Can ADD get worse?

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Can ADD get worse? 2013-08-08T18:20:59+00:00

The Forums Forums What is it? ADHD/ADD in Adults Can ADD get worse?

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  • #121151

    Post count: 62

    I know it is a forever condition. But can it get worse?

    I haven’t been getting good sleeps. I fall asleep no problem but when something wakes me up (Child, Cat, Husbands snore or iPad notification, etc).  I get angry then I can’t get back to sleep for the whole night..Some nights it can be as early as 1am. I am so frustrated and impatient that it turns to impulsive bouts of rage. Blurting out things that I don’t really want to. Slamming doors and throwing things. And forgetfulness..ARG. Like ordering at a drive-thru, paying and driving right passed the pickup window and didn’t even realize it until I got to work to bring it in. In fact I might even went to into work and sat at my desk, then realized.


    Taking out $40.00 from the cash machine with my Visa at Costco (because they don’t accept Visa), Paying for my goods with $20.00 at self checkout, and leaving the other $20.00 for the next person behind me to keep. Very generous of me right? **eyes rolling**

    Is this behaviour getting worse? or am I just noticing it more because I just found out I have been living with ADD all my life?


    Post count: 71

    You sound like me. Just before I went to get help for this, I had tried to drive to my daughter’s friend’s house to pick her up. I drove past the street three times before realizing where I was. I had to reverse twice on the street because I kept driving past the house. I had been there many times before, so I can’t excuse it.
    Now I realize that I just wasn’t aware. My brain was writing a shopping list, reliving an argument with my husband, planning the work schedule for our restaurant, trying to visual whether or not the iron was unplugged, listening to a song on the radio….I know you know what I mean. After several months of therapy and some lovely meds, I hardly ever do this. I always know where my keys are and am never late (well….almost never).
    The more things I worried about, the less I was present in the moment. So in a sense, my ADHD got worse. But there have been many times when it has gotten better. The key is to figure out what triggers the “worse” and set up a structure/routine that will accommodate it. Work with it instead of against it. Does this make any sense?
    AND…try to laugh about those “doh” moments. Because beating yourself up about them will only make things worse.
    AND…check in to the forums regularly. This will help you realize that you are not alone.
    I have been where you are. I cannot tell you what your future holds, but I can tell you that we’ll be here for you.


    Post count: 62

    I am awaiting treatment. I can’t wait not to be like that. Right now a have to force myself to stay focused. I am a stay a home mom and a freelance designer and I am slipping at all of the tasks I need to do in both. so it is so exhausting to do this and I usually fail at staying focus.

    Before I realized what I was dealing with ADD, I couldn’t believe I did those things. Logically you think “Who in the world does stuff like this?” but you know how easily you just did it. So you accept it as normal behaviour. You even tell people in a “you know what I mean” way. Thinking they all do those kinds of things too. No wonder keeping friends and co-workers were failures. They must have thought I was looney.


    Post count: 121

    Based on my experience, it can get worse sometimes. Stress and anxiety can amplify the symptoms. But because we can’t actually measure the impact of symptoms with a meter or gauge, or because ADHD is a spectrum disorder, we end up relying on our opinions or self-reports. And that makes even more difficult to be objective. The question I always ask myself is: “Where is the evidence?”.

    Maybe it’s not as bad as you think…..and just your reaction to it?


    Post count: 169

    I second what ADDled has written. The symptoms do fluctuate in intensity.

    It is also important to make sure that, when you think things are alright, you are evaluating your actions so that what needs to get done is accomplished and you are not just perseverating on a task, even if it is one you enjoy. It is easy to get stuck on a feeling, thought or activity without rationalizing about if the amount of energy and time spent on that task is warranted or acceptable.

    Stress plays a huge component in symptoms getting worse; often stress will produce other side effects as well that exacerbate the condition, e.g., paranoia, compulsivity, insomnia, etc.

    Sometimes, when I am doing something I really enjoy and that lends itself to the symptoms, the symptoms seem to blend in the background. This is not often enough though.

    The rage component (i.e., inability to control emotional impulses) is a constant struggle and gets a lot worse from stress.

    By analyzing one’s own actions and thoughts, it is easier to identify when things are spiraling out of control and try and remove oneself from the situation.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @Jojosephine, lack of sleep will really aggravate ADHD symptoms, because it messes up so many of your bodily functions: brain, digestion, blood sugar…

    Hormonal fluctuations also affect ADHD symptoms, so we women often find our symptoms fluctuate with our monthly cycles.

    And, for anyone, symptoms become more pronounced when you’re going through a time of great physical development: childhood, puberty, and seniorhood.  And we women also get the “fun” of having them flare up during peri-menopause (where you and I are, right now) and menopuse.

    In fact, researchers have just begun to realize that many cases of what people THOUGHT was the beginning of Alzheimer’s were ACTUALLY symptoms of previously-undiagnosed ADHD, flaring up as the person transitioned into the geriatric phase of life!

    My mom is one of those cases. She was diagnosed with ADHD, a month ago…at age 75.  So, being diagnosed at age 40 or 41 isn’t that bad. It gives you more time to live your life actually KNOWING what’s going on with you.

    ADHD is a  paradox of incredible strengths in some situations, and incredible weaknesses in others.  Once you know what those situations are, you can figure out how to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. And it gets easier as you go along.



    Post count: 169

    (Off topic, but curious)

    How did they differentiate loss of impulse control derived from natural aging processes and dementia from ADHD in later years? Treatment may be the same as the symptoms are, but is it really ADHD?

    To distinguish between the two, I suppose, it would be important to look at behaviour in childhood rather than just focusing on adulthood and obtain third party accounts rather than focusing on personal reflections.

    For example, my grandfather is not ADHD, but in his later years as dementia set in, he behaved closer to someone with the diagnosis whereas other family members are clearly ADHD and have had their traits manifest throughout their life.


    Post count: 845

    I rarely have trouble falling asleep, but can have trouble getting back asleep if something wakes me up.  Usually this happens when I wake up and begin thinking about the usual six quadrillion things that race through my mind during any given ten minute period which gets my brain firing on all 100 trillion synapses making sleep an impossibility.  Sound familiar?

    When this happens I will, usually after about an hour, get up and surf the web or do something for about an hour and can then get back to sleep.

    Sometimes, I am still dog tired and get back to sleep pretty easily.  But if I catch brain starting to “fire up” I have found that if I focus on a relaxing memory, I can quiet  the neurons and get back to sleep.

    Or, something such as having your arms around a purring cat might help.

    And then there is always the tequila and KitKats in the freezer.


    allan wallace
    Post count: 478

    ADHD is a curse, and yes, as one ages it is more difficult to hide it…..the best that you can hope for is that those around you will come to understand that you are ‘different’ but will still love and accept you nonetheless….if you have a Judas for a partner that makes it even tougher 🙁


    Post count: 9

    I agree with a lot of what the previous posters have said.  I was diagnosed with inattentive ADD at 42 after what I call a ‘series of unfortunate events,’ including the death of my best friend, job loss, and loss of significant other brought my symptoms to a head.  The diagnosing pro said that up until that point, I had been able to make accommodations for myself to deal with everything on my plate.  But, once the volume of static got too high in the ol’ noggin, I just couldn’t cope with it all.  So, obviously, stress made a big difference for me.  Maybe you’re finding that it’s harder to keep all the balls in the air because there are a few too many new ones?  Interesting note:  I was tested and found *not* to have ADD in college.  I think the science has come a long way in 20 years.  Also, I have read a lot about hormonal changes having an effect on the severity of symptoms–disclaimer:  I am not a doctor.  😉

    I also have issues with anger management when woken up out of a deep sleep.  Seems like this is pretty common.  Totally agree that holding a purring cat is just what the doctor ordered.  But, my personal experience is that even a small amount of alcohol hurts more than it helps in the long run.  I prefer organic kava tea and deep belly breathing.  Hang in there!


    Post count: 1096

    Sorry to read about your losses hstew. Life can deal some sad knocks. I think you are right about ADHD appearing worse if we have to deal with life events that are overwhelming.  For women, I also think symptoms can be worse during peri-menopause. So there are peaks of coping just fine and troughs when a helping hand is needed.

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