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Adult Diagnosis & Treatment This forum is for the discussion of issues related to the diagnosis of AD/HD

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Old 04-09-12, 04:01 AM
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Not sure what kind of focus issue I'm having but looking for suggestions

Hi everyone! I discovered this forum and thought I would create a post to see if anyone can help me figure out how to "correct" my personality. I'm don't really think I have ADD, but I definitely have something that's negatively affecting my life and I'd like to correct it, so perhaps someone on here can provide some insight.

Problem: I can't focus on certain tasks, including both things I want to do and things I don't want to do. Chronologically speaking, I remember from about 1st to 6th grade I could NOT work on my homework. I would stare at for it a few seconds, then roll off the chair and stare at the ceiling for a while, and basically do anything to avoid getting started. Eventually I just had to suck it up and attempt to crank something out.

Starting about 7th grade, the problem sort of got better. I managed to get my homework and projects done, but ALWAYS at the very last minute possible. The projects and homework assignments were short enough that I could do them on the bus ride to school or during the class period before they were due. This trend continued through high school, and I in fact I graduated as salutatorian, but again, I NEVER could begin an assignment early despite continually telling myself that I would try really hard.

Now I'm in my 4th year in college, and I'm just about to graduate with a BS in chemical engineering (I'll be moving onto an MS next year). But my grades aren't near as good as they were in high school. I have a 3.5/4.0 GPA, which is not bad by any means, but nowhere near what they were like in high school. And the main reason is that unlike high school, the assignments and projects are no longer short enough to complete in one night or before class. Even worse, the longer the project, the worse I'll procrastinate (in fact, I'm procrastinating on my senior design project at 3:46 AM right now by writing this post). I want to work on it so badly, but I just CAN'T get started. Occasionally I'll finally get into "focus-mode", but if someone comes in and turns a television on or starts talking, my concentration is shattered.

Ugh... it's not even school stuff. I have an avid interest in programming as hobby, and I have all of these projects that I get super involved in for a weeks. I intensely study and research whatever it is I'm interested in at the time, and then suddenly I just one day lose all ability to continue working on the project. I keep telling myself I'll have free time tomorrow -- I can work on it then, but I never do. It just keeps getting pushed further and further out into never being completed.

But the weird thing is that there are some things I CAN focus on, and very intensely. I can go on a 5-6 hour bike ride no problem, and I can started playing piano when I wake up and play through lunch and dinner until it's night time. So that's why I think I have something different than ADD, since there are certain things where focusing is no problem. I can even focus for hours on some things I don't like doing such as picking weeds.

Weird, isn't it?

Anyway, if anything, it's just making me very frustrated because I have all of these good ideas that I just can't carry out to full implementation and I go crazy staying up later and later each night as I'm "almost ready" to begin working on my homework. Maybe I'm just a horrible procrastinator, but I need to find a way to fix it. I even downloaded something to throttle my internet connection to dial-up speeds (like I had in high school), but then I just find something else to distract myself with.

One other odd thing -- in high school I have never had a problem staying awake in class (I wasn't always paying attention though -- sometimes I would be programming my calculator) but in college I have a HORRIBLE time staying awake. I've experimented with various levels of consistent, high quality sleep but no matter how much sleep I get, I still get so sleepy that I learn absolutely nothing in class because I can't focus.

And I'm not going to see a doctor. I'm 22, but my father still manages all of the medical stuff in our house and he doesn't like any sort of drug or treatment, so that's out of the question. Besides, he wouldn't remember any childhood "evidence" that would indicate a lack of focus (because I always got good grades), so I wouldn't get diagnosed with anything anyway.

So if anyone has some lifestyle changes I could make that might help with this situation, I would appreciate it so much!

(Oh, I'm also going to purchase some fish oil capsules from the grocery store because I read that Omega-3s can help increase concentration. Does anyone have experience with this?)

Sorry for the incredibly long post, but thank you!
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Old 04-09-12, 05:24 AM
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Re: Not sure what kind of focus issue I'm having but looking for suggestions

Is there any way you could maybe talk to someone in your counseling services at your college? I'm not saying you have adhd and alot of things can seem like adhd but you list impairments that could be adhd. If you had access to services that maybe could evaluate you at school without getting your parents involved maybe that could help?
I take fish oil in addition to adderall and I notice that it deos help me remain more level throughout the day but its hard to isolate that feeling because I do talk meds. A member here named lunacie take fish oil only and she says its amazingly helpful so you could try sending her a pm if you want. Welcome!
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Old 04-09-12, 03:55 PM
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Re: Not sure what kind of focus issue I'm having but looking for suggestions

I assume that you've already spoken to your professors? If not, be sure to ask them where you have been weak academically. College is a different beast than highschool and no engineering school is going to be easy. If you're getting lower grades than your peers than there might be something else going on, but if your grades are relatively the same for the same amount of effort...

I can study twice as long as someone else and even take the time to explain concepts to them that I understand when they don't and yet, such a person will have a higher grade in the end; that's the sort of thing you are looking for. Your best feedback is what you get from your professors.

It could just be that the internet is one big distraction in which case it comes down to mind over matter. You could try something like the StayFocused app.
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