ADD/ADHD later age or whenever

I’m in the proces of some tests for ADD and/of ADHD. My therapist at first thought that somethings might be related to my alcohol abuse and potential braindamage that might have caused.

But I know that I have some characteristics all my life e.g. easily distracted, restless, overthinking, low concentration. Don’t know how to feel yet, but it for sure might explain a lot.

Someone here with experience on this topic?:pray:

10 Likes

Might have same thing u do side affect for adhd or add

Big same except was using weed instead of alcohol. Used heavy every day for 12 years, and after 2 months of sobriety plus a diagnosis of bipolar 1, just being sober enough to advocate for myself and discuss issues, my psychiatrist agreed that I needed to pursue the adhd diagnosis still.
I mean, also because of the fact that I have an ADHD 10yo.
It’s a weird and more complicated but beautiful thing to finally get all the tools to advocate for ourselves.

After 4 months of doing a lot of therapy and other work and starting bpd1 meds, I’m finally on my way to getting the neuropsych assessment this September (have to be 6 months sober for them).
I’m not gonna lie, I’m very nervous but I’m also very excited to finally stop having to ask these questions about myself.

I have to agree on the part about knowing ourselves well enough to know maybe what even contributed to us using in the 1st place and also struggling with things generally enough to finally come to a point where we’re finding answers worth looking into.

Hope everything goes good for you and that they can give you the clarity that you’re looking for!
It’s definitely a cool feeling to finally be looking into stuff like that and getting the validation that we’re not just attention seeking or making it up

5 Likes

Diagnosed at 27 or 28.

Really made a lot of things in my life make sense.

Had been very hyperactive as a kid, unable to pick up on social queues even into my teens/early 20s. Using drugs/alcohol to quiet my brain later on.
Prior to getting diagnosed, I also got really into fitness/nutrition. I noticed when I stopped eating processed foods high in sugar/processed carbs (I ate like shit as a kid through my early 20s), my thinking slowed way down and I really became a totally different person mentally. I don’t have a source to link, but my therapist told me that there have been studies done that show that a diet high in processed foods and sugar can significantly exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Based on my own experience, it seems true.

The way it was framed to me that really made it make sense: when you think of the stereotypical image of ADHD, you picture an excessively hyperactive kid like I had been. As an adult, that externalization of hyperactivity will internalize and will very closely mimic anxiety. That was very much my experience.

Careful with any ADHD drugs they may suggest. I do take adderall now (amphetamine salts), as prescribed, but being a typical addict my brain likes to jump to “if one is good, more is better” and I went through a period of heavy abuse with them at the start which triggered a return to drinking just so I could sleep at night. 5-6x my prescribed dosage in the daytime, pint of vodka in the nighttime. Surprised I didn’t blow my heart out.
it does really help me when I take them as I’m supposed to, so I don’t fuck around with it anymore. I intentionally switched to extended release, since it would allow me fewer pills per month and didn’t produce that initial “rush” like the instant release.

Good luck!

8 Likes

Throwing that word about like it’s nothing a find it offensive as my nephew is disabled also growing up through school people using it wer bullys

1 Like

Sorry, but what do you mean? There is no offending in this thread. But it seems something triggered you.

2 Likes

You didn’t reply to anyone specific, but I suspect you’re referring to my use of “spaz”. It’s the word I use to describe how I was back then, it’s not a term I personally find offensive. No offense meant.
Let me know if that’s accurate and I’ll gladly change it.

2 Likes

Yes m8 it’s a horrible word

1 Like

I don’t find it to be, but I’ll change it out of respect to you and others who may not like it. No problem.

4 Likes

ADHD here, diagnosed officially earlier this year after a formal assessment which I went for because I’d been suspecting it for years and I wanted something official in case I had to ask for anything through my HR.

I am 100% glad I did it. I am now going to counselling and taking meds as prescribed, which in combination are having a big impact.

In my case medication is not becoming a problem; I’ve never had a substance addiction though so that may help me.

If you are concerned about medication it is possible to have an impact through lifestyle (not the same effect as medication but it’s still an impact - and something is always better than nothing!). Exercise has a big impact on ADHD brains. Structure helps too, I use reminders and calendars and lists on my phone religiously. Like, way beyond what I think “normal” people probably do :joy:

Whatever you choose, medication or not, counselling and/or learning through books is helpful. Sari Solden’s Journeys Through ADDulthood is one I’ve just started and it’s excellent.

4 Likes

Good point about structure. When I started eating better and exercising, I also implemented structure in my day to day life. Makes it easier to just…exist.

3 Likes

Suspected but have not officially been diagnosed adhd. It’s something I’ve briefly discussed with my therapist recently but is not a priority to address at this point in my life and I would likely have to avoid meds with my history.

1 Like

Absolutely!

@Rob11: another thing that is helpful about learning about ADHD and also getting a diagnosis is it makes it easier to be deliberate and proactive, and to communicate what you need and how you can succeed.

One of the books I read about the ADHD brain described it as trying to drive a race-car brain on normal roads, which is exactly what living with ADHD feels like to me. On a properly structured racetrack, the race-car brain goes like a bat out of hell. On normal roads, it’s awkward.

This is why the prevalence of ADHD among entrepreneurs is higher. As an entrepreneur you have more autonomy to live your ADHD life in the professional world. (It’s 100% possible to succeed in the corporate world with ADHD too it’s just you need to know what to ask for, including the right environment for success.)

Join your national ADHD organization, whatever country you’re in, and attend conferences to learn about it. Subscribe to research-based publications and read research-informed books to learn how to succeed with an ADHD brain. :slightly_smiling_face:

3 Likes

Luv to read your replies. Gives me a lot of confidence. To me it feels a missing piece of the puzzle that hopefully will fit in my life pretty soon. But I know that will take some effort. But that’s what recovery is all about, putting the work in.

I have a hardtime with planning, organizing and keeping some kind of structure. Bluffing my way throug a quit stressfull job. But that’s nothing new, how I managed my career so far is at least quit chaotic and impulsive. But if I indeed get a formalized diagnoses I won’t hesitate to include HR. Structure for taking care of myself needs improvement as well.

By reading your posts I know I’m on the right track. Thanks a lot for the insights already provided. Feels like I’m not alone on this path too :pray:

3 Likes

Usually it’s the other way - addictions are a side effect of “disorders”.
If you feel a diagnosis may help you, go for it. I got diagnosed ASS at 45 and am happy I got it because it helped me make changes.

1 Like

I got diagnosed with ADD/ADHD at 15 years old-got put on the highest legal dosage of adderall & was on it until I quit drinking at 28. I found that I could drink as much as I wanted if I took adderal so I began abusing it in college and continued to through my 20’s . I also suspect my long run with it contributed to me getting liver cirrhosis at 28.

My best advice to you is-stay away from the stimulants. Vivance is an alternative that doesn’t have the addictive factor but many say doesn’t work as well. For me, over the past 3 years, I have worked very hard to gain coping mechanisms. When I first got sober and I didn’t have my stimulant crutch, everything overwhelmed me. Learn what makes you tick, what makes your brain go from 0-100. Lower the amount of caffeine you drink and begin to journal. Take notes. Make lists. Meditate. Yoga. Anything to sloooow your brain down. I deleted all social media as it took up so much of my time and isn’t healthy for you. Limit the distractions :relaxed:. It’ll come with time. Plenty of books out there too. Driven to distraction is a great one. Thanks for reaching out and I hope this helps

4 Likes

I see it like that too, at least that’s what I meent :blush::wink:

2 Likes

I got diagnosed in my early 30s but had it my whole life. My parents refused to get me any kind of diagnosis as they considered it a made up excuse for kids who just didn’t listen

Adderall like others was my first prescription, and well I loved it helped me focus, and in higher doses I had energy that I loved mind you before this I would abuse all kinds of uppers, cocaine, Ritalin, where my favs but I also dipped into other avenues to get that energy

Adderall became a legal high for me, I could abuse it and test hot for amphetamines and well I had a free pass, I started abusing it, heavier and then mixed it with drinking So I could hang longer,

Since I got sober, I did some other things to help with my ADD to compensate more naturalistic approaches Lower intakes of processed junk, which I been real bad about lately, but my diet being more wholesome and less junk heavy has been helpful. My dr refuses to prescribe me any stimulant due to my history of abuse I was honest about it, and prescribed me stratera which has been helpful yet has some mild side effects, I got headaches the first week or two. But they subsided. TMI sexual side affects where beneficial.

Also like Matt said I’m your run of the mill ADHD dude, with entrepreneurial twists kinfa what attracted me to music so much as well as Public safety cause the short bursts helped with my ADD.

What helps me is I have to have a schedule I never knew it, my ex girlfriend had a white board, where she would write the daily tasks on it, and it was helpful, of course we ended on very bad terms that led me to rehab, so I wanted to deny that fact, but I succumbed after hearing others advice that I should do it

I keep a daily planner, and I write it all out, and try to keep time frames so I don’t overindulge on one activity and forget another, and it’s been helpful, I mean I would get that bad I would forget to eat and most ADD meds curb your appetite, so every activity is written out, so far so good

I tend to procrastinate too, which is something I need to work on, cause like tomorrow, I have to get caught up on a weeks work of planning cause I thought I had more time

2 Likes

Substance abuse is common with people with ADHD because our brains don’t make and utilize dopamine the way neurotypical brains do. You don’t have ADHD from drinking; if anything it’s the other way around. Not sure if that’s what your therapist was saying but that’s kind of what it sounded like.

It’s difficult to manage without meds (I can’t get serious meds so I take some herbal supplements) but once you start learning about what it actually is, which of your issues are tied to it, and how you can adapt your lifestyle to work with your brain rather than against it, it gets easier. If you’re comfortable with meds I’d go that way. That’s not my addiction issue so not a problem for me - I just don’t live in a country where you can easily get them. But there are other ways.

I rely heavily on todo listo apps to keep myself organized. I would have failed out of school by now if not for those. I recognized that my difficulty keeping my space clean was because of ADHD and lack of executive function, so I allowed myself to get over the embarrassment of hiring a cleaning lady once a month. Exercise really helps - doesn’t need to be intense. I lift weights at a leisurely pace mid-afternoon when my energy slumps (benefit of working from home). These are the little things we have to find through trial and error.

4 Likes

This is my life exactly. Struggling with maintaining structure, and bluffing my way through my job - I have said the same things myself, many times. “Chaotic and impulsive” - yep, exactly that.

It’s bizarre because we get kind of conditioned after years of butting up against walls at school and other highly top-down environments (bureaucratic organizations are like this too) - we get conditioned to hide ourselves, disguise ourselves.

The truth is that ADHD’s strengths - and they are many - are strengths we have in spades and they provide unique & essential depth to the human community. Read these over (and this is just a small sample):

If you want a more nuanced presentation of the unique value ADHD people bring to communities that are receptive enough to recognize it, read Delivered from Distraction by Ed Hallowell:

Read any book by Hallowell. They’re all well written and based in solid research and clinical practice.

Another good one is Smart but Stuck, by Thomas Brown, also an ADHD researcher and clinician. That book helped me gain a fuller understanding of the emotional aspect of having ADHD. (Sari Solden’s Journeys Through ADDulthood also helped me with that.) The occurrence and experience of emotion is different (sometimes dramatically different) for people with ADHD - and that is easy to misunderstand for others, especially if they’re not aware of it; it takes some mutual effort to make it understandable.

1 Like