ADD Forums - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Support and Information Resources Community  

Go Back   ADD Forums - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Support and Information Resources Community > ADULTS AND ADD/ADHD > Adults with ADD > General ADD Talk
Register Blogs FAQ Chat Members List Calendar Donate Gallery Arcade Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-20-11, 03:29 PM
siglerja's Avatar
siglerja siglerja is offline
ADDvanced Contributor
 

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Boston, ma
Posts: 629
Thanks: 36
Thanked 579 Times in 278 Posts
siglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to beholdsiglerja is a splendid one to behold
Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

I think that one of the more common yet under-addressed situations I've seen is the mishandling of the ADHD / anxiety situation. Anxiety can manifest in so many different ways, and many of these impair focus, organization, prioritizing and general cognition. Think about what people act like when they're nervous, what their thoughts would be like, how comfortable they feel, how easy it is for them to stay on task. It obviously draws a lot of parallels with the symptomology we associate with ADHD. With that in mind, wouldn't it make sense to screen someone for an anxiety disorder when a person describes inattention as their primary complaint? Sure, but it doesn't usually happen like that.

If you asked 50,000 people if they'd rather have an anxiety problem and be medicated with SSRIs and downers or an ADHD problem and be medicated with speed, which do you think most people would choose? That's probably why a lot of ADHD / Anxiety and Anxiety / ADHD misdiagnosed patients start off with getting tested for ADHD and not an anxiety problem. Also, consider how the anxious mind works. There is usually a great deal of self-doubt, performance anxiety, worry about production and over-responsibility going on in there. They may feel like what they're doing isn't enough and have irrational fears that are contributing to their perception that they are ADHD.

Stimulant medications have a very interesting effect on anxiety. For some, the stims are too intense from the beginning and they're able to identify immediately that the medication is just not going to work for them. For others, say.. someone who has had such struggles with anxiety or depression that any amount of change into a different state of mind is going to be preferable, they will likely feel "better". The feel-good euphoric impact of the medication will keep them on it and they will likely feel short-term relief of their anxiety and any depression resulting from it. Stimulants might mask anxiety, turn the volume down on it and allow you to focus through it or "augment" it, but they certainly don't actually medicate it and they will almost always make it worse in the long run.

It isn't sustainable, and once you become used to your dose, all of the good feelings dissipate and you're left with exacerbated anxiety. Anxiety + The ability to focus extremely well on things = Excessive rumination, negative obsession, avoidance, depression, etc. People try to raise their stimulant dose thinking it will make it better, mostly because they've now given themselves the idea that ADHD is their sole issue and that more ADHD medication is going to help - This can go on for a while. Eventually, the medication is stopped (probably the best idea) or an additional medication for anxiety is prescribed and added to the stimulant (probably not a great idea). Here's why.

The evaluation of an anxiety medication has a lot of moving parts. You're on a stimulant medication that has probably made your anxiety worse - How is it that you're going to be able to fairly and accurately evaluate the therapeutic benefit from an SSRI, benzo, etc when you're really just medicating the side effects of another medication? Could it be possible that you really just had an anxiety problem, and you'd have adequate (or better) relief from your symptoms with just an anxiety med? You won't know, because you're now adding additional meds left and right trying to figure out why you can't get something going that works. Ask a person with an anxiety problem how terrified they are to quit any medication, ever, especially one that made them feel slightly better for a period of time - Their stimulant medication could be causing them to grow a third arm, and they would probably stay on it out of fear for what would happen if they didn't.

ADHD and anxiety are commonly found together in people, this is a well-established fact. When people have both, they get to experience the unfortunate journey of trying to ride the line between two medication types, both of which commonly make their other issues worse. Regardless if both your ADHD and your anxiety diagnosis are sound or you've been mistakenly diagnosed one way or the other, the potential to be put in an extremely difficult medication situation is very high. Adderall and benzos are the two most addictive psych meds on the market, you've now found yourself on both of them, you need both of them to offset the other and they both lose effectiveness / cause tolerance over time. Psychiatrists don't really explain it that way, but that's essentially what you're getting into. It doesn't take long to become unnecessarily overmedicated for a number of problems that could have been fixed by taking a few steps back rather than several large ones forward.

My advice to all ADHDers who have had problems with anxiety would be to seriously evaluate your condition and ask yourself which of the two is the bigger problem in your life. Are stimulant medications worth the additional anxiety? Would I be better off trying to deal with my anxiety problems first, and then approach the attentional struggles? There are many paths medication can lead a person down, and recovery is just one of them - Don't let a doctor or fears you might have remove your heart and brain from the equation, think about what you're doing and if you really need all the stuff you're taking. Sometimes, less is more, and in dealing with ADHD and anxiety, it can be the difference between finding a comfortable, balanced medication situation or finding yourself with a lot more problems than what you started out with.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to siglerja For This Useful Post:
Unmanagable (06-20-11), Valter (06-20-11)
  #2  
Old 06-20-11, 03:43 PM
Valter Valter is offline
ADDvanced Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Portugal
Posts: 157
Thanks: 31
Thanked 44 Times in 38 Posts
Valter has a spectacular aura aboutValter has a spectacular aura about
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

My being hyperactive since I was born, among (lot) several other symptons that prevailed from my pre teen years, excluded other possibilities. One cannot suffer from common anxiety problems as an infant through adulthood. It is not that easy to be misdiagnosed IF people know what they're doing.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-20-11, 06:23 PM
KCTang's Avatar
KCTang KCTang is offline
Contributor
 

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: On the launch pad
Posts: 441
Blog Entries: 15
Thanks: 295
Thanked 757 Times in 273 Posts
KCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud ofKCTang has much to be proud of
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

I had problems with anxiety and ADHD before my diagnosis, and the stim meds helped reduce the anxiety, not the other way around. I would say my anxiety was created by living with ADHD, ie social anxiety, relationship problems, worry about productivity, etc.

If one notices being more anxious on stim meds, then a talk with your doctor about trying something different is a good idea. Its pretty much impossible to know what's going to work before you try it though. Just keep an open mind and don't commit yourself to the one solution you're aware of.
__________________
KC Tang- Primarily Inattentive, learning to be Primarily Attentive. My Blog

"I wouldn't have had good scientific ideas if I had thought more normally."
--- Prof John Nash: Nobel Laureate in Economics, Schizophrenic, subject of "A Beautiful Mind"

Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to KCTang For This Useful Post:
Evanne07 (07-22-13), Unmanagable (06-20-11)
Sponsored Links
  #4  
Old 06-20-11, 08:29 PM
trishcan trishcan is offline
ADDvanced Forum ADDvocate
 

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 3,241
Thanks: 1,112
Thanked 4,332 Times in 2,019 Posts
trishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond reputetrishcan has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

Thankfully, I haven't found it to be the case that stimulants exacerbate my anxiety. My anxiety tends to be more situational and infrequent. SSRI's never helped me with anxiety, but stimulants tend to keep it at bay. I assume this is because my biggest triggers (anxiety-wise) are fears about missing deadlines or becoming totally overwhelmed with life due to not being able to focus and complete tasks like a "normal" human being. At least for me, stimulants=concentration=significantly fewer panic attacks.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-20-11, 08:54 PM
fracturedstory's Avatar
fracturedstory fracturedstory is offline
ADDvanced Forum ADDvocate
 

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 7,472
Blog Entries: 2
Thanks: 1,499
Thanked 7,614 Times in 3,931 Posts
fracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond reputefracturedstory has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

First I was misdiagnosed with severe depression. That was changed to social anxiety. The high functioning autism/Asperger's syndrome, then ADHD then the severe social anxiety came after and I had to lower my dosage. Now I'm bordering on agoraphobia and psychopathy.
Ok, I made that last one up.

These days I'm more about social apathy than anxiety.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-20-11, 10:08 PM
MentalNomad's Avatar
MentalNomad MentalNomad is online now
ADDvanced Forum ADDvocate
 

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: it doesn't matter
Posts: 3,098
Thanks: 2,877
Thanked 3,062 Times in 1,758 Posts
MentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant futureMentalNomad has a brilliant future
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

I think ADHD with the appropriate environmental factors can have the potential to cause anxiety, also this could be compouded by a genetic predisposition towards anxiety.

Also, there seems to be a large number of purported mis-diagnoses every year. I think severe physical problem(s) can masquerade as mental co-morbidities, such as ADHD + Anxiety + Depression.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-20-13, 01:15 AM
firefly23 firefly23 is offline
Newbie
 

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: canada
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
firefly23 is on a distinguished road
Re: Have you been misdiagnosed? ADHD & Anxiety

I have a very different experience with misdiagnoses. I was diagnosed with five different major anxiety
disorders when I was 18, and for the last 8 yrs, I have tried every type of anty anxiety, antidepressant and therapies, desperate to overcome my symptoms.
This year I had some psych assessments done, and the psychologist informed me that the results and other observations strongly indicated Add/adhd- He suggested that my high anxiety could be a consequence of overwhelm, and my compulsive self management. I spent most of my life moderating my behaviors and spent exorbitant amounts of energy restraining impulses, and trying to
to appear "together". Initially, I disagreed with the possibility, and in all honesty, I was terrified by the thought of taking a stimulant. My anxiety was excrutiating enough, I wasn't going to risk exacerbating wibv with without speed.
But, after I creamed that the medication my psychiatrist was suggesting was quick acting, and that I would know within a half hour whether or it not it would benefit me, I decided it was an acceptablerisk.To my absolute shock, and amazement, not only did dexedrine not worsen my anxiety, it completely eliminated it I had never felt so calm. My mind was quiet. I've never felt euphoric on dexedrine , in fact I have never felt so calm.
Sadly, I had spent much of my life compensating for a disorder I didn't know I had, and because I worke was so effective at presenting well, it took many years of miesdiagnoses, unnecessary medications intensive psychological assessments and many visits with a great psycholgist to finally discover why I struggled so much.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) ericdl58 Inattentive ADD 468 10-16-14 04:35 AM
Anxiety & hypertension preventing me from being treated for my ADHD; what can I do? Tommot Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD 11 08-16-10 04:42 PM
Synaptic Gating and ADHD: A Biological Theory of Comorbidity of ADHD and Anxiety Gregster ADD News 9 08-11-09 05:08 AM
Excellent Research Publication (lots of pieces to the puzzle) abre los ojos ADD News 5 02-15-05 01:58 AM
ADHD Is Real: Millions of Adults Are Taking Medication for Disorder Andrew ADD News 2 01-25-05 09:22 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
(c) 2003 - 2014 ADD Forums