Is you is or is you ain’t… ADD.

Now I’m all confused. For the past year and a half or so I’ve been living with the impression that I am ADD. I’ve been attending counseling to learn how to live with it and have been on medication for it and felt that I was getting a handle on things and straightening my shit out. Then my counselor switched clinics and we followed him to the new location. It took over 2 months just to get an appointment with the psychiatrist at the new clinic so that I could continue my prescription and that appointment finally happened today. So I go in and he asks me a bunch of questions and then announces that, in his professional opinion, I’m not ADD and therefor he won’t write a prescription for the medication I’ve been taking.

To say I was a little taken aback is an understatement. Up until now there had been no question in my mind that I was ADD. Now I’m wondering if I’ve been wasting my time for the last year or so. I’ve never been really fond of the psychiatric profession as it is and it took a while to build up enough trust to embark on this attempt at self-improvement as it was. This fellow made some good arguments about how ADD is often over-diagnosed because it makes for a nice excuse and the pharmaceutical companies certainly aren’t complaining about the profits from all the ADD related drugs they pump out. At the same time this fellow had one helluva an accent and I had a hard time understanding some of his questions so I’m not sure if it was an inability to communicate that got in the way.

So I came home and left a voice mail message with my counselor to see what he has to say and where he wants to take it from here. Meanwhile my sense of unease with counseling as a whole has returned. Just when you think you’re getting things figured out…

10 thoughts on “Is you is or is you ain’t… ADD.

  1. I’ve gone down the same path a few times and I would say get as many opinions as is reasonably possible. Go with the person whose assessment gets the approval of your gut instinct. Reject any and all advice that does not resonate at some level, including the advice in this comment. And know that eventually, you’ll get the right person, the right path, and life will improve. BTW, your blog’s a hoot. Keep up the good work!

  2. I am definitely ADD.  I have never fully trusted counsellors.  It is more of an art than a science.  While you can measure technical and medical ability, the mind is a much more difficult thing to tamper with.  The only person who knows more about your mind than you is…no one. 

    If the meds were helping, then this guy is either a fool or there are some serious flaws in his communications skills.

  3. What was the diagnosis process? Were any objective tests used, like TOVA?

    I was diagnosed before starting my senior year of college, back in 1993. Among other things, I showed the psychologist most of my report cards from K-12, and I took the TOVA test which showed a mild case. A gradual decline in grades from 5th grade through high school was one of the factors that suggested ADD.

  4. BTW, I’ve moved around a *lot* since I was diagnosed, and I’ve generally been able to get my ritalin prescriptions from my general practitioner, not a shrink. Typically I just have to call ahead and ask for a prescription, and I pick it up at the desk the next day. No office visit charge. You may need to show documentation of the diagnosis.

    I’ve been getting the prescriptions from a GP since 1997; a doctor in Chicago for 5 years and a doctor in Connecticut for the last year.

  5. I was never tested using TOVA, but my counselor did spend quite a bit of time going over my past and present with me and my wife before he made his determination. My counselor felt the fact that my daughter is also diagnosed as ADD and that it’s commonly passed via the father added weight to the diagnoses. He was pretty upset yesterday when I informed him of the psychiatrists decision to inform me that I wasn’t ADD and he’s going to the clinic’s director to take up the issue.

    I’m due for an appointment with my counselor on Saturday and I may mention that perhaps a TOVA test should be done just to be sure. My counselor is ADD himself and also on medication so he felt he was sure he saw the signs in me himself, but if an objective test may help to nail the determination down then perhaps we should do it.

    Oh, and I got my last set of pills from my GP as a favor when it turned out that I wouldn’t see the new clinic’s psychiatrist for 2 months. I’m going to call my GP again to see if he’d be willing to refill the prescription until this controversy can be worked out.

  6. hey there,,,,im living in the uk and my son has adhd,,the problems we had getting a diagnosis were unbelievable,,it would have been easier to scale everest…the problems we had was the fact that so many people put it down to bad parenting or just being a “naughty child”..personaly i think thats bullshit,,as a parent u know somethings not quite right and as an adult with the problem you know all too well,,,i just hope you persevere with it and dont take any shit,,thats the only way you get anywhere in life,,,,hope things work out for you and ill be back to read the posts to see how you get on….laters

  7. Well, this might have worked itself out by the time you read this, but man it pisses me off the way counsellors play with peoples lives.

    I am ADD and have run an ADD support group for 9 years, heard many stories like this.

    My son takes some amino acids every day to treat his ADD – I used to use ritilin but now use no meds.  But meds can be very valuable, especially in the early years after diagnosis.

    Biggest change in my approach in the last few years is a different perspective on ADD that is based on the anthropological model of Thom Hartman.  It helps me see things in a positive light but of course something works for me is not any indication it would necessarily work for you.

    TOVA sometimes doesn’t make a good test for technology geeks simply because we’re used to paying attention to screens.  Still worth trying, though – I completely crashed and burned on TOVA which was a good indication along with my lifelong history of “underachievement.”

    Here’s some articles I wrote about ADD including a list of symptoms and the difference between a diagnosis and a label.  Some of the articles were written quite a few years ago, though.

    The people in our ADD group love your site, BTW!  All the best to you.

  8. Things are back to normal now. My counselor was dividing his time between two different clinics so we just made the move to his other clinic and the Psychiatrist there is much less hostile to the idea of ADD.

  9. Man I don’t know how I got to this site but I’m glad I did. Actually I was looking for Bob Simeon Designs and ended up here. They say God works in mysterious ways. I’m going through the process of getting diagnosed with ADD. No one seems to agree but I agree with Doug about going with the gut feeling. Thanks for the artical link Decrepitoldfool. It’s reassuring to read stuff that is finallly making my life make sense.

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