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ADD, does it change over time?


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For background, years ago a pdoc diagnosed me with ADD, tried a few meds, and we quit there when one seemed to work. I had never thought much about it, really. Now I'm back in school and realizing my ability to focus is pretty poor. I can get my work done and meet deadlines, but it takes forever. It seems worse than it was, but maybe I'm just noticing it more because now I actually need to focus and accomplish. My current pdoc originally doubted the diagnosis but now is convinced and wants to try increasing the Concerta. But I thought ADD was a stable type thing, not something with ups and downs in ability to focus, am I totally uneducated on the subject?  Can stress of school make it harder to focus, or just make the issue more obvious?  I've never given much attention to any of these issues but apparently now I need to. 

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It makes the issue much more apparent I think when you are going to school. When I was in high school I took Adderall everyday but I still could not seem to concentrate on anything but fucking up. Now I am not on it but the Wellbutrin should suffice for now. I think I need to go for testing to see if I have Adult ADHD.

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  • 1 month later...

OK now I am no ADD expert or any expert really but I’m pretty sure my problem now is more related to my bipolar issues rather than just the ADD aspect, since I’ve got other things going on. I’ll talk to my pdoc and tell him I need a different direction here. These things get complicated and my brain spins trying to sort them out. 

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I've read that bipolar and ADHD can be confused. I have ADHD and, presumably, don't have bipolar. I've noticed that sometimes ADHD bothers me more than others. Partly or perhaps mostly due to the circumstances I'm in. For instance, if I'm getting a lot of exercise I do better. But I also think I can get used to dealing with it better. One week, I decided to spend 8 hours a day on a hobby project. Somehow, I succeeded in doing so! But that's really not typical. Right now I've been in a slump for a while, possibly because I have very few structured tasks. So, I'd say it can change SOME over time, although perhaps not in a permanent way.

If your Concerta doesn't aggravate your bipolar, but helps otherwise, maybe that's ok?

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If Adderall didn't help, there may be other drugs that might work better. For instance, methylphenidate drugs like Ritaliin, Focalin, Concerta, etc. Focalin is one isomer of methylphenidate, so it may help with side effects. I could take it without too many problems, and may try it again, but regular methylphenidate raised my pulse to 150 bpm or so. (normally less than 60 at the time). OTOH, maybe some of your other issues can cause problems that look like ADHD. If you really had ADHD before, it's very common for it to persist into adulthood. Maybe the new criteria are different, but it may help if you can dig up some old report cards and such. Diagnostic criteria used to say that it wasn't ADHD unless it showed up fairly early. Maybe they still do. On the other hand, typically ADHD treatment involves treating symptoms and learning to cope, which seem like strategies that might work for focus problems with other origins. Sometimes, in the latter case, perhaps it's possible to treat the underlying issue instead of just ameliorating the symptoms. 

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