Could ADD cause shyness?
November 4, 2008 8:13 AM   Subscribe

I've always been very shy and I have alot of the symptoms of ADD (difficulty concentrating, planning and organising, easily distracted, poor short term memory etc.) although I haven't been diagnosed. I wouldn't describe myself as socially anxious as I generally feel pretty comfortable around people. My problem is I can never think of anything to say and when I do think of something I can't articulate it properly. I have the same problem when I write things online so I don't think it's a case of my mind going blank due to anxiety. I'm wondering if the two problems could be related. Like I can't organise my thoughts properly or I can't concentrate on thinking of something to say.
posted by Andy Harwood to Human Relations (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Don't assume it's ADD. The symptoms you describe could also be signs of depression, anxiety, or even something less psychological like sleep deprivation, poor diet, etc.

If you have the means, go to a psychologist (not a psychiatrist or family doctor) and describe your symptoms. Psychologists are less likely to push you toward medication (they can't prescribe meds, at least in the USA), and are more likely to recommend low-level behavioral strategies before making a snap judgment about what's wrong.
posted by Rykey at 9:11 AM on November 4, 2008

Seconding not diagnosing yourself. Lots of people without ADHD think they had ADHD but they really have anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, etc.

If you cant see a doctor for a while you should begin by learning relaxation techniques to work on your anxiety. You can use this workbook.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2008

Hmm, sounds to me like some of the typical characteristics associated with Introversion. I'd suggest reading The Introvert Advantage. =)
posted by simplethings at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2008

Thirding not diagnosing yourself. I would suspect that rather than ADD 'causing' shyness, it is kind of the other way around. It goes like this: Shyness plus anxiety leads to excessive rumination and self-consciousness, which uses up all the focus you'd otherwise be using for more constructive things. You may have no problem maintaining focus on one subject, it's just that the one subject happens to be your self-image and you have a heck of a time moving away from that.
posted by mattholomew at 9:55 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

IANAD, but you certainly sound a lot like me. Mine's garden variety anxiety disorder with a few Aspergerian tendencies thrown in for good measure. Generalized anxiety can really wreak havoc on short term memory and ability to concentrate.
posted by chez shoes at 11:07 AM on November 4, 2008

I won't say they're related, but as someone constantly described as outgoing who knows she is more of the reverse, I've found that dealing with ADD/ADHD can be so draining. You're constantly trying to cope, cope, cope and defend yourself, hide your shortcomings, work constantly to overcome them. It's TIRING. You don't know whom you can trust.

Again, don't self-diagnose, but many of the same symptoms can show up as generalized anxiety as well. I've been in treatment for one or the other for several years. Either way, you need to see someone, get diagnosed, and get some help.
posted by Madamina at 9:28 PM on November 4, 2008

I'm kind of like that. Kind of came to the same conclusion but I generally just accept this is how I am without sticking labels on it. I find practising helps a lot and there's plenty of places on the net you can practice stuff like that, whether its blogging or having lots of little conversations on social me on facebook. At least with message conversations there's less of a time limit on what to reply with. I was always hopeless at starting conversations. some pua theory helped with that as I'm alright in a conversation when it's going. It also helps to recognise when to stop. like sometimes I'm writing a reply on a forum and I just can't seem to get stuff in the right order. Enough practice and you dont have to think what to say, it comes more naturally.
posted by browolf at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2008

Hi Andy:

I'm going to go on the other side of a lot of the comments you've gotten here and say that these two things might very well be related. Your situation sounds extremely similar to my own, and I have only recently come to terms with the fact that I have ADD. So ... I would say that the possibility that they are related does exist.
posted by Ephilation at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2009

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