From high functioning drugs user to ADHD diagnosis

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From high functioning drugs user to ADHD diagnosis 2018-05-23T16:56:43+00:00

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  • #130069
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    raflamenacemarseille
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    Hello I know this forum seems old but I leave in France where ADHD is still not see has a genetic condition and it s rare when diagnosed at 40 years old to find people to communicate with… Specially if u were using illegal drugs to coop , as a cooping mechanism…
    Now I m quiet stable with my medication and my neurologist…

    But there is also the difficulty of the “mood swings” realed to the ADHD, but not listed as a symptom (in France)

    So does anyone as some experience to share on this 2 topics,

    I looking for experiences and building my knowledge around my condition,

    Thanks

    Best

    Raf

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    #130146
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    sdwa
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    I see three topics – 1) using illegal drugs to cope, AKA “self-medicating; 2) genetics; 3) mood-swings.

    I guess you mean self-medicating as the first? For me, it was always caffeine and sugar. In my 20s I experimented with street drugs, but they didn’t help with the symptoms as much as caffeine did, and generally made me feel worse. But I would literally walk 2 miles in a raging blizzard to get coffee and candy. The search for stimulation, they say, is based in a craving for a dopamine hit. People with ADHD have low levels of dopamine in our brains, so we often lack motivation, and feel immobilized, agitated, chronically bored, and even despondent. In addition to Concerta (methylphenidate, a stimulant) I take a prescription anti-depressant that is not only a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, but also an norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor. It gives me more of a boost than just plain SSRI antidepressants. Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are the three neurotransmitters that we tend to be deficient in. Many of us find substances that will increase these chemicals in our brains…and these substances may not be good for our health. You are not alone with that AT ALL.

    Genetics – I’m pretty sure my mother has it, and also my sister – but when I was growing up, ADD didn’t exist, certainly not for women, and definitely not in a form that wasn’t overtly hyperactive. People understood that a little boy who couldn’t sit still in school, who crawled around the baseboards of a room, jumped off the furniture, climbed on the roof, etc. had an issue, but no one noticed the weepy daydreamers.

    For moods, it’s hard to isolate an exact cause because I had traumatic experiences early in life and did not get much help, but I have always been hyper-sensitive and hyper-reactive and hyper-alert compared to others. I have been prone to getting triggered and then not being able to stop thinking about whatever was upsetting me, getting irritable or angry over minor events, and overwhelmed by a large project to the point of paralysis. I used to feel plunged into terrible moods that would last for hours – even days – but I learned how to get myself out. What works for me is changing the scenery, getting into a new situation, having a new experience – usually something powerful and immersive, like going for a walk in a rainstorm, watching a dramatic film, running, dancing, listening to music – but also a lot of therapy. I was not helped by therapists with masters’ degrees – and I saw many over the years – but when I started working with a Ph.D. I finally made meaningful progress. Because of this experience, I wouldn’t recommend anyone who doesn’t have a doctorate – even if well-meaning, they just don’t know enough.

    If you are in relatively good mental health (I felt defeated all my life, so that wasn’t me) you might find an ADHD coach helpful. I got a lot out of that – it helped me recognize obstacles in my environment – things that are a problem for me but might not be for someone else – so I could avoid them. I can make choices now to control my environment, because my ability to control my reactions is limited. This was difficult to accept at first – I thought I was morally “weak” if I couldn’t force myself to react to my environment the way a neurotypical person would, but it simply isn’t possible. I had to become realistic about my limitations, and stop judging myself for them. I have learned to have control in a different way. I notice where and when I am at my best, and try to put myself only in those situations. My peak hours are in the morning. I need a low-stress job; I do not work well under pressure. I need quiet, a clean and empty place to work, a notepad because my working memory is short. I use my calendar to track what I have done, in addition to what I need to do – because I know I won’t remember what I did, or how, or where, or when. This is a given. I plan what I am going to wear on Sundays, so all of my clothes are ready for the rest of the week- I no longer waste time agonizing over what to wear when I wake up, which means I can get to work on time. Where noise is a problem, I use machinists earmuffs. I have one bag with all of my essentials in it – house keys, credit cards, bus pass, checkbook, pen, calendar, phone – and these things live in the same pocket every single day, so I don’t have to look for them. Sometimes I still make mistakes and put my phone in the freezer, but when I find it again, it goes back into the pocket of my bag, and I don’t berate myself for misplacing it! Anything I can do to eliminate having to make decisions about simple tasks, I try to do in advance. On Mondays I take my lunch to work for the whole week. I used to think all of these measures were ridiculous, that I shouldn’t need them, but I do, and life is so much easier! It helps to accept what works and what doesn’t, and plan and prepare when I have time and am not in a rush.

    Sorry to ramble…we do that, right? Hope this helps!

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