After reading alot of the threads on this message board, I've noticed that most of them focus on the drugs and not on the rest of the treatment. I'm curious to know what some of the other adult ADD patients have tried to get their lives back on track after being diagnosed and medicated. The medication just seems to slow things down enough so that you can see what you were (or weren't) doing.
I have developed some coping habits that have helped me deal with the symptoms that the drugs didn't treat. After the medication, I was still a disorganized mess with no hope of functioning in a job that required timely delivery of a quality result or sticking to a tight schedule. Now I've got my computer at work, my computer at home, my palm pilot, my laptop and my cell phone as well as my notebook (paper & pen) all sync'd up together so that I can be sure that no customer's request gets forgotten and no job goes unfinished....I also don't miss any of the family events in my life. It's just one of the strict habits that I've had to develop in order to function. All the medication did was stop the whirlwind long enough for me to start taking notes
What do the rest of you do? Maybe we can help some people that are still trying to get things under control.
Definitely - while I can't deny how amazingly effective certain medications can be in the treatment of ADHD and similar problems, it is infuriating how many people, even doctors, seem to think that medication will solve everything!
No matter how hard one can concentrate, organisation, discipline and social rules don't teach themselves to people, especially if a person has lived with untreated ADHD for some 30 or 40 years.
I'm currently trialling medication, and I am a very routine-bound, rigid person who needs a LOT of structure - but I am still going to start working with a coach to help me sort out many aspects that medication alone just won't fix
25, female, AS with attentional dysfunction
I agree, there has to be more than the medication to deal with this. I'm really not into the group therapy thing. But I've been trying to get organized on my own. One of the problems is I go from one extreme to another. I started carrying a notebook around, first few days I'm writing in it like a madman, by next week, I do remember to slip it in my back pocket everyday, but the next time I grab it is when I throw it on the dresser to get undressed to go to bed. I've read a couple of books on coping strategies, the advice sounds great. After I'm done reading it, it goes right out my head. Completely frustrating. I'm so used to people laughing at my scatterbrained antics, it doesn't really bother me any more. But, ya gotta keep moving forward.
...I'm curious to know what some of the other adult ADD patients have tried to get their lives back on track after being diagnosed and medicated...
I'm currently in an "ADD Coaching Group for Women" as well as individual counseling. I've read and tried to learn from most of the books written on organization. My personal favorite is called "Organization from the Inside Out".
I'm not sure how I lived before Palm Pilots were invented; it's known as "mommy's brain" around my house and, if it gets lost, all life comes to an abrupt halt until we find it again!
One of the problems is I go from one extreme to another. I started carrying a notebook around, first few days I'm writing in it like a madman, by next week, I do remember to slip it in my back pocket everyday, but the next time I grab it is when I throw it on the dresser to get undressed to go to bed. I've read a couple of books on coping strategies, the advice sounds great. After I'm done reading it, it goes right out my head. Completely frustrating.
I have to say I love u guys reading the responses here is like reading my mind especially the quote above thats me through and through. I always start out with great intensions but never seem to follow through. I have every gadgets know to man but for some reason i only use them for a month tops and then never touch them again which is getting a bit expensive. I am on ritalin now and its working out great but like u all have said before it only goes half the way. And since i am icelandic and live in iceland there isnt anything else availibly for us adult add-ers because the health department here doesnt feel that ADD and ADHD exist in people over the age of 18. So if anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to cope when you are all alone in the big sea of normal, im all ears
Ok, so we've determined that trying to get organized sucks. You get the usual ADD reaction of "what a great idea!!" and "I'll get right on that" which quickly turns into "look, over there, something shiny" and you wander off to do something else.
I don't believe that you can blame this entirely on ADD/ADHD. While I admit that people with ADD seem to have a more difficult time forming good habits, pretty much everyone I know (with the exception of a very few individuals) has a hard time staying organized. Like anything else, it takes a little willpower to stick to an organized and structured routine.
I've gotten into the habit of having a large notepad at my desk where I write down just about everything in a kind of cryptic shorthand that only someone with ADD/ADHD would be able to decipher. If there's something terribly important that I need to remember like an appointment or delivery, I'll enter it into the computer as well...now it's in two places. I then sync up the computer and palm pilot at some point and then my laptop and palm pilot. It's only taken me about 5 years to develop this routine....5 years!
Basically, what I've realized is that when the drugs are working (and drugs don't always work properly), I'm no longer trying to stimulate myself by fidgeting a fussing around. This has the side effect of not having to spend a significant amount of time recovering from all of the mistakes I made yesterday. This leaves me with lots of time to do stuff like get organized. Of course I still forget to place an order or return a phone call every once and a while but I've discovered something else...everybody (yes, even people without ADD/ADHD) screws up and forgets stuff....it just happens.
Don't think that just because you're being treated for ADD/ADHD that everything is suddenly going to change and that you're going to become "normal". Don't think that just because you felt like a screw-up before you were diagnosed and treated means that you have to be perfect at everything now. Writing madly in your notepad for the first couple of weeks is probably the reason why you've forgotten all about it now. Like the person who takes their drugs...feels better and then stops taking their drugs because they think they don't need them anymore, your hyperfocus on writing everything down may be your downfall. Try just getting the really important stuff or not writing it down in great detail so that you actually have to stop and think about it to try and remember what it was (memory training).
Sorry about the rambling but one of my ADD/ADHD habits is that I'm always trying to help people (but only if they want it). I've had many people help me turn my life around and I fell that I should return the favor.
"Ok, so we've determined that trying to get organized sucks. You get the usual ADD reaction of "what a great idea!!" and "I'll get right on that" which quickly turns into "look, over there, something shiny" and you wander off to do something else."
LOL everytime I find other ADDers it feels like people are peeking directly into my brain. Shiny gets me every time.
Actually, I completley agree that meds are just one part of the equation. I was lucky enough to hook up with an ADD coach before I started meds. She convinced me to try them but she also gave me great coping strategies. It wasn't the specific suggestions she made that made the difference. She just taught me a new way to look at problems and taught me ways to figure out strategies on my own.
I had dug myself into such a deep and terrible pit of despair before the meds that I doubt I could have climbed out of it myself. But I'm hopeful now that I can go on without them or on a very small dose.
One thing that is hard to describe is that the drugs showed me how good it is possible to feel. I had no idea that my mind could feel so optimistic, motivated and confident. Now when I feel lousy, confused and disorganized I can sometimes "will" myself into the memory of the way I'm supposed to feel. I try to consciouslly call up those feelings.
It doesn't always work and I had better not be hungry when I try it, but it is a start!
I am laughing so hard - this is awesome! The shiny comment is SOOO true!
Even though it's almost midnight - I hope I don't wake my husband up - I'm laughing so hard!
I was only diagnosed about 6 weeks ago, but my boys have been on meds for almost 5-6 years. I have never really sought out any kind of behavioral treatments for my boys, but when I got diagnosed, I started doing a BUNCH of research (and at the moment, I think I'm hyperfocused on that!) and have discovered LOTS of stuff that really helps! There are several great websites out there by ADD coaches and such that are wonderful! The other thing that has really helped me is to "get it all" in my palm pilot. I have found several different software "organizing" programs that help me to focus and write down all the steps. I am less likely to procrastinate if I write out each step seperately! The other thing that the palm pilot will do for me is to alarm every so often (I sometimes will even set it up for every hour) so that I can remember to move on to something else.
I think for me though what has helped THE MOST is just knowing that I have ADD! After a LONG time of struggling with disorganization, incomplete projects, constantly late, etc. I am just very happy to know that it is not "me!" I can actually seperate my ADD from my personality and know that I'm OK! This has also helped me to start to learn different strategies for completing things. Now that I know how my brain works, I can work out ways to work around my difficulties!
And now that I've rambled WAAAAY to long, (Sorry!) Have a great evening!