View Full Version : Does this sound like ADD?


Xiphia
08-04-06, 09:31 PM
Hi everyone. I just found this forum while googling for ADD info. I've been struggling my entire life with something that may or may not be ADD (my doctor feels that it's ADD) and I thought it might help to ask people who actually have ADD whether or not my symptoms sound familiar. (And if not, do you know of any other disorders that might cause these symptoms?)

-I "zone out" a lot. My thoughts tend to jump around a lot and I'll become completely absorbed in my own thoughts, ignoring the world around me. I have no control over it and it has nothing to do with being bored or disinterested. (It happens a lot when people are talking to me, even if I'm completely interested in what that person is saying.) When people ask me "What are you thinking about?" I can't tell them. (I noticed that there's another thread in this forum about that, so I guess I'm not the only person who feels this way.) But I know I was thinking. I wasn't unconcious. Oh, and I can't drive. I'm 23 years old and can't get a permit because I zone out while driving.

-I'm not easily distracted by sounds, sights, etc. I can read in a busy public place, for example. It's just my own thoughts that distract me.

-I fit all of the DSM "inattention" criteria for ADD and none of the hyperactivity/impulsiveness ones

-I feel like I'm not completely aware of the world around me. I'm really, really unobservant. It's an almost dream-like feeling, and I'm like this pretty much all the time. I'm uncomfortable in social situations because of this. I also have trouble remembering what specific people look like (a lot of times someone will see me and act like they know me and I'll either have no clue who they are or I'll recognize them but can't think of who they are).

-My doctor has tried me on several ADD meds, and none of them help me. (This is why I suspect I might not have ADD. That and the fact that I'm not distracted by sounds, etc.) I was on Zoloft for several years for depression, and it helped for the depression, so I know that I'm not some weird medical fluke who doesn't respond to psychiatric medications. One of the meds I was on was Strattera, so I know my non-responsiveness doesn't have anything to do with the meds being stimulants.

Whew, sorry this post is so long. :eyebrow: But does this sound like ADD to any of you?

EDIT: I didn't notice until after I posted this that there's a separate forum for discussing diagnosis. Is there any way to move the post over there?

HighFunctioning
08-04-06, 10:32 PM
Hi Xipha.... welcome to ADDF. :) We're not doctors (of course you knew that), just the standard disclaimer....


-I "zone out" a lot. My thoughts tend to jump around a lot and I'll become completely absorbed in my own thoughts, ignoring the world around me. I have no control over it and it has nothing to do with being bored or disinterested. (It happens a lot when people are talking to me, even if I'm completely interested in what that person is saying.) When people ask me "What are you thinking about?" I can't tell them. (I noticed that there's another thread in this forum about that, so I guess I'm not the only person who feels this way.) But I know I was thinking. I wasn't unconcious. Oh, and I can't drive. I'm 23 years old and can't get a permit because I zone out while driving.

Seems like a symptom of ADD, doesn't it? Usually this happens to me, depending on how long the conversation is..... I'm not sure if others are like me, but these "zone outs" happen in proportion to the difficulty of the task, it seems. I'm more likely to zone out in tasks requiring more sustained attention, like reading than driving... I doubt that many here will have your driving problem, though. While ADD interferes with driving -- recently having many posts here about learning how to drive -- it usually isn't as bad as you describe. But then again, it depends on the driving environment, at least with me. The less sensory information, the better I stay attuned. So yes, you might want to look at other disorders besides ADD.

-I'm not easily distracted by sounds, sights, etc. I can read in a busy public place, for example. It's just my own thoughts that distract me.

Usually the inattention component is what is responsible for distraction... Not really sure of the etiology, but the underactivity of the parts of the brain that cause ADD also cause the distraction (i.e. your brain isn't in focus mode, which reduces the intensity of sensory input), so this is odd... I'm distracted by everything... Maybe someone else will come along with a different experience than mine.

-I fit all of the DSM "inattention" criteria for ADD and none of the hyperactivity/impulsiveness ones

ADHD-PI (Predominantly Inattentive). Many here, like me, are this.

-I feel like I'm not completely aware of the world around me. I'm really, really unobservant. It's an almost dream-like feeling, and I'm like this pretty much all the time. I'm uncomfortable in social situations because of this. I also have trouble remembering what specific people look like (a lot of times someone will see me and act like they know me and I'll either have no clue who they are or I'll recognize them but can't think of who they are).

I have a slow sensory response time, so I think I know what you are getting at here. I was the kid that couldn't avoid being punched because I reacted too slowly. I do have an excellent visual memory though, so I'm probably not the best one to judge remembering things like this... I can see ADD instilling a problem in this area, and it does happen to me as well, though I don't know if many are this severe...

-My doctor has tried me on several ADD meds, and none of them help me. (This is why I suspect I might not have ADD. That and the fact that I'm not distracted by sounds, etc.) I was on Zoloft for several years for depression, and it helped for the depression, so I know that I'm not some weird medical fluke who doesn't respond to psychiatric medications. One of the meds I was on was Strattera, so I know my non-responsiveness doesn't have anything to do with the meds being stimulants.

Nothing at all? None of them help the chatter?

Here's a couple of questions:

Do you "hyperfocus"? Meaning, do you have periods of focus where your mind shuts up completely? You stated that you can read in a public place, but if your mind is distracting usually, do you hyperfocus on reading at times? Usually ADD isn't seen as a consistent level of non-focus, but inconsistent. Meaning, cannot perform consistently.... At one time, you might be good, at another time, not so much, which interest is usually one factor here.

When was the onset? I know that you stated "all your life"... but I'm wondering if there is any obvious transition point.

Do you have any history of developmental delay, immaturity for age, or similar? These are common issues in ADD, though are not deterministic (they are present in others as well).

I'm sure there are other disorders that could describe what you are conveying here (and very possible in your case), though I am oblivious to them at the present moment (I don't remember)..... Then again, I'm not a doctor.

Xiphia
08-04-06, 11:32 PM
Thanks for the reply, HighFunctioning. :)

Yes, I hyperfocus. It usually occurs when I'm playing a videogame, but it can also happen when I'm reading something that interests me.

I don't think there was any sort of "transition point" for me. I know that as early as kindergarten and first grade, teachers were complaining that I didn't pay attention to directions. The problem is that I also have a fine/gross motor skills impairment and visual problems (nearsightedness and nystagmus), so a lot of things that might have been ADD symptoms were attributed to those problems. I was an good student, with a very high reading level, throughout elementary and middle school. By highschool, however, my classes had gotten difficult enough that I couldn't compensate for my ADD (or whatever it is). Long story short, I was diagnosed with ADD, tried some meds, nothing helped, and I basically gave up on finding a treatment until recently (8 years later), when I finally decided that I can't take feeling like this anymore.

As far as developmental delays, etc., as I just mentioned I was born with other disabilities in addition to ADD-or-whatever-it-is. So any delays could probably be attributed to those disabilties.

(edit: I was just re-reading my post, and it occurred to me that I probably should have mentioned that, in addition to the meds I was on in highschool, I also have a doctor prescribing me ADD meds now. So when I say that nothing works, I don't just mean that nothing worked 8 years ago. Meds still don't work.)

Dissident
08-05-06, 12:49 AM
Holy cow, you sound a whole lot like me.

I have a doctor's appointment in about a week and a half, so if you could figure out what's the matter with you by then, it'd be a big help to me. :)

What meds have you tried, anyway?

Crazy~Feet
08-05-06, 10:58 AM
According to Hallowell & Ratey, the percentage of ADDers who will not respond to any medications is 20%. Failure to respond does not indicate a lack of ADHD.

Crazy :cool:

HighFunctioning
08-05-06, 12:04 PM
I don't think there was any sort of "transition point" for me. I know that as early as kindergarten and first grade, teachers were complaining that I didn't pay attention to directions. The problem is that I also have a fine/gross motor skills impairment and visual problems (nearsightedness and nystagmus), so a lot of things that might have been ADD symptoms were attributed to those problems. I was an good student, with a very high reading level, throughout elementary and middle school. By highschool, however, my classes had gotten difficult enough that I couldn't compensate for my ADD (or whatever it is). Long story short, I was diagnosed with ADD, tried some meds, nothing helped, and I basically gave up on finding a treatment until recently (8 years later), when I finally decided that I can't take feeling like this anymore.

Supposedly, ADHD in females (or is that ADHD-PI in general?) may have a later onset than in males (perhaps around 10-11 years, but I don't know....).

My inattentiveness was early onset, and my reading was poor from the start (I was performing barely at grade level). I had a tendency to misread directions, especially with math story problems, missing small, critical words to the meaning of the question being asked.

One common issue with ADHD-PI that I didn't mention before is energy level. Those with true ADHD-PI (not mild ADHD-C, mild on the hyperactive/impulsive side) tend to be lethargic and hypoactive, having very little mental energy, unless highly interested.... having the feeling of wanting to fall asleep paying attention to (reading something that is) boring. My energy level has a lot to do with whatever I am doing; it is not sleep related.

(edit: I was just re-reading my post, and it occurred to me that I probably should have mentioned that, in addition to the meds I was on in highschool, I also have a doctor prescribing me ADD meds now. So when I say that nothing works, I don't just mean that nothing worked 8 years ago. Meds still don't work.)

Like Crazy stated, ineffectiveness of ADD medication doesn't imply nonexistence of disorder, just as improving focus on ADD meds does not imply disorder, though significant improvements at therapeutic doses are indicative.

four_a2002
08-05-06, 11:43 PM
ok, first post. First let me say that i am 34 yrs old and was diagnosed this last january. i am new to this forum as you could tell because this is my first post. One thing that caught my eye was reading in loud public places. This is something that i can do too. In fact, I have been thinking about this a lot as I have 2 adhd kids. When I was young, I could do homework faster and better when i was planted in front of a television turned on to my favorite show. I have also heard that other adhd-ers seem to focus better in chaos. I wonder if our brains are just wired to function better in that type of setting.