Patient Comments: Adult ADHD - Symptoms

What were your symptoms of adult ADHD and how was it diagnosed?

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I am a 42-year-old mother of three who was diagnosed with ADHD recently. As an adopted child, I had no family medical history to pull from. After meeting my biological family, I learned of a strong genetic predisposition to ADHD. My birth mother is a pack rat/depressive/ADHD to the “nth” degree. I have a brother who was diagnosed as a child and two sisters who were diagnosed as college students. Their experiences were so similar to mine (we all completely fell apart as college freshmen without our parents to hold our lives together) that I decided to seek treatment. I went to my doctor who referred me to a psychologist. He was a bit too “New Age-y” for me, so I contacted the psychology department at the local university and found an ongoing study on adults with undiagnosed ADHD. Over a period of six months, I was questioned and tested and a diagnosis was made and passed along to my doctor. My adoptive parents were also asked to meet with the doctor conducting the study to help with childhood background details. I am now on Ritalin, and it is, quite frankly, a miracle. I have been criticized all my life for talking too much, speaking too quickly, not being tidy or clean enough, being lazy, etc. I have never achieved the level of professional success it was assumed I would achieve. I could go on forever. I urge anyone who thinks they might have ADHD as an adult to get help. And keep looking for help if anyone throws a roadblock in your way. This is difficult for people with ADHD. (Follow-through is a huge issue for us!) It took me years after knowing I have ADHD to finally get around to seeking help. My children are now being treated, and it makes a world of difference for them both socially and academically.

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Comment from: Mellyjelly1111, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

My issues really began in high school, where I'd always hear how I was wasting my potential. I would skip school most days just because I was fascinated by some other thing. I am 28 and have had at least 30 jobs. I can't ever get caught up enough to be on time or to actually sit and study. I've always been all over the place.

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Comment from: poppydog, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 29

My beautiful 24 year old son, diagnosed with ADHD as a 6 year old by 7 consultants and a professor. Today he on a section 2 MHA where his consultant refuses to acknowledge he has ADHD and the ADHD consultant who works for the same NHS trust is far too busy to see him! I am a learning disability nurse who has always worked in psychiatry but no matter what arguments and research I present to the services they ignore. My heart is broken but I won't give up on my son I will somehow get him the help that he needs no matter what it takes.

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Comment from: Daily process, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

My partner's friend was a counselor and told her it sounds like your partner might have ADHD. My partner found a web site that had some questions on it and out of 17 questions I had 17 indications that I did have ADHD. I went to my doctor and took tests and the results along with discussions proved I in fact do have ADHD.

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Comment from: skypilot, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 25

I'm 50 and have a wicked case of ADHD. My past family and professional life has been a mess due to this disease; I have always had great medical providers, but for some reason, I have stopped taking Ritalin on my own and this has been a disaster. I was considered "brain damaged" as a kid. How interesting that I became a USAF pilot and did quite well in grad school with a degree in plasma physics. I accomplished this while on 40 mg of Ritalin a day. I was always ashamed of this; I'm not sure why. When the USAF deployed me as a pilot in the recent Mid-East conflict, I stopped the meds just long enough to clear the drug test then resumed the Ritalin and was decorated for my service. I guess that this makes me a cheater. Anyway, I'm retired and quite "set" financially. Ritalin was/is a wonder drug for me.

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Comment from: MC-rider, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 08

I am 40+ and was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago. I was suffering from depression. I had a hard time admitting I needed help and asking for help. My psychiatrist helped me stabilize the depression first (with CBT and fluoxetine). Then he told me he wanted to address my attention problems. At first I thought, "What attention problems?" I thought, "How can I have ADHD? I am a grown man?" Then I had a lot of learning to do! Problems I had as a child (constant daydreaming, chronic procrastination, grades that went from A to F overnight) all seemed to make more sense when looking at them through the ADHD lens. My mind is constantly frantically going and going. I thought everyone thinks that way. But I can't sit and read for more than 10 minutes at a time. Speeding down a highway or racetrack on my motorcycle was the only time I could relax and clear my mind. (Relaxing at 110 mph ... that should have been a clue.) I am still very frustrated trying to manage my ADHD. I am struggling to finish a college degree. I've tried Ritalin, Dexedrine, Focalin and Adderall. They help but I metabolize them quickly and so my attention goes up and down and up and down. I wish I could smooth it out more. Friends tell me to try other drugs. There is also a trade off; my most creative ideas come when I am not on the drugs. The drugs help me live in a world dominated by people with Attention Surplus Disorder, but I feel like I am just playing their game until I figure out something else to do. Nonetheless, my life is *definitely* better than when I was undiagnosed and untreated.

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