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  #1  
Old 10-04-04, 12:27 AM
Alex Alex is offline
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Undiagnosed AD/HD

I've only been lurking, and occasionally posting, on the forums for about 5 months now, but I've noticed a disturbing trend. There's an awful lot of people on here saying they have AD/HD, but are undiagnosed. Now, I'm not going to say none of you have it. You may all have it. But, to be blunt, unless you've been diagnosed, you don't know what you have. You might suspect AD/HD, but it isn't confirmed yet. There's plenty of other disorders, or even bad days, which can make even perfectly normal people feel like there's something "wrong" with them, and which can look very much like AD/HD. And if it is AD/HD, you're better off knowing for certain that's what it is and getting treatment.

I understand the desire to know there's something "wrong" that explains your problems. But if you suspect there is something wrong, you owe it to yourself to see a professional and find out what it is. Self-diagnosing can be as dangerous with mental issues as with purely physical ones. If you, say, decide that sharp pain in your side is just cramps/gas, but it's really appendicitis or gall stones, you're not doing yourself any favors staying home and not letting a doctor diagnose what's really wrong. It could even kill you. Same with AD/HD. You might suspect that's what you have. And if you suspect that, get yourself to a psychiatrist and find out for sure. Otherwise, it could be something potentially more dangerous that could cause even further problems if left untreated. You don't even have to take medication for it if you're comfortable without it, but you owe it to yourself to at least get a proper diagnosis.
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  #2  
Old 10-04-04, 12:53 AM
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As one of those undiagnosed people, I agree that self-diagnosis is not the answer since most of us aren't properly trained to do such a thing. I'm in the process of starting the testing process. Until I know the results, I've included an undiagnosed statement in my signature for people to consider when they read my responses regarding ADD.
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Old 10-04-04, 01:04 AM
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exeter exeter is offline
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You have a point. Lots of conditions can mimic ADD. Excessive anxiety can sure make it difficult to concentrate, and cause a lot of problems similar to what ADDers have.

That's not to say that those of us who haven't gotten a professional evaluation yet can't benefit from participating here. After all, we all have similar issues.

Oh, and I agree, do go to a psychiatrist, your family doctor, or a psychologist for a professional evaluation if you feel something is not right. My favorite example of a symptom caused by several very different conditions is headache. Possible causes include stress, food allergies, or a brain tumor.

I wanted to write something like "Worst case scenario, you get evaluated and find out you don't have ADD," but really, that's not so bad either. Getting proper treatment is the important thing, whether you have ADD, gall stones, or a brain tumor.
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Old 10-04-04, 05:23 AM
Sisyfoss Sisyfoss is offline
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hi!
I am one of the undiagnosed people. I recently joined this forum to look at some real life stories, so I could compare with my own problems.

I do recognize myself in many of the issues about women w add, But I am not sure yet and thats why i wanted to find out more through this forum.

There is one thing I have been wondering about : how strong must the symptoms be?
Does it have to be a burden to everythhing you want to do, or can it come in periodes and only in certain areas og daily life?
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Old 10-04-04, 07:40 AM
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If you have ADD, you always have it. It doesn't come and go. There may be times when you are less bothered by it than others, but you definitely still have it.

How severe must the symptoms be? Well, severe enough to cause you distress... that's what puts the 'Disorder' in ADD.
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Old 10-05-04, 12:31 AM
Alex Alex is offline
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Thanks for your replies folks. To be brutally fair, you guys aren't really the type I was referring to, since you all seem to be either at the "Do I/Don't I" stage, or at least on the road to getting a diagnosis.

For the record, I've been diagnosed by a psychologist, but my first psychiatric appointment isn't for another 2.5 weeks; been waiting over 4 months so far since the relatively unofficial diagnosis. I consider myself to be at an in-between point, in that I've been diagnosed, but only barely; my family knows, and that's about it. When I get a full workup and treatment set up, then I'll let others, like my university, know, not that I want or need special treatment, now or later, but I feel they have the right to know.

The people I was referring to were mostly those who I see on here saying "I know I have AD/HD, I just know it. It fits so perfectly. No, I have no interest in getting a diagnosis or treatment." I have problems with this for several reasons, some of which I covered in my first post.

Additionally, I know that when I realized something was 'wrong' with my head, I tried to figure it out. And over the course of 4 years or so, I waffled from Depression, to OCD, to sociopathology, to a mild form of Tourettes, and probably others I'm forgetting, before finally suspecting AD/HD and finally seeing someone, not because I'd figured it out but because the symptoms had gotten so bad I needed help where I hadn't before. And I'm troubled that others might have any of the above, and are writing it off as AD/HD, because it's a current buzzword. That's potentially dangerous to them, if they don't realize how their brain is firing.

And, I have to say, I suspect there's a certain percentage using AD/HD as an excuse. Whether they have it or not, if they claim they do and refuse to seek treatment, it gives them carte blanche to let themselves wallow in all the bad parts of AD/HD. "Oh, I forgot to do those chores, honey. I'm sorry. But I do have AD/HD, you know..."

Again; if you suspect you have this, or some other condition, you owe it to yourself and everyone else around you to seek professional help, even if just to find out for certain.
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Old 10-05-04, 02:34 AM
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Hmm... my best friend is a good example of the "I know I have it, but I don't need a dx" kind. She told me YEARS before I even suspected I had ADD that she thought she had it. She's never shown any interest in getting treated or diagnosed (at least not until I started meds -- I think she's considering it now).

But, she doesn't use ADD as any kind of excuse. She knows she's "organizationally challenged," and puts in her best effort to clean/keep the house clean, but she gets overwhelmed by it all and it falls apart again quickly. She's had about 15 jobs in the past 10 years. She does her best, but still struggles to keep the bills paid (both making the money and just plain remembering to pay them).

Now, I agree with you in principle. If there's something wrong, find out what it is, and do something about it. If you "know" you have ADD and don't do anything at all about it (which can range from getting tested, going to a psychiatrist, and finding a therapist to simply learning how to cope on your own, preferably after a professional evaluation), then yeah, ADD is probably the least of your problems. My friend would probably be a lot better off if she did get tested and treated, but, for other reasons, that's not practical right now. :/

I've only been on here about a month. I can't say that I've seen a lot of those people who claim ADD and don't have any desire to do anything about it on here. Maybe I'm just not paying attention, lol. <-- Possible ADD moment alert

I bet there are a lot of people out in the world who are like I was: they know something's wrong but don't think they can do anything about it. I didn't know I had ADD but I sure knew I had the symptoms. I just didn't think there was anything to be done about the chronic disorganization, bad time management, etc, other than using the coping strategies I had already developed. When the lightbulb clicked, I even put off calling about testing for 2 months.

Before I got tested, I thought I had cyclothymic disorder. Before that, I thought I was "crazy". I knew I'd been chronically depressed and had anxiety issues but never had the financial means to do anything about it.

Anyway, like I said, I agree with you, Alex. Depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other psychiatric disorders can ruin lives just as well as ADD can. I get the feeling we're saying the same thing, just using different words.

It seems like you just want to prevent people from suffering for years trying to figure out what's wrong when a few sessions with a physician or mental health professional could clear it right up. I can respect that.

To all those who "know" they have ADD, I say: If you have symptoms of ADD, get tested if it's at all financially feasible. Don't make excuses for yourself. The first step toward solving a problem is admitting you have one; the second is finding out what the problem is.

To those who aren't sure they have ADD, but know something is wrong, get a professional opinion. I'm reasonably certain my best friend really does have ADD, but that's the limit of my diagnostic abilities.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exeter
To all those who "know" they have ADD, I say: If you have symptoms of ADD, get tested if it's at all financially feasible.
Unfortunately, I think for too many people, it's not financially feasible. I was at a job for 8 years with no health benefits at all. It was also a job where I got paid under the table, which meant it was very difficult to get any kind of government benefits. I managed to get Medicaid for my daughter, but they denied me. I also tried a program from my local hospital that rates you by income. I didn't have the proper documents to apply for that either.

I finally found a general doctor who would see me for a very small office fee. I was so excited to be able to go to the doctor for the first time in years. I went prepared with checklists and self-tests, ready to talk about depression, anxiety, and ADD.The doctor gave me a couple quick checklists for the depression and anxiety, but wouldn't even discuss the ADD. He said he didn't treat adult ADD. He prescribed me Zoloft, gave me an 8 weeks supply, and told me to come back in 4 weeks. The Zoloft did help a little with the anxiety, and although I wasn't happy with the side effects, I decided to keep with it. I went to get my script refilled and found there was no way I could afford that much every month, and it wasn't helping me with other things I needed. I couldn't afford to keep trying doctors. So, now that I've comeplety gone off track, my point is I'm right back where I started. (at least I think that was my point )

As far as "knowing" I have ADD, can I say with 100% accuracy that I do? No, but I'd definitely give a 98%. I, like it seems with a lot others, have always felt something was "wrong" with me. All through school I heard about not living up to my potential. I've always been a disorganized mess. I get distracted and sidetracked so much, I have to laugh or I'd probably go crazy. I'm not going to get into all the reasons I believe I have ADD, that's not what this is about. I'm just trying to explain another reason people may not be officially diagnosed.

Luckily, I started a new job (a real one too ). so in a couple months I'll have the right paperwork to get some kind of medical help. And believe me, I'll be going on a doctor splurge...lol.
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Old 10-05-04, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostOne
Unfortunately, I think for too many people, it's not financially feasible. I was at a job for 8 years with no health benefits at all.
Believe me, I know. Until 2 years ago, I never had a job with insurance. Back when I was covered under my dad's insurance in college, I wasn't very educated about mental health issues in general.

Edit: I forgot to add that in a lot of communities, there are community mental health services. You may be able to find someone to treat you through them, but I wouldn't really count on it. It sure is better than nothing, though, especially if you have anxiety or depression on top of ADD.

Quote:
Luckily, I started a new job (a real one too ). so in a couple months I'll have the right paperwork to get some kind of medical help. And believe me, I'll be going on a doctor splurge...lol.
Hehe, me too... I've got my psychiatrist, my therapist, I'm going to see a GP this month. I still need to find a dentist and maybe a cardiologist, too.
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Old 10-06-04, 02:25 PM
hoosiergirl hoosiergirl is offline
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I am part of that "disturbing trend" you speak of and trust me, if I could get a professional dx, I would. I have to wait a few more months for my health insurance to come into effect and I have checked my community resources.Many communities in the U.S have good mental health agencies that have a sliding fee scale and many do not. The library and the internet are all I have at the moment. I feel that I am intelligent enough to decipher information am not at risk for harm. You made a good point that we owe it ourselves to see a professional but to me the most "disturbing trend" is the millions of uninsured, underinsured and underserved people in this country and other parts of the world....
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Old 10-06-04, 02:56 PM
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Self-diagnosis

Indeed there are risks to self-diagnosis & probably more risks from being medically unisured, but there are two other points that come to mind about the utility of initial self-diagnosis. For many people who "know" that thay have ADD but are undiagnosed, the process of researching & living with the effects of ADD are part protecting oneself from uneducated professionals & also part of the mourning process:
(1) Ignorance about ADD. ADD is poorly understood by many psychiatrists & psychologists (those on whom ADDers should steadfastly be able to rely). Family doctors and other professionals may rely on the ADDer for diagnostic assistance. They may even "not belive" in ADD. Patient/client education is paramount to a proper dx.
(2) Mourning the Loss of Normalcy. Most people who are diagnosed with an illness (even if they come to realize that ADD is merely a difference or a gift) at some point mourn the loss of their health or "normalness." It is a loss, as is the death of one's child, one's dog, or one's favorite pair of 501's. The support & sharing gained in the process of "self-diagnosis" assists many ADDers to hope for better tomorrows; it even offers some a path out of fear or denial and right in to the professional who may help him or her.
Yours in devil's advocacy, GirlDriver
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Old 10-06-04, 03:09 PM
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I've gotten 4 different professional opinions and have not been satisfied with any of them. I won't say it was all for nothing but there haven't been any magical moments. I'm hesitant to spend more money again for more ambiguous or unhelpful answers. Sorry if I'm a bit grumpy about this but it's really quite exasperating. I tend not to trust doctors anyways and have an awful time pinning down just what my problems are. I have tried and I'm continuing to try but I really don't have much faith in the professionals.
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Old 10-06-04, 03:19 PM
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confusing diagnoses for ADDers

Hi PaulBF:

Your cynicism is healthy, in my opinion, since you've had such varying dxs. My experience has been that physicians are trained to provide answers, solve things. It's what they DO. Sometimes when they cannot, instead of admitting that they may not be qualified to make a dx, they experiment w/ one in hopes that it's "effective." It's rather like ruling out certain illnesses and coming to a proper dx after many different drugs are tried. Is there a good resource for what ADDers (or others) should do at their doc visits to increase the chances of a successful outcome? I wish you success in finding the right professional. Best to you, GirlDriver

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbf
I've gotten 4 different professional opinions and have not been satisfied with any of them. I won't say it was all for nothing but there haven't been any magical moments. I'm hesitant to spend more money again for more ambiguous or unhelpful answers. Sorry if I'm a bit grumpy about this but it's really quite exasperating. I tend not to trust doctors anyways and have an awful time pinning down just what my problems are. I have tried and I'm continuing to try but I really don't have much faith in the professionals.
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Old 10-06-04, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlDriver
(1) Ignorance about ADD.
This is entirely too true. I've been lucky that my psychiatrist, the psychologist who tested me, and my therapist have all been receptive to the idea that adults continue to suffer from ADD.

Quote:
(2) Mourning the Loss of Normalcy.
Well, this one didn't really apply... I never was normal to begin with... hehehehehe.
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Old 10-06-04, 04:52 PM
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I didn't know adhd existed until 3 years ago. Before that I thougt I had a brain tumour, was schitzo or borderline or something. Anyhow, I knew I was a "nut". Got my dx's last year and my doc told me I have ts+adhd... then I finally found the missing pieces of my life. I've read a lot about the other things, but nothing fit exactly, just some bits and pieces here and there. I agree with you that it's best for yourself to see a doc when it's possible to know there isn't anything lethal making all the symptoms, and also, maybe get help to cope with everyday living.
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