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Karen,

You rightly question the ADHD diagnosis. Let's go over the criteria for adult ADHD. You are in the best position to objectively determine whether your daughter meets the conditions.

You should see clear signs of most of these core adult ADHD symptoms:

Easily distracted, implusive, unable to sequence, organize or schedule tasks, careless driving/speeding, unable to enjoy quiet leisure activities and poor follow through on commitments.

And those symptoms must seriously screw up social, academic, domestic, community or occupational functioning.

And symptoms have been manifested since childhood. But be careful here. Sometimes early life symptoms are missed because the child's was able to compensate.

Does your daughter suffer with ADHD?

If you answer yes, take your daughter to the best shrink available to you. The pdoc's job is to determine if another mental disorder better accounts for the symptoms, an important step because all mental disorders cause attention problems.

Who really is the villain?

Once you know you can launch a targeted attack without worry of collateral friendly fire damage from powerful and multiple drugs being indescriminately thrown at your daughter.

Similarly, counseling can be targeted. Let's use physical therapy to illustrate. You get your legs mangled in a wreak. The therapy is very different than if you lost leg mobility because of a head injury. The "why" it isn't working is as important as "what" isn't working. Once both "what" and "why" are known, targeted counseling is very likely to help your daughter work through or around difficulties.

Have I been misdiagnosed?

No. I'm as ADHD as can be. But at times I've questioned the diagnosis.

I'm easy prey for depression. Sometimes goes wrong and I go down into the deep black abyss of depression. My ADHD symptoms go through the roof and into orbit. Adderall is NOT the rope I need to pull myself out. I go on antidepressant for while, get over it, and my ADHD symptoms drop out of orbit on to roof level. I'm so much less ADHD it can seem like depression has been the trouble all along. Not so. Roof level is too high for me to function well. Now Adderall can do its ADHD symptom control job.

There is a bright side to depression. I stop eating and lose weight. The dark side is I haven't been getting depressed frequently enough to keep the weight off. I'm trying to figure out how to get depressed for one week out of every month so that I can eat like a pig the following three weeks and not be fat.

So far, no cigar. Any suggestions?

Bob

PS Get a copy of ADHD in Adults: What the Science Tells Us. by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.





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