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Undiagnosed but wondering where to start
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Hinapen posted:
For a few years now, I've come to this gradual realization that I have ADHD. Lately, I've been doing quite a bit of research on the subject and I not only discover that I have every one of the inattentive symptoms, but I've had them all my life. (I learned that my biological father has ADHD and he takes medicine for it if that counts for anything).

For years with struggling with school and whatnot, I've always been subjected with the same people (especially my mother) telling me the same thing. "You're such a smart girl, you just need to apply yourself" and similar things that made me convinced that I was a disappointment for having so much potential for someone so lazy. I'm looking at the possibility that I have ADHD with the hope that these difficulties I had growing up may finally be validated and that I'll finally have answers.

But what do I do now? What kind of specialist out there do I look for, especially since I'm very low income at the moment. And if I find out that, yes, I do have ADHD, what do I do with that knowledge? I'm a bit nervous to find that out.

Thanks.

-Hina
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An_244961 responded:
I was in a similar boat - 30 , professional, intelligent, socially bummed out, etc.).

I contacted a physchologist (not a physciatrist, I wanted data and a diagnosis, not some instant Rx for a medication) who administers a physco-educational evaluation. Originally, I just wanted to understand what my optimal learning style was because I just found I was hitting a wall professionally and personally. This exam was not inexpensive, but the data and diagnoses uncovered is helping me create a gameplan - I think it was worth the time and expense.

Also, here's a couple websites to attend some monthly meetings with others who can provide additional, supportive information:

http://www.ldaamerica.org/aboutld/adults/index.asp
http://www.chadd.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Especially_For_Adults
and just for grins, I really enjoyed and related to this film, maybe you will too: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278469/

Be well and have fun!
--S
 
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Gina Pera responded:
Hi Hina,

Congrats. I think you're doing a good job thus far.

You've been researching the topic carefully, you're looking back over your life through a potential ADHD lens, and you've made the genetic connection to your dad (ADHD is 76 percent heritable).

Moreover, you're approaching the topic with care and caution, including asking good questions, such as what kind of specialist evaluates for ADHD and what do you do if you are diagnosed with ADHD? And, you're asking these questions at a reliable website.

Way to go!

I would advise you to continue reading. You want to be knowledgeable enough to be able to "interview" a potential mental healthcare professional. (Some professionals will claim to include ADHD in their list of specialties even if they don't know very much about it.)

It can be trickier when you don't have access to insurance or higher-priced specialists. But I've also seen people with great insurance and lots of money get poor care. So, this "self-education" advice holds for everyone.

What you do with the diagnosis, if it comes to that, is gain new knowledge to inform effective strategies. Those strategies might include stimulant medication, improved diet and exercise habits, increased focus on optimizing sleep, or all of the above. If the last two sound overwhelming, remember that strategies you've tried in the past didn't include knowledge of your ADHD. That knowledge can make all the difference.

Good luck!

Gina
 
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An_245136 responded:
Hi Hina,
I too gradually realized I have ADD after years of denial and reluctance to get help. I did well in school but not because of my ability to focus and retain. I crammed for everything. I cram in life now. Errons, appointments, spousal relationship. I suffered! Finally at age 41, and experimenting with ADD meds with my PCP, I made up my mind 4 weeks ago that I would finally commit to getting professional help. I also was motivated by 2 recent events. # 1, my repeated workplace annual review where the common theme was "works hard but lacks focus. Does not completed tasks that he starts." # 2, an episode on "The Revolution" with Ty Pennington (who has ADHD). They featured a specialist who has ADHD. He explained the advances that have been made and highly, highly recommended seeing a specialist.
So with the help of my new PCP, I found a well respected and published neurologist that specializes in ADD/ADHD diagnosis and treatment. My first appointment was today. During the appoitment I felt like I could explain myself and tell my life's story with this condition. It was therapy for me also.

Do research, be committed, own it, tell your specialist (and I do mean someone who's practice is committed to neurological disorders) how you feel, don't except just a pamplet and a next appointment slip.

Keep fighting!!!


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