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Is it possible for untreated bipolar and later meds to make someone ADD or ADD-like?


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I've been wondering about this for the last few years. For the time being, I am still in a holding pattern since I have not had stability for a long enough period to tell much related to attention span. There's been no improvement in the month or so periods where I have been stable, so that is not encouraging. I'm also not sure how BP meds play in. I know they've had some effect on my memory.

As of now, I can't focus on anything that doesn't come in bite size pieces. (This is a real challenge at work.) However, if something interests me, I can hyperfocus a little, but I can't sustain it. I cannot deal with things like mail. I like a clean house but I'm forever piling stuff because I can't deal with figuring out where things go (especially stuff that has not set place). Then I'm completely oblivious to it until it finally registers and I end up stressing a lot when trying to put stuff away. Lol, maybe I should take Klonopin to pick up my house. I can be challenged focusing on the conversation in large groups - this goes back for years. I can be challenged maintaining focus when someone talks too long. Speaches, pffft, I had to catch the election info in summary paragraphs or word of mouth. I also have done or do most all in this thread. Easier to post than to go on. [link=http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=118" target="_blank]"Have you ever ..."[/link]

I put no stock in online tests, but the few I did said it's extremely likely I have ADD. Aside from being skeptical of online tests, I have no idea how much bipolar contributes.

The thing is that I had a lot of concentration and attentiveness as a kid. My mom hyperfocuses to the extreme, so I'm not a good judge if there was any of that going on, but probably not really. I loved to read anything as a kid. Now an interesting, easy novel can't hold my attention for more than a few pages. That's no different than at work. It is very frustrating. All of which leads me to posting this question. This is enough to drive a crazy person nuts. ;)

FWIW, there is a ton of ADD/ADHD in my family, as in almost everyone on my mom's side.

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Many of the hallmark symptoms of ADD/ADHD can be caused by any of a number of organic diseases, neurologic conditions, psychiatric ailments, or as drug side effects. This isn't unique to ADHD, which is why people who are wondering if they may have a mental illness are asked if their blood sugar is stable, thyroid hormones check out, nutrition and sleep have been evaluated, and so forth. Those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness then need to be evaluated for how much of the problem(s) is caused by the conditions being untreated or mistreated.

So yes, you're right to wonder if you really have it. If you don't, then you may react to ADHD meds the way more normal people do, or worse, and that can wreck your day. Or not - sometimes stimulants are required to treat depression (and of course, narcolepsy) independent of other causes.

One of the distinguishing characteristics is that the symptoms can be traced (once you recognize that the number and severity really aren't normal for people who aren't related to you) back to childhood. If you can look back at your life in grade school and enough of the symptoms are still indicating a high probability, you may have ADHD complicating your life and your treatment.

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One of the distinguishing characteristics is that the symptoms can be traced (once you recognize that the number and severity really aren't normal for people who aren't related to you) back to childhood.
This was one of the deciding factors in my dx of ADD. My tdoc is trained to do ADD/ADHD testing in adults and my then pdoc confirmed his dx. I didn't want to believe it for a long time. But, as tdoc says, "well, if you don't believe you have ADD, then what do you believe? That you are a woman walking around with all the symptoms of ADD, but you don't have ADD?" Pretty silly, I know. So, it took me awhile to digest and accept. ADD (especially without hyperactivity in women) goes hand in glove with depression. I can't think of the exact words old pdoc used to describe how one begets the other, but yeah. The bottom line was, it didn't matter--the end result was still the same. I was a disorganized, day-dreamy, depressed mess.

The common thought about adult dx of ADD/ADHD is that it's been there all along. So that would indicate that chances are really good that it is not caused by untreated bipolar or induced by meds.

If I have a point, it is if you think you might have it, get tested by someone who knows their shit.

A couple of good books to read are:

[link=http://www.amazon.com/Women-Attention-Deficit-Disorder-Differences/dp/1887424970/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229198971&sr=8-1" target="_blank]Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life[/link] (MSW who herself has ADD (if I recall) and treats women with ADD/ADHD)

[link=http://www.amazon.com/Driven-Distraction-Recognizing-Attention-Childhood/dp/0684801280/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229199050&sr=1-1" target="_blank]Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with ADD from Childhood to Adulthood[/link] (these guys have written a couple of books on the subject. They are two MDs with ADD/ADHD. Good, accessible material to help understand wtf.)

I hope that makes some sense. I've made 12 dozens sugar cookies and I think I might be in sugar psychosis. ;)

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Thanks for answering. And thanks for the book references.

Aside from being a born procrastinator, a lot of ADD doesn't go back to early childhood. Some sx after 8, but I'm not sure that they add up to inherited ADD. I could say that the last 15 years were bad, but most of that time also was filled with undx'd bp. I'm really talking about functioning now. I can deal with a little memory loss (since I have to), but this inability to focus for long and being so scattered is really bothering me. It's interfering with my life. Which is what lead to the question about whether bipolar can cause this. Or, heck, maybe the roots of it were always there. Idk. I'm frustrated and not sure what to do about it.

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Whether these issues have been there all along, or are in some way that I don't really understand a result of BPAD or meds, I'm wondering why you're focussing on the origin, rather than on what you can do about the symptoms?

What does your pdoc/tdoc say about all this?

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Whether these issues have been there all along, or are in some way that I don't really understand a result of BPAD or meds, I'm wondering why you're focussing on the origin, rather than on what you can do about the symptoms?
This is a good point.

Stacia, I might add (ha) there are a lot of good ideas in ADD/ADHD literature for getting your life more organized. There are some of us, for whatever reason, health/addiction, that can't take the stimulants that are the leading treatment for ADD/ADHD (there are others, I know, but for the sake of MY point...,) who have to rely on behavior modification alone to try and keep it together. It is more difficult, at least for me, because I have been medicated and not, but the ideas in most of the books are good for anyone with disorganization problems.

The memory thing could be a whole lot of things. I might be wrong, but I don't think that really even IS a symptom of ADD/ADHD. For me, the memory thing is most related to; age, age, and oh, did I say age? ;) Seriously, though, there are others meds I'm on, Topamax for example, that fuck my memory as well as other meds I was on (benzos lots for a long time) that I also screwed myself with.

I'm pretty sure you are already talking about these things to your docs, but if no, then do next time you see them. In the meantime, if you have a library card, go take a look at Driven to Distraction. It's a great and easy read. Even if you don't have ADD or ADHD. It can help you to understand those of us who do. :)

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Whether these issues have been there all along, or are in some way that I don't really understand a result of BPAD or meds, I'm wondering why you're focussing on the origin, rather than on what you can do about the symptoms?

What does your pdoc/tdoc say about all this?

Logically and correctly IMO, my pdoc wants to wait until I'm stable long enough to really assess. I've had four to six week periods of stability and have not had noticeable improvement. Now, I'm close to two months stable. Still no improvement. I'll need to be over three before she want's to consider these issues. So, I am trying to take things in bite size pieces. I've also tried inventing deadlines to provoke the procrastination, OMG, this has to be done NOW effect to focus attention, but it doesn't work unless the deadline is real.

Origin really is more of an idle thought. It also goes to whether stims would do any good, or at least that's my understanding. The issues are real today which is all that matters.

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S9, the memory issues are med related. It is a separate issue, but one that might be magnifying these attention issues.

Even if it were determined that I was bonafide ADD, it's unlikely that I could handle much if any stims given sleeping issues and bipolar. Then again, idk. Too much coffee makes me want to sleep if that means anything. At any rate, books with advise on coping w/o meds sound like the best starting point. I really don't want to take yet another med if I can help it!

I will pick up Driven to Distraction.

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