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Old 05-15-12, 10:26 AM
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What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

I only recently accepted that adult ADHD is a real problem, and I now go to therapy and exercise aggressively to keep my symptoms under control. Unfortunately, it doesn't fix everything, and only this week did I realize that ADHD is the reason for my social ineptitude and anxiety. While I feel very fortunate to be married to someone who understands my issues, my social life is a different story.

I have no friends. Since I have made so many social errors throughout my life I've developed strong social anxiety. I avoid all social situations because I know I will just screw them up and I'LL HAVE NO CLUE WHY! Which brings me to...

How do you fix social ineptitude caused by ADHD? Are there books I can read on the topic? Because it's also considered socially unacceptable to correct other people's social mistakes, no one ever tells me what I'm doing wrong! How am I supposed to learn? I mean, 10 people can talk about the weather and get a positive response, but when I do they look at me like I shot their dog.

I have to fix this. I am a mother now, and I really don't want to embarrass my children. But also, I need to be able to help them if they inherit this disorder from me. Any resources you could point me to would be most appreciated.
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Old 05-15-12, 10:57 AM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Have you considered medication?
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Old 05-15-12, 11:02 AM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Honestly, no. I just assumed a drug wouldn't tell me what is or isn't appropriate to say. Anyone have success with the drugs? Please tell. I'm terrified it will zap my energy and creativity. I don't want to be a zombie
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Old 05-15-12, 11:52 AM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

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Originally Posted by Simi27 View Post
I only recently accepted that adult ADHD is a real problem, and I now go to therapy and exercise aggressively to keep my symptoms under control. Unfortunately, it doesn't fix everything, and only this week did I realize that ADHD is the reason for my social ineptitude and anxiety. While I feel very fortunate to be married to someone who understands my issues, my social life is a different story.

I have no friends. Since I have made so many social errors throughout my life I've developed strong social anxiety. I avoid all social situations because I know I will just screw them up and I'LL HAVE NO CLUE WHY! Which brings me to...

How do you fix social ineptitude caused by ADHD? Are there books I can read on the topic? Because it's also considered socially unacceptable to correct other people's social mistakes, no one ever tells me what I'm doing wrong! How am I supposed to learn? I mean, 10 people can talk about the weather and get a positive response, but when I do they look at me like I shot their dog.

I have to fix this. I am a mother now, and I really don't want to embarrass my children. But also, I need to be able to help them if they inherit this disorder from me. Any resources you could point me to would be most appreciated.
Try taking this test, it's really quick and easy.
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Old 05-15-12, 12:23 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Have you ever considered therapy? I would encourage you to try therapy before medication - not that there is anything wrong with medication at all, but if you have concerns about the side effects or the way it might impact your personality, therapy is a safe, no-side-effects method you can try first.

Sitting with a therapist and talking about the social repercussions of ADHD can give you a forum to vent in, an objective party to listen and make suggestions, and above all else, a professional who is full of tips, suggestions, and empirically-proven therapy methods to help you decrease your social anxiety and improve your interactions with others.

Medication can also help. I personally don't take ADHD meds right now, but I have heard from others that it can help clear the "brain fog" that makes it hard to concentrate, and also reduce impulsivity. A lot of social awkwardness in ADHD, IMO, comes from the difficulty in social "niceties" that smooth over social interactions; things like not interrupting others when speaking, speaking at a normal volume, staying on topic, etc. Friends and loved ones may accept these things you do as quirks, but strangers might be put off a little by it.

Ultimately, talk to your doctor about what's best for you. It's clear that you need to do something, because you sound sad and disheartened by the impact ADHD is having on your life right now. It will get better, one way or another! Just talk to your doctor and get the ball rolling on a treatment plan for yourself.
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Old 05-15-12, 02:15 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Well any medication shouldn't change your personality or its the wrong medication. Treating social anxiety with various medications has been useful for years. A good doctor can help you figure it out. Stimulants are considered a first line treatment for adhd.
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Old 05-15-12, 04:13 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simi27 View Post
I just assumed a drug wouldn't tell me what is or isn't appropriate to say.
Sounds like a theory of mind problem. So does this.

I want to hear your results on the test.
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Old 05-15-12, 05:13 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Good thread
This is something I struggle with also I'm very impulsive and tend to just blurt things out before I've fully processed the impact what I'm saying will have, I also have a very poor working memory so that combined with my impulsiveness and restless/hyperactive symptoms makes social situations very hard indeed. Whils medication may make me less of a fidgeter the one problem still very very strong is the impulsivity. Telling your friend her dress looks like **** doesn't sit well, I'm All for trying to make friends that are on your level and understand you, its possibly why most of my best friends have been male and adhd/aspergers etc. I think the best thing you can do is put in place the 10 second rule, think about what your saying/behaviour might suggest and how reactions to similar behaviours have been before I.e must remember not to rugby tackle my friend when she is wearing her nice new high heels or don't spill your life story the second you meet someone etc..I think bad experiences can be used as a learning tool, it might help to reflect on what's worked for you before and what hasn't as well as surrounding yourself with people that you feel comfortable with and accept you
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Old 05-15-12, 07:41 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

This can get better! I'm proof of it. I have spent most of my life without forming good relationships.

The cause of one of my greatest anxieties is that I never know what people think of me. When you don't know, you assume the worst, right? Whenever someone would tell me what their initial impressions were of me, they were not good. They always said that they thought I was a total ***** that hated them, and that I made them feel really unwelcome. Nothing could have been further from the truth - usually, I was making an effort to be friendly. How could I be coming off the opposite way?

I'm not 100% sure what caused me to start understanding human interaction. I think it's because I started taking acting and improv classes. No matter how scary that may be to some, it really helped me understand how to socialize casually. It wasn't even so much the participation in classes and productions - it was learning to watch people and their behavior, whether they be performers in a movie or in real life.

I always hated talking to new people because I find small talk to be artificial. Someone would try to talk about the weather, and I'd just nod and stutter, trying to think of how to respond as if I care about something that boring. Or, more likely, I'd veer abruptly into TMI-land, where I'd voice my un-edited opinion on something that happened earlier, or I'd share some inappropriate personal anecdote.

At some point, I came to the realization that no one cares about the weather. The point of those kinds of conversations aren't to actually have an engaging exchange of ideas. The point is to demonstrate that you're non-threatening and "normal", meaning that you can observe and mimic social cues. It sounds conformist, but that's how it works, and occasional socializing is impossible to avoid completely.

Now, when I talk to most new people, I am thinking "Smile and make eye contact to make them feel at ease. ****, you looked at that dog over there. Now make eye contact and nod. That was a really cute dog, though. Make sure to ask questions about how they are. Notice that she seems sort of conservative - don't tell her that you're trying out a new brand of tampon." It's always about looking interested. Even if I am interested, I rarely look it, and if you're boring me, then I'm totally not present mentally. Eye contact, smiling, and remembering to ask how THEY'RE doing are the hardest for me.

I'm not saying that I'm always successful - I still struggle to think of what the "right" response is to some things. I still ramble and blurt things out. It's much, much better now, though, and people seem to think that it's endearing to some degree.

When I moved to Chicago, I was forced into a ton of social situations, as this is a really young city. I forced myself to go on a lot of dates (thanks, OKCupid!) and look lots of classes. You'll suck at it at first, but if you go easy on yourself when you fail, I promise it can get better.
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Old 05-16-12, 03:50 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

I used to have this problem (still do sometimes but much better). I would be sitting with my friends at lunch and we (more like they) would be talking but as soon as I said something it would either be ignored, made fun of, or they would be like `what are you talking about`.

I was very bitter and always wondered why they listened and talked to each other but I was always left out. Once I was diagnosed with ADHD and I started reading up on it, it really helped me. I realized how to act around people. It's hard to explain, but I think for me it was partly my impulsivness. I would just jump in and say something without thinking and I wasn't the best listener either. Also if you're depressed or bitter it will show. Trust me. My mom always told me this and I didn't believe her, thinking I could cover it up. But you can't. I realize this looking back.

If I got better at it so can you
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Old 05-16-12, 09:39 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Wow..got a 47 on that adult autism test, guess my Asperger's DX is correct, my doc will be so happy....it is nice to see a printed word that describes you to a "t"

To the original poster:
My son has autism dx and has real social anxiety problems, and My wife and I wanted to help him out. We got a few of Michelle Garcia Winners books on social thinking....they ended up helping me a lot more than my son. I would recommed them.
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Old 05-16-12, 09:49 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Sounds like the story of my life,people looking at me weird,cut me off and talk over me,interupt me and snicker or ask me a question and when I go to anser they either dont reply or walk away.I mean wtf!? Im starting to feel like if you cant accept me for who and what I am and what I have you can go kiss off and bleepity bleep yaself.lol
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Old 05-16-12, 10:28 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

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Originally Posted by Laserjohn View Post
Wow..got a 47 on that adult autism test, guess my Asperger's DX is correct, my doc will be so happy....it is nice to see a printed word that describes you to a "t"


Check out this quote from the discussion section of this document, which starts on page 15:

As predicted, adults with AS/HFA scored significantly higher on the AQ than matched controls. 80% scored above a critical minimum of 32+, whereas only 2% of controls did so.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:56 PM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

i think over time my brain has conditioned itself to know appropriate from inappropriate responses depending on situation and what people im with. although i do lack "the filter" as my madre calls it, i work around it or just choose not to speak on certain things since i know it will be bad or come off that way
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Old 05-17-12, 12:57 AM
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Re: What Did I Say?! How Do You Fix ADHD Social Ineptitude and Anxiety?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laserjohn View Post
Wow..got a 47 on that adult autism test, guess my Asperger's DX is correct, my doc will be so happy....it is nice to see a printed word that describes you to a "t"

To the original poster:
My son has autism dx and has real social anxiety problems, and My wife and I wanted to help him out. We got a few of Michelle Garcia Winners books on social thinking....they ended up helping me a lot more than my son. I would recommed them.
This non-red stuff is a copy\paste of some more test stuff I found that may help:

Here's a collection of 7 scientific tests related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (+ the Aspie Quiz, added on request).

Note: These are not diagnostic tests, they can only give you an indication! Also: if the BAPQ concludes you may not have BAP or ASD, and/or you score low on AQ, and/or low on difference (EQ - SQ-R): no Extreme Systemizer, and/or you score high on the EIQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) Test, and/or the HSP test concludes you are probably not a Highly Sensitive Person, and/or you score high on the 'Reading the mind in the eyes' test and/or high on the Cambridge Face Memory test, you might still have AS or HFA!

1. The Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ; Hurley et al., 2007).
The broad autism phenotype (BAP) is a set of personality and language characteristics that reflect the phenotypic expression of the genetic liability to autism, in non-autistic relatives of ASD individuals. These characteristics are milder but qualitatively similar to the defining features of autism. Sensitivity and specificity of the BAPQ for detecting the BAP were high (>70%). Parents of children with autism had significantly higher scores on all three subscales: aloof personality, rigid personality, and pragmatic language. Results of a later study in which researchers also had a group of ASD diagnosed individuals take the BAPQ indicated that the BAPQ is a valid and reliable test for measuring BAP traits.
The questionnaire gives your BAP and your scores on aloof personality, rigid personality and pragmatic language and gives you its conclusion whether or not you may be on the broader autistic phenotype or in fact autistic (ASD).
Take the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire

2. The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test (Baron-Cohen et al., 2001).
In their scientific study, 80% of the adults with AS or HFA scored between 32 and 50 (average score: 35), versus 2% of controls (NTs). Test-retest and interrater reliability of the AQ was good. The AQ is thus a valuable instrument for rapidly quantifying where any given individual is situated on the continuum from autism to normality.
If you score 32 - 50, you might have AS or HFA.
Take the AQ test

3. The Empathizing Quotient and Systemizing Quotient - Revised (EQ SQ-R) tests (Wheelwright et al., 2006).
Note: The score you get on this SQ-R test is different from the original Baron-Cohen (2003) SQ score! The SQ has been revised (SQ-R) in 2006.
The Empathizing–Systemizing (E-S) theory (Baron-Cohen et al., 2003) seeks to classify people on the basis of their skills in the two factors of empathizing and systemizing. Empathizing is the drive to identify mental states and respond to these with an appropriate emotion. Systemizing is the drive to analyze systems or construct systems. The theory attempts to explain the social and communication symptoms in Asperger's Syndrome and High Functioning Autism as deficits and delays in empathizing combined with intact or superior systemizing.
This theory divides people into 5 groups:
Type E (Empathizer), whose empathizing is significantly better than their systemizing.
Type S (Systemizer), whose systemizing is significantly better than their empathizing.
Type B (Balanced), whose empathizing is as good as their systemizing.
Extreme Type E (Extreme Empathizer), whose empathizing is above average but whose systemizing is challenged.
Extreme Type S (Extreme Systemizer), whose systemizing is above average but whose empathizing is challenged.
The important factor to consider is not your absolute scores, but the difference between the two (EQ - SQ-R). This indicates whether you have more natural ability as an Empathizer or a Systemizer. If your scores are about the same for your EQ and SQ-R, then you have well balanced empathizing-systemizing capabilities.
If you are an Extreme Systemizer, you might have AS or HFA.
Take the EQ SQ-R tests

4. The EIQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) Test (Full Version; queendom.com).
This is the most comprehensive and most accurate online emotional intelligence test.
Take the EIQ test

5. The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) test (Aron, 1996).
In her national bestseller, 'The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You', author Elaine Aron defines a distinct personality trait that affects as many as one out of every five people. According to Dr. Aron's definition, the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.
After numerous in-depth interviews, as well as surveys of over one thousand people, Dr. Aron's findings have been published in Counseling Today, Counseling and Human Development, and the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Scientific research is still being done on this personality trait, also called Sensory-Processing Sensitivity (SPS). Findings by Minshew & Hobson (2008), from a study in which HFA / AS people and controls (NTs) administered Aron's HSP questionnaire, support the common occurrence of sensory symptoms in HFA / AS based on first person report.
Scoring:
If you answered more than fourteen of the questions as true of yourself, you are probably highly sensitive. Note: no psychological test is so accurate that an individual should base his or her life on it. Psychologists try to develop good questions, then decide on the cut off based on the average response.
If fewer questions are true of you, but extremely true, that might also justify calling you highly sensitive.
If you're a Highly Sensitive Person, you might have AS or HFA.
Take the HSP test

6. Understanding facial expression test: The 'Reading the mind in the eyes' test (Baron-Cohen et al.).
Average score is between 22 and 30.
If you have ASD, you might have difficulties understanding facial expression.
And did you know you can actually train understanding facial expression? See: Training mind reading.
Take the 'Reading the mind in the eyes' test

7. Face blindness / Prosopagnosia test: The Cambridge Face Memory test (faceblind.org).
Prosopagnosia, also called face blindness, is an impairment in the recognition of faces. Everyone sometimes has trouble recognizing faces. Prosopagnosia is much more severe than these everyday problems that everyone experiences. Prosopagnosics often have difficulty recognizing people that they have encountered many times. In extreme cases, prosopagnosics have trouble recognizing even those people that they spend the most time with such as their spouses and their children.
The average score on this test is 80% correct, you're face blind if you score 65% correct or lower.
Take the Cambridge Face Memory test



Plus, added on request:

The Aspie Quiz (Ekblad, rdos.net).
The Aspie Quiz, an online questionnaire, covers Aspie traits versus NT (neurotypical, non-autistic) traits. For more information, see: www.rdos.net/eng
The test gives you an Aspie score, a NT score and the conclusion whether you might be an Aspie or not.
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