There's That Squirrel Again! How Do I Know if I Have ADHD?

There is a reason why I haven't posted in months. My latest diagnosis -- ADHD -- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome -- the adult version.

I have a fistful of posts in my draft file that were never finished before they seemed beside the point. That is not an unusual state for me. Many years ago my brilliant brain was unable to write the doctoral thesis for which I had already conducted extensive field research and had a thorough outline. Periodically I would write whole chapters in my head. But when the laptop was in front of me...


I was stuck.

We'll see how this post goes.


Wait a minute. Don't I have bipolar disorder? Where did this new diagnosis come from? What are the chances a person could have both?

Research by Carmen Schiweck et al., published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews found that "up to 1 in 13 patients with ADHD has comorbid BD [bipolar disorder] and up to 1 in 6 patients with BD has comorbid ADHD.

Comorbid is medical speak for -- DOUBLE THE FUN!

So how did I discover I was one of the lucky one in six?

A close family member told me that he has taken ADHD meds for years and that they really help. It turns out that family studies show that the ADHD and BD genes are usually transmitted together.

I connected the dots: 

  • I thought about my experiences at work, especially the aspects that gave me the most difficulty: getting started and continuing once I was started.
  • I remembered that lost DMin degree.
  • I remembered how I did get my thesis for Reed College done. I was on Adderal!

I mentioned it to my therapist who gave me a screen. That came up 



The screen measured five clusters of symptoms: 

  • organizing and activation for work
  • sustaining attention and concentration
  • sustaining energy and effort
  • managing affective interference (emotions that get in the way)
  • utilizing working memory and accessing recall

I hit the "highly probable" threshold for all five clusters, with the highest in activation and attention. That's when I saw a specialist who did a different screen and confirmed the diagnosis.

If these clusters look suspiciously familiar to you, here is a website with a number of screens and resources. A positive screen doesn't necessaruly mean you have ADHD. It means you could use an evaluation by a specialist. It could be something else. Like, some of my symptoms overlap with PTSD. But not all.

So yes, I follow any squirrel that wanders across my vision or my brain.


How do I get work done anyway?

To be continued...

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