Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Do you take people with ADHD seriously?

Asked by GloPro (8248 points ) April 2nd, 2014 from iPhone

Do you know what ADD or ADHD really is? Do you comment to people that you have it too because you just can’t pay attention? Do you take ADHD as a serious diagnoses?

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49 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

I can’t find any in real life… only on television… like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. Asperger’s is like ADD (I’m guessing). I was once considered to have ADD, from military recruiters , and it was forgotten when I wasn’t highered.

JLeslie's avatar

I had a boss who was ADHD. It was very very obvious. I diagnosed her in my mind, and she then confirmed it a few weeks later by telling me she hasn’t taken any medicine for her ADHD in a couple of years.

She could be a little exhausting, but she was very smart, so that helped balanced things. There was logic to her thoughts, even though she jumped around in them and in activities. I mostly have worked in environments where there are a lot of interruptions, so I can handle that sort of thing well.

jerv's avatar

I know all to well what it is from knowing people that have it. (Not just a rubber-stamped diagnosis, but actual, obvious symptoms.) Knowing what the real deal looks like, I take it seriously, but not in those cases where it’s just a kid acting like a kid so mommy decided to get them a prescription for Ritalin.

@talljasperman They suspected that I was ADHD for a short time, but dismissed the notion as it didn’t fit. There’s a little overlap between ADHD and AS, but Aspies have other issues beyond what ADHD does while also lacking others. Still, there’s just enough overlap to make diagnosis of either difficult.

talljasperman's avatar

@jerv Well telling the recruiter that I was a psychic time traveller didn’t help my application… I did get a 99th percentile verbal score, made it difficult to let go. He cleared all his appointments for an entire week 9 to 5 to interview me. He told me to try again when I got a degree and I’ve never finished my psychology/philosophy degree, I failed out because I was putting my friends through psychological experimentation, without consent. They got me back where it hurt, and I broke, and I am barely starting to recover from cyber bulling and police interrogations.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I take actual ADD/ADHD seriously, but, it is a very, very , over diagnosed thing. Most of the people I’ve encountered who take medicine for ADD/ADHD are, IMO, fine and being prescribed drugs they don’t actually need.

jerv's avatar

@El_Cadejo Considering the street value of some of those meds, I have my own, cynical views on why people may want those prescriptions.

JLeslie's avatar

@El_Cadejo I agree. It is overdiagnosed in my opinion also. I have been around people who really are ADHD (the boss I mentioned above is one, also the son of a friend of mine) and then I have also been around people, I should say children, who were supposedly ADD and I can tell you that most of them I don’t believe they were ADD.

pleiades's avatar

People really need to just smoke marijuana. It calms everything down and thoughts can be captured and understood. It seems people with ADHD like to have their mind racing

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am a Hawaii Certified Peer Specialist in mental health. I take all mental illness very seriously. Yes, ADHD is a real disease. When treated properly, people with the disorder can experience a great improvement to the value of their lives. It can be treated with medicine and therapy.

Why do you ask this question?

XOIIO's avatar

I have adhd/aspergers, doesn’t really affect me much but things like boring classes in highschool or things that were just going too slow drove me nuts and I couldn’t focus at all. I needed something to fiddle with, usually my zippo to stay more focused.

GloPro's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I ask because I am diagnosed ADHD. I’ve been on several different meds over 10 years now. I’ve been to counselors, too.
It pisses me off when people self-diagnose ADHD because they are scatterbrained or can’t pay attention. Nothing irks me more than someone telling me they have it, too, when they haven’t had to visit a doctor every 3 months for the past 10 years to check in. They have no idea what it actually means, and that it isn’t just a short attention span for me. It’s a dibilitating series of traits that really frustrate the crap out of me. Not being able to concentrate amounts to about 1/10th of my symptoms. I wish it were just being scatterbrained or procrastination. But it also seems to me that not only is ADHD misunderstood, but a large majority of people (who oddly claim to have it, self-diagnosed) don’t actually believe it exists. Not even doctors. I’m just feeling extra misunderstood and frustrated this week.

hominid's avatar

I have people with severe ADD in my life. It is not the same as feeling distracted as all of do. It is a very serious thing – especially when untreated.

Some people describe their natural distractibility as ADD. This is like feeling sad and saying you’re depressed. Depression is not just feeling sad. And ADD is not just feeling distracted.

Bill1939's avatar

While I have been diagnosed as bipolar type 2, antidepressant medications have only exacerbated my symptoms. Reviewing my history from early childhood to now with a psychologist, I strongly suspect that ADHD is a more likely diagnosis. Note, I have a Bachelors degree in psychology and had worked in the mental health field for three years until 1971 when I recognized how ineffective treatment was in those years.

hearkat's avatar

I work in health care and was in a Children’s Hospital when ADHD was the diagnosis du jour. We had many kist who absolutely had ADHD, and that really wanted to do well and tried their hardest, but just couldn’t maintain focus. We had other kids that were over-indulged brats, and once we separated them from their parents, they were fine and performed normally. We had kids that were on the Autism Spectrum, but it wasn’t being called that just yet. And we had kids with undiagnosed hearing loss. Our developmental team saw a lot of kids with really rare genetic disorders and some who were born extremely premature.

Had I been born 20–25 years later than I was, I probably would have been diagnosed with some attention deficit without hyperactivity. I have always been extremely distractible and easily overstimulated, and was never good at getting work done on time, or any other self-disciplined task. But I managed to get through school by intellect and test-taking skills alone, thus my grades were mediocre because I rarely did homework or other projects. College was a real struggle, and grad school was even worse, but I chose a program that used a comprehensive exam, rather than a thesis for that reason. I now am fortunate to work in an office where I can manage my own schedule to some extent, and we have consistency with the staff, but for one loud chatterbox that drive the rest of us batty. Some of the other locations are much bigger and have multiple providers operating at the same time, and lots of office drama, and I would not do well there.

I believe that in time, science will find that attention skills are on a spectrum and the there are links with mood disorders like anxiety/depression, and ADHD/ADD and even with some of the autistic traits relating to sensory processing and filtering. I’m looking forward to what comes out of the Brain Initiative in the coming years.

jerv's avatar

@hearkat “I believe that in time, science will find that attention skills are on a spectrum and the there are links with mood disorders like anxiety/depression, and ADHD/ADD and even with some of the autistic traits relating to sensory processing and filtering. I’m looking forward to what comes out of the Brain Initiative in the coming years.”

Given the previously mentioned overlap, I think that at least some of those links have already been proven. The comorbidty rates anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and synesthesia among those “on the spectrum” are ridiculously high. So there is irrefutable evidence that there is some sort of link; the trick is figuring out how they are linked.

syz's avatar

Both of our surgeons claim to have ADHD as the reason that they don’t listen when you tell them something (and more), but I call bullshit since they both managed to successfully complete 12 years of college and pass their boards.

hearkat's avatar

@jerv – That is what I meant – that science will find the specific mechanisms in the brain that result in these traits, beyond the correlations that we see in the population studies; and that hopefully it will be sooner than later because of the Brain Initiative.

GloPro's avatar

@syz Actually, people with ADHD do very well in positions that require thinking fast on your feet. Police, fire, and medical are great places for us because we’re always moving and always multi-tasking. It puts us in Zen mode. ADHD people are terrible behind a desk, and can drive co-workers crazy.
As far as school, I always did very well. Teachers worked with me and allowed for me to just sit on the front row and listen to lectures. I was allowed to record them and allowed to take notes from the teacher’s notes or power points after the lecture. I could not multi-task in class because it would set off a chain reaction of not paying enough attention to any one mode of learning. With genuine ADHD there are many moments of hyper-concentration. If you can hone that to a lecture you will remember every word.

I regularly have people tell me “Remember? We talked about this?” People that know me can physically see the moment I check out.

rojo's avatar

While I believe in it and have a mild undiagnosed case (I’m too old for ADHD) and my son certainly had/has it, I can still joke about it because people do use it as an excuse. For me it is more just a part of life and many things that are pointed out as ADD or ADHD are boys being boys.
It also helps to recall a pithy T-shirt slogan I saw one time that read:

“We are all dysfunctional. Get over it”.

GloPro's avatar

@rojo One of my funniest examples was on a shopping excursion with girlfriends. We were walking down a sidewalk when I was struck with an overwhelming urge to reorganize my bags and condense everything. I dumped all of them out right on the sidewalk without warning my girlfriends and went to town consolidating. They think I’m nuts. I think I should have bought that T-shirt.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think ADD and ADHD is wildly over-diagnosed in kids and teenagers. Doctors are so willing to give your children medications because they’re “hard to handle” or disruptive in class, instead of trying to solve the problem at home. And parents just want their kids to calm down and act “normal,” which is a shitty reason to put your kid on drugs. In young adults, I’ve found that a lot of the ones with “ADD” just want to take Adderall, whether they need it or not. However, there are people who I believe legitimately have it. My feelings about it vary depending on the person.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a friend who was diagnosed ADD as a child. He is in his late 40’s to give you an idea of when this happened. He is angry to this day that he was medicated as a child. He does not take any medication for it as an adult. He feels he works in a career he doesn’t enjoy because of those drugs. Those drugs did allow him to focus more and calm down. That was goo since in his family everyone is expected to be doctors and lawyers and very successful focused professionals. He wound up being an accountant, but he wishes he would have been in a career that was more flexible and fit his natural personality better. For a few years he did take time off from accounting and tried sales and even working at a golf club, but eventually went back to accounting for the salary.

The drugs altered him, and then when he was old enough to decide for himself whether he wanted to take the drugs he already had made some life decisions that send you down a path.

He also was sort of traumatized going to the psychiatrist, because he would see other kids who were very severly disabled by their brain injuries or brain problems, and he said it really affected him. It made him feel like he was like them, not normal, not ok. I’m not sure what I think about that. He has obviously blown that up in his mind for some reason. As a child I was not upset or bothered by children who were disabled or different, but I also was not in a setting where I felt like I was disabled also.

I do know children who ask for their meds, they know they can’t function well without them.

GloPro's avatar

@JLeslie That really sucks for your friend. He wasn’t on the right meds, sounds like.

For me, with hyperactivity as one of my issues, being amped up and adrenaline fueled is a way of life. Doctors messed around with a few different drugs. Ones that calmed me down made me feel drugged. I cannot be slowed down, I can only be honed in. So what my scrip does for me is help me concentrate and focus. It does not alter my energy level. Then I don’t feel drugged, I feel better, and not as anxious to go go go go go.

I can’t imagine how miserable he is as an accountant. A lot of us would rather make minimum wage at the golf shop because stifling our natural selves would kill us or drive us crazy.

JLeslie's avatar

He doesn’t need any drugs. He is just fine without drugs, except for being in a career he really doesn’t like much. But, many people are in jobs they don’t like. He just was not as docile as his siblings, and his mom probably was overwhelmed (4 kids) and he was a boy with a lot of energy.

I don’t believe he was ever ADD. If he was it was and is extremely mild.

jerv's avatar

I am glad I was never medicated.

GloPro's avatar

I’d rather NOT be medicated, which is why I went to counselors for awhile. There is a marked difference in me when I choose to not take them. Like now, with no job, I don’t take them. When employed, I definitely do. I try to get away with the smallest dose I can. I’m still trying to learn non-medicated ways to control my impulses, reactions, concentration and anxiety.
Some days are easier than others, which is how any disorder is, I suppose. The only reason to be medicated is because it has a negative impact on several areas of my life if I don’t. I’m hoping to wean off of them and find the balance in diet, exercise, meditation and channels for release. It’s tough to get on your own nerves and know you are getting on other’s nerves.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat ” I have always been extremely distractible and easily overstimulated, and was never good at getting work done on time, or any other self-disciplined task. But I managed to get through school by intellect and test-taking skills alone, thus my grades were mediocre because I rarely did homework or other projects.”

I was/am exactly the same way.

Cupcake's avatar

Of course I take people with ADHD seriously, just like I take people with anxiety, depression and OCD seriously. People are far too loose with those words.

My son diagnosed himself in elementary school as having ADHD. He would come home in tears after school – feeling out of control, lacking self esteem due to poor grades. And the fights we would have over homework… eventually I had to talk to the teacher and tell her that I just could not help him get his homework done. I’ve been through several medication changes, taken many vacation days from work to spend the day with my son in school where I just sat in the corner in a little kid chair and waited for the new medication side effects to be so strong that he couldn’t function any more that day. It was brutal. To see my very kind and intelligent son be beside himself for hurting someone else or missing school assignments or not be able to organize his thoughts for long enough to write an essay was heart-wrenching.

I still have no idea if this kid will be successful in college next year and am so nervous to let him go. He’s awful with money, time management, procrastination, impulse control, not saying every sarcastic thing that comes to mind (both to peers and teachers/administrators). But no one other than me sees how much it eats him up and causes him emotional pain. Honestly, if you don’t live with it, I don’t see how you could possibly judge it.

DominicX's avatar

Yes. But I do agree with, I think it was wundayatta/daloon who used to say that ADHD/ADD is often a label people give to normal behavior of children, especially young boys, who don’t do well in the highly-structured formal school environment. I think there is some truth to that.

hominid's avatar

^ @DominicX – This is true. There is definitely a problem with over-prescribing these medications to boys because they are unable to thrive and learn while sitting down for 6 hours per day (and while recess is reduced). There are upper-middle class towns here in MA (Wellesley, Lexington, etc) where huge numbers of boys are taking these drugs because the parents are simply not seeing the academic performance they expect.

dxs's avatar

I don’t take my diagnosis seriously. And I’m pretty sure they confused my ODD with my natural skepticism and desire for justice, as well. I feel that putting these labels on me turns the blame from anyone and focuses it on my brain, which isn’t fair.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@dxs What is ODD?

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs The one child I mentioned who I believe really does have ADD also was diagnosed ODD. He was a pain in the neck that kid. He was happy to misbehave. More than any other kid I have spent time with. It was not about justice, skepticism, or curiousity with him.

dxs's avatar

@JLeslie I only applied those qualities to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs I’m just agreeing with you that you probably were misdiagnosed.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

I do take ADHD seriously but I’m aware that it is over diagnosed (like many mental disorders, it’s the “hot” new thing to have in a plea for empathy like how Sybil created a brief fad for multiple personality disorder, makes me want to slap people). I was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school but my Bible belt conservative parents called bullshit not believing that ADHD was – and is – a real disorder. (Un)Fortunately, they were right in my case. I was just an energetic kid who thought school was boring, other kids were idiots – and pin cushions – and just blatantly ignored my teachers because I got 1+1=2 the first time around. My mom fought to stick me into a GATE program and there I suddenly started paying attention, I just needed a challenge academically. The pin cushion factor remained though amongst other things. Turns out I probably was ODD. Currently I’ve been diagnosed with ASPD though much more mild when compared to the average case apparently.

Cupcake's avatar

@GloPro What diet/exercise/meditation things have you tried? Have any been helpful?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. Many kids who are “diagnosed” with ADD or ADHD are actually the result of bad or ineffective parenting. I know two kids intimately who are supposedly ADHD. One is just what we used to call a B.R.A.T. Has no boundaries, and eventually Mom loses it and screams. But she takes comfort in the fact that she can believe it’s a physical issue and not a mental one that she’s responsible for.

The other child actually has some sort of physical disability, and he has a speech impediment. I think he’s probably on the autistic line because he’s also a brainiac which he doesn’t get enough credit for. He uses his brains to annoy the living SHIT out people, to manipulate them. I watch the interaction between him and his mother and I can see exactly where it comes from. When I have him, he’s remarkably normal because he can’t find my buttons. And if he does, he’s liable to be put in time out rather than getting ANY kind of attention otherwise. I’m the only one who does it. He’s now developed a kind of obsession with time out. It manifests itself in funny ways, but, for the most part, he manages to avoid getting stuck with it.

Yesterday Dad came to pick him up. Dad told him to go get in the car while Dad and I talked a little. He just stood there. I mildly said, “Go get in the car like your dad told you to.” He quietly turned around and got in the car. Dad was a little amazed. No fuss, no muss, no threatening, no yelling, no repeating. He just did what I told him to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, and the first kid I mentioned….well his Mom became a grandma a year ago. Her daughter is raising her kid in the same manner, no boundaries, lots of yelling. I would put $5,000 on a bet that in 3 years that one year old will be diagnosed with ADHD.

rojo's avatar

I can tell a great deal of difference between my grandson on his meds and my grandson off his meds but I cannot tell you which is the real him or which is better. When he is not doped up he is more wild, more apt to jump from one thing to another but when you press him, he makes the connections and shows you how he got from A to F. Yes, on the meds he is more subdued and less engaged but at what cost to his mind? That I do not know.

jerv's avatar

@rojo Hence why I’m glad I was never medicated. Imagine losing 30 IQ points and being apathetic to the point where you just want to sit there doing nothing, not even interacting with other people. Not fun, eh? So why would you inflict that on another? There are some cases where meds are necessary, but in all cases one has to consider whether it’s worth the price. I don’t think that, “Little Billy is too energetic for my convenience.”, is a good enough reason to do that to a child.

rojo's avatar

@jerv he is sixteen, going on seventeen and has been on meds since he was six. I bet even he does not know what the real him is.

GloPro's avatar

@jerv @rojo the doped up child/adult you are conjuring up is an individual not on the right meds or right dose. This isn’t one flew over the cuckoo’s nest here, and if a doc is doing that to anyone they should find a new doc.
It took several attempts at different meds and different doses, all with my feedback, to find what was right for me. My IQ has not suffered. My quality of life on the right meds has improved. I don’t drool. I’m not a zombie. I’m not apathetic. I don’t sit and do nothing. I know what the real me is. I’m not more subdued. I’m not less engaging. On the right meds and dose I am now as close to being just like everybody else as I can get.
These are the stereotypes I was anticipating in my OP.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv I’m not sure why you say he loses IQ points. Children who can sit still in class and focus better probably aren’t harming their IQ. It is part of the reason children are out on those drugs, like the friend I described who wish he had never been out on them. He is an accountant as I mentioned, he lost creativity maybe from being medicated, but not IQ I don’t think. Is there any scientific evidence of how the medications affect IQ?

jerv's avatar

@GloPro Usually, yes. And it usually takes quite a while being a Guinea pig before they find the right ones. Until then though, it’s not pretty.

@JLeslie When you lose motivation, thinking isn’t easy. Thinking takes effort and concentration. While you don’t literally lose intelligence, being hazy has the same net effect. Stay awake for 60–72 hours straight and you’ll get a similar effect.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv I don’t know if @rojo‘s grandson is that medicated. There is a big difference between sitting still and being doped to the point of being in a haze with difficulty concentrating. He could be overmedicated, I can’t speak to that specific case. Usually parents don’t want their children that out of it. Kids who really can’t control themselves often want the medication, because when they are in school they keep getting in trouble.

I do think there are many cases where the school is not accommodating enough to the need for some children to run around and some children need more one on one attention and without it they start wandering in their mind and even in the classroom. They can focus, they just need something to keep their focus. Those kids, the ones who can do it, I don’t think they should be medicated, I think we need to learn how to better accomodate them.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie In some cases, it’s bad enough that it’s worth the risks and the trial-and-error. In some cases, it’s not.

I was fortunate enough to have an accommodating school system, and to not have been too disruptive or unruly, but I fear that many like me get overtreated with more harm done than good. I fear that because I’ve seen it.

To be fair, I’ve seen a few cases where meds worked wonders too. Thing is, it’s not something to be taken lightly, as many seem to do.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv It’s hard to find a perfect solution. I would argue there is not perfect solution, because I hate medication, so when it is necessary, or let’s say when it seems to be the best choice, there are almost always side effects to deal with. Some side effects are very obvious, and some are going on and we don’t even realize it.

Not treating a child who really needs treatment is probably as bad as treating one with medication who doesn’t need it.

I think most parents don’t want to crush the soul of their child, they want the best for them. The problem lies in doctors and teachers being quick to medicate and parents going along with the “experts” and not listening to their own gut. Or, in the cases where parents don’t have the stamina to keep up with a very active child. Active is different than violent and destructive. With my friend’s son everyone figured that kid would wind up in jail or breaking hearts (he was a gorgeous child). He was not simply jumping on the furniture, we were worried he was a “bad” kid. Literally, relatives were waiting to see if he would do anything very deviant like harm animals that sort of thing. Luckily, that is not the case.

Now, it is worth saying that he was getting in trouble in school. He went to the same private school from preschool up through 1st grade. Every so often when my girlfriend told me the stories of her son and what he was doing in school resulting in him being in trouble I would tell her to switch schools. She, like some other friends of mine, are very reluctant about public school. She finally did, and he did much much better in public school. The teachers in that small private school already had him pinned as a trouble child, and he was never going to overcome the label even though since mid Kindergarten he had been on ADD drugs and was much better.

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