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Women with ADD/ADHD This forum is for women to discuss issues related to being a woman with AD/HD.

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Old 09-30-04, 10:34 AM
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Question A few questions from woman who may have ADD

Hi everyone! I recently joined the group and have been trying to absorb all the information I've been reading in the posts here. My first initial reason for coming here was because I feel like I'm running around in circles around my daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6 (she is 8 now). However, now that I'm sitting here (in this specific forum), I'm getting this knot in my stomach while reading everyone's experiences with adult ADHD. I think I'm in denial.

My daughter is having such learning struggles, and so many problems here at home. But it's not a discipline issue (I so wish it were!) it's a mental issue with her. She is disorganized, her mind seems to race 5 steps in front of her constantly, forgetfulness, anxious, overwhelmed, repeated careless mistakes, and so on. I have been active in her progress in school and have tried my best to be a good mother to her. She isn't doing well in the learning category, where in school I was an excellent student who needed very little guidance to get where I needed to go. But, I do see so many simillar things in myself that I see in her. The disorganization, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, fidgeting and picking, etc., etc.....She often will fixate on one thing, and one thing only and will not let it go until that time arrives, or the problem is solved. I too, will do the same thing, and did so as a child.

I've had a history of anxiety, where my GYN and myself agreed that I was dealing with severe PMS. Well, when does severe PMS happen 3 weeks out of the month? I had taken Sarafem for several months and noticed a difference in my moods. I seemed less anxious and moody, but I also seemed to care less about the things I really enjoyed doing. I didn't want to get out and do things, but I was OKAY with that. Make any sense? My daughter is on Straterra which is in the same family as Sarafem I believe and I see some edge of anxiety taken off of her as well. I stopped taking the Sarafem because I felt like a part of me was being "caged up" so to speak. (I've tried several different kinds of birth control pills hoping hormones was the issue and everything just seems to take me right back where I started).

Last year I had mentioned to my doctor that I was having some anxiety issues, and if she could prescribe me something to help with it. She then told me that I needed to go see a psychiatrist and deal with my "issues" before she would prescribe anything. That left me scratching my head, because I don't feel I need any kind of therapy. I almost feel like I need something to help keep my thoughts on track. In a given moment I could think about a billion things, and when I start a topic, I end up rambling on to something else not related at all to what I was talking about to begin with. I never finish what I start...I have to force myself to throw things away and that's like pulling my finger nails off one by one....I get bored with things so very easily and at times can thrive on drama in my life (I've been working for years on this and it's improving)...it goes on and on....Again, I'm left scratching my head.

I've taken a few tests online for adult ADHD, and every one of them comes up highly probable that I do in fact have it. It's taking the next step that is really freaking me out.

How do I go about talking with my doctor (I'm seeing a new one) about my thoughts on ADHD?

Do I need to see a psychologist/psychiatrist to be officially diagnosed for it or can my GP do so?

If medication is recommended, should I give it a try? I often worry medications will "cage me up", affect my sex drive, or make me lose weight.

Should I make a list of questions to ask my GP?

Or should I simply leave things be, and just give myself the tools mentally and physically that I give my daughter to help me cope?

You often hear, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Well I feel broken a LOT and would like to improve myself but it feels like such a never ending task.

Any input is appreciated. Sorry for the long winded post! It would have been much longer if I wouldn't have sat on my hands!
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Old 09-30-04, 12:49 PM
Struggling Struggling is offline
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First of all...you should know that I am new at this...so take my advice w/ a grain of salt I do however identify w/ how you're feeling. I always suspected I had ADD even though I never even knew exactly what the symptoms were...now that I have researched and know what to look for...I can see these same things in both my kids, to varying degrees...though I am not sure if I have just passed on bad habits to them (disorganization, inability to study and/or complete homework, incompletion of tasks) through ineffective parenting...since I have obviously not been able to parent properly duet o my own problems. (um...huge guilt factor either way)....or if they are actually signs of ADD. Anyway...I digress, I am just amazed at how it seems to be such a genetic disorder.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SerenaLynn
Hi everyone! I recently joined the group and have been trying to absorb all the information I've been reading in the posts here. My first initial reason for coming here was because I feel like I'm running around in circles around my daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6 (she is 8 now). However, now that I'm sitting here (in this specific forum), I'm getting this knot in my stomach while reading everyone's experiences with adult ADHD. I think I'm in denial.

My daughter is having such learning struggles, and so many problems here at home. But it's not a discipline issue (I so wish it were!) it's a mental issue with her. She is disorganized, her mind seems to race 5 steps in front of her constantly, forgetfulness, anxious, overwhelmed, repeated careless mistakes, and so on. I have been active in her progress in school and have tried my best to be a good mother to her. She isn't doing well in the learning category, where in school I was an excellent student who needed very little guidance to get where I needed to go. But, I do see so many simillar things in myself that I see in her. The disorganization, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, fidgeting and picking, etc., etc.....She often will fixate on one thing, and one thing only and will not let it go until that time arrives, or the problem is solved. I too, will do the same thing, and did so as a child.

I've had a history of anxiety, where my GYN and myself agreed that I was dealing with severe PMS. Well, when does severe PMS happen 3 weeks out of the month? I had taken Sarafem for several months and noticed a difference in my moods. I seemed less anxious and moody, but I also seemed to care less about the things I really enjoyed doing. I didn't want to get out and do things, but I was OKAY with that. Make any sense?
Yes...this makes sense...to me anyway...I go through periods where I don't care about things I normally do care about.

Quote:
My daughter is on Straterra which is in the same family as Sarafem I believe and I see some edge of anxiety taken off of her as well. I stopped taking the Sarafem because I felt like a part of me was being "caged up" so to speak. (I've tried several different kinds of birth control pills hoping hormones was the issue and everything just seems to take me right back where I started).

Last year I had mentioned to my doctor that I was having some anxiety issues, and if she could prescribe me something to help with it. She then told me that I needed to go see a psychiatrist and deal with my "issues" before she would prescribe anything. That left me scratching my head, because I don't feel I need any kind of therapy. I almost feel like I need something to help keep my thoughts on track. In a given moment I could think about a billion things, and when I start a topic, I end up rambling on to something else not related at all to what I was talking about to begin with. I never finish what I start...I have to force myself to throw things away and that's like pulling my finger nails off one by one....I get bored with things so very easily and at times can thrive on drama in my life (I've been working for years on this and it's improving)...it goes on and on....Again, I'm left scratching my head.
These are signs of ADD. And I know what you mean...if you've been like this your whole life...it's normal to you, and you don't feel you need therapy..or to do anything about it. It makes ya wonder what exactly you'd be like if you didn't have ADD...or if you were medicated...I haven't been on meds yet...I so wonder how much I could accomplish if I just weren't so paralyzed by who knows what!

Quote:
I've taken a few tests online for adult ADHD, and every one of them comes up highly probable that I do in fact have it. It's taking the next step that is really freaking me out.

How do I go about talking with my doctor (I'm seeing a new one) about my thoughts on ADHD?
Best thing to do is be prepared. Do a little research and take it in w/ you to back it up. They will ask you why you think you have it. Make sure you have reasons.

Quote:
Do I need to see a psychologist/psychiatrist to be officially diagnosed for it or can my GP do so?
Most likely, your GP will determine if you are likely to have it or not...and then pass it on to a psychologist or psychiatrist...who's better apt at diagnosing. Keep in mind a psychologist will more likely be able to do a full psychological assessment on you, but I don't think they hand out meds...whereas a psychiatrist will spend less time assessing, and will hand out meds...(as it was explained to me anyway).

Quote:
If medication is recommended, should I give it a try? I often worry medications will "cage me up", affect my sex drive, or make me lose weight.
Two weeks ago I was dead set against the thoughts of meds...but I am warming up to it...like has been said on here many times...if you were diabetic, you'd take insulin...if you were in physical pain, you'd take pain killers...if there is something wrong w/ your brain and there is something that can help fix it...why not give it a try. I too am deathly afraid of the sides, which I have not fully researched yet...but I know that I can not go on like this and need to be open to all possiblities.

Quote:
Should I make a list of questions to ask my GP?
Most definitely

Quote:
Or should I simply leave things be, and just give myself the tools mentally and physically that I give my daughter to help me cope?
Only you can answer that one...I am a personal trainer...and I'm often asked why one should hire a trainer...well, if you have goals, and you've been working on them...and you haven't reached them yet...is what you're doing working for you?

Quote:
You often hear, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Well I feel broken a LOT and would like to improve myself but it feels like such a never ending task.

Any input is appreciated. Sorry for the long winded post! It would have been much longer if I wouldn't have sat on my hands!
I hope that helps a bit...I know I babbled a lot
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Old 09-30-04, 02:04 PM
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My first question is to ask you if your daughter has ever been assessed for a learning disability- they COMMONLY co-occur with ADHD and makes school life even more difficult and confusing! Is there one particular area where she really stuggles, but shows lots of capability in other areas (for example, is she great a math but stinks at reading). Also, does she go to resource in school? Lots of times taking them out of a large group and giving them small group or one-to-one instruction can make all of the difference. If she is diagnosed with ADHD she automatically qualifies for special services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) under a category called Other Health Impaired. (I hate the word disability).
Sounds like the Sarafem is giving you some symptoms of depression, is that a side effect? I'd definitely talk to your doctor about that! You also are expressing a lot of the symptoms of ADD, I think as adults we are so used to being the way we are that we don't realize that there might be some underlying thing going on. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to be on meds. I have ADD and so does my son, I always did well in school so nobody ever noticed, but my son struggles big time so for him meds are helpful. Totally an individual decision.
Your GP can diagnose you but I agree with Struggling that you might be better off to see a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist for a more complete evaluation. Counselors and psychologists typically approach testing from a more therapeutic perspective, whereas psychiatrists typically follow the medical model. Counselors and psychologists can not prescribe meds, so if you want to go that route, they would give you a referral, as the psychiatrist is an MD and is trained in psychopharmacology more thoroughly.
Oh, and yes, try to have a list of questions as your ADD might get in the way of you remembering everything (but if you're like me, you will probably forget your list or lose it on the way!)
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Old 10-01-04, 07:27 AM
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Struggling...sounds like you might be riding in a boat that's looking a bit like my own! I'm going to keep in mind the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist. I'm going to do what I can to be prepared, that is IF I can manage to organize what I need to bring since I always forget something or lose it along the way! lol

caj, my daughter is diagnosed with ADHD and this will be our 3rd year of going through IEPs with the school. I took her to see a psychologist and was pleased with the thorough and gentle approach they had with her. She has been tested twice for LD, but all of her scores weren't low enough for her to qualify. I found it interesting that she scored above average with her mental processing speed but below average when it came to applying what she processed. I intend on battling the attendees at the next IEP we have and find out what her rights are. I was told at the last meeting in April this year, that they could slip things through the cracks and give her special services but they felt that it wasn't going to benefit her at all. So I was "left scratching my head". I'm no longer on the Sarafem, haven't been on it in well over a year or two. Feeling myself fall into a depression, like you noted, is the reason I stopped taking them. Thank you for all of your helpful input, it's much appreciated.
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Old 10-01-04, 07:38 AM
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SerenaLynn I can't help but notice that your daughter was tested for a learning disability but has she been tested to see exactly were she falls in the scales? You see my son had to be tested due to his father and I refusing to hold him back in the first grade. The test was extensive going from not only academic but thru physical and mental capabilities, they found that his work scores were so low due to his being extremely bored and unchallenged. Due to a new IEP program while Dakota IS in the fifth grade classroom BUT he is excelling at 8th and 9th grade studies with the help of a teacher's assistant who sits between him and another classmate who has Asperager's. He was so bored that he'd just do the work to get it out of his way.

p.s. You've described a lot of things and feelings that I myself have felt and sometimes still feel---How I wish I could just hug you and let you know it'll be all right. Just remember show yourself as much kindness and thoughtfullness as you do your daughter.
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Old 10-01-04, 11:10 AM
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I'm 46 and come out of my denial (and procrastination) and was diagnosed 2 months after my 11 yr old daugher was. (She in May, myself in July) A psychologist did her testing and I just called a psychiatrist. The first one I went to I did NOT like. Found another one a few weeks later and LOVE him!! My suggestion would be a psychiatrist. He can prescribe the meds and is also there for other issues that can, will, and do arise from adults newly dealing with ADD. You don't have to be rushed as you would with a reg. Dr. because he's got a room full of patients waiting. With the psych you have him for the full 30-60 min. You also don't have to deal with going the psychologist for one thing then going to your MD for the Rx for the meds. You may have to try several Dr.'s before you find one that is a good fit for you. It's really important that you be able to open up and talk to them.
On the Serafem...little background. (this is what I do for a living) Serafem is the same thing as Prozac and it's generic Fluoxetine. When the manufacturers Eli Lilly's patent ran out in Oct of 2002 (A drug can only stay 'Brand with no generic' for 7 years, unless there are some special circumstances) They were gettting ready to lose a LOT of money! So they needed something PDQ to replace it and maintain the revenue. So in an act of wonderfully creative marketing, they not only come up with a 'new' drug, but a 'new' disorder that it will cure!!! That being PMSD. So here come the ads....and the hype....then....pharmacists starting telling customers paying Brand price/co-pays for Serafem "Hey, did you know this is basically Prozac, and it's now generic and a LOT less expensive?' Opps.... Lilly is then scrambling for a new 'cash cow', and then BOOM! Here comes Strattera!! Reps are saturating the Dr.s offices, it's a 'non-stimulant', you can get refills, (unlike the other ADD meds) your patients can't abuse it or become dependent on it, it's approved for Adult ADD, you won't have to worry about DEA auditing you as much, plus we're gonna load you up on all the free samples you can handle and let's go to lunch and let me tell you about all the 'incentives' you can participate in if you write 'x' number of prescriptions for this new wonder drug. The studies out now show that individuals (adult or children) respond no better to Strattera than the tried and true ADD meds. The other downside it that you have to wait up to 2 months to see any IF any results and if you or your child are among those that it doesn't work for you've just wasted all that time.
In order to save time when I had my 1st appt with both of the psychiatrists I did one of the online ADD questionnaires and took it with me to give them. It was a help.
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Old 12-22-04, 07:27 PM
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Hi, I got diagnosed at 40, and it was a huge relief! I also had a long history of anxiety diagnosis and pms. My ADD was "accidently" discovered while seeing an actual psyciatrist for the first time, instead of my GP. The most helpful thing by far is just the knowledge and the tools you learn about how you think. I would definatly make your first priority after diagnosis, finding a qualified ADD coach. These people really help you organize yourself. Dont be afraid of medication. You may have amazing relief, or you may have intolerable side effects. No one can tell you what your body will do. Good luck!!
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Old 01-07-05, 06:32 PM
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Hi - I got diagnosed at 36 - I suspected for a long time that something was wrong with me - but after my son's diagnosis finally got the courage to go and find out for sure what was wrong with me - I did neurological & intelligence tests - that coupled with all my school reports and my self report plus a few other probing questions from the psychiatrist confirmed ADHD - I have been on medication for a little over 6 weeks and I guess the main thing that it has revealed was how hard everything was before medication - how hard it was to study (am at uni), how hard it was to have patience, how hard it was to listen to others, how hard it was not be be impulsive, how hard it was being a parent, in fact how hard it was to go through life with 50 conversations going on in my head at the same time - it's true that medication may change your life for the better or worse - but seek an answer / diagnosis First and THEN look at your options - I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing the results of your first appointment with a psychiatrist. Good luck & have my fingers crossed that you find a good doc
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Old 01-09-05, 03:31 PM
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I relate so much to what many of you have shared. I'm 44 and a counselor and an educator, so you think I could pick up on my own ADHD, but it's just now starting to dawn on me. Of course with perimenopause the symptoms have gotten a lot worse, so might be harder to miss, but as I look back I've had them all my life. I knew I was hyperactive as a kid (dx by two doctors but never took meds). I was a really good student in high school, college, and grad school, so I thought I had grown out of it. The hyper physical traits had tapered off and I guess I just didn't realize that constant daydreaming for an adult or always having to fend off anxiety wasn't normal. I guess what's normal for you you just assume to normal for everyone. I suppose the fact that my parents had to get me keys that beeped when I clapped my hands and that I lost more papers than my students should have given me a clue -- but no. Looking backward it seems so obvious now. I guess I had never heard of hyperfocusing before, so the school part threw me off -- I know for so many school is very traumatic, but the structure it provided is actually when I succeeded the best.

My daughter has all the signs of ADHD too. She is seven and has pretty significant symptoms. I'd like to get her tested but my husband doesn't want to--I'm think he knows what they'll find. Even as a kid she ran back and forth bouncing off walls, I couldn't leave her alone for a moment because she was always doing dangerous things. I'd see other mom's relaxing and talking and that NEVER happened for me, because I was chasing her. Even then I didn't suspect it. Denial is something else, isn't it. Sorry for how wordy this got. Lot to get off my chest I guess.

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