution and I wouldnt want you to put all your eggs in that basket and have something not explored. I personally feel that waiting a small bit more and seeing a psyche just in case would be wiser. Even if you do have a good family doc (and I do too) sometimes you have to pursue an "expert" and if that doesnt work out you can always come back to the family doc.

Lunacie
01-18-17, 12:19 PM
Our psychiatrist would rather treat the symptoms than treat the diagnosis.

jkimbo
01-18-17, 07:56 PM
Basically doctors can do whatever they want. Generally they play it very safe. But legally speaking they could give you a script for 1000 pills of Oxycontin every month. That's hypothetical of course.

So yes, a general doctor could prescribe stims for any one of a number of reasons, if they wanted to.

My test consisted of a series of simple questions. How did I do in school, how organized am I , do I interrupt people while they are talking, do I get distracted easily, do I find it hard to focus or concentrate or take verbal instructions.