Does this sound like Attention Deficit Disorder?
February 11, 2016 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Does this sound like Attention Deficit Disorder? Am I likely to benefit from ADD meds?

I accidentally zone out and stop listening in conversations without intending to.

I accidentally zone out and stop listening to podcasts / TV shows without intending to.

I can't focus on TV if there's a light on in the corridor off to the left.

I can't focus on skyping my SO if a door is open behind him.

I can't focus on computer use if there are objects on my desk other than my computer.

I can't focus on computer use if there are tabs at the top of the screen - I have to open a new, tab-free window.

I often have to re-read a sentence or paragraph again and again to understand it, or read it out loud, e.g I read menu items out loud at restaurants to help me focus.

I often have to trace words with a finger or use a ruler or piece of paper to keep my place on the page.

I have great difficulty concentrating on what person 1 is saying if person 2 is talking nearby (not to me).

Although I've had my hearing tested and I have no hearing loss, I have great difficulty with auditory processing when there's background noise, much more than friends my age.

When talking to someone I need pen and paper so I don't forget what I want to say.

Sometimes on the toilet I zone out and forget to continue urinating/defecating even though my bladder/bowel is still partly full.

Sometimes in the shower I zone out and forget to continue washing myself.
posted by A sock, a sock! My kingdom for a sock! to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It could be, but the best thing to do is to actually get the testing. As someone with ADHD, I can tell you the meds are great at first but if you don't pair them with behavioral changes designed to mitigate the effects of ADHD, then they aren't going to do much in the long run. The meds will get you to the point that you can focus enough to develop systems and habits that will allow you to succeed down the road.
posted by schroedinger at 8:55 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

IANAD, but I do have ADHD.

The psychiatrist who diagnosed me had me complete this inventory as part of the evaluation process. Taking it may be helpful to you. (My doctor wasn't affiliated with the Amen Clinic-- he just thought this was a good instrument.) Of course, even if you get a score that's indicative of ADHD, you still need a clinician to do a more thorough work-up.

Your symptoms sound like they'd be pretty hard to deal with on a daily basis. Whether it's ADHD or not, I'd strongly encourage you to go and talk to a doctor about what's going on. Problems with any number of physiological systems could produce some or all of those effects. Some (hypotension, low blood sugar, and hypothyroid come to mind, though I'm sure there are scads of others) could be diagnosed by a GP-- and a good GP can refer you to specialists in other fields (like, say, sensory processing) who might also be able to help.

Good luck!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:48 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you're really struggling in certain areas of your life, and that you're unhappy about that. There are medical and mental health professionals who specialize in helping people who are struggling figure out how to make their lives better. You should go talk to one of those people.

What label you ultimately end up putting on your struggles in order to get the help you're seeking is so, so much less important than reaching out and asking for that help.
posted by decathecting at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2016

It sounds like chronic depression, where you aren't sad all the time, you are just low. A few months on drugs could bring your serotonin levels up to where they are supposed to be, and then allow you to get off the medication.

If you happen to be a pot smoker, that would explain all of your symptoms. Pot leaves your brain muddled for days after you've smoked. Actually, drug use would explain all of your symptoms better than ADHD. Even if you aren't smoking yourself and are just in the room with someone who is smoking, that is enough to affect you.
posted by myselfasme at 5:54 AM on February 12, 2016

Are you zoning out like going blank or zoning out like your mind is racing from idea to idea and you forgot what you were originally doing?

The seconds sounds like ADD, I don't know what the first is.

Also, do you hyper-focus? Can you get engrossed in a task and ignore everything else for long periods and be really irritable if someone interrupts you? That's part of my ADD experience. I like to focus on one thing at a time. If you interrupt me with something else it's very likely that I'll lock onto the new thing and the original task is completely forgotten.

Definitely take everyone else's advice IRT doctors but also...

ADD is just a label for a set of characteristics. Those characteristics can be a PITA in modern life but in the right circumstances they can be quite beneficial. If you do decide you have ADD don't look at it as a "disorder". You should just take it as an indication that you're wired a little differently, or maybe a better more, your knobs have different settings, than the average person. That will work against you sometimes but it can also work for you and part of your challenge is maximizing the times it works for you.
posted by Awfki at 6:02 AM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: myselfasme: I've never consumed marijuana in my life, and I don't live with anyone who does, either.

I also don't consume any alcohol, ever, or use any other illegal drugs.
posted by A sock, a sock! My kingdom for a sock! at 8:31 AM on February 12, 2016

The "I can't focus if..." scenarios sound like they could be OCD-related.
posted by delight at 9:49 AM on February 12, 2016

It could be worth looking into sensory issues and discussing that with your doctor. Your inability to tune out background noises, lights, and other objects in your field of vision struck me as a possible sensory processing issue. The answers to the question above yours have some more info and reading on those types of concerns.
posted by JenMarie at 9:55 AM on February 12, 2016

I don't know if you have ADHD, but I do the majority of those things you listed, and I definitely do not have it. (I lived with someone who did and we were opposites. He actually preferred a busier, more cluttered environment because it helped him focus.)
posted by desjardins at 10:12 AM on February 12, 2016

I think it could be helpful for you to read Driven to Distraction. It's what really helped me hone in on a possible ADHD diagnosis with the cooperation of my psychiatrist. It goes into the differences between ADHD in childhood versus adulthood and (probably the most useful for me) the differences between how ADHD typically presents in men vs. women. I think it would help you work through how the issues you describe may or may not fit with the most appropriate version of an ADHD diagnosis for your own situation.
posted by augustimagination at 12:33 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

There do seem to be some issues with inattention and/or difficulty shutting out extraneous stimuli, but that could be for any number of reasons, including non-psychiatric medical conditions.

(IANAD or P, but not completing urination or defecation, i.e. not just forgetting to go when you probably should, but stopping mid-action, sounds like something out of the ordinary is happening. Is this a recent development? What about the rest, has it always been that way for you? I think it's very much worth talking to a knowledgeable professional - your GP, in the first instance.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:05 PM on February 12, 2016

What you describe sounds to me like it's worth talking about to a doctor who can actually make a diagnosis (or refer you to someone who could do it better), and from there you and your doctor(s) can begin to sort out what medications might help you.
posted by Zed at 8:33 PM on February 14, 2016

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