View Full Version : Undiagnosed and curious...

01-19-11, 03:38 PM
Heeey everyone,

I guess you could say I am new to this forum. I have visited it many times in the past, but finally registered today. I am a 23 year old female college student and I have been really wanting to get assessed for ADD for a few semesters now, but just haven't gotten around to making the phone calls and appointments...shocking, huh?

I've been reading up on articles about women with ADD and was shocked about how much I can relate to the symptoms. Even though I've been able to manage my symptoms in the past, I think the stress and work load of college is what is causing me to finally try and get some help for myself. I would go further into my background and symptoms, but I don't want to make this really long.

I really just have a question about other conditions that can cause ADD-like symptoms. I was reading that heart conditions can have this effect. I've had heart palpitations since I was like 12, but my doctor never seemed concerned about them. It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I started having some strange heart issues. Basically, I have a rapid heart rate that I can feel (if that makes sense) in my chest, or back, etc... and often times it would cause me to not be able to sleep at night. At first I thought they were panic attacks or something but that was ruled out by the health clinic on my campus. To make another long story short, after going to the emergency room, and seeing a cardiologist, I never really got a diagnosis confirmed. My doctor just said he thought it might be Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. They put me on metoprolol to see if that would help but it never really did, and my cardiologist never seemed to be that concerned with me. Then my insurance ended up changing policies and wouldn't cover the doctor I had been seeing, and by then I had sort of given up on getting help, so I just learned to deal with it since then. It was easier to deal with knowing I wasn't having a heart attack or anything serious. So my question is, has anyone else experienced anything like this with their heart that might have caused ADD-like symptoms? If so, does my case sound similar? Or if you have any advice or comments that would be great too. Thanks!

01-26-11, 12:18 AM
So, I have some news that I wanted to share. I finally went and got tested for ADD and was diagnosed with inattentive type combined with hyperactivity, so would it be correct to call it ADHD combined type? Anyway, I'm going to start meeting with someone to start some behavioral therapy and might try to get on some medication to help me focus on my school work, which is the thing I'm most concerned about at the moment. It feels so good to finally have an answer for so many things I had wondered about for so long. I know it's not uncommon to second guess yourself as just being lazy or undisciplined before diagnosis, and I felt bad about things like that before so it feels nice to know that's not the case. My psychologist also seemed to think that I experience a fair bit of anxiety due to my diagnosis and I'm thinking maybe that has something to do with my heart issues. They always seem to be a problem as anxiety and pressure to perform increase... I don't know, I'm just speculating there.

Thanks to all of you who read this post, I know it was probably kind of weird sounding. I'm glad I found this forum and I plan on trying to get a little more involved here as I learn more about my diagnosis and how I can better myself. It seems really nice to have a group of people who share the same issues and feelings as you do in a forum like this! I would like to share my story as far as my symptoms and experiences at some point just to share, but at the moment I've got to go try to get some work done for tomorrow! Thanks again for reading :)

01-26-11, 12:29 AM
jlee, I would find another cardiologist to check out your heart again. It doesn't seem like you are very satisfied with your original cardio's diagnosis. Also, if you are anticipating taking meds its important to let your Dr. know about your symptoms with your heart. Your heart has to be "fit" in order for you to take stimulants. I am not a doctor mind you, but I had to see a cardiologist when I first started taking the stimulants.

01-26-11, 12:35 AM
Hi jlee456 and welcome to the forums!

I must have bookmarked your first post, meaning to get back to it and reply, but it got lost. Sorry.

From what I've read it's pretty common for people to find their symptoms a bigger problem once they are in college. I'm so glad that you made the appointment and got diagnosed!

It would be correct to call it ADHD Combined (

The DSM-IV TR specifies three major subtypes of AD/HD:

Primarily Inattentive Subtype. The individual mainly has difficulties with attention, organization, and follow-through.
Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive. The individual mainly has difficulties with impulse control, restlessness, and self-control.
Combined Subtype. The individual has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and restlessness.

There's a section of the forum that deals with anxiety: Anxiety Disorders, OCD, & PTSD (

Thank you for coming back to update your post. I look forward to your participation in the future. I'm fairly new myself, and it does help to read about other posters and learn from their experiences.

01-26-11, 01:45 AM
What kinds of ADHD-like symptoms do heart problems cause?

01-26-11, 01:49 AM
What kinds of ADHD-like symptoms do heart problems cause?

I've never heard of a link between a heart condition and ADD. Of course, I'm no doc!

01-26-11, 02:31 AM
you would be surprised, but it could be from a trigger point, which is a TIGHT knot of muslces. I had the same problem throughout first two years of college, visiting student health clinic about 10 times at least...

It wasn't until a veteran (white haird, about 70 year old) doc did an EKG and saw that my heart was fine & that it was from Muscles! Especially around chest, there are hundreds of fine & thin muscles that have A LOT OF NERVES.

Massage the tight spots on your neck and chest area -

i have this book and it's a life saver! :D

OR it could be anxiety... only you would know yourself the best!

01-26-11, 12:14 PM
jlee, I would find another cardiologist to check out your heart again. It doesn't seem like you are very satisfied with your original cardio's diagnosis. Also, if you are anticipating taking meds its important to let your Dr. know about your symptoms with your heart. Your heart has to be "fit" in order for you to take stimulants. I am not a doctor mind you, but I had to see a cardiologist when I first started taking the stimulants.

I second anonymouslyadd. If you feel your forum cardiologist hasn't been thorough enough with your case it's really best to get it checked again before you start taking meds. Was the psychologist who diagnosed you aware of your issues with your heart?

01-27-11, 03:24 AM
First, I want to thank yaíll so much for your responses!

Thanks for welcoming me, Unbelievable! Thank you for the clarification on the ďADHD CombinedĒ diagnosis, too and for the helpful info and links :) .

Thatís good advice anonymouslyadd! I was previously aware that stimulants would probably cause some issues for me with my heart rate, but sort of forgot about it for a moment. I know I probably should go see another cardiologist, but I guess my old one made me start feeling like a bit of a hypochondriac and I sort of thought that if he didnít seem to think my issue posed a threat to my health, then I should just accept it and learn to live with what Iíve got. I mean, I had been given several EKGs and had my thyroid checked a few times and even wore a holter monitor for 48 hours, so I feel like if I had something dangerously wrong surely someone would have caught it by now, right? Lol . I am just thinking at this point that the issues I'm experiencing with my heart are probably more anxiety related, but I intend to find out more about that soon.

I read that heart issues may cause ADD like symptoms from this forum actually, in an article someone posted ( . There wasnít much info there on the matter though, and thatís kind of why I was inquiring hereÖto see if anyone else knew any more information on that or not.

Thank you for sharing imreallyjin! That is really interesting that your muscles could cause symptoms like that! If I do end up talking to my doctor or a cardiologist about my symptoms again, I hope I remember to ask if that could be a possibility for me too.

Lemming85, thanks for your response! I did inform my psychologist that I have some issues with racing heart rate. As I mentioned, I've been getting the feeling these issues probably have a lot to do with anxiety so I'm planning to ask my psychologist about that possibility soon.

Okay, so as I promised, I wanted to share my story with yaíll and hopefully give myself a little more of an introduction than I did before :). I guess Iíll start from the beginning. When I was a kid, I always remember being a little bit ďeccentricĒ as I like to put it. I was a huge tomboy and much preferred climbing trees and playing rough with the boys than having anything to do with a Barbie doll. When I started preschool, though I donít remember too many details, I just remember feeling like I didnít quite fit in. Again, I played with just boys and did the tomboy thing.

When I entered elementary school I started getting in trouble a lot for talking in class when I wasnít supposed to, but I never really realized I was doing it and I never meant to do it. By first grade, my teacher had called my parents in for a meeting (something they didnít tell me until much later) to tell them of her concerns that I had ADD/ADHD and suggested they take me to a doctor. I think this was due to my talking in class, getting caught daydreaming ALL the time (I remember that to this day), and I also had this habit of chewing on my shirt collar, or even my pencil that seemed to bug my teacher a lot. My parents told my teacher they didnít feel that I had a problem and I think this was probably because ,at that time, so many children were being diagnosed and put on Ritalin and they kind of thought it was a trend or something and didnít want to medicate me so young, which I donít necessarily disagree with. I also seemed to do fine in school with the exception of math, so I just floated by under the radar. I do remember being called a ďbull in a china shopĒ at home frequently though. I also was horribly disorganized. I remember my binders, my backpack, my lockers etc. were always messy. I remember my dad always forcing me to work on my messy handwriting as a kid, too. I also remember feeling like I was in a dream from the time I was in about 2nd-4th grade. I used to trip myself out thinking things like, ďWhat if my body is really off sleeping some where and I am just living in a dream that I canít wake myself up from.Ē It literally felt like I was walking around in a fog all day. I remember just hopelessly daydreaming in class and feeling very antsy. I have also always been a leg shaker/bouncer when sitting down, if you know what I mean by that.

When I got to 3rd grade I had gotten so tired of getting in trouble for getting caught talking in class that I decided I would just stop talking all together to avoid getting in trouble. Of course I would talk during things like PE, recess, and lunch, but in class I just shut up. I still have not really over come that sort of response to social scenarios because I guess I kind of habitualized that behavior over the years. It was about that time that I started having anxious/guilty feelings about school work and wanting to do well and not fall behind.

During the rest of my school years, I just kind of coasted. Looking back, I feel like I did what I needed to get by, but always struggled with the lack of focus and issues with daydreaming that Iíve always had. I never really joined any clubs or teams or anything because I HATE making commitments and like the idea of having control over my free time. I really think I got through school okay because my parents helped keep me organized and my dad was such a perfectionist and he demanded (in a loving way) perfection from me too. I am pretty thankful for all that now lol.

As I mentioned, college has been the breaking point for me to seek help and get tested for ADD. This year is my 5th year of college. It has taken me so long because I have changed majors several times. First, I was in interior design, and then architecture. I was in the design curriculum for about 2 years when I finally just couldnít handle sitting in studio for hours and hours at a time. I was also frustrated in studio because while others around me would talk and have a little fun while working on monotonous projects for hours, I stayed quiet and inside my own head because I knew that if I tried to engage in conversations with others I would not be able to get any work done. I have NO ability to multitask in that way. So anyway, I switched my major from architecture to human movement science to be an occupational therapist, but quickly realized that I found the subject matter really boring and just couldnít focus and didnít have the passion for it at all. I finally switched my major one last time to communication disorders and have fallen in love with it. I have a passion for the work I will be able to do and am interested in most of the subject matter. I have still struggled with some of the more boring classes Iíve had to take for it, but have managed. I finally started realizing though, that even if I was interested in what I was studying or being lectured on, I still couldnít maintain focus. My more demanding and less interesting subjects have been really difficult for me. No matter how much I try to study or how much time I give myself, I hardly absorb anything. I just read the same things over and over again without the comprehension. I also started realizing that the more important something is, the more anxiety I build up about it, and the more I begin to avoid it. My inability to finish projects and to begin the process of doing something important is at an all time high. I just started feeling sooo hopeless and awful about my underachievement in these areas.

I also have been getting very annoyed with my inability to focus on more than one person in conversation. For example, if I am on the phone talking to someone and someone else comes up to me to ask who I am talking to or gives me a short message of some kind, I start to go blank and then I just donít get what either person is telling me and have to ask both people to stop and repeat themselves. In conversation, I also tend to interrupt people and I donít mean to be rude, itís just that if I donít then I know I will forget what I am going to say or not pay attention to what they are saying while I try to remember what I want to say. The sad thing is that when I try to stay quiet and remember what I am going to say, I donít end up hearing the other person and often times I get side tracked by another thought and then when the person goes quiet and I realize itís my turn to talk I go blank again because I forget what I was trying to remember.

One of the social issues most recently that really made me go get tested for ADD was when I was at a get together with a group of friends. There were about 8 of us in the room together and everyone was talking and I was trying to listen to everyone and engage in a conversation with them, but I found myself unable to focus on one conversation for long enough before I got distracted by something else. Before I knew it, I was just starring off at the back wall of the room thinking of who knows what. When I realized I had been zoned out for a few minutes while everyone else went on talking to each other around me, I just knew that I had to get help for that.

I also am unable to talk to someone if there is something loud or distracting in a room, like a TV or radio. Even if I am the one trying to tell someone something I find myself getting lost in the background noise and then losing track of what I was sayingÖin mid-sentence! I have a huge problem with constant chatter in my head also, which I think plays a big part in being distracting and losing track of things I want to say and things like that.

I feel like I could go on forever with the things I have trouble with, but I donít want to bore everyone too much! Anyway, I wasnít exactly surprised yesterday when my psychologist told me that it appeared that I had moderate-severe ADHD Combined. I was slightly surprised that I had hyperactivity because I feel like I never have energy at all to be hyper with, but my psychologist explained that the hyperactivity had more to do with things like restlessness while having to sit still and interrupting or talking too much in conversation. Right now I feel glad that I finally know that there is a reason for the way I have been struggling with those symptoms, but I am having a little trouble still wrapping my mind around what ADHD means for me (if that makes sense). I am also married, and my husband has been diagnosed with ADD since childhood, so it seems a little funny (in the weird sense) to me to know now that we both struggle with similar problems for a reason... and maybe that's one of the reasons why we relate to each other so well.

If you donít mind me asking, what were some of your feelings about having ADD/ADHD when you were first diagnosed?

Well, thanks again for reading all of this! I hope it wasnít too long and drawn out, I just wanted to share enough details about my story because I feel like if I had known that some of the things I experienced in life early on were ADD/ADHD markers, I might have tried to seek help much earlier! Who knows, if I hadnít found this forum and read some of yaílls stories that helped me realize I wasnít alone, I might still be putting off getting assessed for ADD/ADHD! Lol.

01-27-11, 07:12 AM
If you donít mind me asking, what were some of your feelings about having ADD/ADHD when you were first diagnosed?

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Diagnosis (

Thank you for sharing your story!

01-27-11, 03:20 PM
Trust me we all share simular stories. My parents were in such denial of my dx in 66 of minimal brain dysfunction they built a house the next town over and moved. I was the kind of kid nobody could stand. The only thing that got me through was being bright but I ended up getting expelled for truancy. The teachers at the tech school were shocked when I did pass the tests for G.E.D with such high scores because I never studied.

By the age of 16 I hit the road via my thumb, tried every mood altering substance that came my way while also getting loose on the sexual end. I ended up pregnant when I was seventeen after being in jail in at least 6 different states.They tried everything from nut houses, treatment centers to stints in jail. Nothing worked till after spending six months in jail I got a real job and learned that poeple respected a hard worker.

The child that I became pregnant with while on the road my parents raised. When she started school she started exhibiting the same same ADD behaviors I had. My mom pulled her out of school and home schooled her while making sure she got colledge education. She is now a school teacher yet in her own way is as wild as I was.

Although all three of my children have ADD along with most of my grandchildren my parents still say there is no such thing. Many of my nieces, nephews, and third generation have also been dx. About half of us take meds and see shrinks. My parents just say we come from a line of free thinkers(inventers,writers and artist's) who need alot of discipline. Whenever I see my mom I never hear the end of it.

My dads best friend from childhood who is a psychiatrist(they are both 80) also says there is no such thing as ADD. His words on the subject are, "They got all theese kids on theese %$#@ pills. It's a bunch of hogwash. If they would of had those pills when were kids we would probably all been on them."

So the last two years of my life has been learnig to accept ADD as real true nuerological disorder, not just some thing that can be cured with more self discipline. I rarely post anymore but I do read the posts. It feels good just knowing there are poeple out there who share the same pain.

Thankyou for listening. The goofycook.

01-28-11, 02:37 AM
First, I want to thank yaíll so much for your responses!

If you donít mind me asking, what were some of your feelings about having ADD/ADHD when you were first diagnosed?

All in all it took me nearly *two* years to get diagnosed. It was a long process to say the least. I'm not on any meds, meds of any kind tend to mess up my digestive system, and the problems I have with executive function aren't the kind that meds can really help anyway. So at the end of it all, I was just like- ok, where do I go from here? Still looking for long-term, viable (in terms of money) options.

01-28-11, 03:50 AM
Thank you to the OP for your story and welcome! Your symptoms of the heart palpitations are very familiar to me. I also have "inappropriate sinus tachycardia". It seemed to me that this dx is not uncommon and, even kind of like a "NOS" (not otherwise specified) that gets added to atypical behavior diagnosis but, for a fast or irregular heart rate. According to my cardiologist this kind of tachycardia is not a big concern and can be caused by many many things and in most people resolves it's self later in life. Unless your heart rate is constantly over 110ish then I was told to not worry. Of course this was after I spent 1500 dollars on every heart test there is.

How many mgs of the beta-blocker are you taking? If you start taking meds for the ADD you will likely have to increase your bb doses. Oh, and at first I couldn't tell if they were working for me either. It wasn't until I accidentally missed a dose that I noticed it NOT working. One other thing that is essential to feeling goof heart wise, is drinking plenty of water... Blah, blah, blah!

When you get a chance you should look in the comorbid section for sensory sensitivity issues, it's very interesting! I have those problems too. Any way, good luck with finding your solution! The only other thing I would suggest is to not get too wrapped up into finding things wrong with you. It's easy for us ADHDers, who may be a bit compulsive, to totally get sucked into the problem/solution hunt (speaking from experience).... I basically wanted to say that a lot of what you are going through and went through sounds like me! :-)

01-28-11, 10:51 AM
ADHD effects your daily function. While it's true that your head and your heart are related, I don't think your heart issues are related to your head per se. It's not like if your heart started to beat slower suddenly your ability to focus is fixed.

If you are able to recognize your symptoms in ADHD descriptions, I think it's worthwhile to see someone about it. But make sure you deal with an ADHD specialist. And down the road if you indeed have ADHD, you need to let the doctor know about your heart issues. That's not to say there are absolutely no medications out there, but it may limit the options for treatment. Just guessing of course.

So treatment first, and then go and see about your heart. But make sure you get a clean bill of health for your heart. Because if that isn't working, you're not going to be doing much of anything! :p And I know. I'm a nurse working on a cardiac floor, and I have ADHD!