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lt123

do i have add?

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Today I was in the library, working on a project with a friend, and I looked to see what page in our textbook she was on. I saw that it was page 737, so I immediately said out loud, "oh, 737! That's like a plane! Or is it 747? I think it's actually 747. But 737 could also probably be a plane, too. I wonder what the difference is. Do you know? Like, is the engine smaller?"

She just looked at me for a second, then said, "Lila, do you have ADD?" I thought she was joking at first, but she was serious, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I went home and instead of doing my homework immediately started googling ADD and taking quizzes, and a lot of the symptoms seem to describe me. The thing is, I have never even considered the possibility of me having ADD before today, it's never ever come across my mind (although my mother thinks my brother has it and many other people in my family agree with her, so I have thought about ADD in terms of him). Actually, I only found this forum because I was trying to sleep (its about 3am right now and I have to get up in 4 hours), but I just couldn't, so I decided to write here instead.

Here's a list of my habits/characteristics that led me to believe I could possibly have ADD:

-I have a LOT of trouble getting homework started. Normally, I end up procrastinating doing homework late into the night, trying to find things online to do to avoid doing my homework, then it ends up getting really late and I just tell myself that I'll do it during break or lunch the next day right before class. This is a problem because I really want to do my homework, I can just never get myself to start. Also, I end up being really tired at school all week from procrastinating so late into the night. None of my other friends have trouble completing their homework at all. I also have trouble following through with all the other commitments I make to do things because I forget or become distracted. This makes people upset with me and makes me feel guilty for not following through.

-I am always late everywhere. No matter what time I set my alarm clock for in the morning, I never get to school on time, and currently have detention because I've received so many late slips in class (yikes!).

-I am very impulsive with what I say. In the back of my head, a voice always says "don't say that!" right before I say a lot of things. I tend to tell people way too much embarrassing personal information about myself that I would rather not tell them because it makes me seem weird (for instance, how I stay up so late every night), but I can't help it, and always end up saying way too much when I know I should stop. I often find myself thinking back to conversations I had with people and wishing I had said different things, but of course, by that time it's too late.

-My brain jumps around a ton. I make a whole bunch of split-second connections from one topic to others in my mind, and then speak on a different subject, often assuming that the people I'm conversing with have followed the logical connection I've made in my mind from tree frogs to hybrid cars, for example (tree frogs-->trees-->amazon jungle-->environment-->the oil spill-->british petroleum-->gasoline-->fuel efficient cars-->hybrids). This causes me to seem "random" to a lot of people, and I often ask "random" (perfectly logical) questions to my parents and others whenever I have a brain sequence such as this (often), which sometimes gets on people's nerves or causes them to give me a little sideways look. The same thing causes me to often lose myself in thought about a million different things and makes my mind race at night when I should be falling asleep.

-Sometimes, when I'm taking a test or doing something else that requires a lot of concentration, I'll find myself zoning out and doing things like inspecting my pencil really intently, reading all the posters on the walls (which is really bad because at the place I take the SAT, the walls are covered top to bottom with different posters), looking at split ends in my hair, or just thinking, and then I'll realize that 10 or 15 minutes have gone by and try to get myself back on task.

-My school binders and backpack are in complete disarray. Every year I make nice dividers to divide my papers into many different sections to try to keep organized, but I usually just end up jamming everything all together into a giant mass in the front of my binder and it gets all crinkled and I can't find it later when I want it.

-I get bored with doing only one thing at a time. When I come home from school and am hungry for a snack, I can't eat without having something to read (like a magazine or the newspaper) because eating is too boring by itself. Similarly, I have difficulty reading a magazine or the paper without eating or listening to music because it's too boring. This extends to other aspects of my life as well. For example, when I watch tv shows on my computer (which I do often as procrastination), I must also be doing something else, like IM, email, looking at other websites, or playing a game, because just watching the tv show is not enough for me. Normally, I just end up listening to the tv show while IMing and browsing the internet. I would listen to music or watch youtube clips at the same time if I could.

-I might be a bit obsessive about a couple of things. For example, I'm in love with a particular band. I only ever listen to their songs, really, and I spend hours reading articles about them and watching interviews with them. Also, I'm really really picky about grammar. I notice every little grammar mistake that everyone makes, and bad grammar really bothers me. For example, when I'm peer-editing a paper in class, I focus almost exclusively on correcting my peer's grammatical errors because I cannot bare to read deeply enough into the content of the piece until all the grammatical errors are fixed.

-I think I have mild (undiagnosed) dyslexia with numbers (I have no trouble reading, really) that sometimes causes problems when I'm copying page numbers/problem numbers off the board for homework or when I'm doing math. Also, I might have mild dyslexia with letters because when I make myself flashcards for Spanish and I'm trying to remember the correct word in Spanish for the word on the English side of the flashcard, I can always remember the letters that go into the Spanish word, but not the order that they go in or what the word sounds like.

For the record, I'm seventeen years old and in high school. I have been procrastinating since middle school, but these traits have gotten worse and worse over the years until the point where they're significantly affecting my life daily (I am always tired because I stay up so late, I am always late everywhere, my homework is usually done at the last minute and half-assed because I couldn't finish it in time, etc.). I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I have always been very smart (smarter than the vast majority of people my age; former teachers always told my parents how exceptionally bright I was), and I think that because of this, I was able to get by easily in school until very recently. Until the second semester of sophomore year, I didn't need to try at all to get straight A's or study even when my other friends would spend hours on essays or homework, but now, school has gotten harder and I've had to really apply myself for the first time, which I think is where the problem might be. Even so, I know it's not normal for me to be staying up this late or be having this much trouble starting tasks, but honestly, I didn't really have much of a problem (that I can remember) until junior year started (which makes me question if I even have ADD at all, or if what is going on is some other problem), although that might be explained by the fact that I'm involved in a ton of things this year, which isn't really true of years past. What scares me most is that it just keeps getting worse and worse, and I don't know where my procrastination will end. I don't even know if all (or any) of the traits I listed above could be signals of ADD, but I thought I'd just put it out there.

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this, I'm obviously pretty confused right now, so any guidance/advice/response at all would be appreciated. I'm sorry this is so long, but I figured that if I wanted to find out the answer, I had to be comprehensive and spare no details.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi It123 or Lila,

I have worked with people with adult add for many years. It sure seems to me like you have it. This is not a diagnosis. What you need to do is be seen by a psychiatrist who specializes in add. He can do the official diagnosis and precribe medication to help you focus a lot better and stop procrastinating. I know. I have had it my whole life. In addition, he can send you for specific training to help you learn how to organize yourself a lot better.

Do not despair. There is real help for this.

Any questions???

Allan:)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Fedup,

Yes, there are definitely varying degrees of ADHD. Some people have symptoms more intensely and others less intensely. Some have ADHD and some have only ADD. There are other variations. Its not a simple thing where one shoe fits all.

Allan:)

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