• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

Margaret

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Jun 1, 2005
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I am 58 and, following 2-3 weeks of various tests administered by a psychologist app. 10 years ago, was diagnosed with Adult ADD. In my heart I knew that was finally the explanation for a lifetime of frustration and depression with schooling, jobs, friendships and managing my home and family...Sari Solden's Women with Attention Deficit Disorder is literally the story of my life.

The psychologist referred me to the #1 psychiatrist in the town where I live. Through the years, beginning in my early 30's, I've seen many doctors, always checked out in good health, but usually either prescribed tranquilizers or antidepressants. The psychiatrist listened, he took a personal interest, agreed 100% with my diagnosis and prescribed Adderal, which brought a calmness to my thinking and order to the chaotic way my world seems to me. For the first time I could remember I was paying attention, focused, and completing tasks. I've never known such inner peace and happiness.

After 18 months, the psychiatrist closed his private practice and went to work for the VA Hospital. He referred me to another psychiatrist who spent MY office visits telling me HIS problems...the last time I saw him he was upset because someone had forgotten that that particular day was his birthday. I left with an unsettled feeling that before long I'd be right back where I'd started...and I was.

Over the next several years, actually up to only a few weeks ago, I've seen one physician after another and 2-3 other psychiatrists - ALL say they do not believe in Adult ADD. The last psychiatrist I saw practically insulted me saying that practically every week someone came in his office claiming to have ADD and wanting amphetamines. I told him I didn't want amphetamines, I wanted help. He handed me a prescription for Welbutrin and said, "You can take it or leave it."

I am not a dope addict - I've lived in the same town for almost 50 years and never had so much as a parking ticket. I am bitterly depressed, angry and frustrated that no physician recognizes what I'm positive is the cause of my problems. The last internal medicine specialist told me that ADD-sufferers are "bums in the gutter - people who cannot hold jobs or fit into society."

There is not ONE ADD symptom that I do not experience every single day of my life and I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from trying to manage...and I'm also falling further and further into depression. I know in my heart that I would never commit suicide but I can certainly understand how a person could reach that point...when you've conscientiously tried to get help for 10-12 years and are all but ridiculed by health care professionals who "do not believe in Adult ADD" you run out of options and I feel like I reached that stage several months ago.

Any advice or suggestions would be deeply appreciated. I am currently taking only one prescription, Welbutrin (prescribed by the internal medicine specialist and also the ONLY antidepressant that has ever helped whatsoever and I'm not even sure it actually helps). My physical health seems to be better than most people my age but I feel my physical health hides the mental and emotional anguish that is dragging me down to a dangerous level.

Thank you.
 

David Baxter

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Perhaps you should show those doctors a few of these resources about adult ADD:

http://www.add.org/

http://www.chadd.org/

http://www.psychlinks.ca/pages/adhd.htm

Hallowell, Edward M. Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood. Simon & Schuster/Trade, 1995

Kelly, Kate, & Ramundo, Peggy. You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! A Self-Help Book for Adults With Attention Deficit Disorder. Fireside Books, 1996

Weiss, Lynn. Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults (3rd Edition). Taylor Publications, 1997

Also:

C.H.A.D.D. Canada (National Capital Region)
P.O. Box 1129, Station B, Ottawa, ON K1P 5R2 (613) 722-8482
 

Daniel

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Sorry to hear your bad experiences with doctors. I may sound like a TV commercial, but have you asked your doctor about the non-stimulant ADD drug Strattera? It's not a controlled substance in the U.S., unlike Adderall, Concerta, Provigil, etc. However, for many people with ADD, Strattera is not as effective as Adderall, which may be why Adderall is still the most popular drug for ADD.

Are there other psychiatrists in your area that you can visit?

Have you tried behavioral therapy? At least with ADD kids, they can take a lower dose of medication when they participate in behaviour therapy.
 

Margaret

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I live in what you'd describe as a small city and it's common knowledge that we do not have a wealth of good psychiatrists here. When a former neighbor ( who knows the first doctor I saw both professionally and socially) ran into him at a meeting, Ann, who is a family counseling social worker herself, told him of the growing frustration of needing good psychiatric assistance in her work and asked who he would send someone in his own family to see and the doctor answered that he would not feel comfortable with anyone locally. There are two doctors I'd like to meet but neither is taking new patients.

The last psychiatrist I saw, the one who was so insulting, said he did not believe in Adult ADD. I asked him if he would be willing to read my copies of Driven to Distraction and Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and he quite sternly said no, not under any circumstances. Quite frankly, I have never been treated so rudely by any doctor AND I reported the incident to the hospital he is associated with and received a sincere apology from them, but not the doctor.

I watched a program on TV last night about teenagers taking Ritalin in large doses to enhance their learning and testing skills...and wondered how on earth do kids get ADD medication yet a 58-year old woman with a handful of positive ADD test results can't even get a physician to look at them. One of the very best internal medicine specialists here, a doctor I've seen for probably 20 years, laughed and told me that ADD sufferers were bums in the street, etc., not well-groomed, attractive, creative people.

I have a first cousin here who is a cancer specialist. He knows ADD and ADHD run in our family - his sons are ADHD and his 35-year old brother committed suicide years ago because of what I sincerely believe was the frustration of ADHD and chronic depression. The brother was a charming, handsome artist and writer eternally plagued by hyperactivity and not being able to concentrate but back then I think the assumption was that children outgrew ADHD and no one had ever heard of Adult ADD.

When I had a complete physical almost a year ago I asked the doctor about Stratera. His remark was, "You don't need that stuff." He told me he thought I was bored, which was absurd.

I honestly am about to give up and give in to ADD. I'm exhausted with my act. I'm tired of lying, always making excuses why I can't get my act together, my home is nearly trashed with piles of belongings I can't manage while my mind goes lickedy-split 24/7 dreaming up more and more things to do...and people telling me I'm just SO creative and that all creative or artistic people are scatterbrained. I'm not scatterbrained but my concept of everything in my entire life is chaotic and disorganized. I honestly feel like I am fighting a battle that not another person on this planet believes exists and I'm worn out.
 

Daniel

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How far is the nearest town with a psychiatrist?
 

David Baxter

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Exactly the question I was going to ask, Daniel... or even the closest town to a physician who might have his eyes and brain open to reality...

That's a depressing situation you describe, Margaret...
 

Margaret

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Probably 4 hours! Probably Dallas, Texas and then I'd just be shooting in the dark. There is a psychiatrist here whose advertisement says he specializes in Adult ADD but I've been calling for almost two years and they always say he's not taking any new patients.
 

Daniel

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If you could see a new general practice physician, you could have a better chance of getting ADD meds if you have a psychologist vouch for your diagnosis. For example, the psychologist could write an open letter giving your diagnosis and need for medications.
 

Murphy

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I SO relate to Margaret.... and wonder, how many of us have struggled silently in frustration...accepted lies that we were stupid, when in fact we were quite bright...been misunderstood our entire lives...kept everything under cover and learned how to act as society dictates...made to stifle creativity because it didn't fit in everyone else's world...etc. etc. etc. I think Margaret must be very self-controlled to have acted as sanely as she has after doctors who are obvious idiots, have ridiculed and insulted her. As you well know, ADD shows up in pictures of the brain--it can be proven scientifically.

Two kinds of behavior I don't comprehend: physicians who behave like this, being a huge stumbling block to their patients, and--psychopaths.
 

Murphy

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I SO relate to Margaret.... and wonder, how many of us have struggled silently in frustration...accepted lies that we were stupid, when in fact we were quite bright...been misunderstood our entire lives...kept everything under cover and learned how to act as society dictates...made to stifle creativity because it didn't fit in everyone else's world...etc. etc. etc. I think Margaret must be very self-controlled to have acted as sanely as she has after doctors who are obvious idiots, have ridiculed and insulted her. As you well know, ADD shows up in pictures of the brain--it can be proven scientifically.

Two kinds of behavior I don't comprehend: physicians who behave like this, being a huge stumbling block to their patients, and--psychopaths.
 

Lana

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Margaret;
My heart goes out to you, as does my admiration for the graceful way you've been handling yourself. Hang in there.

As for the ADD specialist, would it be possible to visit the office in person and ask secretary to see the doctor and see if he can make room for you? Or, ask her if there is a waiting list or time when he will accept new patients? Another option may be to ask your previous psychiatrist if he can recommend a physician (at least) that maybe able to referr you to a specialist. Sometimes doctors work on referrals only so finding a physician that is ADD-friendly would help.

Let us know how things go. Best wishes,
Lana.
 

Lana

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Margaret;
My heart goes out to you, as does my admiration for the graceful way you've been handling yourself. Hang in there.

As for the ADD specialist, would it be possible to visit the office in person and ask secretary to see the doctor and see if he can make room for you? Or, ask her if there is a waiting list or time when he will accept new patients? Another option may be to ask your previous psychiatrist if he can recommend a physician (at least) that maybe able to referr you to a specialist. Sometimes doctors work on referrals only so finding a physician that is ADD-friendly would help.

Let us know how things go. Best wishes,
Lana.
 

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