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Guest ASchwartz

Adult ADHD

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Guest ASchwartz

There is nothing that contributes more ammunition to marital tensions and misunderstandings than when either one or both spouses have ADHD. In my private practice I see many adult men who have lived with ADHD their entire lives. In more than a few cases they went undiagnosed until they came to see me. Why did they come to me seeking psychotherapy? Marital arguing, fighting, quarreling, etc...all different words for the same thing, they could not get along with their wives.

When I ask these ADHD husbands to bring their wives to the next session I get quite an earfull about how selfish, dismissive, self centered, disrespectful and inconsiderate their husbands are. The wives complain that their husbands promise to clean the house, put the children to bed, pay the bills or do a myriad of other things that never get done.

When I ask the husbands, in front of their wives why they did not do these chores they complain either that they forgot or that they were never told to do these things.

Needless to say, the wives are outraged, in the session, at the nerve of their husbands to say they "forgot" or were never told.

This is just the beginning of their entry into the world of learning to adjust to the problem of Adult ADHD and how to manage work issues and marriage.

As one of the moderators of this community and as a psychotherapist I want to invite both wives and husbands to discuss their problems with ADHD.

By the way, the lives of these people are often complicated by the fact that they have one or more children with the disorder. Therefore, I invite one and all who have children with ADHD to join in the discussion.

Dr. Allan Schwartz, Administrator

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I am a middle-aged woman diagnosed with ADHD in 2003 and started taking medication for it in 2004. There are parts of my ADHD that I think are an advantage to me, but the misconceptions about ADD can make me feel a bit life a misfit in social and work settings.

My ADD is complicated by Depression and PTSD and now a physical illness that actually makes ADD, depression, and anxiety symptoms worse for me and can actually cause Depression and Anxiety in people without a history of the disorders.

Look forward to discussing ADHD more in the future and bring perspectives of a teacher with ADHD with experience teaching students with ADHD and other disabilities in the regular education classroom at the high school level. I am on Concerta, just like many of my students when I was teaching.

Flutterby

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Guest ASchwartz

Dear Flutterby,

Thank you for becoming part of the community. Wow, that is quite a story. It is common to have depression along with Adult ADHD because of the feelings of disappointment and frustration that accompany the disorder. It is hard to overcome the feelings of disappointment in one's own self and, what is worse is that, for those of us who struggled with this long before anything was known about it we firmly believed we were stupid, dumb and just plain bad for being impulsive. What is so very impressive in your situation is that you did not let ADHD stop you and you even became a High School teacher. You are a great role model for all of us with this disorder.

Dr. Schwartz

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I was diagnosed with ADHD about 3 years ago. But I didnt go to the doctor for myself until I had taken my son to a doctor for ADHD testing. A local charter school was opening and they specialized in ADHD and Asberger's.

During a couple of the meetings that the school staff had with us, about our son, I began to notice the symptoms were very simular to myself.

I always seemed eager to start new projects, willing to help out with anything, but never seemed to complete most tasks. I can not multi-task. I can not do more than one thing at a time. A telephone call requires 100% attention. I can not see television or have music on, otherwise I will not understand what the person on the phone is saying. I am like a person with a hearing deficit. I constantly ask, "what?"

This has effected employment. I have held numerous jobs. ( 21 jobs in the last 30 years) I held the longest employment for one company at 10 years. They promoted me to a management position, which I struggled with because of the paperwork and organizational skills required. My employees and I got along greatly and they always watched my back when it came to upper mgmt inspections. But on my own, I could not do all the tasks required of the position. It was amazing that the company tolerated me as a manager for 7 years.

My family is on my case about my memory, broken promises, quick temper, and my weakness in budgeting. Though I am good at checks & balances, the impulse to buy things that I know we cant afford is hard to manage. Things like writing this post, takes awhile, because I have to keep going back over it to see what I have written, then correct my mistakes, etc. By the time I am ready to post, my log in session has expired and I have to log back in.

I cant imagine what my wife has to go through dealing with mine and my son's ADHD. I'm sure that is hard to deal with sometimes, when only one person has it, but both a son and a husband, that has to be rough.

I tried Staterra and had a weird reaction to it. I also tried some a few sessions with a counselor before my insurance ran out. Currently I am not being treated for the ADHD and my symptoms are not that bad, unless I get stressed out. Then the symptoms are magnified tremendously.

My son & I are very close. However, I cant stand to be around him when he is acting out. The stress is more than I can stand & I usually just walk away from him.

If you have read my other post, you will see that I have other issues. But I try to make the best of what has been dealt to me. I keep a smile on my face most of the time and try to keep a positive outlook. But there is always a place in my mind that keeps wondering, why me.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Silverfaux,

Thanks for your description of what you are going through with your ADHD. I want to recommend to you that there are many books available at Barnes and Noble or Borders Books or any of the major book stores in the "Self Help" sections. Those books are valuable in that they explain in detail about how you can help yourself overcome the symptoms of ADHD with or without medication. If you are one of the many ADHD adults who does not like to read, I can assure you that some of the books are written for adult ADHD sufferers. You can read them in short spurts and that makes it easier.

On our website, Mental Help Net, there are many articles and postings in the self help section and elsewhere. Go to those and read.

Also, there are many websites around the Internet devoted to Adult ADHD. I would suggest that you go to CHADD on the Internet: Press on this URL or copy and paste if the link does not work:

http://www.chadd.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Especially_For_Adults

CHADD has free meetings for sufferers of Adult ADHD and their families.

You are correct, this is difficult for husbands, wives and other relatives to understand. They tend to think that it is laziness, selfishness, etc. that causes the forgetting and that is not true at all.

Please let us know how it goes for you.

Also, how do all of the other Adult ADHD sufferers out there cope with this thing?

Allan

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Dr. Schwartz,

Since my son has recently been diagnosed ADHD, my whole life is beginning to make more sense. Every article I've ever read on ADHD sounds as if the author's are describing my home and work life. I am a 40-yr. old mother of two who managed quite well with one child, a husband, and a job. And although my second child has expanded my life and my joy in ways immeasurable, I sadly recognize that becoming a Mom to two was the tipping point for me into all-out dysfunction.

Let me say that I have never been formally diagnosed, and in fact dread the idea of broaching this topic with my regular physician who already thinks I'm a fruit loop. (Frequently forgotten appointments, late arrivals, classic ADHD behavior.)

I remember being completely overlooked for the most part in school--a decent A/B student who loved to read, never got in trouble, and was never unduly noticed except for a few turns as teacher's pet. Until, that is, standardized tests rolled round, and to the shock and dismay of everyone, I performed freakishly beyond my grade level. So far beyond that the pendulum then swung the other way for me. Suddenly the principal wanted to know why no one knew that a third grader in his school was able to perform at the 12th grade level. My parents were thrilled, proud as punch. But the dazzling school performance everyone was expecting never materialized. This slowly became the story of my life. Enormous potential, enormous expectations, leading to enormous disapointment for me and for everyone counting on my success.

As I advanced in school and age, I continued to ace all of the tests and later SATs in a way that suggested that I should have been a much better student. My parents' pride slowly eroded and I faced instead a steady stream of "she's just lazy" or "if you would just apply yourself." I loved being in the company of adults and usually had close relationships with my teachers--many of whom let me slide if my paper was a little late or contained a few more errors than normal. They knew me for the potential me, even if the actual me was a little less stunning. Of course, this wouldn't cut it in the real world.

As a bookish girl I chose a bookish profession, but my career has been marked by one failure after another as my poor prioritizing, poor planning, and disorganization always undermines my advancement. I can almost hear a clock ticking when I start a new job, as I know eventually my same old problems will bring me to a point where my boss and co-workers, like my parents and teachers before, gradually watch the shine were off of their great prize. I have learned to anticipate that gradual turning away. Anticipating it puts a knot in my stomach. Losing friendships is almost as painful as failing. And I really hate to fail.

Which brings me back to the present. I look at pictures of my family before the new baby came and I'm amazed at how orderly and wonderful the house looked. How calm and relaxed I seemed. That is a distant memory as now I seem barely able to keep track of where I am. It seems as if I work around the clock, sacrificing sleep to try to maintain a standard for my children that suits me, but my productivity varies greatly.

I started this most recent school year dreading the idea of my oldest child returning to school. Almost immediately there were notes and phone calls from the teacher that my son was out of control. My son, who walked at 10 mos, talked fluently in complete sentences at one year, was struggling to the point of tears to complete 15 minutes of reading with me at home. His handwriting was nearly illegible and not improving. At the same time, his teacher told me, he is obviously a high-order thinker. He talks circles around the other kids his age, has an amazing vocabulary. In spite of his difficulties, she asked that he be tested for the district's gifted program. He performed well on 4 of 5 tests but simply couldn't finish the fifth. He'd had enough. I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard his teacher say over a stack of poor handwriting, "I just don't get it. I just don't understand why he isn't doing better. Do you think he's just lazy?"

I delayed talking to the pediatrician about this about a year longer than I should have--clearly in denial. But I finally had to act as I watched my normally happy little boy become increasingly frustrated, depressed, and even isolated as kids in school began to distance themselves from the odd little boy who could never sit down or be still when asked. Meanwhile, I finally have a job that I love with every fiber of my being, and I am facing my same old pitfalls. Frequently late, forgetful, missed deadlines. The normal household tasks left for me to complete at home after 40 hours of work and evenings of coping with my son's own struggles leave me exhausted.

I notice that I have good days and bad days. Some days, everything is firing and I'm incredibly productive at work, at home. My confidence soars. I think, maybe I've finally got this figured out. But the very next day can be disastrous. "Inconsistency" is a word that has followed me through numerous performance reviews. It's almost as if I have a limited store of concentration, and once I've tapped it, I'm done. I continually feel as if I almost have a handle on everything, only to realize that I've failed in some completely new and bizarre way.

I think of my husband as both a saint (for putting up with my disorganization) and a tyrant (for really letting me have it on occasion and for behaving like a martyr for having to help in my weak moments.) I still manage to do a lot of things for my family and my employer very well, thank you very much, but at work and at home there is a subtle, or not so subtle, tone of condescension from the "others" who don't understand what it's like to be me. I need my husband's help, but I can't help but resent that I need it. I'm sure he has days when he looks at the piles of mail, laundry, and our son and thinks to himself, why did this seem like a good idea.

I've written a book so I'll stop. It feels wonderful to confess this in an anonymous way. I've decided to go into treatment with my son (who after 4 short weeks on his new meds won Student of the Month and now has beautiful handwriting -- amazing! ) I am having a very hard time finding a doctor who specializes in adult ADHD in my area but I will pursue this, both because I'd really like to keep my job, and because perhaps this is something my son and I can bond over. It's still hard. Every parent's first instinct is to be the hero, but I can never quite seem to get my cape off the ground.

Peacefish

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Peacefish,

I believe your posting was also sent to my E. Mail address and I responded by I want to respond on our forum.

First, welcome to our community.

If you suspect that you have ADHD please consult a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist to be evaluated and get a formal diagnosis. Here, at Mental Help Net, we also have a Self Help Section where you can look up information about ADHD and there are postings that I and others have made about Adults with ADHD.

There is not reason why you should fear speaking to any doctor. If you have a doctor who makes you feel like a "fruit cake," get another doctor. We all have problems and difficulties. Some doctors are very understanding and helpful and supportive but others are not. Look for one who is supportive.

However, just to repeat what I said above, you need to consult either a Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist to get a formal diagnosis. My preference would be that you see a Psychologist because Psychiatrists are a little too quick to use medications. There is lots of help for Adult ADHD without resorting to medicines. For example, a psychologist with expertise in ADHD can help you learn how to organize yourself and overcome these difficulties.

Also, you need a professional diagnosis because ADHD may not be what you have. There are other possibilities, like depression from feeling overwhelmed.

What advice do others have??

Allan

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Hi,

I am 35 years old and I was just diagnosed with ADHD a week ago. I have known for quite awhile that I may have ADD/ADHD, but was unsure and thought that would just be too easy an answer for who I am. My husband is absolutely the best, he has teased me off and on about being ADHD, so finally I went on line and started reading about adult ADD/ADHD and I was speechless (for once). It was like reading about my life. I did more research and I took online tests. Then I set up an appointment to meet with an ADD/ADHD specialists who diagnosed me with ADHD.

For me it was the best feeling in the world. All my life I have felt as if I don't fit in any where. I always feel like I am on the outside looking in. I am also aware that I make people uncomfortable and I am constantly apologizing for talking too much or saying something without thinking first. (I always say I had too much caffiene, even when I haven't had a drop all day). Or worse...I spend, weeks or months worrying that I have offended someone and wondering if I should say anything to fix it or if it is even fixable.

Learning that I am ADHD has given me hope. I feel like a new person. I don't want to take drugs to help with the ADHD, I want to approach it naturally. I explained this to my doctor, who insisted I try Straterra...I did for 2 days. 1) I didn't like the way it made feel me sick and 2) I am afraid of the side effects.

I have explained this to my husband, who is trying to be supportive. I have to admit there are times I feel awful because he is the one who experiences my temper the most. I am constantly aware that my quick temper and the way I lash out could almost be verbal abuse to him. That just breaks me inside. For that reason alone I would try a medicine, but I feel that now that I know what I have, now I can work on my quick temper and what I say. I feel that the way to overcome something is to be aware of it first. I can say that now that my husband knows that I do have ADHD, it helps him understand me better. He has agreed to take one of the online quizzes with me to better understand what is going on in my head and my reaction to certain situations. I feel extremely blessed to have such a wonderful husband. I will confess however, that one of the reasons I wanted to know what I had was because I felt my actions where putting a strain on our marriage. My husband is wonderful, but there is only so much a person can take.

I'm also hoping to use my ADHD to my benefit at work as well. I now realize that my ADHD has caused me problems in the past with jobs, but it has also helped me realized why I have excelled at others. I currently work for a small law firm during bankruptcy work. I am always busy, but I am very easily distracted. I have already figured out some ways to minimize the distration and I'm hoping to find other ways to help me stay focused. I'm very lucky because the attorney I work for has a great sense of humor and jokes that he may have ADD himself (I so wouldn't doubt it). Also one of the paralegals who is also a friend of mine has ADD and has been answering a lot of my questions. I'm hoping to keep my job and actually improve and use my ADHD to my benefit. Only time will tell. (I also ask the attorney to teach me new things, because I tend to get bored so easily. I'm hoping not to frustrate him).

I have also not had a good relationship with my mother. In fact we hadn't spoken in 6 years because I walked away from my family. My mother was abusive to me when I was growing up. With my little sister she had more patience. I never was upset that my little sister and my mom had such a good relationship, but I won't say I wasn't jealous. As soon as I was diagnosed with ADHD, I told my mom. I have never been able to heal from the way she treated me growing up, but knowing I had ADHD allows me to heal some, knowing that she was a single mom in the 70's trying to bring up a daughter that was somewhat out of control. It makes sense to me now...and I feel bad for her. If she had known that I had ADHD, maybe it would have been different. I don't regret the past, it has made me who I am, but at least I can have some peace about it.

I am also not quick to make new friends, I hide behind the ones I already have. I feel they know me best and still stay my friend, that says something for loyalty.

I am hoping to learn more about my ADHD, my strengths and my weaknesses. I hope that I am able to control it without the use of meds and I hope I can show my appreciation to my husband for being so understanding of me.

I hope I will learn something from this site and I hope that my experiences can help someone else.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Keldra and Welcome,

It is great to read about such a positive attitude as yours. Also, I do not blame you for wanting to avoid the drugs.

Instead of drugs, there are lots of excellent self help books at Barnes and Noble or at Borders Books or many other stores, that focus on Adult ADHD and strategies to use to over come many of it's symptoms. There are also psychologists and social workers trained to do skills coaching in this to help clients learn how to compensate for their difficulties.

Do you find that you experience depression along with the ADHD??

Allan :(

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi JR,

Stress not over the issue of ADD. Yes, consult your psychiatrist but, if you are able to function OK he many not recommend anything. There are many self help books on Adult ADHD with suggestions and exercises to help handle the symptoms of ADHD but you may have learned these already all on your own without being aware of it.

It is nothing like Narcissism and nothing to fret about. Worry not and there are ways to help your self. It's all a matter of learning how to keep organized, do one thing at a time until its done and not allow your self to get distracted in the middle of doing a task. It is also a matter of learning how to not interrupt others when they are speaking and of listening to what the other is saying Before you respond.

Allan:)

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Hello ASchwartz

I have read a book "Driven to Distraction" and I was wondering if I had "ADD".

My therapy told me that if I can focus on computer games, I don't have "ADD".

I qualified most questions evaluating "ADD".

I forgot to bring back my stuff often, such as umbrella, wallet, watch, glasses since I was young. I got reading difficulties. I read books slowly. My room is a mess most of the time. I can't keep reading above 15 mins. Getting along with people usually makes me nervous. My therapy said that It's because I only got interested in stuff I like such as computer games. Since my therapy is free charge, no evaluation test.

Do you think that I have "ADD"?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Peggy,

It is never possible to give a real diagnosis over the Internet. However, I will say, without knowing you, that it is possible. You see, there are a variety of problems that have similar symptoms. For example, with Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, etc, it is possible to have the symptoms you mention.

My suggestion: Make an appointment with either a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatrist who has expertise in ADHD and they can do an evaluation and test you. If you test positive, there are therapeutic techniques that can be used to help you cope with ADHD. If those do not work, then there is medication and further therapeutic techniques.

Can you tell me more about yourself?

Allan B)

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I just finished a two hour conversation with my 24 year old son and I am more convinced than ever that he has ADHD. His entire life I have believed that even though all the psychologists, etc have said that he doesn't. Unfortunately he is very hesitant about seeking help and taking medication. His life is a mirror image of the stories I have read on this website. How can I help? does anybody have any suggestions?:confused:

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi marti2mm,

Of course I have no way of knowing whether or not your son has ADD. It can be very difficult to diagnose. I wonder if any of those psychologists gave him some other diagnosis? For example, some of the ADD symptoms are similar to depression, bipolar disorder or extreme anxiety disorder. Do you know what they said?

Second, if you are correct then there are other non medicine types of treatment that could help him. For example, a coach could help him stay organized and focus his attention.

Can you tell us more about your son???

Allan

Edited by ASchwartz

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Hi ASchwartz.......I hope you can help me. My husband is either ADD or just plan rude. I have never met anyone like him before. He interrupts conversations constantly. I can't get a full sentence out without him interrupting. I then ask him to please wait til I am finished and then he can respond. No such luck. Broken promises are an every day thing as well in our house. It hurts me a lot because to me he is lying (he does have a real problem with not telling the truth in general) when he promises to do something and then it never, "never" happens. His concentration level is poor. He is unable to multi task. The TV will be on and I will stand in front of him asking him a question about something and he can't even answer because he can't stop looking at the TV. There are so many things that he begins and doesn't finish. Right in the middle he will stop and go do something else. Nothing, "nothing" ever gets done around here. He breaks confindence all the time. I will ask him not to tell my children something (they are adults) and he just blurts it out thinking there was nothing wrong with what he did. Bills never get paid and utilities have been turned off because he says he forgets to pay them even after I remind him countless times. I have offered to take over the bills but he has a problem with it. He has control issues which also get in the way of us getting along.

These are "some" of the problems we have. It is taking a toll on our marriage to the point I end up in tears many times because I can't believe how rude and hurtful he can be. Trust and honesty is extremely important to me and I can trust him because he isn't honest with all things.

Can you please help me? His son is Altistic and I think his brother has ADD although I am not sure. It seems to be a tender subject around his family.

Thank you so much for listening. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Butterfly29,

Perhaps you husband does suffer from ADHD but I really cannot say. You would need to convince him that there is a problem and have him seen by a clinical psychologist who could diagnose his problem and make recommendations.

I just want to let you know that the autistic child has absolutely nothing to do with ADHD.

Can you convince your husband to be seen and evaluated?

Allan

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Hi Allan.....Thank you so much for responding to my post. I have tried in the past to make him see there may be a problem. I may have gone about it wrong. I searched the web and found a list of symptoms of ADD adults. I showed it to him and we read it together. He agreed that a lot of it sounded like him but that is as far as it went. Since then I have brought it up but I haven't been able to get him to commit to a doctor visit.

Would you have any suggestions as to how I can make him see that he needs to see someone? I get the feeling he feels insulted by my suggestion. I could be wrong.

I just know I need him to see someone for me and our marriage just as much for himself.

Let me know if you have any ideas how I can handle this in a possitive way so he will be receptive.

Thanks so much Allan and have a wonderful day!

Butterfly29

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Guest ASchwartz

HI Butterfly29,

It is common for people to feel offended by the suggestion that they see someone. It is very complicated. You might try to very gently point out that his ADD is complicating your relationship to each other and that you know that you are not innocent because you are sure that you cause problems too, but that it would help both of you if he went and that you would go with him. In other words, be supportive and take part of the responsibility on you. Tell him that you want to learn how to help if he has ADHD and how you can help each other even if he does not.

Does this make sense??? Let me know.

Allan :rolleyes:

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Hi Allan,

This makes great sense. Thank you so much. I will do as you suggest.

I appreciate you so much for helping me with this. Sometimes I feel so alone and don't know where to turn or what to do.

I will let you know what he says.

Have a wonderful day!

Ann

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I've missed out the H cause I don't think either of us is Hyper. I have felt very angry with my mother for some years because she completely tunes out when I'm talking to her.

One time I was talking to her in a cafe about my son's seziures that he had just started having at the age of 11 and how terrifying they where. I could tell she was paying more attention to the activities of other people and not listening to me. I stopped mid sentence and waited - it took a little while for her to realize that I wasn't speaking anymore. She did not say 'Why did you stop?' because she was unaware. She also didn't pick up on the fact that I was in a bad mood with her for the rest of that shopping trip.

As for me - I cannot listen with the TV on. Even just the visual aspect will distract me from a phone call. I have to switch off sound and look away or just switch it off altogether.

If I'm in a room where a lot is going on I kind of glaze over (i.e. in staff rooms at work - no matter what the job). I can't pick up the threads of what's being said and just want to escape.

I came to this site identifying with Avoidance Personality Disorder (although I keep scoring higher in Borderline Disorder with online tests). Now here I am reading this ADD stuff and going 'well that sounds like me as well'!

Am I just looking for stuff (a band wagon to jump on)? Or have I had problems in life because I have conditions that I cannot help? (as in - I can't just change my thinking - not without powerful intervention)

Regards

LR

Edited by Loneranger

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Loneranger,

If you are having problems in your life then you should see a mental health specialist such as a psychologist or clinical social worker and find out what may be causing those problems and how you can solve them. No, I do not think you are looking for problems. I think you are looking for answers. But, you need help in that search.

Also, what ever the souce of your problems is, ie, diagnosis, there is not such thing as "no solution."

Allan

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http://www.adhdnews.com/bipolar.htm

I might have ADHD. I suspect my father had bipolar, because I can see the behavior in that list, but not in myself.

However, I can see the ADHD descriptions in myself.

Having a bipolar parent may inflict fear into a child which in turn may cause attention deficits. In my case I would shut down in order to reduce the fear. I find I have difficulty listening to people, something like those Charlie Brown cartoons where all the adults talk in whak whak whak whak sentences. Long verbose diatribes just become pointless to me. I'm always looking for the point of the dialog.

Being blunt is perhaps making me seem difficult?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Someguy,

Having a parent with a Bipolar disorder will not cause you to have ADHD symptoms. Not at all. However, it is true that it can be difficult to distinguish Bipolar disorder from ADHD because some of the symptoms are similar. Nevertheless, they are very different disorders.

Allan :)

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