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Old 02-07-18, 12:19 PM
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ADD and Driving

Hi all,

I havenít been here for a really long time.. Iím struggling.

I was on Dex for around 2 years in Australia for ADD, but then I moved to the USA. I got off Dex before moving to the US because my psych and I thought I would do okay without it (and Iíve done fine up until now - 12 months after moving here)

Itís now time to get my drivers licence and itís a disaster! Learning to drive on the wrong side of the road and everything being opposite is a nightmare.. and an accident waiting to happen.

Firstly, how do I go about getting back on Dex in the USA? What is the process? Is it expensive? The medical system over here is completely different to Australia.

Secondly, is driving with ADD hard for everyone or just me? I wasnít that great at it in Australia either. Itís like thereís an overload of too much stuff happening at once and Iíll focus on one thing, but neglect/forget about everything else happening around me, which causes me to make lots of mistakes. Its like thereís a delayed response and my brain canít work as fast as it needs to

I hope someone can relate and get back to me.. Iím feeling really angry/upset at myself and my ADD. It seems like driving to everyone else is simple, but itís like rocket science to me.
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Old 02-08-18, 05:01 AM
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Re: ADD and Driving

I am an absolute hazard without my meds while driving so you are not alone. Do you have a primary doctor? What kind of insurance do you have?
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Old 02-08-18, 10:38 AM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Hey Brooke, Welcome to the States and hope you're enjoying yourself. I edited your OP to help me respond.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooke85 View Post
The medical system over here is completely different to Australia.
The medical system is kinda handled like auto insurance, but provided by many different entities. Private insurance companies, individual/collective employers, Worker unions, individual States and by our Federal Gov't to name a few. How much is paid for and what is "covered" can be different for each one.[/quote]

Quote:
Firstly, how do I go about getting back on Dex in the USA?
You go to your physician. He/She will evaluate you and if deemed appropriate for you, write (may be on paper or done electronically) a prescription authorizing you to purchase the Dex from a Pharmacy. The Pharmacy is normally a private business.

Quote:
What is the process?
For Dex the pharmacy may or may not have it on-hand. Also if they have to "order it" it may take up to ~week. So you may have to check with the pharmacies in the area. Also, if you have a routine prescription and have a favorite pharmacy, you can discuss having them keep enough on-hand for you so in the future you won't have to wait for an order.

Quote:
Is it expensive?
Here is where the individual insurance you have comes in. Some insurance may not cover Dex or only cover a small portion of the cost. Other insurance may pay all of it or almost all of the cost. Individual insurers usually have preferred meds in that you will have a lower copay or fewer restrictions. IF OTOH you are paying the full cost, you have to shop around like you would for say a new phone. Different pharmacies will have different prices. Manufacturers may have discounts for people w/ little to no insurance. The pharmacy chains may have similar programs. If this is your case, Google and forums like this can help w/ info to get you started.

Quote:
Secondly, is driving with ADD hard for everyone or just me? I wasnít that great at it in Australia either. Itís like thereís an overload of too much stuff happening at once and Iíll focus on one thing, but neglect/forget about everything else happening around me, which causes me to make lots of mistakes. Its like thereís a delayed response and my brain canít work as fast as it needs to.
Treating the ADHD will help, but my "guess" is a major part is that everything is new and you do not have any conditioned reflexes/actions for much of it. This will improve by doing. Like walking while holding a conversation or thinking other things. So for driving you now have to focus, think through, and execute for every little item. Add-on the the whole wrong-side of the road thing that makes many of the conditioned actions you do have just plain wrong. Take a deep breath and if along the way you get over stressed, pull over and take a break or switch drivers. GL Brooke and HTH, -LN
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Old 02-08-18, 11:05 AM
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Re: ADD and Driving

There are a few people here who absoultely love driving; but not me, and I have the exact same problem as you describe:

It’s like there’s an overload of too much stuff happening at once and I’ll focus on one thing, but neglect/forget about everything else happening around me, which causes me to make lots of mistakes.

I really don't need to drive anymore, because there is a lot of public transportation where I live, and I've decided not to, because it's just dangerous for me and I dont want to injure anyone.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:18 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

I drive in the US because I have to get around; I need to travel a lot when I'm in the US and carry a lot of stuff with me, so I have to drive whether I want to or not. I manage in the US by various coping mechanisms: I leave plenty of space between me and other cars, I keep scanning my mirrors all the time, I play music or audio books that are stimulating so I don't get too sleepy (I'm really inattentive when I'm sleepy).

But five years ago I moved to Africa, and I don't drive here. Too much chaos on the roads, things coming at you from all directions and people totally ignoring all traffic laws. You just have to be pay attention to everything all the time, and there just isn't room to leave that "extra space" around my vehicle that I like to do in the US. I decided there is too much risk of a lapse of attention causing a major disaster. But in Africa I have to have someone with me most of the time for security reasons anyway, so I just have someone else do the driving. Easy solution, but not one that works everywhere, unfortunately.
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Old 02-08-18, 03:21 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

I don't drive because of how big a hazard I am. I was getting traffic tickets left and right too, costing me a small fortune.

I really want to be able to drive though cause I want to do more traveling.
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Old 02-09-18, 01:02 AM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
I don't drive because of how big a hazard I am. I was getting traffic tickets left and right too, costing me a small fortune.

I really want to be able to drive though cause I want to do more traveling.
It's not a big deal though, if you're able to go without driving on highways.

Highways and very fast or busy places cause too much anxiety for me. Anywhere else I'm fine. And for me, minimize all distractions, no radio and obviously no phone usage.. and I'm fine.
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Old 02-10-18, 11:22 AM
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Re: ADD and Driving

The only advise I have to offer is to learn to drive with a stick rather than automatic. Manual driving makes it so much easier to stay focused.
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Old 02-10-18, 01:14 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

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Originally Posted by Lisa_Mac View Post
The only advise I have to offer is to learn to drive with a stick rather than automatic. Manual driving makes it so much easier to stay focused.
I drove with a stick last time I was in the US, and I'm glad I made the effort to learn the skill, but I can't say it helped me stay focused on driving. I actually found it more distracting, as I tended to keep focusing on manipulating the clutch and gears, rather than focusing on the other traffic on the road. For me it seems like a terribly distracting way to drive. But... different techniques work for different people, so I'm glad it works for some people!
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Old 02-10-18, 01:35 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronelh View Post
I drive in the US because I have to get around; I need to travel a lot when I'm in the US and carry a lot of stuff with me, so I have to drive whether I want to or not. I manage in the US by various coping mechanisms: I leave plenty of space between me and other cars, I keep scanning my mirrors all the time, I play music or audio books that are stimulating so I don't get too sleepy (I'm really inattentive when I'm sleepy).

But five years ago I moved to Africa, and I don't drive here. Too much chaos on the roads, things coming at you from all directions and people totally ignoring all traffic laws. You just have to be pay attention to everything all the time, and there just isn't room to leave that "extra space" around my vehicle that I like to do in the US. I decided there is too much risk of a lapse of attention causing a major disaster. But in Africa I have to have someone with me most of the time for security reasons anyway, so I just have someone else do the driving. Easy solution, but not one that works everywhere, unfortunately.
I also prefer to have a buffer zone around my vehicle when driving, but other
drivers simply don't respect my "personal space." Ugh. It makes me nervous!
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Old 02-10-18, 01:40 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunacie View Post
I also prefer to have a buffer zone around my vehicle when driving, but other
drivers simply don't respect my "personal space." Ugh. It makes me nervous!
Me too! I hate it when they butt into my space. Depends where you are though. I find that drivers in big cities don't respect my space at all (and it seems the bigger the city, the pushier the drivers), but in quieter country towns they are a bit more relaxed. So, avoid city driving if you possibly can! If you must go into a city, get a non-ADHD friend to drive.
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Old 02-10-18, 01:45 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronelh View Post
Me too! I hate it when they butt into my space. Depends where you are though. I find that drivers in big cities don't respect my space at all (and it seems the bigger the city, the pushier the drivers), but in quieter country towns they are a bit more relaxed. So, avoid city driving if you possibly can! If you must go into a city, get a non-ADHD friend to drive.
Yeah, it's been much worse since we moved to the suburb of a city. Although
the country highways can be pretty bad at times. I've been run off the road to
avoid semi-trucks. Had my front left corner clipped when stopped to make a
left turn on a country highway (totaled out the car). And I've been letting my
daughter do most of the driving when we travel, especially to the even-bigger
city. Although she has ADHD too, she doesn't have the horrible anxiety I have.
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Old 02-10-18, 02:08 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was 50. I was a perfectly competent driver.
But now in hindsight I was always stressed behind the wheel and always had to be in front of everybody(which I've been told is a symptom of ADHD).
Since being diagnosed I've gotten a bit paranoid. Several times when backing out of a parking spot people appeared out of nowhere.
Now I back out going about 1/4 mile an hour. I know I should just reverse into the space but I'm just to darn impatient.
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Old 02-10-18, 02:13 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzyphl View Post
I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was 50. I was a perfectly competent driver.
But now in hindsight I was always stressed behind the wheel and always had to be in front of everybody(which I've been told is a symptom of ADHD).
Since being diagnosed I've gotten a bit paranoid. Several times when backing out of a parking spot people appeared out of nowhere.
Now I back out going about 1/4 mile an hour. I know I should just reverse into the space but I'm just to darn impatient.
I'm the same way with backing out of parking spaces. I have limited movement
in my neck due to an old injury that doesn't help with turning my head to look.

In my state, or maybe just county or city (?) it's illegal to back into a parking
spot. Don't ask me why, makes no sense to me. It's also illegal to pull through
two parking spaces and drive out into the next row, but I ignore that law.
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Old 02-10-18, 09:41 PM
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Re: ADD and Driving

Driving cars and riding motorcycles are two of the things I am very good at, so I'm an outlier here. But it's important to know I was a car nut from a very young age, decades before I even knew I had ADHD. I have always been totally committed to both 4-wheel and 2-wheel forms of moving through space and time. It is quite literally second nature to me.

But the only reason it works or me is the total commitment. Take my situation as evidence that we can do anything we are motivated to do, and for which we have the basic physical capability to do it. The other side of that is, yes, if you don't have that commitment and motivation, and/or aren't pretty well suited for it in terms of timing, coordination, situational awareness, etc., you certainly could be a real and present danger to yourself and others.

If you're generally honest with yourself and you're not comfortable about your ability to manage it, trust your feelings!

That said, it is something you will likely get better at with experience. If your situation allows it, you should get your practice in low-traffic areas. One thing that I found helpful when teaching my son was to drive a mile or two loop repeatedly, just going around and around on the same streets in your neighborhood. The repetition gives you enough familiarity that you can start overcoming the sensory overload and lets you start picking what you need to pay attention to. It also shows how a variety of situations can unfold in the same intersection, for example. When you get used to your loop, pick another one and start over. And start including busier streets when you feel up to it.

You will get better at this.

Meds don't work for me, but they may be transformative for you. That would be a good thing, but you will then get most of your experience while medicated. Being in a situation where you must drive when you missed your meds could be very bad. Sort of analogous to driving drunk.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you take meds, many employers have pre-employment drug testing policies and random tests after employment. Your meds are banned substances. Check beforehand, but I believe that if you have a signed note from your physician indicating what meds you take, that will be considered when reviewing your results and you will 'pass' the drug test. US privacy laws prevent notifying your employer that you are taking controlled substances or that you have ADHD.

Telling your employer about your disorder, or not, is a whole different topic. My advice is to not tell, others might disagree.

Best of luck,
ZD
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