The fun, creative, active side?

My husband has begun the process of getting a diagnosis. I'm a little confused and would love some enlightenment. His primary care physician saw him, then asked to also see me. After asking a lot of questions, he said he didn't have a problem putting him on a low dose of ritalin and checking back in 4 weeks.

My husband's next step was to see our counselor, who said it probably was the best course of action. He said there is no test for ADHD and if the medicine is helping him sleep, clearing his head, helping with temper and impulse control--rather than making him jittery and high--then he probably needs to be on it.

Is this the way people are diagnosed?

I am also concerned when I read about the bundle of energy, creative, fun side of people with ADHD. That is not my husband at all and never has been. Quiet, reserved--but apparently with a mind that raced 100 miles per hour all the time. Poor memory, low self-esteem, no control over what he says, zones out when people talk, can't concentrate on what he reads or hears in a meeting--all that,  yes. Can it still mean ADHD or could it be something else?


I don't see the gift of ADD" in my husband either. no creativity, no fun, no energy other than that annoying can't sit still on speed type of thing. Tired of the sugar coating

Diagnosis of ADD

I'm not a doctor, but I've been around ADD a long enough time to tell you that giving medication and seeing if it works isn't generally how it's diagnosed.  There is a full set of questions and tests that go into the evaluation, including a patient history, which is very important for determining ADD.  You want to rule out other options that resemble ADD, including bipolar.  The test for ADD is how one is rated against a very specific set of questions.  The current "official" set of questions is designed with children in mind.  Russell Barkley and some other researchers have suggested, with regression analysis and their own research, how those criteris should be modified for adult diagnosis.  However, to my knowledge that hasn't been adopted yet.  If you want to see that list (and 75 pages of explaination of how they got there, see the book "ADHD in Adults - what the research says" by Barkley et al.  You will find it depressing - Barkley is most definitely in the "ADHD is a terrible disorder" camp when it comes to ADD.  I respect his work, but temper it with my own experience (and that of Dr. H's) of what having a positive attitude can do for treatment and self-esteem.

There are three sub-types of ADHD - one is the hyperactive type (the "H") one is the inattentitve type and one is called "combined" (a bit of both).  It sounds as if your husband might be in the inattentive type.  This is the one that is least likely to be diagnosed because people see the "H" much more readily than the inattention.  My daughter is the inattentive type - she is the most laid-back person I've ever met (though she is creative and her brain does skip from thing to thing easily).  My husband is also inattentive type.  He is certainly NOT a creative type, but also incredibly laid back.

The best way to figure this all out is to get a full evaluation from a psychiatrist who has experience diagnosing ADD and differentiating it from other things.  I suggest a psychiatrist because he or she will be able to prescribe meds if needed and will know if other meds might also help (psychologists can't prescribe meds).  Also, you should know that people with ADD often have other issues, such as anxiety or depression or reading disabilities.  So a full diagnosis will help you catch those, too.

The self-esteem issues are classic ADD - too many years of trying like the devil and still being unsuccessful...then having people telling you to "just try harder".  Diagnosis and treatment could really help him out.  Please keep in mind that meds AREN'T magic pills.  The meds may well give him a new tool to change some of the physical aspects of his ADD (specifically brain firing stuff) but he will also then need to find good strategies to develop new behaviors.  Meds can help him do this, but he will still need to explore how to stay organized, how to stay focused, etc.  These are things you learned a long time ago, but he never did because his ADD got in the way (which is why meds won't make him suddenly organized, only give him the focusing ability to learn how to become organized).

Good luck with it, and thanks for posting your question.

I was in shock that the

I was in shock that the medication did not work as well as I expected it would, I thought he would pop them back and... poof all better!    Melissa is right the medication is not magic!

There is something that all should know about these meds...they should not be taken in the evening with coffee...

While on Adrahal he drank back a strong large coffee in the evening around 11pm, he also took his new medication (just diagnost with ADHD) with the coffee, because he forgot to take them in the morning as prescribed. On his way home he got distracted by a heard of dear in a feild, with out thinking he turned off the main road onto a service road to get a better look and got stuck in the snow.January in Canada.(This is his fun side)

  He was up to 4am tring to shovel his way out with a 2x4, for he did not have a real shovel  (guess thats his creative side?)  I was at my daughters for the night helping with her new born,  and did not know about the situation until the morning.

He missed work, damaged the van, hurt himself... and I was angry! The doc. advised him very strongly never to take meds late and with caffeine...he also changed him over to Concerta, because the Adrahal was making him more jumpy, and he also went through a huge wieght loss due to a surpressed appitite. I wish my husbands Doc. would let me in on the sessions.

...and were is the fun side?



Gracie You should insist on

Gracie You should insist on sitting in with your husband and the doc. They told me that my insight was very valuable because the patient doesn't always report accurately how the meds are impacting their behavior. They can describe how the feel on the meds but you can describe how they ACT. Good luck