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Old 02-12-13, 03:15 AM
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Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

So I've been suspecting for a while now that something is severely wrong. Ended up seeing a psychologist, and she's pretty sure I have ADHD and is urging me to see a psychiatrist/GP.


I was 99% sure I had ADHD before she told me this, but would still like to know what you guys think. I'm scheduling an appointment tomorrow to get formally diagnosed, but I'm deathly afraid of the doctor/psychiatrist saying "Nope, you're fine, suck it up". I've been worrying about this nonstop for at least a week now (Yet I STILL procrastinate scheduling an appointment..), and would love some reassurance. Obviously nobody here can actually diagnose me, but just hearing someone say "I also think you have ADHD" would make me less anxious.


I know this is REALLY long, and I'm sorry about that, but these are things that have been bothering me for a long time now, and I'd to know if you guys think they're consistent with ADHD. I'm sure I'm missing one or two things, but I've been typing this up for several days now (This is the 6th time I sit down to try to finish this), so I'll settle for this. If anyone actually does read through this, thank you very much.

Impossible to Concentrate on Anything: To say I have a short attention span is a massive understatement. This and my bad memory/forgetfulness are what impact and disrupt my life the most, out of all these issues. I have trouble concentrating no matter what I'm doing. It's so bad, I often distract myself without even noticing. For example, I'll be studying on the computer, and without consciously being aware of it, I'll open up a tab and start browsing ESPN instead of studying. This continues until I snap out of it and go back to what I was doing at first. Other times, I'll be conscious of the fact that I'm being distracted, but I feel powerless to do anything about it. It's not that I want to lose my concentration, but I get this craving/desire to do something different, and the longer I ignore it or fight it, the stronger it gets. It becomes uncomfortable and distracting in itself just trying to avoid being distracted, if that makes sense. I really don't know how to explain it; I feel like instead of moving in a linear line, my brain/thoughts just hop back and forth - most of the time not landing on where I need them to be. I lose focus in conversations, while driving, in class, at work, etc. Even when I'm doing something I enjoy, like playing a video game, I'll end up getting distracted with something and lose track of what I was doing. Sometimes the distractions are more obnoxious than just focusing on other things. For example, at times when I'm writing or studying something on the computer, I'll have to get up and walk around the house to "clear my mind" or else I won't be able to work on it any longer. Knowing that something is important and needs to be paid attention to doesn't change the fact that my mind moves on to something else as soon as it can. While driving, I'll pick up my cell phone and start texting or reading something/looking something up on my phone. Obviously, when I realize what I'm doing, I'll put my phone down, but before I know it the phone is back in my hand again shortly. If I do the smart thing and put my phone in my glove compartment or my backpack, then I'll be playing with the radio and changing the station every two seconds, or doing something similar. This problem becomes magnified when I'm stopped, such as at a red light. I absolutely have to take out my phone and start doing something on it, even if I'm only going to be stopped for 20 seconds. Once again, I can't describe it. It's not something I necessarily want to do, it's just this craving that I have to satisfy.


My Brain Never Stops: I think this goes hand in hand with having a short attention span. While having a brain that's working 24/7 sounds like a good thing, it's definitely not. There are always multiple thoughts floating around in my head at any given time, the majority of which have absolutely nothing to do with my current task at hand. I can never focus on just one thing, I always have other thoughts and scenarios running through my head, no matter how hard I try to concentrate on just a single issue. It's like I'm sharing my brain with five different people, and each person is thinking of something different. Sometimes I'll get so engrossed in the train wreck of thoughts in my head that I'll zone out of what I'm doing at the time; my body is there, but my mind is in another planet. This is especially bad when I'm talking to someone and zone out. Even if I don't zone out, I sometimes have trouble keeping a conversation going just because I'm thinking of something different than what the person is talking about. Many times I'll be in a conversation, the other person will be talking, and I'll say something along the lines of "Yep" or "Uh huh", even though I have absolutely no idea what they're talking about since I'm thinking about something different. Even when I'm laying in bed trying to sleep, my brain is running at a million miles per hour. Some nights, I have to play music just to calm my brain down enough to be able to sleep.


Always on Autopilot: In a way, I think this ties in with the earlier issue of my brain being overly active 24/7. Because I'm usually not concentrating on what I'm doing, since my brain is obviously thinking of something else, many times I'll just go through the motions and feel like I'm just on "autopilot"; what I mean by that is doing things without paying attention to them or even being aware that I'm doing them. Not only do I feel like this is keeping me from enjoying my life to the fullest, but I end up doing stupid things while I'm like this. For example, if I have a piece of trash in one hand and food in my other hand I might, without even thinking twice before doing it, throw out the food and attempt to eat the trash. Naturally, I make extremely careless, dumb mistakes when I'm like this, but it's not something I can really control. Eventually my brain will concentrate on one of my off-topic thoughts, which will segue into another off-topic thought, which will branch off into two different topics, and before I know it my brain is off in another universe, but my body is still stuck doing something without my full attention. While I'm on autopilot, it feels like my body is in one location and my brain is in one completely different, very distant spot. Very often, I'll stop and think to myself "Wait, what am I doing?" or "Why did I come here?". Sometimes, I either won't remember exactly what I did in the past few minutes, or I'll have to concentrate and think hard to remember. This leads to things that should get done not being done or the opposite - I'll do something and completely forget I did it. The biggest culprit in this is probably locking my car. I will lock my car and then go inside to where ever I am. Sometime later on, I'll panic and run outside worried I didn't lock my car, because I wasn't paying any attention to what I was doing when I locked it.


Practically Nonexistent Short Term Memory: This is one of the most frustrating and irritating issues I run into on a daily basis. Regardless of how important or unimportant, I'm always always forgetting everything. I feel as if my brain has no capacity to store any short term memory; I always end up remembering things when it's too late. Let's say that a normal person's brain is like a filing cabinet - when some information comes in, it gets put away in the proper place, and can be pulled out when needed. Instead of a filing cabinet, my brain feels like a black hole. Information I take in gets sucked into the black hole and just circles around. Sometimes the information I need will come out eventually and other times it doesn't come out. The majority of the time, I end up remembering when it's too late. I've tried repeating what I need to remember multiple times (I still forget), keeping a to-do list (I either forget to fill in the to-do list or forget to check it, even if I put it in an obnoxious place), and other things - nothing seems to help. I despise the fact that it makes me come off as irresponsible, lazy, and/or apathetic, when I consider myself to be none of those. A lot of times, I end up being the one negatively affected, as I constantly miss deadlines for important things that need to be done or should be done. You know when you think "Uh oh, I'm forgetting something but I don't know what it is" and get a nagging feeling in the back of your mind? I'll frequently get that feeling, think that I'm forgetting something, but be utterly incapable of remembering what it is that I'm forgetting. The worst part is how this affects my schoolwork. I can no longer take notes in class anymore, because of my memory. The professor will be lecturing and say a sentence - I'll write the two or three words down, and then forget the rest of the sentence. I'll have to think hard to try to remember what the professor said (Usually doesn't work) or ask someone what was said. By the time I actually write down what was mentioned, the professor is several sentences ahead, and I've missed more information than I actually took in/wrote down.


Terrible Organizational Skills: For the life of me, no matter what I try, I can't seem to be organized. It's not for a lack of want - I'm constantly trying. For starters, I have trouble just grasping basic organizational concepts. I'm not quite sure how to explain this though. For example, when cleaning my room, I just don't know where to put anything. My best plan for organizing something is taking everything that's out and cramming it into a drawer, box, closet, or something along those lines. My room and car seem to always be messy, even though I reprimand myself every time I notice how messy it is. I think the reason why the mess stays is because I end up forgetting to clean, lack the ability to properly organize things, or just procrastinate too much.


Difficulty Finishing Anything: It feels like I'm always starting new things and never finishing them, no matter what it is. It can be something as small as a homework assignment that I get halfway done and then put down, or something as major as setting a goal to try out for the FAU soccer team (That lasted about two weeks before I moved on to something different); I usually get very excited to do something new, and then when the novelty wears off I quickly go from very interested to completely disinterested, almost instantly. When I was younger, I used to write books frequently. I probably wrote at least two dozen books, none of which were ever finished; I would write a few chapters and lose interest in the plot/book, and move on to a new project. I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember, and I have NEVER beat a game before. Without fail, I'll always find something else to do before I can finish playing the game through; most of the time I'll be lucky to get more than halfway through. It's progressed to the point where when I tell my friends I have a new goal or project, I can tell they're thinking "Another one? I wonder how long before he quits on this one", and that upsets me. I don't want to be known as a quitter. I consider myself to be a hard worker, but it seems impossible to work on something when all motivation completely fades and something new and shiny is on the horizon.


No Sense of Time: I'm always running late to everything. I always think I have more time than I actually do, so I end up doing something else instead of doing what I should be doing, until I realize at the last minute that I'm almost out of time. This happens with almost everything, whether it's getting ready for work or an important deadline I need to meet. Combined with procrastination, this is a terrible thing. I'll procrastinate something important till the last second, and then realize I didn't give myself nearly enough time to do it - even more so when you factor in the time I waste by being distracted. Also, when I do have free time I have difficulty planning what to do with it. I either have forgotten everything I needed to do or I think of several different tasks at the same time and have difficulty tackling them one by one - usually leads to me getting overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. I usually feel like there is never enough time to get everything done.


Trouble Following Directions: I have extreme difficulty in following directions that are given to me, even simple ones. Sometimes, I'll completely zone out while the directions are being given (The weird thing is that my mind is aware of the fact that something important is being said, but it still chooses not to listen), and then end up not knowing what to do. Other times, I'll pay attention to the details, but still be unable to piece together the directions in order to figure out what I need to do. Even the simplest of directions sound complex when I hear someone tell them to me. Only after I ask questions and get details does it start to make sense.


Boredom: Almost everything in my life feels like a chore, just a monotonous activity that I have to do day in and day out. For example, I'll wake up and cook breakfast. While cooking breakfast, I'll be bored and anxious for my food to hurry up and cook. After my food cooks, I get ready and go to work; while driving to work, I'm bored to death. Once I get to work, I'm even more bored than I was while driving. After work, I'll go out to the movies with friends and halfway through the movie I'm bored and wanting to do something else. It feels like I'm always waiting for the next activity, thinking it will be better, even though it never is. With the exception of overly exciting things (Such as roller coasters), there are few things in my life that are consistently "fun".


Always tired: It seems like, even if I get 8-10 hours of sleep, I'll wake up tired in the morning. It's hard to start the day off on a good foot when I have to drag myself out of bed every single morning. This usually leads to me either being tired throughout the day and/or being tired and ready for bed at an earlier time than I should be.


Trouble Being Still: I have an uncontrollable urge to always be moving something. At any given moment, I'm either shaking my leg, flexing my pecs up and down, tapping my fingers on something, or doing more than one of those. These actions end up happening without me even realizing I'm doing it. I'll notice that I'm shaking my leg and stop - 5 minutes later I look down and I'm shaking my leg again. Not only does this make me look like a nervous/twitchy person, but it bothers many people (Especially flexing my pecs, which I end up doing subconsciously quite a bit). On top of those doings, I can never get comfortable in a chair; I'm always fidgeting and moving around or changing the way that I'm sitting because sitting still feels uncomfortable.


Inattention to Detail/Careless Mistakes: I'm not sure if inattention to detail is the right word, or a strong enough word. Most times, I'm completely incapable of picking up on details. When someone is pointing something out to me, I always have trouble distinguishing what or where it is. Or, when someone is telling me where something is, I'll look all over for it and be unable to find it. Someone will tell me where something is, I'll be looking for it, and tell the person I can't find it - they'll then come over and show me that what I was looking for was right in front of my face. Because I have trouble paying attention to details/specifics, it leads to me making stupid, careless mistakes. It can range from me improperly filling out something at work I've done thousands of times (Probably because my brain is thinking of multiple other things) to getting an easy question wrong on a test just because I didn't pay enough attention to read the question completely.


Impulsive: Half of the time when someone says something, my mind immediately jumps to the most inappropriate/offensive I could say at the moment. Sometimes, without thinking about what I'm doing, I'll go ahead and blurt out that thought/statement. If I actually stopped and thought about it, I most likely wouldn't say any of the things that come out, but my mouth just blurts it out before my brain can stop me from doing it. This seems to be a common trend, where I do/say something without thinking about it beforehand and/or thinking about the consequences. If that wasn't bad enough, I interrupt people all the time (Even though I HATE having it done to me, I can't stop myself from doing it to other people). Sometimes I'll do it just because a thought came into my head, so I blurt it out. Other times I'll interrupt them because if I don't, there's a very small chance of me remembering what I wanted to say by the time it's my turn; two things can happen - either I forget what I was going to say, or I try my absolute hardest to focus on what I wanted to say and can't pay attention to what the other person is saying.


Stuttering/Trouble with Speech: It feels as if my brain is always several steps ahead of my body, which has recently started affecting my speech. If I don't concentrate 100% on what I'm saying, then at times I'll end up stuttering, mixing up my words (In my head the sentence sounded right, but when I say it, I'll have trouble putting all the words in the right order), or transpose words (Instead of saying "grilled chicken", I'll end up saying "chilled gricken"). This happens a few times a day, at the very least. Some days are worse than others; there are days where every few minutes I'll make a mistake like this. Not only is this embarrassing, but it makes my self worth even lower - I wonder how people will take me seriously when I can't even finish my sentence properly.


Highs and Lows: Some days I feel confident and my self-esteem is good and other days I'll feel like a failure with terrible self esteem. Many days I get overwhelmed by my inability to efficiently complete simple tasks, extreme forgetfulness, short attention span, and all the other issues affecting me. I genuinely feel as if I'm mediocre/terrible at everything I do, and sometimes even feel as if I'll never amount to anything. I feel as if I won't be capable of dealing with issues in the future (For example, I'm deathly afraid of not being able to pass graduate school). Deep down inside I know that I'm moderately intelligent, but I feel like I very rarely exhibit that; it's hard to feel intelligent when I can't even concentrate on anything important for more than a few minutes at a time, or when I can't even follow simple/basic instructions because I didn't pay attention when they were being given.


Short Temper: Many times I'll get upset or snap at something and then feel fine moments later. I'll either calm down quickly or I'll realize I just got angry at something minor, and wonder why I did; some of the things I get irritated at are insignificant things that shouldn't cause such a strong emotional reaction. I don't think I've ever been angry for an extended amount of time, the feeling usually fades very quickly. I'll either forget why I was angry, or remember why but still not feel anger at all.
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Old 02-12-13, 07:35 AM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

I have to admit, that I havent been a fan of psycologists who diagnose adhd because sometimes they over look the neurological components of adhd and tend to not have much (if any) experience with medications. Sometimes they think they know all about medication and make recommendations without any medical training, when they shouldnt be handing out medical advice at all. I always recommend a thorough follow up with a qualified doctor to rule out any other conditions that very often mimic adhd.
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Old 02-12-13, 11:40 AM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

It sounds likely, but I'd go see a psychiatrist. I'm approaching ADHD from 2 angles, using a psychologist and psychiatrist, both with adult ADHD experience. I do suggest being careful not to value the opinions of a forum above that of a trained professional. As Sarahsweets said, it could be something else that behaves like ADHD. From what you wrote about highs and lows many psychiatrists may lean towards bipolar, or both.
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Old 02-15-13, 12:39 PM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

I unfortunately do not have the attention span to read all of it, but how badly are these symptoms affecting your life?
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Old 02-20-13, 06:00 AM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
I have to admit, that I havent been a fan of psycologists who diagnose adhd because sometimes they over look the neurological components of adhd and tend to not have much (if any) experience with medications. Sometimes they think they know all about medication and make recommendations without any medical training, when they shouldnt be handing out medical advice at all. I always recommend a thorough follow up with a qualified doctor to rule out any other conditions that very often mimic adhd.
Aren't psychologists not allowed to prescribe/reccomend medication? This psychologist didn't do any of that, nor was I formally diagnosed. I was just told "From what I have seen and know, I strongly think you have ADHD, but you need to speak to a medical professional".

Quote:
Originally Posted by DropZone View Post
It sounds likely, but I'd go see a psychiatrist. I'm approaching ADHD from 2 angles, using a psychologist and psychiatrist, both with adult ADHD experience. I do suggest being careful not to value the opinions of a forum above that of a trained professional. As Sarahsweets said, it could be something else that behaves like ADHD. From what you wrote about highs and lows many psychiatrists may lean towards bipolar, or both.
I'm still planning on seeing a trained professional.. I've just been procrastinating making the actual appointment. I'm just asking because I'm curious to hear from people who have been diagnosed with ADHD and see what their opinion is.

I hate being wrong/looking stupid (Which is ironic considering how often it happens) and I'm not naturally confident, so I want to have as little doubt as possible before I see the doctor. Even after hearing that from a psychologist, I still doubt myself at times.

I'm going to try today to make an appointment. I'm not thinking it's bipolar, since the highs/lows and the mood shifts are minor occurrences compared to the frequency of the other things I mentioned, but what do I know?

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Originally Posted by dasikins View Post
I unfortunately do not have the attention span to read all of it, but how badly are these symptoms affecting your life?
I'm sorry, I know if it was the other way around I'd skim through the whole text, if even that.

But yes, they definitely' do affect my life. Not just my life too, but my everyday life. This is stuff that happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, and it takes such a toll on me. These symptoms bring me so much stress, anxiety, loathing, low self esteem, etc.. I wish I could explain how much it affects me.
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Old 02-20-13, 12:15 PM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

Psychologists provide therapy; they are not authorized to prescribe medications. They can give you an initial diagnosis that you can take to a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist can take that into account when assessing you and giving you an actual diagnosis and prescriptions.
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Old 02-20-13, 01:23 PM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

LOL, I loved "skimming" over your article! Yes, I can say in my professional opinion (just kidding but it seems very likely) that you have ADHD! I loved the fact that you wrote a giant post in an ADD forum and none of us could get through it! But I think you did a great job of articulating what a lot of us are having trouble with. In fact I really liked the way you described a lot of it, it was exactly how I am.

I really liked the part about the pain and increasing urge to follow the next distraction it is overpowering most of the time! NT's don't understand this, it's not that we want to jack around or go off on a tangent it's like a magnet getting closer and closer, the more you try to resist the more pull it seems to have.

I also, like the memory black hole except I kind of visualize one of those chambers where you see the money flying around and the people try to grab it, but instead it's thoughts (on pieces of paper) and occasionally one will stick to the glass and just when you have almost completed the thought it flies away and another one sticks to the glass.

I just saw my shrink for the first time yesterday (after being diagnosed by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) he spent a whopping 20 min with me and switched me to Concerta. That's it, didn't try to make sure the diagnosis was correct, didn't delve into anything. I felt like it was almost lunch time and he was just throwing some meds at me and cashing my check. Although this really seems to have been my experience with all doctors. I think most of us are smart enough to figure this stuff out on our own (with this wonderful resource of course). I kind of laughed to myself when I was talking to him thinking, dude, if I didn't have this freaking ADD, I would be the one making $250 for 20 min!!!

Anyway I digress, I think you are on the right track, find a doc that specializes. Maybe you can find a good therapist and work with your GP to get the meds right.
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Old 02-20-13, 02:20 PM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
I have to admit, that I havent been a fan of psycologists who diagnose adhd because sometimes they over look the neurological components of adhd and tend to not have much (if any) experience with medications. Sometimes they think they know all about medication and make recommendations without any medical training, when they shouldnt be handing out medical advice at all. I always recommend a thorough follow up with a qualified doctor to rule out any other conditions that very often mimic adhd.
It depends on the psychologist, some of them are very knowledgeable and have lots of experience with ADHD, like the one that diagnosed me and that I still see. She took about 2 months of seeing me on a weekly basis for anxiety issues before telling me I had ADHD. Then she wrote a letter explaining it for me to give a doctor. I looked for one that had experience with adult ADHD, he asked tons of questions and I had blood tests etc to rule out other things and he confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed meds etc. I still see the psychologist since then, she helps me so much to manage the condition and to organize my life/create routines. She even helped me with my school last semester. She even has tons of knowledge about meds. So I guess it really depends on the psychologist but they are not all like you said.
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Old 02-22-13, 01:13 PM
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Re: Psychologist thinks I have ADHD, curious to get a first hand opinion.

This is why I recommended a thorough follow up because I never said all psychologists are bad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lapin86 View Post
It depends on the psychologist, some of them are very knowledgeable and have lots of experience with ADHD, like the one that diagnosed me and that I still see. She took about 2 months of seeing me on a weekly basis for anxiety issues before telling me I had ADHD. Then she wrote a letter explaining it for me to give a doctor. I looked for one that had experience with adult ADHD, he asked tons of questions and I had blood tests etc to rule out other things and he confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed meds etc. I still see the psychologist since then, she helps me so much to manage the condition and to organize my life/create routines. She even helped me with my school last semester. She even has tons of knowledge about meds. So I guess it really depends on the psychologist but they are not all like you said.
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