View Full Version : Looking for ADHD Advice

08-19-17, 10:56 PM
Warning: this is a long post :) :

Hi, everyone.

About 3 months ago, I began receiving mental health treatment for the first time and was diagnosed with social anxiety. I had just finished my first year of college and I was significantly struggling socially and had some academic difficulty, albeit doing mostly well. I had been dealing with social anxiety for quite a while before I decided to seek treatment (since the early years of HS). At the time, my insurance coverage had just ended and I had no other choice but to sign up for a program at a behavioral and mental health center at a nearby university (Rutgers). In this program, I must see a therapist once a week and a registered nurse for medication every other week.

After being diagnosed with SAD, I was prescribed Zoloft (50mg once a day) and took that for 3 months. After 3 months of no results, I was prescribed Vistaril (50mg), also known as Hydroxyzine, which was to be taken in conjunction with Zoloft. I was on it for only a week, as it knocked me out (as an antihistamine should) and did not reduce my social anxiety. After stopping the Vistaril a week later, the Zoloft was supplemented with Gabapentin (100mg tab twice a day), which also did nothing for me. Up until about 2 weeks ago (about 4 months into treatment), I had been on Zoloft and Gabapentin.

The Zoloft was replaced with Wellbutrin (75 mg) and I was still taking Gabapentin. After a week of Wellbutrin, I wanted to get off of it. It was prescribed for my social anxiety; however, it only increased my anxiety and I noticed strange things occurring. Prior to being prescribed Wellbutrin, the nurse asked a few questions about ADHD, which I really didn't understand at the time and never investigated. I had always known something about my thought process, ability to process information, attention span, etc. was wrong. After answering some questions, she recommended that I be tested for it.

Here are some of the symptoms I have been experiencing for quite some time: - I am nearly always fidgeting, whether it be moving my legs or pressing the tips of my fingers together, even while laying down. Also, the fidgeting gets worse when trying to study, read, or sit down for long periods of time - I feel like I always have a mental block that inhibits my understanding of things - Concentration is especially difficult for me, I can't seem to put my mind into performing a task - Along with poor concentration and focus, I have to force myself to sit down and do my schoolwork, even though I enjoy what I study and want to learn as much about anything as I can. As much as I try to learn, I can't force my mind to comply and comprehend material. - I am almost always distracted when trying to focus. The most trivial of things will disrupt my train of thought, including my own thoughts.

This may be why I cannot seem to concentrate in class and am always zoning out - I will miss many critical details when performing a task - I will lose my train of thought when speaking and often forget what I am saying, which is why I am a bad story-teller -When reading, I have difficulty not fidgeting and always chew gum. Also, my concentration is poor so I end up not comprehending material, making me re-read lines, pages, or even chapters. If I read 30 pages one day, I feel like I will have to re-read this section again the next day because I understood very little. This is often why I start books and rarely get far into them, let alone finish them.

There are many other symptoms that I am failing to mention, but these are some of the more prominent ones. After speaking to my nurse about this, she told me about a week ago to get tested for ADHD, which I will in the coming week. The Wellbutrin only exacerbated the mentioned symptoms. So, now I am only on Gabapentin. I am positive that I have ADHD and failed to realize this in HS, where I did poorly academically, and in my first year of college, where I did very well in most classes because I did not have to sit down and study, but failed one difficult math course because I could not make myself study or practice problems until a day before major exams).

Does anyone know what the testing process is like? I heard they make you submit a written test and have you perform tasks. The one thing I fear is that my social anxiety will affect the task I must perform, which may lead to a misdiagnosis. Also, once diagnosed, what medications will most likely be prescribed? I am especially displeased with the nurse I have now because she does not want to prescribe medications that may be "stronger", but more effective and certainly more well-known. Also, she considers very little of my input and goes as far to tell me how I feel when I express my past experiences. I also do not understand much of what she says because she has a thick accent.

After getting tested next week at a center that specializes in ADHD and mood/behavior on only a fee-basis (no insurance accepted), I will receive medication immediately after if I am diagnosed. Are more well-known medications, like Adderall, Vyvance, Concerta, etc., for ADHD mostly prescribed by other nurses or do they prescribe similarly to my current nurse, who will give me every irrelevant and lesser-known medication before something that has been most successful to the most patients. Luckily, the nurse I am with now cannot test, diagnose, or treat ADHD because she does not have the proper training or certification to do so.

Anyway, my time at the program is nearly finished so I will be able to see a private psychiatrist elsewhere. If anyone has any advice about what will likely happen and what I should consider, please suggest it. To anyone that read and/or gave advice, I thank you for dedicating your time in helping me. P.S. For ADHD and SAD, my main objective is to be treated with medication instead of therapy, although I know both are helpful.

08-20-17, 07:07 AM
The thing is, there are no tests for adhd. There are tests to rule out other disorders and conditions but no adhd tests. In fact, I would be leery if a doctor insisted there were tests for adhd. Are these tests expensive and covered by your insurance?

08-22-17, 03:05 AM
It might be helpful to separate your question into two parts.

1) What is the general process for ADHD diagnosis?
As sarahsweets said, there is no standard test for ADHD diagnosis. It has to be done by a qualified professional (typically an MD, psychologist, nurse practitioner, etc), and is typically based on meeting the diagnostic criteria of the DSM 5, which you can find online. Universities cannot obligate their students to receive medical care through their own health centers.

2) What sorts of treatment can you realistically afford?
You stated that you can only afford to get treatment at your university health center. If that is the case, then you just have to follow whatever procedures they have in place.

Best of luck!