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I'll try to make this as brief as possible. My daughter has just turned 19 and wants to be tested for ADD. I couldn't agree more, however, I do wonder what she really has going on. Her behavior has caused so much stress in our family that I fear it is irreparable. She was always an "active" child, but her grades were good and she didn't start showing a terrible amount of disrespect until her teen years. However, the disrespect and behavior just got worse. She's had 3 speeding tickets, two car wrecks (only one was her fault), been kicked off a sports team in high school for mouthing off to her coach as well as the athletic director, had an incident with shoplifting, had a booze party at our lake cottage (stole our keys to get in), dented up the side of my vehicle while backing out of the driveway (music was too loud in her car and she didn't hear the "scratching" of the vehicles), snuck out of the house at night to meet "friends" (most of those friends are either now in jail or pregnant), was fired from one job (thank God she has one now), had one good semester at college and then proceeded to follow that with a 1.2 GPA. Of course all these events are blamed on others. She won't accept responsibility) These are just the first things that come to mind, but I think you get the picture. She's also up until the wee hours of the morning. She says she can't sleep, but when she does fall asleep (around 3am) she will sleep for 10 hours at least, if left alone. Does anyone have any experience with adult ADD or with such defiant children/young adults. I'm sure there's a problem here...I just don't know what to call it!
If she wants to be tested that may be a great step in the right direction. Maybe she's realized that there is a problem and she wants to figure out what it is. Testing would at least sort things out.
Oh, I agree totally and hope that an answer is found...quickly. It's just that she seems unable to control her behavior and since she is beyond the age that we can "control" her, it is terribly difficult to lead a life without the daily stress that this situation creates. Thanks for your thoughts!
Hanging with the wrong type of people and too much party time or perhaps drugs come to mind. Maybe rebellion of some sort? It could be something as simple as peer group pressure. She might, unfortunately, want the ADD testing done so she can get some amphetamines if she has gotten into that crowd.
My husband and I have thought about that as well. We also wondered if she would resort to selling the medication. I hear it goes for $5 a pill at college. We did have her drug tested in high school and it came back negative. The test was a surprise, so she didn't have time to "clean up" if she was using anything. She's actually a really smart girl, very mechanically inclined, creative, gorgeous, but she's got an immature, risk taker personality. I guess I have to hope that the doctor she sees can assess her intentions correctly. I do think she wants to find out why she has so many difficulties, but I don't think a pill will be the answer to all these problems.

You described me c. 1970 sans gorgeous.

Your daughter absolutely, positively, should be throughly tested not just for ADHD but all disorders, and other factors that mimic ADHD symptoms.

Could she be after "speed." It is possible. I'm assuming you are picking up the tab. Figure on spending a few grand. Get the best of the best by thoroughly researching therapists in your neighborhood, then beyond if necessary. Your daughter will have to the next Meryl Streep to get by top clinicians for dope.

Would you fork over 100K for your daughters advanced ed? I am sure you would. If she is ADHD and it is successfully managed she'll be able to reimburse you for college education. I am telling I know of people with extremely high - 140 to 187 - IQ's that ADHD turned into bumbling idiots. The older a person gets before diagnosis and therapy, the harder management becomes of ADHD damage. It is like putting out a fire too late. Half the building must be reconstructed and the other half cleaned. Much better to extinguish the burning frying pan and spend just a few hours cleaning up the kitchen.


I'm up for doing anything that will help her succeed. I don't know if she lost motivation when it became harder and harder to concentrate, so that's something she may need to "find" again. Our insurance is pretty good, so hopefully the bills won't hit the $1,000 mark, but if so, so be it. Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately she only has 2 months of summer left, after her first appointment, before returning to school so it may be that she'll have to find someone to continue therapy with at college...if that's normally a prescribed course of treatment? That's something I worry about...her continuing on with a therapist without our prodding. We are sending her back for the fall semester because she still wants to try to do better and if she finds a medication that works, then it'll be a good decision. If not then she'll have to return home until we can get this whole thing figured out.


I am a software engineer. I never thought anything could supercede engineering in complexity. After researching brains and things that can go wrong with brains, I feel like a moron that knows nothing about anything and never will.

I desparately searched for an equation (algorithm) that would evaluate correctly in any situation. How naive. Weather forecasting software will never predict weather accurately until meterologists nail all the variables. They're screwed. ADHD evaluation software? I'm laughing as I write.

Want some good news? I did find the receipe that works for me. Here it is:
60 mg Ritalin/day, cognitive/behavioral therapy to unlearn bad habits because of ADHD damage and simultaneously learn good habits that I should have learned by the time I was 19. Practice, practice, practice - day-in, day-out; accepting the inevitable setbacks, screwups, sundry blunders, etc everyone learning new skills experiences but like the stock market (most of the time) worth more at year's end than on new years.

That is my receipe.

Daughter's receipe? Probably not. However get to work. You'll find it.


Once again, thanks for your insight. My daughter's appointment isn't until the 20th of June so we'll have be patient for a bit longer. Hopefully we'll have some sort of idea what's going on after that...maybe that's too optimistic. Anyway, I suppose I'll be back on the site if and when medication is prescribed to see what other's have experienced in the way of side effects, etc.

I'm very glad to hear your daughter passed drug testing in high school, but keep in mind that means only that she definately wasn't a consistant user. Most street drugs last no longer for detection than 72 hrs. at best from what I've heard. In other words, if she smoked pot and got tested 2 days later, might not show up. I'm just saying this because anytime an otherwise good kid like yours starts to change very suddenly at a certain age(especially teens), that's usually a sign of alcohol or drug abuse(or both) and getting in with a peer group which is nothing but trouble(the jailed and pregnant you mentioned fit that).

I know that nervous system depressants, especially pot, can turn an otherwise smart student (you mentioned good grades most of school years) into a D or F student. ADD is not always the answer IMHO to these problems, especially when they show up so noticably in teen years aka the rebellion/acceptance into peer group years.

Depressant users it seems, sooner or later, start to want the highs that the uppers can provide. I'm not saying your daughter is now using drugs, nor that her motives for getting checked for ADD are dishonest, but I would still consider those possibilites and inform the doctors of such by providing detailed history and current peer groups because I am sure doctors would not want to be responsible for giving someone ADD drugs who might abuse or simply sell them to friends.

Now it might not even be drugs at all; alcohol(you mentioned a booze party)can be just as bad as some drugs, depending on how much and what type of alcohol. Trouble is, there is usually no way for a parent to find out details other than hiring a private detective or something and even they can't enter an apartment or household to really see what's going on.

Again, by your description, she has been up intil teen years an active yet good student. I would think she would have be very different in her younger years if it was a true ADD type behavior.

I'm very much against psych meds, since most times they are prescribed when not really needed; where there are life, drug abuse, alcohol, health, psychological etc. issues that are overlooked in favor of the easy and fast fix to the problems.

I want to offer you hope, as I have known some ADD diagnosed people (and some undiagnosed but obviously with the symptoms) and yet these people have succeeded in school and life.....maybe not as soon as parents hoped, maybe not exactly the way parents had hoped, but it did happen eventually....and this was without the ADD meds. Meds can help a few people but hurt many as well. Be very careful even when they help as they can cause many mental and also physical health hazards over the years.

I hope you can resolve the problem whichever way you go with it. Good luck, it's heartbreaking I know but all you can do is support and guide, and hope.

I see your point completely. I am constantly going back and forth with this issue. She does exhibit most of the ADD characteristics (now), but then again, I see that those traits are also present in many disorders as well as just plain "ornery" children. My only hope at this point is that the doctor that she sees will have the insight that I lack. If a diagnosis is made quickly I guess I'd question fact I probably will. I expect a few sessions would be in order to completely and accurately determine what is going on. She's had lots of let downs and a bad relationship to boot, so I think her psychological reaction to those situations could also have some bearing on her motivation and extra curricular activities. Anyway, thank you for your opinion.


A couple of points that occur to me in this discussion.

I went to an ADD presentation a couple of nights ago, and the subject of drugs came up (there were a lot of concerned parents in the audience). The people who presented this talk said that statistics indicate that ADD kids who grow up [U]without[/U] help for their condition tend to abuse drugs in an attempt to self medicate, "become known to the police", and in general fail to thrive in school and job situations. Drugs are certainly not the answer for every person who is having problems concentrating, but, when the right drug and dosage is found, they [U]can[/U] be a lifesaver.

Another thing to keep in mind is that ADD is not a condition that can be definitively diagnosed like diabetes, where there's a test that says that if your fasting sugar is above a certain number then you definitely should be working with a doctor to get things under control. The symptoms of ADD are similar to the symptoms that everyone has from time to time, just more magnified. The tests for ADD don't have any magic cut-off number, like for cholesterol or blood pressure or thyroid hormones. There is no test that measures any brain chemical or lack therof. It's a matter of degree. If these symptoms, as listed on the ADD tests given by doctors, are so bad that they're seriously interfering with your life, then they can say that you have ADD.

I think it is irrelevant in this case how many people are diagnosed with ADD who "should" simply need a bit of re-training instead of drugs. The issue here is your daughter, not any other child on this planet. If a diagnosis of ADD gives a name to her problems, and thereby gives her an opportunity to find a way to live with her brain wiring, then she at least has somewhere to start from. She is old enough to be able to evaluate whether a particular drug is helping or not. If one doesn't work or has too many side effects, then she can try another. It may vey well be that none of the drugs are appropriate, but no one knows that until they try them. Ads I said, there is no test for too much or too little of some particular brain chemical that would definitively diagnose ADD, so it's trial and error to find one that works.

Yes, she could wind up abusing the drugs or selling them instead of using them. But it is also possible that she really could benefit from a specific drug program along with ADD counseling. As ADDProgrammer said, there's a lot of learning of good habits and unlearning of bad ones that needs to happen. For some of us, it's a LOT easier when we've found a drug to put our brains back into focus.

I'm glad that you're giving your daughter this chance. Keep us posted on what comes out of the doctor's visit.


Thanks for the comments. I am really glad I found this website. I've never logged onto chat/help boards before but I am finding this to be extremely helpful. It's frustrating to me because I have felt that something hasn't been right for years, but unfortunately I've not had the support/agreement from my spouse. We have an older daughter who doesn't seem to have any trouble in school or social situations. She has tried to keep a relationship with her sister but has finally decided that the conflict is too much and has backed off in that area. It's hard to watch. My 19 year old's behavior has also driven a wedge between my husband and myself. That's how the stress of this "condition" has affected our family. Arguing as whether it's this, that or the other thing, but never knowing or seeking out an answer...until now. No one ever suggested a test for ADD (school officials, friends, etc.) and because her grades have been good it just didn't occur to me to go that route. I'm kind of getting off track, but again, I sure do appreciate the opinions and support. I will post something after the appointment so I can get as much unbiased help as I can.

I sure hope things will get better for you and your daughter. I think there is are so many opportunities these days for teens to really get somewhere if only they don't fall into the party all night scene.

I am grateful my kids have gotten grants for college to attend for free; both look like they are going to teach college level math and the other computer science. This country, even with it's problems, sometimes does come through with help for kids to make a good future.

You know, maturity and age really do matter alot; this son of mine when he was in his teen years acted like it was a tragedy and unspeakable to spend Saturday night at home. Anyone who stayed at home not partying was a complete loser to him.

But as he aged into his twenties, something slowly changed. The other day out of the blue when friends were calling him up to go out.. he actually told me that he felt partying was a big waste of time!! kidding I'm like who is this person?

Now he'll go sometimes to meet friends to have a beer but he said its to keep contact with his friends basically and most Saturday nights he actually stays home working on the computer, doing homework, or even spending some time just watching a movie with me.

It's amazing what a few years can change.

But my son wasn't quite as reckless as your daughter, although he did his share of things. So you are right to be concerned and I really do hope you will get her whatever help she needs and that she will accept that she needs to change her course before something really bad happens.
[QUOTE=Jennita;3033731] I'm just saying this because anytime an otherwise good kid like yours starts to change very suddenly at a certain age(especially teens), that's usually a sign of alcohol or drug abuse(or both)...[/QUOTE]

I'm afraid that I have to agree with this. My first thought when reading your post was "sounds like she's on drugs to me". Does that seem like a possibility to you, frazzled parent?

With regards to her ADD symptoms - have those symptoms [I]always [/I]been present? What was she like in elementary school?
At age 16 I started abusing drugs. By age 19 I was addicted to methamphetamine. No one ever suspected that anything was wrong with me until age 16. I was a good boy, good grades, normal teen shenanigans . By age 19, my parents spent most of there time grieving and blaming themselves for my outrageous, criminal conduct.

At age 52 I discovered while attempting to get cheaper life insurance that I had the hepatitus C virus. Saw a liver doctor (never could remember that endothingywhatevertologist). First words out of docs mouth: "ever abuse drugs? Yeah, 35 years ago. Doc, "that is how you got it. Why did you stop abusing drugs? I got sick of being a loser. Doc, "most guys I see your age, your story, have underlying pschological problems." Me to doc: "You're nuts."

Three months later: Doc: "Bob, I suspect ADHD." Me to Doc: "Your still nuts."

Six months later: Interferon causes "brain fog" in almost everyone. "Brain fog" is attention deficit problems NOT caused by ADHD. Add "brain fog" on top of moderate ADHD and you got SEVERE ADHD so severe I couldn't work. Because I couldn't work, wife and I lose $100,000 + in savings and home equity, and because I am now 53 and knew it was going to be nearly impossible to recoup those losses, I decided to get depressed. Add Depression on top of "brain fog" and moderately ADHD and you are talking totally non-functional. At least that caused me to stop telling liver guy he's nuts and really looking at my pschological reality.

I'll be son-a-gun, I've been ADHD since hatched.


You make DAMN sure you get that girl of yours tested.


PS Index may be absolutely correct. You still need professional help. Drug abuse / addiction calls for a therapist anyway.

My gut instinct tells me that she's not on drugs. Over the years I have tended to lean toward the negative regarding her behavior, meaning that I've been looking for signs...consistently. Her father often waited up for her on weekends in high school and when she came home from college for visits. He said that when she came home from a night out she didn't appear to be drunk (no alcohol smell, no slurring of words, etc.) and didn't appear to be high (you know, those eyes give you away!). I know that she did frequent the frat houses at school last year but she told me that she didn't drink to excess. Yeah, I know, I could be a sucker but we have always had a pretty open line of communication which I thought was honest. As far as always being this way...I'd have to say yes. Now that I really give it some thought. She was a "loud" baby. If she didn't get her way she'd let out a scream that could crack a champagne glass. She was impulsive and preferred to stand by her desk in 1st grade instead of sit. The teacher saw no problem with it so we just ignored it. I was just thinking about the grade issue this morning as well and realized that she coasted through elementary school and middle school and it wasn't until high school that problems showed up. My thought on that is that she is very intelligent. She was tested and could have been in the gifted class in elementary school but we opted out for "social" reasons. It was an isolated class of approximately 15 kids and we wanted her to have more interaction with others during her schooling. So, anyway, I'm thinking that she was able to absorb the material for school quickly and do well with minimal concentration but when it came to high school and college, the time requirement for studying became too much for her to handle. She also had a boyfriend in high school that didn't care a bit about his future and that surely had some bearing on her interests and speeding tickets and possibly other problems with the law. I think there are many variables in this particular situation and I have really encouraged her to explore everything in her life with the doctor, when she sees him. Back to the drug issue: She was a gynmast in high school, and a darn good one, which required her to submit to random drug testing throughout her four years there. She knew that, and loved the sport dearly, so I think that she really steered clear of the possiblity of getting kicked off the team for that. She was kicked off (temporarily) for mouthing off to her coach in her last season. That is another story in itself, having more to do with a long standing personality conflict between the two of them. Wow, I've gone on and on. Let me know if you think I'm too naive!


She'll be at the doctor's office on the 20th!! I've done a bit of research on the guy and feel that he has very good credentials. I sure would like to talk to him myself, but being that she is 19 I don't know if that's an option. I would think he'd want to talk to her parents regarding her childhood instead of just taking her word for things. Who knows with all the medical privacy laws and all. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your story. We all need to be more open regarding our problems because we all have something to share with each other if we'd only take off the masks and be willing to be vulnerable. I will definitely keep all of you posted. You have been very kind and helpful to me. THANKS.

Wow, this thread warrants a response on so many levels. I don't know where to start. I imagine that I'll speak for many with ADD/ADHD when I say that the tone of this thread triggered many emotions. The hypercritical description of this young woman along with the general assumptions resonates with the classic description of an ADHD'd kid.

I am hearing of many reasons why she SHOULDN'T be tested. Maybe it is ADHD, maybe it isn't; that is the purpose of an assessment ;)

However, if she has ADHD, I would like to think that her mother would you want her to have the opportunity to management it?? As far as the "damage being done," exactly what damage are you talking about? I [I]really [/I]hope that I am misunderstanding that statement because it sounds like you have said that there is no hope for her.

This is coming from somebody diagnosed with ADD (not ADHD) at 31. I coped well with an A-B average in elementary school. But, by junior high, I could no longer get by on natural ability bec my lack of focus and organization skills were affecting me. Also, add the hormonal and priorities with puberty. "Normal kids" also deal with the issues, but ADHD adds complexity. No two cases of ADD/ADHD are alike, so it is impossible to speculate that a child does not have ADHD bec they functioned well as a child.

While I had difficulties in HS, I regained focus in college. I had to compensate for lack of study skills, but I managed a M.S. degree (3.7). But, I was under so much stress because I was inefficient. My stress level could have been MUCH lower if diagnosed and managed earlier.

Have you done any research on ADHD? I suspect that you have not, but I could be wrong....

Most of the descriptions that you've given (all negative, of course) describe the classic ADHD'd person--pre-diagnosis. Don't think that she is not aware of her issues, especially if she hears the tone of criticism that I've read here.

Back to research, if you have not, there are many great resources. I'd like to suggest [I]"Driven to Distraction"[/I] (Hallowell and Ratey) and/or the author Daniel Amen. I suggest this for you AND your daughter. You may find that it has a healing affect for both of you. I'm aware of the stress that ADHD can cause to a family, but it also causes much pain to the affected person.

Regarding meds: it is a combinations of the meds AND therapy that is optimal. The meds level the playing field, so therapeutic intervention is more effective. Meds are an amoral substance, it's the regulation and attitude towards them that causes the issues. I'm against inappropriately perscribed meds as well, nor do I believe that meds are solely the answer. But, that does not change the legitimacy of them.

If a person has legitimate ADHD, stimulants do not have the same affect with ADHD'd people as the regular population. Believe me, we get no recreational affect. In fact, I get irritated by the idea of non-ADD'd students using them academically because the advantage is so unfair. To us, it adds a calm focus that others take for granted. Yes, stimulants have a calming effect. Curious, how does she respond to caffeine? Many are naturally drawn to caffeine, or worse, further up the line. So, a regulated dose of an Rx stimulant or let them wander into a way of medicating themselves?? Which is better?

Interesting, there seems to be a double standard. Any other organ dysfunction has their conventionally accepted medications. But, w/ the brain, many have their "opinions." about [I]mood altering drugs[/I] :eek: ..unmanaged psych conditons are also mood altering. And-- those neurotransmitters that are altered by the evil med also have other physiological functions as well! Plus, I could name you 10 other systemic drugs that alter moods...but, I digress

Also, as a group, NON-TREATED ADHD'd kids have one of the highest rate of substance abuse. ...[SIZE="2"]I'm sure at least one person in this thread will jump on that without a citation. I can retrieve the reference if needed.... [/SIZE] In addition to self medicating, perhaps a low self image from years of criticism will do it

This response was not intended to be an excuse list for ADHD. It is not my fault that I have ADHD, but I have a responsibility to manage it. Thankfully, I presently have a support system that is not predicting my downfall.

Giving your daughter the benefit of the doubt in regards to her intentions can be the first step.
I'm not really sure where you came up with "there is no hope for her". I was simply pointing out some behavior that I considered above the norm for rebellion and considered to be self destructive. I am all for her being tested for ADD and she will begin that testing on Wednesday. I also listed other factors, pyschological "blows", that may be contributors to her personality/attention problems. I also, as did others, considered self medication, for whatever reason. I also stated that she is a very intelligent individual, mathematically inclined, musically inclined, creative, etc. She has a lot of positive characteristics, but they are being over shadowed by her behavioral problems. What I'm trying to identify, by this thread, is the problem, not her positive attributes. Her father, sister and myself and VERY concerned about her and only want the best for her in the future. As to the caffine issue, yes, she does like her "Red Bull" and her coffee house coffees. I am relying on the expert opinion of the doctor at this point and hope that many of her issues can be resolved with quality medical treatment and pyschological therapy.
I realize that you are trying to identify the problem and that analyzing the positive isn't the point. It wasn't the stating the problems as much as the tone I perceived in the first few posts. Now, if that wasn't your intention, I apologize. I will fully admit that it could've been perception on my end and leave it at that.

The question about caffeine was that, a question. Just asked because it is commonly noted. I wasn't expecting you to rely upon anything that wasn't expert opinion.

I wish you and your family the best.
[QUOTE=frazzledparent;3035959]She'll be at the doctor's office on the 20th!! [/QUOTE]

Let us know how it goes, okay?
I certainly will!
One more thing, I apologize for how our first encounter started. I'm also interested in hearing how it goes. I hope that your insurance is nice about it.
Apology accepted. I have a certain "style" that is often seen as abrupt/abrasive. I tend to state things as I see them, usually not with nice, soft words. Sometimes it's called for, maybe not so in other situations. Something I have to work I apologize as well. We, as a family, are really looking forward to Wednesday and some answers/comments/observations from the doctor. I'll post a note as soon as we get some information.

Yes, definitely keep us posted about the doctor visit -- not only what the doctor says, but also how your daughter responds. (And what your reaction as a parent is, too, of course.)

I have an appointment coming up on Friday. I'll post in a separate thread about the results of that.


I can see from your response that you have some first-hand knowledge of what it's like to have other people judge you. If you could post some of your observations and experiences and concerns in a separate thread or two, you'd be helping lots of others see things from another point of view. I'd love to hear some more of what you have to say -- and I promise to respond -- I may not have any answers, but I certainly can relate to looking at things from an ADD point of view!

I think that I will. I was diagnosed two years ago, so the experience is fresh. I get emotional towards the medicine debate.

I was considering doing this, but was thinking of how to do it in a way that wasn't imposing unsolicited advice. I may need a day or two...
The phychologist has "temporarily" diagnosed ADD for my daughter. Her father accompanied her to her appointment, which lasted about 1 1/2 hours. The doctor said that if he was a betting man, he'd bet she has ADD/ADHD. But, he needs to have her father and I fill out the observation forms for him to complete his diagnosis. So, we've done that and my daughter also has to fill one out for herself. She has another appointment on July 18th when I suppose some medication will be discussed. It's a relief to have something concrete (sort of) to deal with. It sure does explain a lot. So now we'll wait again for the next phase when I'm sure I'll be back to hear your comments on the drug that may be prescribed. At least my daughter seems in better spirits, for the time being, knowing that she can get some help and that her symptoms may be relieved. Thanks for all your support, people of the internet!


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