I've dealt with ADHD my entire life, was on Ritalin as a child, and am now 37 years old. I have been unmedicated (rather self medicated with caffiene and nicotine) for years and years. I have recently hit a point of desperation in my life, and I feel like I need to get this condition under better control, but I don't know where to start. I manifest symptoms in every single ADHD subtype, including overfocused, inattentive, limbic, temporal, and basal. I have read several articles and web resources that deal with the different subtypes, and they all seem to have different approaches. Stimulants work for some subtypes, but aggravate others, for example. I wonder if I'm going to have to choose which symptoms I want to control, and how much I want to aggravate the other symptoms. I love to write fiction, and I'm pretty good at it, at the risk of sounding conceited. My primary issue is that if I cannot complete something in one sitting, it will not get done. I can hyperfocus for hours at a time, but once that time is up, my project is done. This really only applies to personal projects. I can do school and work assignments, and I can cope fairly well. But I want very much to be able to do this in my personal projects and writing as well, and I find that I am just physically unable to do so. I'm going to talk to a GP next week, but I just don't know where to start.
Does anyone else deal with very broad spectrum symptomology where the broad range of symptoms are quite acute? Any advice would be much appreciated, I prefer to have as much knowledge under my belt as possible before I go to the doc.
Thank you so much, and apologies for the long rambling.
I have experienced many of the same things that you describe in your post. I had always had the disorganization and procrastination problems, but things came to a head when I was pulled aside at work and made to answer for my impulsive and perplexing behavior. I knew that something was wrong, but couldn't figure out how to fix it.
Thankfully, the next weekend, I saw a show on PBS with Dr. Daniel G. Amen. I started researching the different types and, honestly, when I read about the "Inattentive" form of ADHD; it was like looking in a mirror.
The following Monday, I called my Family Care Physician (or GP), whom I trust implicitly, and made an appointment. She started me on meds and it was like the light bulb suddenly started shining. I could think much clearer and was able to focus better on my tasks at hand.
Since that day, she referred me to Psychiatrist and I see a Therapist regularly. My meds have been adjusted a few times, according to how different ones affected my condition. Granted, I still experience the symptoms, but they are helped tremendously by the meds and by my therapy sessions.
I'm not a doctor, but based upon my experiences, I think that it's a excellent idea to see your GP as soon as possible. Before you go to your appointment, it might be a good idea to create a list of what you are experiencing and how you feel at various times of the day. They may want to know about your diet, exercise routine, and sleeping habits. Also, it might help to jot down some of the questions that you mentioned in your post. Often, I will forget the questions that I wanted to ask the doctor if I don't have a reference.
If they decide to refer you to a psychiatrist, your first visit will probably be your longest. They will also need to know what you have been experiencing. After that, the appointments will not last as long, unless you request a longer appointment. Normally, my appointments last about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. I will usually give him the highlights about how my month has been and then he will give me the prescriptions for my meds.
Hopefully, they will suggest that you see a therapist. I must say that it has helped me tremendously. I've figured out a lot about myself. I am still working at it, but often it just helps to talk things out and to figure out if my assumptions and observations are correct. Every once in a while I have an epiphany moment, but mostly it's chipping away at something piece by piece.
I hope that this helps you and please remember that you aren't alone. I'm rooting for you!!
You are wise to educate yourself before going to the doctor. In fact, count on the fact that most doctors are not knowledgeable about ADHD. Even some who claim knowledge have poor knowledge.
I always emphasize self-advocacy. The smarter you are about treatment strategies, the more you can choose a skilled clinician and work with that clinician on optimal results.
The fact is, you are not alone in having "more than ADHD." About 75 percent of adults with late-diagnosis ADHD (meaning, diagnosed later in life or going without treatment for a long time) have a co-existing condition. That includes anxiety, substance-use disorders, depression, etc.
The most successful outcomes I've seen for these adults often come from a combination of stimulant and a medication that addresses the anxiety/depression, etc. -- combined with a good diet (low in processed sugars and carbs, ample in healthy proteins and fats), exercise, and sufficient sleep.
It sounds as though you have some real strengths, but you might have developed some bad habits that could thwart optimal treatment efforts. "Hyperfocusing" is not truly a "gift." It means that there is little balance or ability to regulate focus.
Contrary to the propaganda, people without ADHD can focus very well, too. So this notion of hyperfocusing being an ADHD-only trait is just silly and counter-productive. How are you going to put your talents to good use, for example, if you can't tackle any project that can't be done in one setting? That's a set up for frustration and failure, in my opinion.
You are 37, still young but getting to the age where "hyperfocus" will wear you out. To play the long game well, you'll need more balance and self-regulation. Pursuing good treatment for your ADHD can help you achieve just that.
Thank you Raven and Gina both! I am excited to go see the GP because I feel like I can finally get something to help. I have not really looked at the nutrition angle, but I probably should. I sometimes feel like I might have an anxiety type issue, because sometimes I worry to no end. I sometimes deal with depression type symptoms. Hopefully the GP can point me towards a good ADHD expert to help get things going.
I am not a doctor, so my answer is totally based upon what I would do to start looking for a good GP. I would start by figuring out what my insurance would pay for and my exact requirements. Maybe create a "Pro," "Con" & "Maybe" list.
I would then contact my insurance company and get a list of GP's that are covered by my insurance (maybe within a 10 to 15-mile radius.) Also, I have found that most insurance companies will have an 800 number that is manned by a nurse or health specialist. If you explain your situation they will usually listen carefully so they can refer you to the right doctor. If they weren't helpful or I didn't feel comfortable talking to them, I would ask for a different nurse to talk to, but that's just me.
Then there are different ways to eliminate doctors based upon your preferences like, would you feel more comfortable with a male or female doctor.
Then there are different avenues to get information. There is the internet where you can Google the Doctor's name. However, I wouldn't go solely by an internet review in case the reviewer was too biased for or against the doctor. I might call the doctor directly and ask to speak to their nurse. Sometimes they will take your number and call you back later in the day. If you take this route, it may help to have a list of questions you want to cover.
If I had a child, I might even ask my child's pediatrician. They deal with different forms of ADHD regularly and may be able to point you in the right direction to find a GP. (Often the doctor community is small enough that they know other physicians that could help you, not only with ADHD, but other ailments as well.) I realize that it's summertime, but your child's school might have a list of doctors that they know. You wouldn't have to give them all the details, just ask if they know any good GP's.
You might want to ask a close friend who their doctor is and why do they like that person or even if they have seen a doctor that they didn't like. You might be able to cross them off the list.
If there is a library in your community, they might have a section for Local, or community information, including different doctors, veterinarians, florists, caterers, etc. I have also seen community bulletin boards that list this type of information. I know it's probably a stretch, but I'm trying to list the different places that I've seen this type of information.
The way that I found the GP that I see now was by calling my insurance company and getting a list of doctors. Then I lucked out because when I went for my first appointment I saw the doctor that I originally made the appointment with. Then the 2nd appointment, I met with his partner. I liked her much better and have been going to her for about 15 years, now. If you go to a large practice, they may have a Physician's Assistant. They will usually ask you on the phone if you are willing to meet with them instead of the doctor. Don't be afraid to say "No" if that's how you feel.
I hate disappointing anyone, but the way that I look at it, it's my body, my health, etc. If I like Doctor C better than Doctor A then, I will continue to see Doctor C.
Regarding my therapist, for the 1st year, I paid out of my pocket. Since my insurance wasn't paying her, she charged me the lowest hourly rate that she charges. I can't promise that this would happen for you, but it probably wouldn't hurt to ask. (I actually got her name from the yellow pages.)
I realize that this is probably more than you asked for, but I've been in your place where I was new to a community and had no idea what doctor would be best to see. Please remember, since I'm not a doctor, I'm only giving you the steps that I would take to find a new doctor. The doctors that monitor this WEBMD Community Response bulletin board may disagree with what I have said here. If that's the case, then please take their advice rather than mine.
Dear Trdinora, I thought of a couple more resources that might help you. Your church or church office might have a list of doctors. Also, regarding the therapy, you might want to do a Google search on ADHD support groups in your area. I have seen where they meet in churches and community centers and often cost very little or sometimes none at all.
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