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Related Conditions

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)

ADHD and ADD are both similar conditions, they both mean that the sufferer has either a short attention span, or a tendency for impulsive behaviour. When the condition is diagnosed as ADHD there is also a certain level of hyper-activity. ADD and ADHD are commonly recognised in children, but can also occur in adults, and generally occur more often in males than females.

Symptoms
Causes
Treatments
Research
ADHD and ADD Links


Symptoms

Someone who has either ADD or ADHD present with the following signs and symptoms:

  • often fails to give close attention to details
  • makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities
  • often has difficulty staying focused on tasks
  • may not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • fequently does not follow instructions
  • fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties at work
  • has difficulty organising tasks and activities
  • avoids or dislikes tasks that require mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework
  • frequently loses things like schoolbooks and assignments
  • is easily distracted by things happening around him or her
  • forgets to do important daily activities
  • often fidgets with hands or feet
  • has trouble sitting still for very long
  • frequently runs around or climbs on things
  • has difficulty playing or working quietly
  • acts as if driven by a motor
  • talks too much
  • frequently blurts out answers before a question is finished
  • has difficulty waiting to take a turn
  • often interrupts people, or butts into conversations or games

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    Causes

    The causes of ADD and ADHD are uncertain and unknown, although some factors that have shown to be present in ADD and ADHD people are:

  • exposure to alcohol while still a foetus
  • exposure to lead
  • a family history of either ADD or ADHD

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    Treatments

    Diagnosis of ADD and ADHD usually involves the sufferer, family members, friends, co-workers or teachers completing a questionnaire about you and your behaviours. Symptoms generally have to occur in more than one situation, eg: home and work, and cause a problem if ADD and ADHD are to be diagnosed.

    It is very important for ADD and ADHD to be recognised, diagnosed and treated. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent long term effects that can last well into adulthood. If ADD or ADHD are left untreated then people suffering may have a tendency to:

  • leave school early
  • believe they are a "bad" person
  • turn to alcohol and drugs
  • have difficulty keeping a job
  • have more frequent car accidents
  • find relationships difficult
  • have more failed marriages
  • attempt suicide more often
  • more likely to get in trouble with the law

    Treatment for ADD and ADHD is available in both medicated therapy and psychotherapy. Education of both the sufferer, family, friends, co-workers and teachers is another important factor. This type of education will enable the suffer to be better placed and supported in school, work and family. Medicated therapy usually involved the use of stimulant type drugs, such as Ritalin, but may also involve some antidepressants.

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    Research

    The following information was compiled by Dr. Catherine Delin

    An article by Judie Gade's peronal experience with ADHD - Misdiagnosing... ADD or Depression?

    Its Ok To Be Different - ADD/ADHD In Teenagers By Judie Gade ADDventurous Support, ADHD Coach and Counsellor

    There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.

    The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.

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    The factual information on this page was compiled from:
    HealthAnswers (http://www.healthanswers.com). Beryl Net (http://www.beryl.net/yourhospital/htl/20847.htm)


    COMMENTS
    by people who have had experience with A.D.H.D.

    Please send us your comments and experiences with A.D.H.D to share with others.

    ADHD masking as depression?

    I just wanted to briefly share a revelation that has happened to me, because it could also be relevant to a certain percent of others out there with depression.

    I am 25 years old, but only recently have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (without hyperactivity). I have recently started a stimulant medication for this, dexamphetamine. Since I have been taking the dexamphetamine, I feel a lot calmer, and more focussed. But, the most important thing is that I have seen how having this condition and not being diagnosed, has impacted upon my depression.

    One of the hallmarks of ADD/ADHD is distractability. Now, we all have the normal monkey chatter of the mind with a number of thoughts going through our head at any period of time. Studies have shown that the majority of these thoughts are negative. So, with a person with ADD, they are going to have more negative thoughts running through their head or more precisely, they become more distracted by these thoughts than a person without ADD. This is bound to lead to feelings of depression. We all know how bad a negative thought can make us feel. So, imagine being bombarded with them constantly.

    Now, since I have been taking dex, I am not as distracted and therefore not as influenced by the negative rambling's of my mind. This is not due to a stimulant effect of the drug. (In actual fact, people with ADD/ADHD don't have a stimulatory response to the drug. They have low levels of internal stimulation in their brain, which is the underlying problem and responsible for the symptoms such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity(way to look for stimulation) etc. Instead, stimulants can help them feel centred and calm.)

    I have only been taking dex for a short period of time, but my depression has improved remarkably. I feel this is due to less distractability of negative thoughts. Also, I am able to focus and achieve things better, my behaviour is better, and my relationship with other people has improved too. As a result of this, I feel improved self-esteem and self-confidence and a newfound sense of "I can do it." This also naturally lifts feelings of depression and worthlessness.

    In addition, it has been found that untreated ADD patients are much more likely to commit suicide, because of the impulsiveness associated with the disorder.

    For all of these reasons, I feel that even though this won't be relevant to most people with depression, I am sure it may be to a certain proportion, and I wanted to share this, because I felt that if these people were diagnosed and treated properly, that would help their depression too. I am not saying that is not possible to have both ADD and depression. In fact, these two conditions can often occur together, especially in adults. But ADD can mask, or exacerbate\complicate the depression both biologically and as a result of conditioning due to the negative impact this disorder has. Untreated ADD/ADHD has also been associated with substance abuse, criminal or antisocial behaviour, and eating disorders.

    I also wanted to discard the myth that this disorder is only about "hyperactive boys". Of course, it certainly can present as hyperactivity, and this does often occur in boys. But there hasn't been as much media attention directed toward the impact of this disorder in adults, particularly, women and girls because symptoms often present differently. Many girls go undiagnosed because they are "daydreamers" but don't cause enough stir or commotion in the classroom to stand out. Though hyperactivity can be associated with ADD, it is not always the case. Some people have problems with inattention alone. The following are all signs of ADHD. (They must have been present from childhood, though mightn't have been recognised at the time.)You may have a lot of these symptoms or only a few

  • restlessness
  • fidgets
  • always on the go
  • often taps fingers or feet impulsive
  • have a short fuse\bad temper
  • feel frustrated or upset easily
  • have poor organisation skills
  • easily distracted
  • daydreams excessively
  • a sense of internal panic or feeling like your mind is a confused fog like a TV set with all channels on and competing for your attention and not being able to follow through on tasks.

    It may be well worthwhile exploring the possibility of ADHD with a doctor who understands this disorder in adults. Because, it literally could change your life.

    (Tracey)
    (05/07/2002)

    I was diagnosed with having ADHD at age 13. At age 14 I also had Anorexia Nervosa and depression. I am now 16 and still suffer from depression and of course ADHD.

    It is very hard for me especially most people have maybe one condition but three is a bit harder. Trying not to take medication that contradicts the other etc, etc

    A lot of people don't understand these conditions and think it is another excuse not to do something. I have had it tough and so have the people around me but I look at it as yesturday is the past, tomorrow the future and that is why the present is a gift.

    I don't always love my life but I think there are people out here who want to be alive and are dying and I am healthy and want to be dead.

    Thankyou for reading my comment I hope you enjoy it.

    (29/05/2002)

    My comments are that I was surprised to realise that there are prescribed drugs for adults suffering from adhd but unfortunately no follow up. Its basically take your medication, work out what works for you as far as dosage. Check in with me in 6 to 9 months. Pay $200-00 see you later. Often times I find that we are in dire need of counselling and without this support the drugs are useless tools.

    Both a friend and myself who have both been diagnosed with adult adhd have often laughed and said that its almost like we need a personal trainer and due to commitments with children, our disorder and until we learn to cope with this holding down a job to afford counselling twice a week is near on impossible financially.

    Both of us had severely violent and abusive childhoods, both physical and mental which I beleive set up a lot of the programming associated with adhd. Not all parents are honest. I was told by my mother that I was drugged for the first three years of my life. I was told that I was born in a state of nervous breakdown.

    As we now know that babies and feotus are affected and responsive to what's going on outside the womb, could my father beating my mother during pregnancy and my mothers hysterical control freak outbursts have set this up. Was I therefore living in a state of fight or flee in the womb. A psychiatrist that I went to who I told that I was drugged during the first three years looked at his colleague completely ignored me and stated probobly venergun (not sure how to spell it). In 1960 venergun was handed out like lollies. You don't call a doctor out at 11-00pm who sits on his chair with his head in his hands shaking his head at a loss of what to do to simply prescribe venergun. This was described by both my parents. If however, my parents were honest and my father said well there is always violent physical abuse and continuous screaming matches in this household. My wife can't cope with the child during the day and takes her frustration out by screaming at the baby during the day and I beat the crap out of her at night. Would they have counselled and maybe drugged the parents or the child. I will never know what was pumped into my system.

    I know my mother became very concerned when I was about three and had to slowly ween me off whatever the hell it was. I have often said that fear of death is not a problem for me although I would never describe myself as being suicidal. However the comfort of self sabotage, emotional pain and expecting this in the future does make joy or happiness a total unknown state and almost foreign to me to the point where a normal life is possibly viewed as boring, is frought with the fear that inconsistency will creep in that I won't be able to sustain this for long and I believe that over the period of childhood extremes, inconsistency of love which was given usually given in small doses and was viewed by me with suspicion as most of the love I received was bought on by parental guilt and fear when they realised that I was at the end of my tether.

    I learned very quickly to live in my imagination. To rehearse all possible scenarios so avoid being hurt physically or emotionally and to stare at a point in the wall where I could put myself in a dreamlike state in order to be just present enough to answer interrigative questions which would go on for hours which of course my mother told me was all for my own good. (Her personal escape of responsibility clause) but was more in a dreamlike state so of course surely my body chemicals would have responded to these patterns and extremes. I do remember being offered drugs at a party and quite sarcastically and seriously answered. "no thank you - I produce my own" The point being that what we see as a genetic inheritance is years of dysfunction and dishonesty, hidden fears and phobias taught to siblings but to the outsider and even to some professional medical people only see the act. This can be seen quite clearly in the happy families profile that everyone in the family acts out in the case of domestic violence. I am sure when the doctor visisted my home when I was a baby he was confronted with mr. and mrs perfect. Two car family, tv. Home that was so clean it was bordering on obsessive. The perfect concerned mother, the hardworking very well grooomed father and would have had no idea of the abuse and hell that my parents and I lived week to week. The last thought on his mind would have been that there was something seriously wrong with the parents and therefore all focus was on finding the right medication for me.

    I know my mother had tried several medications for me. When I was five my mother ended up in Graylands in Perth Western Australia (1965) diagnosed as neurotic and had two lots of shock therapy. I believe that both my parents had severe programming and therefore mental problems when they married long before I came along. Drugs can be good tools but without insight and understanding, encouragement and patience of good counselling to keep us on track until our bodies, minds and chemical learn and integrate new habits, feel safe with new healthy experiences and therefore become as much a programmed part of our daily lives as years of pain and being taught to hide, deny and reenact what is expected (happy families syndrome) we will not heal.

    I have met some people who are adhd who swear by the drug therapies sing the praises of the psychiatrists who hand them out. But when actually in their homes and knowing them as friends you can quite clearly see that their lives aren't much different they are just awake or asleep with the aid of sleeping pills or do not feel depressed and almost abonormally happy with the aid of antidepressents and just simply feeling better about being disfunctional. I have witnessed people who have had over the top angry outbursts and being awake with dexaphetamine and anti depressents simply have more focus and energy to commit this offence and are more complacent about the effect on the other person because they don't feel as bad about it as they would experience if they werent taking anti depressents.

    Drugs are not the whole answer. I was misdiagnosed as manic depressant and when I was diagnosed with adhd neither psychiatrist even suggested that I should seek counselling as a whole approach to my well being. One without the other is not healing just another disguise! We don't just need a dependency on drugs we need reprogramming through physotherapy or counselling with the drugs being used as tools that allow us to implement new habits, new attitudes new skill-sets both physically mentally and emotionally that in time will become comfortable and a natural state of being where hopefully in time the drugs will become unnecessary as the wholesome and fearless natural and moderate cycles of our lives having been nurtured on all three levels not only allow us for the first time to experience a "normal" life but also it my break the cycle for future generations.

    (30/11/2001)


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