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Concerned my age might be a problem...


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Long story short, I know I have ADHD symptoms and I have had them for a long time. I have had symptoms since childhood.

Read below paragraph if you want to know why I haven't address this problem until now. Otherwise, you can just read my question in the next paragraph.

I have memories of where I would do something completely trivial (like using my hand to visually outline a shape on the chalkboard)instead of the task at hand where I would have to do something like read a lot of material. As I got older, my grades got worse because more than just logic was at hand for figuring out problems. I went through a lot as both a child and an adolescent and I now have PTSD. At 11-12 years old I was diagnosed with depression, and was given Prozac. I was told since I was really young to never tell on my parents, so they wouldn't get in trouble, and that things wouldn't happen again (but they did). I was stuck in this situation and went between diagnoses/treatment of anxiety and depression. Besides safety, my biggest concern in middle-high school was not getting the grades I felt I deserved, I would try so hard to concentrate but I couldn't. Homework would take a long time if even completed because I'd get distracted by everything and anything. I was/am always late. This problem continues until today, even with things I sort of want to do like read a book, I try and end up getting distracted. I feel time goes away so quickly this way, and in turn my entire life. I was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder -- Non-epileptic seizures (which are basically in remission, I haven't had any for over a year). I thought this was the problem, but then I realized it was the problem that was the most embarrassing to me and my family so it took the upper hand in treatment. When in the first place I was dealing with a lot of stress from not being able to keep up with school due to inattentive issues.

My concern is that I am obviously a college student and I am young. Having dealt with p-docs for a while I know that they will judge you on age, and some let it get in the way of a proper diagnosis. I want to know if you all have any ideas about how to approach my p-doc about my symptoms. I don't want to come across like I want to get a rx, or anything, but I also do not want to hear "lets just up that klonopin and see how you do". I honestly don't care about any particular rx/dx, I just want to get any amount better regardless of diagnosis and I am willing to put in the work to improve my life. I have a p-doc appointment set up for the 21st. Any insight will be helpful.

So for you to answer:

Have any of you run into this problem (age being a factor)?

How did you correct the problem?

Do you have any advice about how to bring up my symptoms to the doctor? (Ex: should I write down what my days are like? what concerns I have?)

Thanks so much!

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Have any of you run into this problem (age being a factor)? Yes, age and location have heavily affected the way doctors have treated me, in DC doctors didn't want to give me anything but antidepressants for whatever reason, in missouri i was in a town with a big meth problem so I could never get any benzos, and getting any AP other than haldol was even a problem at times, now im in california and i havent even seen a pdoc yet, my first appt got screwed up and to be honest im very apprehensive.

How did you correct the problem? Honestly? I haven't.

Do you have any advice about how to bring up my symptoms to the doctor? (Ex: should I write down what my days are like? what concerns I have?) Things I have tried, and may work better for you. 1- Write down symptoms, keep a lightweight log of what happens when and what severity. 2- Try and get a letter from an old pdoc if they can verify symptoms from adolescence. 3- Work through their treatment plan and hope to god that they'll eventually take your opinion seriously.

Try to stay calm and relax, if a doctor doesn't seem receptive to your concerns keep seeing him/her while you find another doctor. I would suggest asking someone like a general practitioner or a therapist for a reference to someone they have had good dealings with and if you do have a therapist try and get them to coordinate with your pdoc so that they can give weight to your concerns.

I know i might have laid too much out there but it's a topic that has caused me quite a bit of grief in the past. Best of luck to you.

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Have any of you run into this problem (age being a factor)?

Yes, massive problem. I'm eighteen, just finished my first year of uni. I first ran into this problem when I was seventeen and in my last year of school. I went to a doctor with concerns that I had depression, but he ignored me and sent me away because I was "too young". He refused to refer me to any mental health services because apparently it wasn't helpful for "children", and he didn't take me seriously because it "could just be teenage mood issues" (yeah: seven years of depression=moody teenager). I found it a lot easier to get medical attention at uni because I was treated more like an adult whose opinion could be taken seriously.

Still, you were diagnosed with depression at age 12. Could the doctor who diagnosed you write a letter stating the reason for his diagnosis, etc., which you could give to your new doctor? This would show that you already had this trouble when you were younger, and could help make your new doctor take you seriously.

How did you correct the problem?

I kept switching doctors initially. Then an acquaintance with BPD mentioned that her doc was good, so I went to him. He's much more understanding. If you have any friends with MI issues, as them about their doctor, see if any of them can recommend a GP who is particularly receptive to MI issues.

Apart from that? Still struggling with the age issue, but not as much.

Do you have any advice about how to bring up my symptoms to the doctor? (Ex: should I write down what my days are like? what concerns I have?

After nine months of struggling, I eventually wrote a list of symptoms. My GP immediately decided to refer me to a psych. However, he was still not receptive to my sleep issues and didn't want to prescribe me anything strong. I launched into a tirade about exactly how I felt every waking minute just because I couldn't sleep. I must have ranted for about ten minutes. Conclusion: he gave me a prescription.

Other things that have worked for me: I take someone I trust with me to my appointments. For me, this is my boyfriend. I know he'll advocate for me, and he has more experience than me with mental health services. It also gives me a confidence boost to know that someone supports me opinion that I need help.

Eventually, I got my GP to put me on the list for an emergency private referral. Knowing this may give you hope, but take it from me, the trip there wasn't fun. It took so long for them to take me seriously that in the meantime I got so bad that I ended up in ER overnight for trying to overdose. the only good thing to come out of that is that I have a serious prescription and I'm going to see a psych SOON.

Sorry that I can't give you all good news. But take it from me: no matter what apprehensions you have about telling your doctor, get over them. It's best to tell him/her EXACTLY how serious it is now, than to feed them information in bits and struggle to get them to take you seriously. Because the longer it takes, the more likely you are to start developing more serious symptoms.

Best of luck,

HI

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I think writing down your sx/concerns would be a good way to go about this. Mention the poor grade hx, your current sx and difficulties functioning, and whatnot. If doc is resistant, you can also ask for a referral for psych testing to truly "find out" whether you have ADHD or not. I think it would be important to get this treated concurrently if it really is in fact a problem for you, as you are now entering college.

i did not get dx with ADHD until quite late in life, and I don't even bother putting it on my sig, really. i got through college and a master's degree by overfocusing and just my IQ alone with really good grades, and since I had inattentive ADHD, it was always missed. I actually found out by being put on provigil for tx resistant depression, and my husband had a "talk" with me about whether he was being "too lecturing/annoying" about his constant complaining about leaving lids partway unscrewed, things lying around,things tipping over, cupboard doors open, and mess, etc. Heh. I was like, um, "what are you talking about ?" at this point, we realized it was actually the meds. And I was like "OH! I have inattentive AHDH! I'm such an idiot for not realizing it!" (I'm a therapist, but really, i'd been living with sx for so long, it was just something I did not notice).

I much prefer to treat my ADHD, it may be slightly harder to get an adult onset dx but with a decent doctor who listens and is receptive, you should have a decent shot at it. You're still of college age, so it's not THAT late. Docs are becoming more aware of late onset ADHD and more willing to treat it.

If you find a doc unwilling to work with you on this, I would highly recommend finding another doc, at least for this issue, who specializes in ADHD and will listen to you. You shouldn't have to suffer through college untreated. I SO WISH I'd had my ADHD treated sooner, man. I would have probably finished trig and calculous without giving up in disgust, heh. Who knows what might have happened. In any case, it's wonderful to have my life and my brain more orderly (I really actually don't LIKE mess and PREFER organization) and I am incredibly much more functional and organized at work and home, which is very nice indeed.

Anna

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I was diagnosed at 43 after my bipolar symptoms were under control. I had been working with a therapist who worked with my pdoc. For a while, conversation centered on my problems with attention going back to grade school. I skated because I was smart but I took Bs and a few Cs because I couldn't pay attention in class or read the whole assignment. It was the same way in college and grad school where I either read the book or went to class since I couldn't focusing on one was hard enough let alone both. School was just one example. Anyway, I was dx'd because of the history given, the present situation, and my therapist filled in my pdoc. Truth be told, I wasn't really looking for a diagnosis, just talking about my life. Solution has been a compromised dose of Adderall lower than needed for fear of tripping hypo/mania.

Be straightforward and ask your pdoc to be assessed for ADHD. Have examples ready to explain the reason for the request. Also, have an answer for why you are asking now.

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Truth be told, I wasn't really looking for a diagnosis, just talking about my life.

That's how all this got started for me. I realized I was profoundly depressed and eventually went to a counselor, then a pdoc. Wellbutrin helped the depression, and after 1 other conversation the pdoc diagnosed me BP II. But I didn't know why. It took 8 months for me to really figure out and see what was going on inside of me, the BP symptoms. But then, I had no vocabulary for it. I couldn't really express what I was feeling. I talked to my pdoc, but he seemed uninfluenced by what I told him. So, I'm getting a new pdoc.

I've now been writing down everything I feel, do and think. I'm compiling all of that into a concise list of "symptoms" and behaviors to give to my new pdoc.

Give a doc a chance, but if you don't find relief, or are not comfortable with him / her, find one with whom you are.

Hope that makes sense. Good luck. Keep us informed.

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I recently got the diagnosis of ADHD. It started by me telling my new pdoc (I moved) how I couldn't concentrate on things (I was going to be a student next week, but dropped out for another reason). He thought it might be depression, so he put me on Celexa (I was already on Effexor XR). It made me feel better but didn't help concentration. So my pdoc prescribed Concerta on the lowest dosage. I haven't noticed much of a difference so I think I need a higher dosage.

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...I know i might have laid too much out there but it's a topic that has caused me quite a bit of grief in the past. Best of luck to you.

Thank you for that info. I am going back to the health care insurance which originally treated me so they have access to my old records. If not I will have it sent to them. I also had problems with getting benzos when I was in between insurances :(. My school's doctor was so resistant to refilling it for me, and I went for a month with halving my pills. Worst month ever.

......

Best of luck,

HI

Thank you for your reply and advice. I too noticed a difference when seeing an adult doctor, even for non MI issues (GP). I'm definitely going to keep in mind to not try to hold back from explaining how bad it is right now. :)

.... In any case, it's wonderful to have my life and my brain more orderly (I really actually don't LIKE mess and PREFER organization) and I am incredibly much more functional and organized at work and home, which is very nice indeed.

Anna

Thanks Anna. That was really helpful. I too have issues with communicating with my partner. I go in and out of when he's speaking a lot, he has to repeat things, and also if he talks for a long streak, I feel like he needs to condense it or else I'll lose him. It's not good for our relationship AT ALL. I feel bad because he probably feels he can't be heard efficiently by me. When it comes to doing housework, forget it. I literally forget it, and never get around to it. Even if I have it in mind I will get distracted. I don't like mess either. But most of the time I'm too busy mentally to notice.

....Be straightforward and ask your pdoc to be assessed for ADHD. Have examples ready to explain the reason for the request. Also, have an answer for why you are asking now.

Thank you Stacia. After seeing therapists for a little while, I have noticed I wasn't very open. I figured out why after a little while. Some of my therapists, I didn't mesh well with or felt comfortable in general (situation at home) with talking about everything with them. I feel ready to be open , fully. :)

Truth be told, I wasn't really looking for a diagnosis, just talking about my life.

That's how all this got started for me. I realized I was profoundly depressed and eventually went to a counselor, then a pdoc. Wellbutrin helped the depression, and after 1 other conversation the pdoc diagnosed me BP II. But I didn't know why. It took 8 months for me to really figure out and see what was going on inside of me, the BP symptoms. But then, I had no vocabulary for it. I couldn't really express what I was feeling. I talked to my pdoc, but he seemed uninfluenced by what I told him. So, I'm getting a new pdoc.

I've now been writing down everything I feel, do and think. I'm compiling all of that into a concise list of "symptoms" and behaviors to give to my new pdoc.

Give a doc a chance, but if you don't find relief, or are not comfortable with him / her, find one with whom you are.

Hope that makes sense. Good luck. Keep us informed.

I can definitely relate. I really didn't know how to explain what I was feeling either with certain things, like conversion disorder. I will be writing down my little journals on a regular basis, and do the same with concise list of symptoms. I'll keep you all informed. I have an appointment with a therapist on the 9th. I should post again then.

Thanks everyone!

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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE:

I saw a t-doc (intake for new psychiatric center thing I will be going to). I am being referred to a psychologist (PHD) who will administer tests and talk to me this friday to help 'the team' figure out if I really have ADHD. My t-doc I seemed to have a lot of ADHD symptoms and that they seemed moderate. I will also be seeing a psychiatrist on the 21st. My next t-doc appointment however, wont be until mid october O.O. I am going to a group therapy session before that . I've never gone to one of these things before...mainly because I usually have trouble relating/talking with other women, I must have a more masculine personality or something haha.

Anyway, I was seen in a solely adult psychiatrist place and I was taken seriously and treated in a professional manner. I'm a happy camper. laugh.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey, that's good news.

As far as the ADHD dx goes, if you can supply some reliable information about your behavior that goes back as far as possible , that may help. According to the DSM IV, if it didn't start by age 7 (I think that's the age they mention), its not ADD.For instance, my grade school report cards were pretty good but had notes that I had trouble following instructions or paying attention. I realize, with all the other stuff that was going on, it may be hard to figure out which was caused by what, but it may be helpful to have this older information anyway. Seems like your parents may not be a useful source of objective info, and maybe that's too fraught anyway. If so, perhaps there is some reliable person who knew you back then who could give a note about how you used to behave.

In my own case, the pdoc didn't decide I had ADD until my depression started to lift. My tdoc had dismissed the idea because of where I got my B.S., but when she found out it took 14 years, she changed her mind!

If your other stuff is reasonably under control, then evaluating the possibility of ADHD is going to be easier. Seems like if not, you'd have reasons to be distracted whether you had ADHD or not.

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