Monday, November 3, 2014

ADHD is not just boredom

Hi, my name is Sam Bledsoe, and approximately 3 years and 2 months ago I was diagnosed with adult ADHD.

There has been many things that have happened to me in my 26 years. I've packed them full of life. But, without a doubt, being diagnosed with ADHD was one of the greatest things to happen to me.

I write this because of a New York Times article, A Natural Fix for ADHD . While I was looking for that link, I find that they have written many articles in the same vein. The problem is, many people are being misdiagnosed with ADHD. That is a problem, because the treatment for it is legal cocaine. Their conclusion is bunk, however: it is a real disease, and a misdiagnoses isn't "boredom".

I'm gonna get really fucking passionate here, because this is an issue near and dear to me. If you knew me before I was 23, your impression of me may have one of two things: either "Man, your very bright, inquisitive, clever and talented. Why the fuck won't apply yourself, and why are you wasting your time here?" or it may have been "Clean yourself up man. You're destroying yourself with drugs." Highschool was the definition of rough for me. I was bright, I got into classes above my grade, and I new how to work out answers. I also constantly walled myself off from people and had problems with being too focused that eventually got me a call from the police claiming I was a stalker. And that's when the drugs started, mainly because I felt like a freak, and the feeling I got on that shit normalized me. 19 thru 23 was a combination of drugs and depression. I never tried to commit suicide though, no I would just take insane risk in my life. Like climbing 50 ft trees on percocet and beer. I got over that, and then would just put on a good face for people, then when I was at home, I would sit in my barn and drink a six pack as quickly as I could. I drank 4 beers in 10 minutes. You don't feel drunk at first, but 20 minutes later the feeling hits you in the face. Then I was diagnosed with ADHD.

Now I have a job I enjoy that allows me to use my love of agriculture, science and math. Being diagnosed changed my outlook on life. So, ADHD is a real thing.

Is it misdiagnosed? Yes, a lot. There are some doctors who really just overzealous drug dealers with an expensive degree, there are some patients who are addicts looking to score, and there is a metric ton of misinformation and confusion.

The article brought up the environmental issues that could be attributed to a lack of focus. Things like hunger, not staying properly hydrated, lack of simulation in class or work, too much stimulation in the media, among others. I've seen it all before. My background with drugs made me avoid taking drugs to treat this, and I'll come back to this. But yes, before seeing a doctor or diagnosing yourself with ADHD, there are many environmental factors you should seek to change first. If those don't work, and there are still problems GET A REAL DIAGNOSES.

Mental disorders are a such a young science. The problem of a misdiagnoses is more than just "Oh, you don't have ADHD, it's just boredom". I used to have a roommate who was diagnosed ADD as a kid, because kids weren't diagnosed bipolar. It wasn't until he was much older he was found to be bipolar. This guy was definitely bipolar too, excuse me for being blunt but anyone who has dealt with bipolar off their meds or undiagnosed can attest to the fact that they are a bag of fucking crazy. Some of the symptoms of these disorders overlap with each other. Depression is a common symptom for a lot of these. An inability to focus comes into play in a few of these to. So it may not just be "boredom".

Lets talk meds. I wanted to stay away from medication because feeling addicted to drugs usually means at one point you realize that if you don't have your drug of choice, you can't properly function in simple day to day life. And I have since met people who arn't addicted because their doctors tell them so, but still can't properly function without them. That's an unfair assessment of medication though. Meds are a fun thing. That article doesn't talk about the affects of adderol on someone with, say, schizophrenia. Impoper medication can do some really weird things to people with different brain patterns. I know a guy who tried taking adderol but it made him "hear really mean voices". I'm not sure what he's being treated for, never asked. I know a woman with bipolar that took one of the meds and had some crazy side affects that are usually seen in people who have ADHD and take that drug. Oh, actually that's something worth mentioning too. Since be properly treated for bipolar after being diagnosed in her late 40's, she's become fun to be around and has found some very late success. But her bipolar brain might have some similar patterns to ADHD. It's not a hard science, really. Like I said, it's a young science and there is still a lot to be discovered.

The point is, yeah, maybe people aren't focusing because they are under-stimulated or over-stimulated. There is so much more at stake though then to just write it off as "not a real disease." Because it may not be boredom, it may be something else. Honestly, if your diagnosed with it and your not in it for the pills, pay attention to if treatment actually helps. If it doesn't seem to be working pressure your doctor to find out what it might be. Or switch and get a second opinion.