[caption id="attachment_2402" align="alignleft" width="261"] Some ADHD Facts (see below)[/caption]

Why are people being denied access to diagnosis, or even education about ADHD? Why is it not on the initial list of things looked at during a psychiatric evaluation? If it turns out you have ADHD, and not Bipolar Disorder or OCD, you are in a group whose treatment is potentially more effective. If you have ADHD AND Bipolar Disorder or OCD, you are going to need attention paid to all of your mental health issues. If you don’t have ADHD, you’ve ruled out a big area of potential diagnostic confusion.

19 Comments to
13 Facts About People with ADHD

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  1. Dear Kelly.
    Hats off to you. I empathize with how difficult this must have been for you. I run a program at one of the schools in our community for children with learning difficulties. Many of them have ADHD, and i know what a challenge it is for them. Not only do they come from a poverty stricken community, but also from a community that does not understand these difficulties. The kids are labelled as lazy and disruptive. Their attention span is so short, and they know they are bullied for being different. It is a joy teaching them and seeing them progress. I make sure i do it at their pace and keep it as fun as possible. All the symptoms you’ve stated is correct and more people should be educated.Dyslexia is a sore topic for many people, but i think they are more afraid of the stigmas attached. These kids have taught me to see the world through the eyes of a child, and i wouldn’t change it for anything.
    Kindest regards to you.
    Megan Scott.

    • Thank you, Megan, for your insight.

      And thanks for reading my blog and for commenting,

      Kelly

  2. Kelly,

    Wonderful article – very real.

    I have been diagnosed with both ADD/ADHD and OCD. It’s a very bad combination, really a nightmare scenario. The ADD makes you easily distracted, then the OCD won’t let you get back! :-)

    • Hi, ldsadd,

      Thank you for sharing, I can imagine that you have lots of trouble. OCD is one of the common misdiagnosis for ADHD because of our hyper-focus issues, so I can understand how actually having OCD as a co-morbid condition would be intensely difficult.

      Thanks for reading my blog,
      Kelly

  3. Kelly,
    You made, very emphatically and succinctly, some excellent points regarding ADHD and Adult ADHD in particular. This is a condition that is relatively easy to treat and there is an impressive array of tools at the disposal of an astute therapist.
    I agree, there is a huge stigma still attached to ADHD (as there still is to fibromyalgia & CFIDS– “If you only tried a LITTLE HARDER…”). I do know of one psychiatrist (and there are likely more) who don’t “believe” in adult ADHD, even when the evidence of the condition is right under his nose.
    We need more awareness. We need the medical community as a whole to see this condition as real and as a treatable spectrum. We need to be heard.
    Nadine

    • Thanks, Nadine.

      And you are very right, the medical community needs to agree first before there can be recognition and acceptance.

      In the mean time, I do my best to deny the effects of stigma. I don’t deny their existence, I deny them the right to rule my life.

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your heartfelt comment,
      Kelly

  4. Thank you, Kelly, again! Very clear, concise and needed. I’d like to send a copy of this to the GP who refused to give me Vyvanse because he thought I was “dependent” on it as he could not separate treating ADHD with stimulant medication from a meth addict. Also to the psychiatrist who said before even talking with me that I did not have ADHD because women my age just do not “get” ADHD. Well, DUH. And to the psychologist who said that my problem was that I needed a “significant other”. Mostly, I’d like to give it to my cousin who refuses to accept his children’s ADHD diagnoses. I probably won’t. I have my own daily functioning battles to wage. I’m glad you wrote it, but know that the people who most need the information will likely not be the people who will read it.

    • You are welcome, Susun. Thank you for telling me about your trials. Your path has certainly been a rocky one, glad you were able to see the folly present in your interactions regarding your metal health.

      I hope things have improved for you. Thank you for reading my blog, for your comments and thank you so much for the compliments,
      Kelly

  5. Kelly,this article was such a comfort, it brought tears to my eyes. I was diagnosed with ADHD 2 years ago at the age of 59. Needless to say, most of my life has been a struggle, with 3 failed marriages, numerous careers changes and terminations and my finances in ruins. Ironically I was always the number one candidate for each job because of my creativity, vast experience, attractiveness and likability ~ within 6 months of being hired I was spinning unable to focus. I felt trapped, overwhelmed, disorganized, back-logged, disinterested then rebellious, angry and so on resulting in written warnings, probation and termination within 3-4 years. I was always late and always fearful, having to work so hard trying to keep my head above water and hide my lack… it was exhausting! This pattern has wreaked havoc on my self-esteem and finances. I self medicated most of my life just trying to feel normal. The recent diagnosis and correct medication has saved my life and given me balance day by day. I will have to continue working for many years to come because of my past wreckage but I am hopeful because the diagnosis gave me validity and awareness of tools necessary to MANAGE MY LIFE. The ignorance and dismissal by the professional community is devastating to society. I believe that the lack of diagnosis, meds and management tools has let many children and adults with ADHD to give up and lose hope resulting in wasted lives, depression, suicide or homelessness because they feel like screw ups constantly telling themselves “what is wrong with me, why can I just get it”. Bravo to you for your writings, I plan to champion this cause from this day forward.

    • Diane,

      I’m so glad you have made so much progress. I’m also very thankful to you for sharing this with us. And lastly, I’m honoured to be in your company as you “champion this cause.”

      You are our champion. Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog, thank you for your kind words,

      Kelly

  6. This is a little bit tangential — OK, it’s okay here if anywhere?

    Read an article about the youngest kids entering Pre-K- K – 1st grade, who are often as much as almost a year younger than their not-quite-peers. The article said this group is disproportionately labeled ADHD simply because they are not developmentally ready for the whole environment. They are labeled to make it easier for the school to deal with them — It must make their initial school experiences miserable. It isn’t that it would be bad to recognize the ADHD if they had it; but it is about smashing little personalities into a preformed mold – this time using meds “if necessary.” A teacher friend told me she had been arguing for years that you have to pay attention to each kid’s level — Anyway, this sort of reflects a bit of what you say – just because the whole educational establishment is telling these kids that they must do x, they can’t do it. And in this case, it sound’s like “treatment” is solely to make them seem like they can listen – totally ignoring real needs.

    • With a Dec 2 BD, I started Kindergarten at age 4. Most of my classmates were almost a full year older. I have often thought as an adult that I would have done better in school if I had been older when I started. I still think that, ADHD or not. I failed the 2nd grade but was promoted to 3rd because my reading skills were so good. How I came to read so well is a whole ‘nother story, but I think now I was utilizing hyperfocus. In the 3rd grade, I scored at a 9th grade reading level but was barred from being introduced to the school library because I was doing so poorly in everything else and because during class I usually was reading a book hidden in my lap, until my seat mate told on me anyway. I also had poor social interactions having no friends until my sophomore year in high school. Even with ADHD, I believe I would have had a better chance if I had been at least 5 before starting school or held back in the 2nd grade, maybe both.

      • Hey again, Susun,

        It’s always nice to hear from returning readers.

        I hear what you are saying, and I understand your point, but I have a different outlook on this. I was born on January 13, in the year 12 AM (After Methuselah, yep, I’m older than dirt). So I was one of the older students in my class. I had thought I would be attending school a year earlier than I did and was very disappointed when I found out I wouldn’t be going that September (there was no kindergarten in my area when I started so I had to wait until I was six years and nine months old to start grade one).

        I could read and write, add, subtract, multiply and divide. I was bored senseless with the curriculum. To make matters worse, I attended a one room school with eight grades being taught all together by one teacher. I was distracted by the lessons being taught to other grades because they were new and exciting things. If it was quiet in my school and everyone was working on something, there were windows to gaze out, pretty girls to look at, books to read and pictures to draw. I nearly failed every grade because I could not concentrate on the work that seemed meaningless to me for reasons of distraction and boredom. I typically had little or nothing for the teacher to mark.

        Later on, it was thought that I should have been put into school a year earlier so that I would not have been so bored, so easily distracted. But that would have been placing me into your situation.

        The bottom line is, those of us who have ADHD need to be accommodated in subtle ways. We don’t need an Educational Assistant full time; we don’t need constant monitoring. We need people to recognize that we are easily bored or easily lost. We need our educators to engage us in the curriculum. We didn’t choose the lessons being taught, if they are important than they need to be delivered in a way that is palatable for us.

        ADHD is a life of “should haves” and those are regrets. Dwelling on them is of no use to our self esteem unless we learn from them and help others learn. If you feel you should have been held back, take a lesson from it and make sure that others learn that lesson. I feel I should have started a year earlier, and I’ve told people the story of my boredom in school so often that it’s getting stale. But if I’ve influenced anyone enough to at least consider the option in assessing their child’s situation, that’s all I want. To give any child the benefit of having all options considered in light of their best interests.

        Thanks again, Susun. For reading here, for your comment, and for making me think,

        Kelly

    • Hi oldblackdog,
      I’ve got a couple of things here I want to note, one is that the story you read in the paper (I’d be interested in seeing a copy of that) sounds like a piece of sensationalist journalism. There have been studies about age at entry and ADHD diagnosis, but the differences shown in the study are so minimal from one age extreme to the other that some have questioned the validity of the findings. One person has also pointed out that the increase is not gradual when you look at the rate of diagnosis for each month in order. One person, Kieran Z. Colford, who has questioned these results commented on one such study here:http://www.ecmaj.ca/content/184/7/755.short/reply#cmaj_el_690731 The study he was commenting on is here: http://www.ecmaj.ca/content/184/7/755.full The abstract is here: http://www.ecmaj.ca/content/184/7/755.abstract and the numbers are here: http://www.ecmaj.ca/content/184/7/755.figures-only

      The point is that studies like this are open to interpretation and journalists these days are open to interpreting things in ways that will sell copy.

      Having said that, I appreciate that you recognize the problem of misdiagnosis, your concern for people is admirable. And I get the point you are making about some educators wanting to fit children into moulds and being willing to use questionable methods to do that. If a child has ADHD and if medication actually helps that child so that they are happier with their abilities and skills than that is a positive and acceptable outcome. If a child is a problem for a teacher and the medication is being used to make the teachers life better, but it doesn’t help the child, that is a negative and unacceptable outcome.

      Thank you for writing this comment. This topic is one I’ve been looking into recently, and this comment, and the one in reply to it from Susun are giving me even more food for thought.

      And just in passing, tangential is one of the things we do best, don’t you think? It’s what gets us to places in an order the non-ADHDers never experience.

      Thanks for reading my blog,
      Kelly

  7. I’m tellin’ you, I struggled with ADD for 40 years before I figured out that wheat gluten was the primary agravater. All those years of PB&J, and cereal in the morning was the worse way to start my day.

    • Hi, SteveG,

      What you have here is a testimonial. When you stopped consuming wheat gluten your symptoms were reduced. Sadly, I know others for whom this dietary change has had no impact on their symtomology. This would suggest you have a sensitivity to wheat gluten and this sensitivity manifests itself by making your symptoms worse. That won’t necessarily help others, though it might help some.

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment, I appreciate your participation,

      Kelly

      • I only noticed this change when I altered my son’s diet. He was diagnosed with Aspergers and is much easier to work with, without gluten. I just ate what I fed him and noticed the difference after a month.

      • Hey again, SteveG,

        A very happy coincidence for you to discover this in this way. A benefit for both of you. I’m so glad it is helping out. Many of us would gladly change our diets if it helped. I’ve gone gluten free and had no change in my symptoms, I can tell you that soy products make things worse, but I can also tell you that I am violently incompatible with Soy products.

        As Susan says in her comment on Monday’s post this week, She is a big fan of what works … and so am I. I’m glad you found something helpful.

        Kelly

  8. I’ve been looking at gluten lately. I’ve noticed adverse reactions to my morning cereals, but don’t have the same reaction to just toast. I will also have the adverse reaction if I eat a baked potato without anything else. I’m coming to the conclusion that it is not the gluten but the kind and amount of preservatives in the product. There are some processed foods I cannot eat because of the preservatives and also soy, because soy interferes with the efficacy of my thyroid medication. I also depend on sugar, which I heap on my cereals, whereas with toast, I use honey, also sugar, but not as much.
    Your statement about not eating sugar by itself but following it up with eating something else was eye opening for me. Years ago my doctor told me to follow up sugar with protein in about 20 minutes. I had forgotten. Reactions to foods, especially when we’re taking medication is complex and confusing.

    • I think in the final analysis, Susun, we all need to realize that each one of us is a unique chemical soup and adding a new substance to one of us won’t always have the same effect as it has on another. We’ve all got to learn what works for us, and remember it.

      Thanks for weighing in, Susun, always good to hear from you,
      Kelly

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