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"Oh, I don't believe in ADD"


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kinda goes along with confused's 'MI Stigma' post-- but specifically about ADD/ADHD

I was out the other night after my birthday dinner (the sushi place kicked us out b/c is was almost midnight but we were all talking outside for a while) and talking to one of my roommate's friends who's a really nice guy, a freshman, and halfway through the conversation I said something like "sorry if I seem distracted, I really am listening but for some reason my mind is all over the place tonight--so many coversations around and its tough to stick on one" which is kindof my way of letting people know I'm not being rude for looking around and occasionally needing them to repeat things. and he said something like "oh, I know, I mean, I don't believe in ADD, but.." and I think I inturrupted with something like "OH, you should meet a few people that I know, trust me, it's real." and then we moved on in the conversation.

but I still kept on thinking about that- I've dealt with the following before:

  • "oh, I'm having an ADD moment", "geez, she's so ADD today", "someone needs some adderall" comments in everyday conversations...ADD has just become another phrase to a lot of people and it bugs me but I let it go
  • people thinking that if you're a college student with ADD/ADHD that you're just trying to get your hands on stimulants to cheat-study with or sell
  • people thinking that it's overdiagnosed (and sometimes is, imho) BUT that because it is sometimes overpublicized that most people diagnosed don't have *true* ADD and are just spacey flakes who should work harder and are looking for an excuse

but this kid was the first that I've talked to that just doesn't "believe in ADD"--

I mean, I know I don't believe in tinkerbell or the tooth fairy anymore,

but not "believe" in an actual chemical/dna/documented/researched mental illness?

what have you all run into like this/how do you deal with it?

meg

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There are a lot of people out there who don't believe in ADD. Here's the kicker. A fair number of them are MDs, psychiatrists even. As recent as ten or fifteen years ago adults had to go to a specialist, an ADD specialists (or a pediatrician) not a psychiatrist, just to get treated. You'll still find a lot of "adults don't have ADD, they grow out of it" and "you don't treat adults with ADD with stimulants." out there.

Here's some common ones.

1996 it was necessary for this to be published in Pediatrics, a medical journal, just to let you know how much things have improved. At least, I hope they have.

http://www.add.org/articles/myth.html

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i usually try to keep my MI to myself. but, in a (rather ADD) impulsive moment i flipped when i heard:

"oh, people in college on stims are just on them to stay up and study, we ALL have attention problems, it's not ADD"

to which i replied

"NO. you get distracted. i CAN NOT READ without my meds. difference." and (embarassingly) ranted on from there.

(sorry i can't remember the details, i was fuming)

but i resent the idea that

1)i'm faking it for "fun" meds

2)everyone is "distracted", there is no ADD

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I personally find most ADD jokes and references to be rather funny, but I understand how it can trivialize the disorder for us that have it.

I didn't "cave in" to ADD meds until earlier this year, even. It took until the point where I made a $1,000 mistake at work (granted, I'd placed, handled, and distributed six figures worth of orders prior to that... but really... it highlights where ADD can really takes its toll). At least the department budgeteers appreciated me more for orders I handled correctly (which is how I kept the job, and really got very little grief for screwing things up).

But I do see how annoying it is when people just don't "get" what real ADD is. With some people, I have to sink to the level of "explaining" that I have permanent short-term memory difficulties from having some bug-induced atrophy up parts of my brain. I do in fact have brain damage due to an infection, but I had short-term memory difficulties WAY before I had the "real" neurological and infection symptoms.... and I have no idea how to convince these people that one can have a neurological disorder (ADD) that doesn't really show up on radiographs/MRI/CT. The only reasons they'll listen to will involve my brain "physically" atrophying.

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I used to not believe in ADD, but thought it was something teachers used to keep kids quiet in class, but since then I've met enough ADD'ers that I know it is a real disease. Hell, I wasn't to sure about depression and bipolar before I joined those ranks.

Tommy

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hey herrfous,

I'm new to the ADD diagnosis as well as the medication side of it (part of it was the pdoc wanting to use a stim. for my depression and then going 'oh wait--maybe you needed it for this anyway, have you ever been diagnosed ADD?') and in so killing two birds with one stone. I guess maybe now that I'm actually an official part of the ADD-Club I'm just more tuned into these sorts of comments?

It's funny how people respond to physical ailments versus psych ones...if I'm depressed and having an awful time of it, if someone asks me 'what's wrong?' then there is no answer to please them (ex: well I'm just down in general, it hurts to be awake, I have no will to do anything so it's a good thing that breathing is involuntary, I ache so much with lonliness and despair that I would love to bash my head against a wall in order to pass out and not feel the ache for a while, etc.)--none of that would work at all, nobody 'gets' not having a REASON to feel that way...if broken up with a SO or been fired then I'd get support. As soon as I say "oh, I have a really bad headache" I get "another headache? you should go see a doctor! I'm worried about you!" ;)

boyohboy.

I used to not believe in ADD, but thought it was something teachers used to keep kids quiet in class, but since then I've met enough ADD'ers that I know it is a real disease. Hell, I wasn't to sure about depression and bipolar before I joined those ranks.

Huh, that's interesting Tommy-

I never doubted the existance of these things, but I guess I did doubt all of the medicating for depression and other MIs before I became one of the people whose life almost depends on my ADs (and certainly quality of life). I guess the difference between me and this kid is less what we've thought and more that I'd never say it aloud since I *know* I can't know for sure. So that's an interesting point that you make about people not believing until they see "proof" or deal with it in their own lives. I really like him otherwise, but I can't get past the closed-mindedness (and sheer stupidity) of not believing in something you don't know anything about.

I guess I'm kindof waffling, huh? On one hand, I know that people (including myself) are a lot more likely to understand and believe in something they've SEEN for themselves and I understand that instinct. On the other hand, it pisses me off that people would pass judgement and deny the existance of something they don't know about.

meg

((turns into a waffle))

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I would be absolutely worthless without my Adderall.

Anyone who doesn't "believe" in ADD/ADHD should take care of my nephew for a few days without his meds. He gets ragey and destructive without his meds. But then again they also help him with his BP. He stays on the depressive side of BP.

My niece, they thought she may have had ADD/ADHD, until they tried giving her stimulants. She stays mostly on the mania side of BP and giving her stimulants put her over the edge. She BECAME rage personified. She was no bigger than a 4or 5 year old when she was 8 and she picked up a school desk and launched it INTO a wall and it stayed there! "Amazingly" after she was put on a mood stabilizer all the ADD/ADHD symptoms stopped. I was against the ADD/ADHD DX and was against the stims for her. Simply because I didn't think it fit, for her. I thought it was BP and was scared of what stims would do. This was based off of what I'd seen from her being put on various ADs. (I hate to "say" told ya so, but I TOLD YOU SO! - what I wanted to say to my sister!)

I also stay mostly on the mania side of BP as well, but with ADD/ADHD. So without my Adderall I just stay awake for days until I flip. Plus the sleep deprivation isn't good for seizures. I happen to be one of the freaks that has FEWER seizures with stimulants. (may have more to do with getting sleep)

I also hate it when people don't believe in ADD/ADHD or when they think that everyone grows out of it. I'm sure that perhaps some do, especially when you take into account that some kids that have been consistently treated for ADD/ADHD throughout their childhoods display more "normal" brain activity once they are adolescents and adults. Treating the ADD/ADHD from an early age and consistently can actually REVERSE the disorder by stimulating a physical response.

Granted, it not only takes early intervention, consistent treatment AND the right ADD/ADHD meds. It took a long time to find the right combo for my nephew. It probably "sounds" weird, but the combination of Wellbutrin SR and Concerta is exactly what my nephew needs. If he takes just Concerta it will flip him into a ragey depression. If he takes just the Wellbutrin SR he gets the same reaction. But together, it's just right. Concerta is also the only ADD/ADHD med that works for him. Regular methylphenidate will fuck him up. I don't know why, it just does. And if you ever want to know rage personified, put my nephew on Adderall or Geodon or Abilify. *run away! RUN AWAY!*

A lot of people in my own family didn't believe (some STILL don't, fuckers) in ADD/ADHD until they saw the change in my nephew after being on the right meds. THAT'S how much of a difference it made in him.

That's just my $5 opinion.

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A lot of people in my own family didn't believe (some STILL don't, fuckers) in ADD/ADHD until they saw the change in my nephew after being on the right meds. THAT'S how much of a difference it made in him.

That's just my $5 opinion.

That's probably why there are a number of psychiatrists and GPs willing to try a kid on Adderall or Ritalin - the much-derided "diagnosis

by prescription" without exhaustive testing: with ADHD the improvement can be as dramatic as the maladjusted behaviors were. Without

ADHD or depression, the response can be pretty dramatic as well (and the parents will almost always d/c the med immediately and

call the doctor, as soon as the office opens, usually adding to the drama)

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If someone were to tell me they did not believe in ADHD--my answer would simply be that I do not believe in them, therefor, they don't exist in the real world, and their opinions are worthless.

china--way over having to explain shit when people with physical diseases don't

(Anyone ever heard "I don't believe in diabetes"???)

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I don't know about the rest of y'all, but my ADD meds don't make me feel "high" or anything. So I don't know why anyone would accuse me (or anyone else) for seeking a diagnosis (and meds) for a disease that doesn't exist.

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without adderall, i was a space cadet, and am when i miss a dose. i'm slightly bad when my adderall wears off in the afternoon and i find myself attempting to work. my pdoc said i'm going to get a script for the IR version to take in the afternoon the next time we have an appointment.

i don't feel the 30mg adderall XR, so i don't understand where people get this idea that i want to get high or it could be abused. the only thing i feel is clarity. without adderall, i WAS a total space cadet, going from thing to thing and project to project without really realizing it. this kinda sucked with trying to work (got me fired a lot), and with my home life (i couldn't put away the clothes after folding them and i burned a lot of food). my driving sucked so bad that i totalled 2 cars in the span of 6 months. that's what put me over the edge and i really pressed my pdoc to test me.

obviously, adults have ad(h)d just like kids. obviuosly it is often not "grown out of". i know that it wrecked my life when i was younger (and would be today without adderall), just as much as being bp did.

my pdoc said that lamictal and ADDERALL are my most vital meds to have, and even if i couldn't have the others (but i do have them), that those two are ones i couldn't live well at all without. he knows his shit so i go with what he says.

i do run across people who think i must be some kind of junkie or who don't "believe in" bp AND ad(h)d. oh, everyone is moody, you're just a little moodier than most...we must all be bipolar! i get that a lot, and "i don't believe in add, especially for adults. you must just be spacey and that's how you are". if i didn't hate it so much, it might be funny because it's ignorant.

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china--way over having to explain shit when people with physical diseases don't

(Anyone ever heard "I don't believe in diabetes"???)

My mom had RA for over 30 years and had a "disabled parking" placard. I can't count the number of people who gave my mom shit for parking in the handicapped parking spot. Just because she had two legs and wasn't in a wheelchair. My mom had over 38 major surgeries within my lifetime and it was still hard as hell for my mom to get that damn placard. THEN to have people give her shit for using it?!?! My mom went off on one lady that yelled at her. My mom held up both of her hands and said "I AM CRIPPLED! So shut your pie-hole! I'm just here to get my drugs, WOMAN!"

Needless to type, she was hurting pretty bad that day.

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china--way over having to explain shit when people with physical diseases don't

(Anyone ever heard "I don't believe in diabetes"???)

How about: "Since we've taken her off all that insulin, she's gotten much thinner. Isn't that great?"

The actual term is "wasting."

My mom had RA for over 30 years and had a "disabled parking" placard. I can't count the number of people who gave my mom shit for parking in the handicapped parking spot. Just because she had two legs and wasn't in a wheelchair.

Personally, I think the hanging placards permanently hanging from the rear-view mirror are for the mentally-handicapped.

(They are only supposed to be there when parked, otherwise it blocks field-of-view and makes driving that much more hazardous.)

I admit it does look questionable to me when someone who looks "healthy" is using handicapped parking (someone else's card/plate/sticker?) BUT heart disease, MS, RA, and numerous other ailments can leave a person with a good day or two, even if she still can't make it out into the middle of the parking lot like "the rest of us"

Oh yeah, I usually try to leave a shopping cart adjacent to a handicapped space out in a parking lot. Think of them as four-wheeled, stable, steel strollers and that will make more sense.

Anyway, back to the discussion of "We who don't have to live your life prefer you to skip medications that we don't need" ...

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  • 1 month later...

"i don't believe in add, especially for adults. you must just be spacey and that's how you are"

Hmm, that's a good one. Kind of reminds me of the demon theory that they taught us in high school (as a kind of argument for Occam's razor, i.e. if it walks like a duck, flies like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it's probably a duck) Anyway, an example of the demon theory is that friction doesn't really exist, it's just that these tiny demons live in porous things and hold other things back. If the material is really smooth it doesn't hold so many demons, and they really don't like teflon, etc. But it's not friction...

Kind of the same thing as the quote above. What's the difference?

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"i don't believe in ADD"

"wow, really, i don't believe in it too! and the moon landing, that's not real either, but i definitely don't believe the govt when they claim there aren't aliens out at Area 51. i'm sooo glad to meet someone who shares my beliefs".

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you know, me too! wow! i have something in common with you guys besides being nuts! ;)

i'm with you that i don't believe in them if they don't believe in ADD. they're just a figment of my refined imagination. it is also in my mind that i have an attention issue. crashing my car and not being able to read are all in my mind. mind over matter baby!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Registered to reply to this.

I've ran across well over a dozen people who believe that AIDS/HIV is complete bullshit, for the most part I just lump those who don't accept ADHD and other mental illnesses in with the group of people who don't believe in AIDS/HIV.

There are just some people in this world that won't accept the fact that a jumbo jet can fly with those itty bitty wings.

You can't convince them otherwise no matter how much proof, just because we're mentally ill doesn't mean we're the only ones with problems accepting reality.

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