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  #1  
Old 10-31-17, 04:22 PM
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Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Hi, I'm new to this forum, but I think its really cool that there's a place where I can talk about this stuff with people.

So, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 20 years old, (I'm just about to turn 22) and the way that they diagnosed me always seems a little weird to me. Basically the only thing that they asked me to do was to fill out a survey. The survey seemed really easy to game too, it felt like a Facebook quiz to find out what Hogwarts hour you're in (i.e. the first question is something like are you a. Smart b. Brave c. Evil, or d. other). You know exactly what the question are getting at so if I wanted to be diagnosed with ADHD it would've been easy. I never asked if my parents took the survey as well or if they tried to corroborate my answers with anybody, but I find myself asking whether I am ADHD or if I want to be ADHD to have an excuse for why I act the way that I do.

My mom has also told me that she had me tested while I was in high school, but the test was a survey given to my teachers and it seemed to be designed for younger children. She tells me that the reason I wasn't diagnosed then was because I had already started using learned behaviors to kind of deal with my ADHD, and that adult ADHD is more subtle. My mom is the type of person that would have ulterior motives for telling me that I'm ADHD so I trust her, but she's also not a medical professional and she could be wrong.

I usually don't think about it because I've avoided medication until last week where I was prescribed adderall. I've done very poorly in school, this last year and I decided that if I want to make a change I have to be open to trying things I want to try to improve my grades. I did ok for myself in k-12 just because I was "gifted", but I never did amazing because I never was very motivated to do homework. I had several teachers tell me that I needed better study habits or a better work ethic. My lack effort in school has really caught up to me in college where I can't just get by without putting more effort in my studies. So I told myself that I would do whatever it takes to help myself improve.

I avoided medication so much because I see the word "amphetamine." I kinda view Adderall as if it were some street drug because it's similar to meth. I also am worried about addiction, and like to be independent so I don't want to become dependent on drugs. I know I'm kinda looking for excuses and am also exaggerating how bad it is, and my managers at work have mentioned that I'm "on top of my game" or doing really well on days that I take my medication so I feel like it does help.

But even after all that I still find myself asking if I really am ADHD. If I am then I'm making the right choice with medication and improving myself with recognizing behaviors that I do because of ADHD. But if I'm not, then I'm blaming my shortcomings on something I don't really have and may be hooking myself on pills. Most of the time I believe that I am ADHD I just doubt myself a lot.

TL;DR There are a lot of reasons I could argue with myself about whether or not I'm ADHD, and I second guess myself a lot.

If you took the time to read this I really appreciate you going through my long rant. Thanks.
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Old 10-31-17, 04:56 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Yes I ask myself that every day. I can very much relate to what you said ahput wondering I'm just looking for an excuse to explain my shortcomings.

Normly adhd is diagnosed in a detailed interview that disxusses not only potential symptoms but your iasues in general and impairments. Ive had several assessmenta and in all of them we pretty much disxussed my entire history starting from childhood. Mine were mostly several hours long but I think youd need at least an hour. The discussions are normally loosely based on the standard questions given in the dsm but that's not all that should be discussed.

Having said that I'd think your mom is a pretty good source of evidence though. If she thinks something was a bit off then she is probably right.

For me a good indication was also how many posts I could relate to here on addf. The symptoms given in yhe dam dont cover the entire range I believe (e.g. emotional regulation5 that mpst of us struggle with isnt explicitly mentioned) and it doesn't give 30am indication of tje extent of impairment.

There's a book by Russel Barkley called dealing with adult adhd or something like that and its got a detailed list of impairments and symptoms in it. Also of you can do some reading in general I guess the more you understand adhd the better you will know yourself how well it describes you.
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Old 10-31-17, 05:09 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Yep. Ever since 8th grade or so I have been wondering if I might have ADHD. I have gone through times of acceptance and denial.

In general, I have always made all sorts of excuses as to why I am the way I am. I never had to focus in primary school because I was gifted, in secondary I was still trying to overcome my lack of training in basic attention skills, and during that I got health issues that I then blamed for my symptoms. The thing is, no matter what changes in my life my symptoms are still there. It is looking increasingly likely that it is indeed ADHD.

I have always been skeptical of the way ADHD is diagnosed as it is based on symptoms rather than an underlying cause. However, there is a point at which it no longer matters what the underlying cause might be. Impairment = impairment, and ADHD treatment might be a solution for ADHD symptoms regardless of an underlying cause
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Old 10-31-17, 11:53 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Being gifted is not necessarily linked with higher educational attainment or "success" with ADHD. I know it sounds paradoxical but some studies suggest that higher IQ does not logically equate to better outcomes with ADHD, anyway.

I don't buy the myth of "giftedness" allowing one to just coast by and get good grades without doing anything, probably there is some difference that can be attributed to something other than a single number on one test. I've known gifted folks who dropped out of high school because it was indeed difficult for them, for one thing.
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Old 11-01-17, 07:20 AM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by gigglebytes View Post
Hi, I'm new to this forum, but I think its really cool that there's a place where I can talk about this stuff with people.

So, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 20 years old, (I'm just about to turn 22) and the way that they diagnosed me always seems a little weird to me. Basically the only thing that they asked me to do was to fill out a survey. The survey seemed really easy to game too, it felt like a Facebook quiz to find out what Hogwarts hour you're in (i.e. the first question is something like are you a. Smart b. Brave c. Evil, or d. other). You know exactly what the question are getting at so if I wanted to be diagnosed with ADHD it would've been easy. I never asked if my parents took the survey as well or if they tried to corroborate my answers with anybody, but I find myself asking whether I am ADHD or if I want to be ADHD to have an excuse for why I act the way that I do.
Do you remember the name of the survey? There are no tests for adhd and the only surveys I am aware of are the conners' scale which is filled out by the adhd'r if they are old enough and sometimes filled out by parents or teachers. I have a little doubt in an adhd sanctioned test that asks if you are brave or evil.


Quote:
My mom has also told me that she had me tested while I was in high school, but the test was a survey given to my teachers and it seemed to be designed for younger children. She tells me that the reason I wasn't diagnosed then was because I had already started using learned behaviors to kind of deal with my ADHD, and that adult ADHD is more subtle. My mom is the type of person that would have ulterior motives for telling me that I'm ADHD so I trust her, but she's also not a medical professional and she could be wrong.
That survey was probably the conner's scale I mentioned.


Quote:
I avoided medication so much because I see the word "amphetamine." I kinda view Adderall as if it were some street drug because it's similar to meth. I also am worried about addiction, and like to be independent so I don't want to become dependent on drugs. I know I'm kinda looking for excuses and am also exaggerating how bad it is, and my managers at work have mentioned that I'm "on top of my game" or doing really well on days that I take my medication so I feel like it does help.
The only reason the word amphetamine is scary is because society has made it scary. Add to that the fools who abuse it and you get endless scare sites on the internet. Chemically it is similar to prescription methamphetamine(yes there is prescription methamphetamine called desoxyn) but it has zero similarities to street meth which is made with paint thinner and sudafed. There is nothing wrong with being dependent on drugs. Diabetics depend on insulin and I depend on my bipolar meds. Its important not to confuse dependence with addiction. I dont think you are looking for excuses or exaggerating. My son is almost the same age as you and you guys were raised in a culture of rampant drug abuse and addiction. So its natural for you to be worried. And there has been an explosion of things like supplements claiming to treat adhd so its confusing.


Quote:
But even after all that I still find myself asking if I really am ADHD. If I am then I'm making the right choice with medication and improving myself with recognizing behaviors that I do because of ADHD. But if I'm not, then I'm blaming my shortcomings on something I don't really have and may be hooking myself on pills. Most of the time I believe that I am ADHD I just doubt myself a lot.
You must have impairments in 2 or more ways in 6 or more areas of your life for it to be adhd. Do you experience this?
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Old 11-01-17, 07:33 AM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
You must have impairments in 2 or more ways in 6 or more areas of your life for it to be adhd. Do you experience this?
Those numbers are a little off -- per the current DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD, it's "several symptoms" in "two or more settings":
Quote:
  • Several symptoms are present in two or more setting, (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
  • There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.
[Source: CDC]


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigglebytes
But even after all that I still find myself asking if I really am ADHD. If I am then I'm making the right choice with medication and improving myself with recognizing behaviors that I do because of ADHD.
If the medication is reducing the behaviors that are symptoms of ADHD, if it's not making you high, if it's not something you crave, if you're not trying to do more than is humanly possible, and if you're not experiencing side effects, then you can probably rest easy.

Bear in mind that meds usually help some, but they don't make the ADHD disappear entirely, so if you're looking for "personal responsibility", you can take it by also learning life-management strategies to supplement the medications. These can include things like a healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep habits, stress management techniques, and a lot of organizational and time-management strategies and tricks. (Not all at once, and not out of thin air, but over time, with help from a therapist and/or books and/or ADDF and/or others as you recognize how your weaknesses are affecting you and where you still need support/changes in order to function better.)
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Old 11-01-17, 07:33 AM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
You must have impairments in 2 or more ways in 6 or more areas of your life for it to be adhd. Do you experience this?
I've never liked that. ADHD impairs every aspect of a persons life, period.
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Old 11-01-17, 02:06 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by Batman55 View Post
Being gifted is not necessarily linked with higher educational attainment or "success" with ADHD. I know it sounds paradoxical but some studies suggest that higher IQ does not logically equate to better outcomes with ADHD, anyway.

I don't buy the myth of "giftedness" allowing one to just coast by and get good grades without doing anything, probably there is some difference that can be attributed to something other than a single number on one test. I've known gifted folks who dropped out of high school because it was indeed difficult for them, for one thing.
Yes, the effort it takes for a gifted person to get through school seems to vary a lot. However, struggling and coasting by are not mutually exclusive as they may occur in difference areas of functioning. This is even more true for a gifted person with ADHD, as there will be serious weaknesses and most likely also strengths.

In many ways I really struggled in school (going every day, sitting through boring classes, having to do busy work, juggling all responsibilities) and in some ways it was the easiest thing ever. I could get away with months of not paying attention and not doing homework and still pass, simply because I was lucky enough in the intelligence department. That was not due to IQ but due to raw intelligence, which is also the reason I used to do well in IQ-tests.

If it wasn't for my school cutting me a lot of slack because I was gifted and inevitably bored (allowing me to get away with not doing homework, allowing me to skip classes), I would definitely have dropped out of school. In a way their way of accommodating my giftedness has been my salvation for my ADHD. Had I not been gifted, things might have been vastly different, with me either getting diagnosed as a teen or not getting diagnosed and dropping out
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Old 11-01-17, 02:35 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by namazu View Post
Those numbers are a little off -- per the current DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD, it's "several symptoms" in "two or more settings":
[Source: CDC]


If the medication is reducing the behaviors that are symptoms of ADHD, if it's not making you high, if it's not something you crave, if you're not trying to do more than is humanly possible, and if you're not experiencing side effects, then you can probably rest easy.

Bear in mind that meds usually help some, but they don't make the ADHD disappear entirely, so if you're looking for "personal responsibility", you can take it by also learning life-management strategies to supplement the medications. These can include things like a healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep habits, stress management techniques, and a lot of organizational and time-management strategies and tricks. (Not all at once, and not out of thin air, but over time, with help from a therapist and/or books and/or ADDF and/or others as you recognize how your weaknesses are affecting you and where you still need support/changes in order to function better.)
Damon it! I always screw up the 6 and 2 part! And I forgot about the new dsm!
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Old 11-01-17, 02:45 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

I absolutely don't doubt it, at all.
the only thing I was worried about, was being told by a Dr that I didn't have adhd.
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Old 11-01-17, 03:45 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batman55 View Post
Being gifted is not necessarily linked with higher educational attainment or "success" with ADHD. I know it sounds paradoxical but some studies suggest that higher IQ does not logically equate to better outcomes with ADHD, anyway.

I don't buy the myth of "giftedness" allowing one to just coast by and get good grades without doing anything, probably there is some difference that can be attributed to something other than a single number on one test. I've known gifted folks who dropped out of high school because it was indeed difficult for them, for one thing.
I agree. And nor does higher educational attainment always end in success for those people with ADHD who managed to get through college. In his book Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014), Thomas Brown gives case studies for 11 of his patients with ADHD who were, he says, "extremely bright" but nevertheless experienced considerable difficulties in their lives. In his introduction, Brown says (pp. 4-5):

Quote:
One of my special interests over the years has been adolescents and adults who are especially bright. They have taught me that being smart is no protection from attention impairments. Not only is it possible for people with a high IQ to suffer from ADHD, but it's likely that they'll suffer longer without adequate support or treatment because the people in their lives assume, quite mistakenly, that anyone who is really smart can't suffer from ADHD.

The patients I write about in this book are all extremely bright. They scored within the top 9 percent of the population on IQ tests, but they were stuck. They sought treatment because they were unable to get themselves out of chronically unproductive, self-defeating patterns of emotions, thought, and action. They felt trapped in their daily dealings with their education, their job, their relationships with others, or a combination of these. Their stories illustrate the persistent difficulties those with ADHD have in managing themselves and their emotions. Some are stories of amazing successes and impressive accomplishments; others are tales of ongoing frustration and tragic disappointment. Most are a mixed bag.
I certainly identify with a number of the patients that Brown talks about in his book. Although I've never done a real IQ test, I was intelligent enough to get admitted to one of the top ranked universities in the US for both undergraduate and graduate school. Unfortunately, my undiagnosed ADHD turned what looked like a promising future into one of those "tales of ongoing frustration and tragic disappointment." By the time I got help for my ADHD, it was too late to salvage my career and get my life unstuck and back on track.
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Old 11-01-17, 09:48 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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I absolutely don't doubt it, at all.
the only thing I was worried about, was being told by a Dr that I didn't have adhd.
I don't doubt either that I have ADHD (whatever it actually is), and I still worry, too, sometimes that a new doctor will tell me someday that I don't have ADHD.

But I have had doubts, sometimes, about what ADHD actually is or what causes it and I have had doubts about psychiatry and about the book (i.e. the DSM) that psychiatrists have created to define and diagnose it.

For instance, is ADHD a "disease" like heart disease or diabetes? One definition of a disease is "a progressive physical disorder with known pathophysiology." But the pathophysiology of ADHD is not definitely known for sure, i.e. we don't know for sure what the biological mechanisms are behind some or all of the symptoms used to define it. And there's certainly no foolproof test for it. And we don't really know if ADHD as it is described is a discrete entity which "carves nature at its joints." And there's also a lot of politics that goes into revising the DSM.

So, I do sometimes have doubts and questions about this aspect of ADHD. But I don't have any doubts that there is something that has seriously impaired my ability sometimes to manage my emotions, to sustain and control my focus and attention, to restrain my impulses, etc., etc. And I know from first hand experience that stimulant medications are effective at relieving those kinds of impairments to some extent in myself and many other people.
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Old 11-01-17, 11:43 PM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan View Post
I agree. And nor does higher educational attainment always end in success for those people with ADHD who managed to get through college. In his book Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014), Thomas Brown gives case studies for 11 of his patients with ADHD who were, he says, "extremely bright" but nevertheless experienced considerable difficulties in their lives. In his introduction, Brown says (pp. 4-5):
Well, my comment came from a place of insecurity, I'm thankful that I was able to inhibit a more callous response and keep it informative and relatively on-topic.

But I appreciate the response. A couple of further thoughts, if I may..

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan View Post
I certainly identify with a number of the patients that Brown talks about in his book. Although I've never done a real IQ test, I was intelligent enough to get admitted to one of the top ranked universities in the US for both undergraduate and graduate school. Unfortunately, my undiagnosed ADHD turned what looked like a promising future into one of those "tales of ongoing frustration and tragic disappointment." By the time I got help for my ADHD, it was too late to salvage my career and get my life unstuck and back on track.
The thought about all of this that continues to bother me is that, whilst being gifted with ADHD may not always compensate for the deficits, can simply being non-gifted or average with ADHD predictably cause deficiencies more severe than they would be otherwise? Is an average IQ in ADHD essentially a permanent sentence for profound struggle across all realms especially the academic?

That's a troubling thought for me, anyhow. That, along with the flippancy associated with some implying "being gifted is how I succeeded with ADHD, otherwise it wouldn't have happened", which does still grate on me, but I think I've mentioned that enough.
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Old 11-02-17, 03:22 AM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by Fraser_0762 View Post
I've never liked that. ADHD impairs every aspect of a persons life, period.
I agree that it can seem that way but in order to allow for a margin of error they have to concede that not everyone will have all the symptoms all the time.
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Old 11-05-17, 05:53 AM
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Re: Do you ever doubt whether you really have ADHD

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Originally Posted by stef View Post
I absolutely don't doubt it, at all.
the only thing I was worried about, was being told by a Dr that I didn't have adhd.
This. I don't doubt it one bit. Without this medication I am a completely useless person.

I am very glad that I ignored all the "ADHD isn't real/you don't have ADHD" naysayers and went to a psychiatrist. Because saying that it changed my life for the better is an understatement. Without it, I would have continued being the codependent, unhygienic, fat, ugly, slow person I was last year. I also probably would've been forced/strongly hinted to quit or fired from my current job, like how I was with my previous two.

I do think, however, that what I have is more severe than just ADHD. I'm sure if I were to get a brain scan the doctor would probably say there's a sizable chunk of my brain that's far smaller than normal. Massive anxiety, VERY VERY frequent brain fog, poor coordination, etc.

The psychologist I went to even told me that I might have a learning disability and should get further testing. I haven't though.
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