asperger's vs. adult add?
June 18, 2005 9:53 PM Subscribe
I have always had attention problems, but when I was tested in 1993, the tests came back inconclusive: the neuropsychologist concluded that only 7% of my 'issues' was ADD. That was twelve years ago. In my adulthood, I'm having serious problems concentrating, but am unsure of the effects the common ADD medications will have on me, and I'm curious if there are different treatments for attention deficit due to adult ADD and due to other 'issues'.
posted by SpecialK to health & fitness (9 answers total)
Other information: I'm heavily self-medicated with stimulants, most notably caffeine. I've tried to cut back, but I still consume at least 36 ounces of caffinated sodas per day. (I don't like coffee, it tastes like mud mixed with Fat Bastard's toilet leavings to me.) When I, noting the health effects of consuming that many empty calories per day, cut caffinated sodas out of my diet, my life and my business started to fall apart. Having experimented with caffeine as a stimulant over the past year, (cutting it out of my diet and adding it back in), I'm finding that I require it to focus enough to accomplish anything in a day. It's not the sugar; drinking decaf but sugared sodas has no effect on me.
Commonly available psychoactives and OTC drugs (exotic alcohols like asbinthe, marijuana, claritin etc.) can have extremely unintended effects on me. Claritin, for instance, will make me extremely depressed for three days after one dose. Marijuana will make me extremely paranoid. We're not going to discuss what asbinthe did to me the one time I tried it. I've completely stopped experimenting with drugs and am extremely hesitant to take *anything*, even presecribed ('cept antibiotics), lest it unbalance me in some strange way. I've always overcome psychological or behavioural issues with a focus on self-discipline and 'self-counseling sessions', but this seems to be unsurmountable.
My experimentations with caffeine have lead me to the conclusion that I need a stimulant for my particular brain chemistry to avoid the 'ooh, shiney!' effect. I do have a long history with an undiagnosed learning disability that involved several processing disorders and a small degree of ADD when I was tested for it in the early 90's (before the asperger's diagnosis made it into the psychologist's version of the physician's desk guide, or was really even heard of); the symptoms and childhood behaviour led my mother to one day email me a scan of the list of Asperger's symptoms from one of her education trade magazines (we're not talking Newsweek here) with each line checked off in red magic marker... and then another list of adult aspergers' symptoms, which also almost precisely matched me.
Having had long experience with my particular HMO, Kaiser Permanente, I know that I need to go in with a clearly defined set of problems and researched potential resolutions to get anywhere. My mental health coverage is minimal, so I'd like help doing research in advance while avoiding the trap of self-diagnosis (Which, yes, I realize I've mostly fallen into. Bear with me...). If I don't go in with that clearly defined set of issue and resolutions, they'll milk me until my coverage runs out and I have to start paying out of pocket for mental health office visits.
How can I focus my requests to the mental health professionals at my HMO in order to get some sort of treatment for my inability to focus or maintain personal discipline without a chemical stimulant, or are there other resources I can seek out to help figure out why my brain needs to be fueled by caffine to get anything requiring focus completed?
Also, does anyone have any stories they'd like to chip in about overcoming psychological or behavioural problems that might help me overcome this issue, with or without medication?