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What are the causes and symptoms of ADHD?

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Addiction Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 1486 Questions
Hi. I have a problem that i have had for maybe 3-4 years. I am 21 now. This problem could also be that i have it for life. I am not sure. I believe i have ADD/ADHD with depression. I have had a good childhood, my parents, friends are nice etc. Nothing traumatic. I believe this because i have alot of moodswings, tiredness, hard to focus. being emotional etc. When i was younger i used to have few close friends. I found it hard to be with people i didnt know well because i feel its hard to understand them. They might make jokes that i dont understand and talk in a way that doesnt make sense to me. I felt sad and lonely alot , but when i was younger i handled my emotions by watching tv and playing videogames all the time. I wanted to be with people but i felt anxiety , i felt wierd and addicted to video games. My childhood from a rational perspective was allright, but i feel there was alot of confusion in social interaction. On exams i allways got really bad grades, but not in classes where i was graded on like a test every week. But i could never get a above average score no matter how much i read. I have alot depression that come and go through my life , it has gone up and down but I can not remember my past in perspective. Since I was about 14 years, i visited the doctor often because I felt tired. Tired as in low mood, sluggish, low self esteem, low motivation to do things, , low energy and poor focus . All blood samples were taken and EEG scan . They found nothing. I continued then to live with this. Could barely get through the second year of high school because I felt tired, sensitive and tired all the time. At the end of this year I started exersizing because I thought that it was the cause of my fatigue + I was 20 kg too much. Through the summer I biked and i went down in weight. Felt better , but had so much energy that i felt i was not in control of, felt restless constantly and lonely. Cycled very long without eating and water. I still dont understand today where this energy came from. During my last year of high school i found out i was milk, sugar and onion sensitiv. I experimented alot with diets and if there was stuff i didnt tolerate, and my well being got better, but not perfect. The core isues were stil there.There was a period where i was sexually active and i felt as if every girl on the street was attractive? At the same time i was also very lonely and i would have slept with anyone just to feel better. I felt so unconcentrated, sad, irritated and just full of moodswings. Managed to get through the last year of high school . I made it through high school with an gpa of 2.4, but i really tried to get a better GPA, i just couldnt focus. I was not really social alot of the time, and i really wanted to focus on it, but i just couldnt remember what i was reading and i felt my memory was soo bad. I struggled with mood swings , unable to focus , sensitive and difficult to focus for a longer time. Even in social situations alot of the time unless its only one person.I wanted to quit school several times. Eventually I started to realize that there is something wrong with me , went a year at university , and i failed nearly all my subjects. I read a lot about ADD, bipolar disorder , depression , aspergers , etc. After been reading alot of this i came to a conclusion i had innatentive add and depression. This was because I had difficulty concentrating , sensitive, tired all the time , hard to talk to several people at once or if I did not know they them , quite irrational . Went to a Naturopath eventually managed to get something that made ??me work better , but I have to take the supplements every 3-4 hours, or the symptoms start coming back. I do function pretty well on these, but people say i am mellow and i sometimes find it hard to feel XXXXXXX and to be enthusiastic or excited. The supplements i got was Reishi, Cordyceps, which i combined with omega 3, multivitamins and amino acid complex, but since i have to take these supplements often and i dont feel they function well all the time i wanted to see if maybe a psychiatrist or someone could maybe help so i came here. I 've read a bit about Concerta , Ritalin , adderal and think that this is something that can help me through the day? How long will it take to get a diagnosis ? Where and how long are the diagnoses valid? Are they valid in other states/countries? How does this work? I am a norwegian citizen and i am currently in the US attending a non academical school, i will be returning in 5 months. I have health insurance that will cover me only in an emergency and not what i have which is chronic. In Norway ADD/ADHD treatment takes very long time because there is alot of waiting time between the appointments and medications for ADD/ADHD are very regulated. Much more than in the US. I believe if i get 12 hour medications like concerta i will have less problems , like i have with these supplements that last 3-4 hours or much less if i eat or drink something with too much artifical sugar or any milk. My body has problems processing alcohol because when i drink i feel like very bad, sad, tired and then afterwards its hard to sleep and the whole next day i feel tired and sluggish. Never any headache just sluggishenes and feeling really stupid. Is this normal? I usually feel a bit sluggish when i dont take my medication from my naturopath. I am afraid if i get treatment there they might not give me medication, i spend a year or more on it and they might just tell me to get a job thats not through university and thats not what i want. I have some academical ambitions that i feel that i want to achieve but i just cant because i have problems reading books for a long time without getting bored, frustrated, unfocused etc. I have spent alot of time on study techniques and i am so inneffecient that i believe medication at the moment is the only way to make me achieve what i want. I do have money to be able to pay for treatment in the us if the treatment isnt too expensive?. I have some money saved up from a job i had in the summer. I believe my problems are purely chemically in my brain and its not the circumstances around me. Currently i live in california and i wonder if i should visit a doctor or somekind of specialist ?And how long will the treatment take?
Posted Sat, 28 Dec 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 5 hours later
Brief Answer: Explained below. Detailed Answer: Hi, Welcome to Healthcare Magic! It is possible that you may be suffering from ADHD and depresion. It is also possible that you do not have ADHD but have an anxiety disorder which is responsible for poor concentration, feeling uneasy in social situations and poor performance in exams as compared to that in class tests. Another possibility is that you have a personality that is liable to anxiety, makes you avoid social situations, gives you a sense of loneliness, causes mood swings etc. Whatever the diagnosis, the best way to find out would be to see a psychiatrist for a detailed assessment and diagnosis. Coming to the treatment, most medicines require a once or twice a day dosing and so, you will not have to take medicines at short intervals. Even if you are diagnoses with ADHD, in my opinion, rather than starting treatment with any amphetamine (Adderall etc) or other stimulants like methylphenidate (Concerta, italin etc), you should try other medicines like atomoxetine (Strattera) or bupropion (Wellbutrin) etc which are not addictive but known to be effective in adults with ADHD. The reason for saying so is that treatment is usually long term, taking years, and you would return to Norway soon. You will find it easier to get a doctor to prescribe non-stimulant medicines as compared to stimulants, wherever you go in the world. Cost may be an issue but not if you can get generic versions which are cheaper. While you are arranging to see a psychiatrist, if possible, try doing some relaxation exercises like progressive muscular relaxation or autogenic relaxation. You are sure to notice an improvement in many of your symptoms with this. Detailed instructions are free available online. Meditation and yoga also help a lot in improving concentration. Hope this helps you. Please feel free to ask if you need any clarifications. Best wishes. Dr Preeti Parakh MD Psychiatry
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