View Full Version : How to explain ADD? and some help..


Raico
11-02-07, 07:14 AM
Hi, im 28 yrs old and earlier this year i was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety. It was a great relief because for years i knew i had some sort of handicap that was generally stopping me from progressing in my life. I live in Spain and was prescibed pirisudanol maleate which is sold under the brand name "Mentis". Its only sold in Spain, italy and a few places.. i dont know why. Apart from not finding any useful info on this drug (im an internet expert!) im finding it hard to explain to friends and family alike what ADD exactly is and how it affects my life.

Everyone i come across and recently ive met lots of people i havent seen in years thanks to facebook.com doesnt really entirely know what ADD is. I try to explain but also my difficulty to express myself makes it very hard. Can anybody sum this whole thing up very easily and effectively? Im amazed that very few people know what ADD is and how few people understand this. For example, everyone seems to know perfectly well what dyslexia is but very few people know what ADD is..

I was given some guidelines for myself, my boss at work and my family from my psychologist in order to help me but most just joked about it and didnt seem to take it very serious. My girlfriend just thinks im making excuses and that i need to mature a bit more.

Apart from that, Im making a huge effort myself and the medication im taking when it works helps a great deal. Everything seems to be so much more clearer, my self confidence is getting stronger everyday and overall the "fog" is clearing so in that sense its very positive.

Can anyone relate to the above issues?

JR1973
11-02-07, 10:04 AM
Welcome. Never heard of that medication before. I'll research it.

ADD in a nutshell can be looked at from a couple of viewpoints.

1. Current research shows that people with the condition have deficiencies with how the brain handles certain neurotransmitters (mostly dopamine) and this results in the classic symptoms such as attention problems and the need to high stimulation to function.

2. Executive dysfunction issues such as poor time managment, ability to focus on things that are boring, ability to sit still, etc..

Naturally there are skeptics that think simple coaching and behavior modification techniques will cure ADD.

Look at this link
http://www.askdrjones.com/2007/08/05/what-is-adhd-and-what-causes-it/

Also, check out the entire ADHD section of that website. Great info from a doctor.

Good luck
J

Michiko74
11-02-07, 10:54 AM
I think it might be helpful to describe what ADHD feels like.. So I would say that ADHD is (mentally) trying to run in mud. Your feet and legs don't move as fast as you want them to. And despite pushing yourself to go faster, it doesn't have any affect whatsoever. There is nothing wrong with your legs! It's not like paraylsis where the message from your brain is not getting to your legs.

Another image I like to use is the concept of a teflon pan. So ask those around you, how hard is it to carve your name into the pan? Pretty hard right? It takes lots of muscle just to make those letters. So imagine the brain is like the pan, and you're putting in tremendous effort just to make those letters. So you manage to carve the name out, but any facts won't stick and just fall like food does off of teflon.

Of course I don't know how your ADHD affects you, but it might help those around you to get an idea of what ADHD is.

Raico
11-02-07, 01:06 PM
Wow, thanks for the great response guys. I think i need to write these explanations down and read them out when asked because looking back when everybody asked me i knew perfectly but was simply losing myself in my own thoughts on how to explain it. It aint that hard but this is typical ADD and shows how frustrating it can sometimes be..ha ha!

The doctor jones link was extremely useful and simple, i loved the diagram. IŽll keep your viewpoints in mind. thanks

About the medication im taking, its pretty much unheard of as its also only sold in Spain. I posted all the info i could in a thread in the medication section of this forum if anyone is interested:
http://addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44852

and well, Thanks again!

QueensU_girl
11-02-07, 01:08 PM
Do a GOOGLE on "Executive Dysfunction".

That explains the more silent effects of ADD/ADHD on a person's life.

dugstyle
11-02-07, 03:12 PM
so many people suffer so many diffent symptoms. i think it would be hard to describe. most people would catagorize me as an air head or absent minded professor type. it would depend on wether they know about my genius like qualities or not. the air head personality fit well with the pot smoking skater/skiing clique that i hung with as an adolescent. they would say things like "dude you were so like, totaly zonin' just now" and it was all cool.

my best bud who is ocd and bipolar understands me well. he will stop talking and say "douggie look at me man im talking to you" he is the only person in my life that does that. hes an ex pro football player so we are an odd combo at first glance. enjoys my sixth sense capabilities.

so i would suggest that you find the things about you that people have commented negatively about. then wrap those up into 2-3 words and then explain thats its due to a chemical imballance in the brain and that you need to take meds for it. this might not be the best or most truethful answer to give. but it would do well to help them understand.

i would also try and remember that not everyone needs to know. secrets are ok.

i certainly dont remind my mother that i was diagnosed as a child and that she may have made the wrong decission by taking me off the ritalin. which made many years in school absolute hell. and that i still suffer from it but have created some rather elaborate coping skills to get by. it doesnt really matter. she doesnt need to know all that.

heretic
11-02-07, 04:31 PM
that askdrjones link to the article on vyvanse is really good, it sums up the difference between adderall and vyvanse (which is what i take) in a very succinct manner.

Garry
11-02-07, 05:00 PM
There are possibly as many ways to explain it as there are people who suffer from it ...

This was the best way it was explained to me when I started looking for answers

Hope it helps

What's It Like To Have Add? (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=430568&postcount=127)


by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

Copyright (C) 1992

meadd823
11-06-07, 04:01 AM
Although the hyperlinks above are excellent if I remember right a simple explanation was requested

After reading who knows a million post on the subject plus having ADD, having kids who are ADD, siblings and now husband here is the explanation I find to be the simplest and can be used for all three subtypes.

ADD is the inability to consciously control the direction of focus and length of attention span due to a stimuli filtering problem. We are unable to focus on one thing by filtering out others which are un-necessary stimuli {stimuli can be internal such as thoughts or day dreams or external which is things like other conversations or the elastic in our socks}

Which ADD is experienced {inattentive, hyperactive or combined} depends upon the filtering problem. Hyperactive people are unable to filter out any thing we are constantly bombarded by every sight sound feeling or thought. Our filtering valve is stuck open.

Inattentive ADDers have filtering valves that snap shut, In an effort to filter out the un-necessary stimuli they inadvertently filtered out all external stimuli including that which they were trying to pay attention to.

Combination ADDers have problems with both.

We simply can not simply decide to pay attention to one thing while ignoring every thing else - lacking "selective" attention.

Hope this helps. :)

imsietze
11-17-07, 05:25 AM
I can explain ADHD (ADD and ADHD are the same thing) in many ways. But getting someone who is unacquainted with the disorder to understand what it is,is a different matter. I have had no good fortune expounding the condition with my friends or family; and this has added to my frustration and anxiety. I, as you have been, was galvanized by the awakening gained through the diagnosis. It explained the troubled history of my life and I wanted the people closest to me to share that knowledge so that they could discern my sometimes untypical behavior and consequently fortify our relationship. However my expectations where misconcieved and the endeavor was meet with indifference. I think people feel uncomfortable dealing in depth with someone elses disease.

The way that I try to deal with this and the many other dilemas hatched by ADHD is to continually modify my conceptions by incresing my knowledge. The way I now see ADHD and the treatments for it expounds what I have sustained over the last decade since I was made aware of the hypothesis. ADHD is afterall an opinion. It is a theory sustained by the wizards of psychiatry and based on their proficiency. In other words ADHD has not meet the requirements of the scientific method but is based on the "soft science" of expert opinion found in psychiatry. I am a believer but there are many who believe that ADHD does not exist. I encountered a psychiatrist at a community health center (run by one of our largest HMOs) that had cemented his opinion to that divergent pole. His demeanor was cantankerousness; infexible and unyielding. When he took control and decided to guide my life within the parameters of the toe headed dough boy he is I suffered alot. He withdrew my medication (80mg daily:dexedrine), that I had been taking without interuption for eight years simply by refusing to write the prescription. I was living in a broken down single-wide tailer in the desert way out in the middle of nowhere in poverty and without resouces. Out of options and close to death.

I have seen many psychiatric care providers in different settings and with a much expanded range of options. I have lived in three different states and have paid for the treatments and medications with and without health insurasnce. The health insurance with the HMO paid for everything, including medication. When I still afford my independency I saw private practicioners and paid (up to $450.00 per hourly visit) for everything, including medication. However I have never been in control of my situation involving expert's opinions and their prescription writting priveleges. This is another unavoidable delemna posed by ADHD; you can loose control of how treatment is applied to you by the unforeseen circumstancial turns in life. The expectations that are created by the influences and direction takeon one footing may completely give way at another.

I believe that we must inevitably define for ourselves that which is in our individual best interest and view the opinions of others critically. I see ADHD as a potential very good thing. It is a minor brain disorder caused by a bio-chemical inbalance in the frontal cortex of the brain involving the delivery and uptake by the nerve synapses of dopamine (and perhaps others). This results in unbrideld activity in the cerebreal cortex and causes hyperactivity and unfocused attention in some situations. We do not lack the ability to focus but conversely have the capacity to hyper-focus and go where others who lack the might will never follow.

The most helpful person that I ever have found to guide me was an ADHD coach who also has ADHD. He understands what we are and had the training and understanding to give the thereputic care that can direct and help modify the unpleasant side effects of ADHD. This forum helps me in the same way. All of the replies given to you here by these members are valid definitions with value. Take what you can from our posts and research as much as you need to inorder to establish a focused approach for yourself. Be careful as you carry on and watch out for the dough boys.
Good luck!

Guest1
01-22-08, 01:36 AM
i can relate to you allot on thisHi, im 28 yrs old and earlier this year i was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety. It was a great relief because for years i knew i had some sort of handicap that was generally stopping me from progressing in my life. I live in Spain and was prescibed pirisudanol maleate which is sold under the brand name "Mentis". Its only sold in Spain, italy and a few places.. i dont know why. Apart from not finding any useful info on this drug (im an internet expert!) im finding it hard to explain to friends and family alike what ADD exactly is and how it affects my life.

Everyone i come across and recently ive met lots of people i havent seen in years thanks to facebook.com doesnt really entirely know what ADD is. I try to explain but also my difficulty to express myself makes it very hard. Can anybody sum this whole thing up very easily and effectively? Im amazed that very few people know what ADD is and how few people understand this. For example, everyone seems to know perfectly well what dyslexia is but very few people know what ADD is..

I was given some guidelines for myself, my boss at work and my family from my psychologist in order to help me but most just joked about it and didnt seem to take it very serious. My girlfriend just thinks im making excuses and that i need to mature a bit more.

Apart from that, Im making a huge effort myself and the medication im taking when it works helps a great deal. Everything seems to be so much more clearer, my self confidence is getting stronger everyday and overall the "fog" is clearing so in that sense its very positive.

Can anyone relate to the above issues?

michaeljones147
04-03-08, 08:10 PM
I hear what you are saying and found this great article.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD/ADD, or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 25 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD.
Although the causes of ADD/ADHD are not fully understood, most specialists believe that chemical imbalances in the brain play a major role. Medications work by correcting this imbalance. Author and ADD specialist Dr. Gabor Mate offers the following(link given) explanation of how medication works for people with ADD/ADHD.
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm

civicmon
04-05-08, 11:21 PM
You really live in the Canary Islands? Nice...

I wouldn't discuss it with lost friends on Facebook since you seem to have trouble explaining it. It seems like it's a lot more work than it's worth, if you ask me.

DeLL
04-06-08, 01:41 AM
I wrote this at work the other night.. I didn't think I'd ever let anyone else see it :)

I wish I could coherently describe my mind. One of the ways I can is like this: imagine being in a TV store, looking at the giant wall of TVs on display, but instead of every TV being on one channel, like they usually are, each TV is on a different channel, one is playing a cop drama, another an animal show, the news, the snow pattern after a station signs off.. well you get the point and all of them have the volume loud enough so you can hear it. Now imagine paying attention to each and every television, even the ones you're not interested in buying. Now imagine all but one TV shuts off, momentarily. Now what? Now you focus on that television and just start to get into what was on and boom, the rest of the TVs turn back on. That, even though it doesn't describe all that well, is how my mind works. I can be told to do something, then two minutes later completely forget what I was told. I can see something that looks interesting, fixate on it actually have some focus on that one thing, even though it is totally irrelevent to what I should be focusing on then I completely forget what it was I was supposed to be focusing on. The worst part is, I cannot help it.

(there is a more, but I don't feel like typing it)

Mike77
04-07-08, 08:47 PM
I notice the contrast best shortly after taking a shower in the morning.(medication starts working right after)
To me it feels like many irrelevant and somehow unfinished thoughts that relate to eachother in a way that probably only can be discovered by writing them down and studying them for a few days.(Maybe some day I will try this but I'm pretty sure it might very well be just letters in words or anything else that primitive that makes the mind switch to next subject)
Next to these "half" or unfinished thoughts it feels like I'm continuously being bombarded with really tiny thoughts or experiences which do not even devellop into anything I can name or place.(or I forget, I dont know)

The longer thoughts (Im also diagnosed very late) over time have become more and more negative whereass the tiny not even thoughts still feel the same I guess. I can also recall many moments in past with very positive longer thoughts but I don't miss those either because they're pure chaos too and somehow I think that they take you away from whatever it is that is causing those postive thoughts in the first place.

The long ones probably are what some people call creativity or might cause such in right environment. The rest is hard to define. Mental version of what pollen are to someone with hayfever or something like that. Very dusty and just as invisible;)

Ow, and before some people start to wonder. I'm not talking about chizofrenic type thoughts.(the long ones) They really do make sense, the schizo part is that they are so many in little time and they switch or change in a way that's just not normal.

Raico
04-09-08, 11:11 AM
Again im overwhelmed by the replies from everyone and it also feels good to be able to relate this at times frustrating condition. I was very interested by the "Executive Dysfunction" link as this is clearly what happens over time when ADD is not diagnosed. It affects me a lot and is one of the most difficult hurdles at the moment

badbrains
05-08-08, 11:32 PM
I know this is an old thread but I just had a eurika moment with my newly "medically" diagnosed add. For me its like I have many parallel thoughts running simultaneously (kinda like the tv analogy) but I am only paying attention to any one at one time due to the following reasons

1: I forget what it was that I was doing in which case I scan for one of the other things I was doing or at least should be doing.

2: I happen to see something that reminds me I forgot to be doing something else (in which case I drop the first thing to start the next obliviously)

3: Something in one of those things that I'm doing has a similarity to a "Parallel thought and I jump from one to the other" and in doing so as with the others forget the first thing.

ahhhh thanks for the thread I learned alot about myself from it!! lol

ToneTone
05-09-08, 09:32 PM
I'd type in "executive function" and "adhd" in google and research away.

The challenge of explaining adhd is that few people have been raised to believe or notice adhd.

My brother has it severely--I had a more mild case. Until I was diagnosed with adhd, this is how I described my brother "He can't get it together." "He's disorganized." "He doesn't learn." ... "He's messed up."

The challenge is that we usually label symptoms of adhd under the rubric of "will" or "will power" or "focus." ... ADHD is completely baffling to many folks because they think we all have the same kinds of brains and the same ability to focus and organize. We do not! .... And with ahd, the inability to organize becomes a major problem.
By the way, I'm older than you, and I don't feel the need to explain it to everyone. If they don't understand, so what? ... I may need my intimate partner to understand it. Other folks--frankly I don't much care ....

Moral of the story: don't let others' skepticism block you from getting the treatment YOU know you need.
Good luck.

badbrains
05-10-08, 03:48 AM
I don't need to explain to everybody, but the ones that I love or that are close to me and worry I think it would be nice if they could understand where I am at as I would with them if they were to have an ongoing medical issue. As for convincing anybody, I'll leave that for somebody with more time, patience and desire.

ToneTone
05-10-08, 08:10 PM
hey badbrains,

I agree it's great to have the support of people who are close to you. But here's my question: why aren't THEY writing here? You've told them about your condition and your sense of it. I think the ball is now in their court for THEM to do some research.

I just hope (I'm speaking to myself as much as to you) you're not taking on too much of the burden here. When my ex-girlfriend came down with breast cancer, you better believe I was burning a hole in my computer screen doing research on the web. I saw that as part of my job as her boyfriend.

There are plenty of books and articles galore out there. Tell them to read them ... I just don't think ADHD is something you can explain to people if they don't want to understand it or don't already understand it to some degree.

badbrains
05-11-08, 12:03 AM
Hey Tone,

I understand what your saying, but being that I was just diagnosed and I am in my thirties I have had many years to baffle both myself and others. At this point only a few select people know but at the time that I choose to tell others I would like to make sure that I fully understand myself better first. Which I feel I do in large part because of this community. I will not fight to make others understand but if they are curious it would be nice if I could help them out by explaining who I am a bit to them and why I am the way that I am.

ToneTone
05-11-08, 12:36 AM
hey badbrains,
sorry if I came off too high and mighty. I guess I'm a person who always felt like I should be the one doing the work in friendships and at some point I rebelled against that. I don't want others to do the work that their friends can do ...

To explain it, I just tell myself, I have a brain problem .... My brain has trouble prioritizing and staying focused. I don't feel bad about this because I realize I am a blessed person and that my brain has many strengths. But .....

I think of all the deadlines I missed in college and in the workplace ... I think of my struggles in my career. I think of the difficulty I've had in relationships .... I think of the years of struggle, trying to concentrate, to sit through meetings .... Hell, I know I've got 30 pounds on me from eating my way through periods where I simply could not make brain focus on some task before me. I used food to try to jumpstart the brain. I also used cigar smoking this way and coffee.

It IS strange to shift perspective and to realize that something as simple as prioritizing tasks and getting you started on a task is actually a function of brain chemistry. I realize that is revolutionary, upside down view of things from people not familiar with adhd. What helps me understand it is when I realize HOW HARD I have tried to complete tasks on time, avoid procrastination, etc., etc.

So after reading all these posts, you getting any good ideas of how to explain it to people?

badbrains
05-12-08, 01:55 AM
Well from what I have learned here it seems that everyone experiences ADD differently and I am still discovering whatt ADD is for me. It seems weird as I have lived with it all my life and I should know, but for me it's always been just "normal" and I never even gave it a thought. As everyone else I just thought I was lazy. I described it up above as good as I can for now but I am still a work in progress and still working on my thoughts. This really is an amazing time for me I am excited to see what doors this discovery may unlock for me.

Dreamtown
05-12-08, 02:04 PM
Dell,

I find that a most excellent analogy!

Thanks

rasicar
05-28-08, 12:53 PM
One of the best explanations I've ever heard is that my brain is going a thousand miles a second when everyone else is on a highway that has a speed limit of 55 mph (75 kph).


Also, for comic relief, does anyone remember the scene in the latest Die Hard movie where McClane asks the computer geek how he knows everything he does... teh geeks response was "Don't ask me to explain how I know this, I got a lot of (expletive deleted) rattling around in here (waves hand at his head.)"

garykelly
06-13-08, 04:14 PM
On the internet search out the words "adult", "adhd" and "checklist". You'll find a great lists of symptoms. That will help.