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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADD/ADHD

03/20/2008

Question:

I`m a 48 year old male. I have, at times, difficulty maintaining focus on a single issue, and have difficulty sitting still sometimes. In looking at the characteristics shown for this condition, it looks like I may be exhibiting several of them, but not the one about learning math and spelling. I do sometimes have memory issues though (will leave my desk to go get something in another part of the office, get stopped by someone and sidetracked for a moment, and then end up back at my desk wondering why I left). I usually quickly figure it out, and head out again to get what I needed.

I don`t have any real trouble with my peers at the office, but homelife has been bad for a while.

I`ve been to counseling, and have been told I`m more likely OCD than ADD or ADHD because of some other behaviors. However, my wife (who is probably the smartest person I`ve ever known), says I`m ADD or ADHD and should get tested before she decides she can`t take any more and leaves.

I am in the insurance business, and know the stigma of the condition, especially when treated with medications. I`m typically a bad patient when it comes to meds (even antibiotics when I`ve got a bug), and am generally healthy otherwise. I`m under alot of financial stress as well.

Behavior modification has seemed to help with the OCD part (at least I think so...haven`t asked my wife yet), but I`m worried about the other part.

How does one go about getting tested? By that, I mean what is involved in the testing process. Do I take some kind of candid written evaluation, is it oral, do I have to stack some blocks up, or what? Maybe knowing more about the testing process will help me deal with getting it done.

Thanks for any information you can give me.

Answer:

This request leaves several important questions unanswered, such as:

It is important to remember that all the symptoms of ADHD can be mimicked by other disorders, so that the other disorders have to be ruled out as a possible explanation of the symptoms. There is no single test for ADHD; it is a clinical diagnosis based mainly on history.

If someone has impairing symptoms, he or she should get an evaluation by a professional qualified to do the eval. This should start with physical evaluation for a possible medical condition affecting memory, attention, and other impairments mentioned, especially at age 48 and above. If that does not turn up a treatable problem, then a psychiatrist (or other licensed mental health professional) would be the next step.

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University