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ADD/ADHD = lazy?


eternalsummer
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I've considered myself lazy for, oh, decades anyway.  I have a tendency to forget things, I don't do many things (esp. paperwork) until the last minute, I am messy, my purse is one large bag full of whatever I felt like putting in there, I have to actively combat having a messy house.  I don't remember to put a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thinger.  ETA: I could list 100 more things here.  I leave the laundry in the washer.  I never fold laundry.  I cannot maintain long distance friendships as I just can't make myself send letters or emails regularly.  I sign up for things and then back out (am getting better at this).  I chew with my mouth open.  I don't bring in the empty trash cans for days after trash day.  etc etc.

 

I'm bright, so I got through school okay once I had a planner (which we were very well and rigorously trained in using, and I used to good effect).  I still did some absolutely crazy things like forgetting community service until the very last second (we needed community service for weighted grades, which were more important to me than almost anything as I wanted class rank)  - [ETA: that was a lie: I waited until well after the last second, and had to ask the principal personally to give me an exception to turn it in late, which she only did because the #10 guy in our class also forgot his community service)  or leaving my (school-owned) piccolo in the parking lot or forgetting a movie date with a friend.  I was a NM scholar, I got the IB Diploma (a ton of work!), etc.

 

But I have always thought of myself as lazy.

 

I have a DS who has ADHD behaviors.  We will never get him a label or (god forbid) meds; it is mostly manageable, esp. with homeschooling.

 

But I wonder how many people - maybe myself included?  maybe not? - have always thought of themselves or their kids as lazy when what they really mean is ADD.

 

Or, alternatively, do we call people ADD when what we really mean is lazy?  Obviously it is overdiagnosed today (10% of children and a higher percentage of boys being labelled mentally ill as children suggests something wrong with the system rather than the children, imo) but I don't know how far that goes.

 

Just musing here, and wondering if anyone else has reconsidered their perception of their own failings in this way, or the other way around.

Edited by ananemone
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I thought I was lazy b/c I was constantly TOLD I was lazy. And irresponsible. And unmotivated.  What I personally believe to be the difference is the fact that it PAINS me to be inefficient, disorganized, and late.  It isn't an intentional choice, and I have to work incredibly hard to keep things anywhere close to how I want them.

 

I do think it's entirely possible (though not a given) that 10% could be close to accurate.  Whether it is or not, I believe poo-pooing the legitimacy of the diagnosis hurts the people who live with it.

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First off, I don't perceive ADHD as a mental illness but as a difference in brain functioning--one with both strengths and weaknesses.

 

And yes, poor executive functioning is absolutely perceived as laziness and lack of effort by most people. Including by those who struggle with it. I am much kinder in my self-perceptions now than I was as a young person constantly in trouble for failing to meet expectations.

 

No, I don't think laziness gets mis-labeled as ADHD. If we do have overdiagnosis I suspect it is because our typical classroom environment is not well suited to the needs of young boys.

Edited by maize
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I thought I was lazy b/c I was constantly TOLD I was lazy. And irresponsible. And unmotivated. What I personally believe to be the difference is the fact that it PAINS me to be inefficient, disorganized, and late. It isn't an intentional choice, and I have to work incredibly hard to keep things anywhere close to how I want them.

 

I do think it's entirely possible (though not a given) that 10% could be close to accurate. Whether it is or not, I believe poo-pooing the legitimacy of the diagnosis hurts the people who live with it.

I think it pains anyone to be inefficient, disorganized, and late.

 

Isn't there a book out there called The Myth of Laziness? Lazy is a character judgment, and not something that I think is ever a useful or true term for describing children.

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It pains me to be disorganized and late and all that but I feel like if either it pained me more (that is the consequences were more severe) or if there were more urgency (which is I guess sort of the same thing - but I mean like in a serious security scenario, running from Zombies, am I going to be disorganized?) I would be less lazy, right?  So that means either A. It is not ADD or B. ADD is just a diagnosis of convenient laziness or C.  something else I am missing (maybe I would be just as bad in a zombie apocalypse as I am in every day life?  That is depressing)

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It pains me to be disorganized and late and all that but I feel like if either it pained me more (that is the consequences were more severe) or if there were more urgency (which is I guess sort of the same thing - but I mean like in a serious security scenario, running from Zombies, am I going to be disorganized?) I would be less lazy, right? So that means either A. It is not ADD or B. ADD is just a diagnosis of convenient laziness or C. something else I am missing (maybe I would be just as bad in a zombie apocalypse as I am in every day life? That is depressing)

I don't think that lazy is an accurate term to describe adults either, not in normal life circumstances. The things we perceive as laziness usually have other (physical) causes. A person who appears to be lazy may be struggling with ADHD, or depression, or OCD, or low thyroid, or...

 

The only situation I can think of where laziness is actually a choice is when someone consciously decides to just relax and do nothing--lounge in a deck chair on a cruise, say. But in that case it's not a moral failing, unless there is something that person is dropping the ball on in a bad way by taking the cruise or their choice to lie around leaves their work on someone else's shoulders and they are intentionally avoiding the work to let the other person do it.

 

With ADHD, if my understanding of current cognitive models is correct, it is at least partially a matter of underarousal in the brain. Urgency may indeed kick things into high gear by prompting the release of chemicals that increase arousal. That doesn't mean that under non-urgent circumstances a person with ADHD is simply choosing a state of low arousal.

Edited by maize
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I don't think that lazy is an accurate term to describe adults either, not in normal life circumstances. The things we perceive as laziness usually have other (physical) causes. A person who appears to be lazy may be struggling with ADHD, or depression, or OCD, or low thyroid, or...

 

The only situation I can think of where laziness is actually a choice is when someone consciously decides to just relax and do nothing--lounge in a deck chair on a cruise, say. But in that case it's not a moral failing, unless there is something that person is dropping the ball on in a bad way by taking the cruise or their choice to lie around leaves their work on someone else's shoulders and they are intentionally avoiding the work to let the other person do it.

 

With ADHD, if my understanding of current cognitive models is correct, it is at least partially a matter of underarousal in the brain. Urgency may indeed kick things into high gear by prompting the release of chemicals that increase arousal. That doesn't mean that under non-urgent circumstances a person with ADHD is simply choosing a state of low arousal.

 

 

Do you by any miracle have sources for this?  or must I do the research on my (lazy) own?

 

:)

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I could have written your post and I suspect I have something like inattentive type add. My school reports are full of reports like "very bright, could do better if she applied herself". More so later in high school when executive function and project planning came into play. I accepted that and always assumed that I was lazy.

 

Now there definitely was some element of laziness but there was also a lot of stuff I just forgot and I never developed a good routine for remembering. I now can manage more complicated stuff but it takes a lot out of me and after a while I crash into major procrastination and recovery mode. I also have a bit of anxiety about forgetting stuff or managing time if I have more than two or three things on the calendar at once.

 

I suspect this runs in my mums side of the family as there are several people that are definitely intelligent but who have never done much that would be viewed as significant by most people. They jump around and change directions and make decisions that seem odd or random from the outside.

 

That said I have a personality type that's kinda daydreamy (infp/intp) so maybe it's just that.

 

I also think it doesn't make much difference what you call it (unless your medicating) it's how you deal with it that counts.

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With ADHD, if my understanding of current cognitive models is correct, it is at least partially a matter of underarousal in the brain. Urgency may indeed kick things into high gear by prompting the release of chemicals that increase arousal. That doesn't mean that under non-urgent circumstances a person with ADHD is simply choosing a state of low arousal.

 

On one hand, this is a relevatory idea that would both exonerate me from the moral failing of... failing, and the anxiety of not being able to perform when necessary.

 

On the other hand, it could all be BS, in that the arousal in ADHD people maybe lower, but is that the *cause* of percieved laziness or is it the *result* of laziness?

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Do you by any miracle have sources for this? or must I do the research on my (lazy) own?

 

:)

Sorry, no sources at my fingertips. It is the way our neuropsych explained ADHD. It fits in with the way ADHD kids respond to caffeine or stimulant medication--they calm down and become more focused. The idea is that otherwise their brains are seeking out stimulation to increase arousal levels.

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I could have written your post and I suspect I have something like inattentive type add. My school reports are full of reports like "very bright, could do better if she applied herself". More so later in high school when executive function and project planning came into play. I accepted that and always assumed that I was lazy.

 

 

 

 

Yes!  "did not use time wisely" was mine

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On one hand, this is a relevatory idea that would both exonerate me from the moral failing of... failing, and the anxiety of not being able to perform when necessary.

 

On the other hand, it could all be BS, in that the arousal in ADHD people maybe lower, but is that the *cause* of percieved laziness or is it the *result* of laziness?

Do you feel like you are choosing? I don't. What person chooses to fail to live up to their own expectations?

 

I know that fMRI scans show differences in brain functioning between ADHD and non-ADHD folks.

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well, other people suggest I am choosing

Because their brains work in such a way that executive function comes naturally to them and they can't conceive of someone not actually having those abilities.

 

They assume you have normal executive function capacity and simply choose not to apply it.

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well, and what would the difference be between

 

A. not having the capability

 

and

 

B. having the capability and choosing not to apply it

 

in terms of brain chemistry?  How would I know it was one or another?  I don't feel like I am not trying  ( I feel like I work really really hard) but since I don't get as much done as I should, how do I know whether I have a moral failing or a brain difference, or if the moral failing is what is causing the brain difference or visa versa?

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You want to get stuff done. You work hard at it.

 

And you fail anyway.

 

Unless your expectations of what you should be accomplishing are unreasonable for an average person, I think you can safely determine that the failure is happening because of something outside your control.

 

By the way, I tried stimulant medication for about a month this past spring. Oh my goodness it made such a difference.

 

I had to stop taking it when we decided it was time for another baby, but I have every intention of using it as needed in the future. It's not something that needs to be taken every day, I was just taking it when I particularly needed to get something done.

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ADHD is a big part of why I homeschool as well--school was misery for me and I was constantly failing and stressed because I just couldn't stay on top of assignments and such.

 

I'm glad I can accommodate my kids, but I'm also considering a medication trial for ds11 because I see him struggling with stuff he wants to do but can't maintain focus for.

Edited by maize
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I see (and DH sees,  more importantly) medication as 

A. and admission that something is wrong that needs to be fixed 

and 

B. it takes the easy way out and messes things up (that is, causes problems separate of ADHD like insomnia, depression, loss of appetite -things generally associated with speed addiction, tbh)

and

C. treats the symptoms of a problem that often has causes that are not necessarily chemical but puts your child in a chemical cage (that is, restricts behavior chemically, instead of physically, which is more convenient but not essentially different) 

 

 

note: I am not in a mode of attack or judgment (and lord knows I am happy to judge), but in seeking other ways of looking at something I've only ever looked at one way, really

 

please, if you are inclined to take offense, don't take offense  

 

I don't mean offense in this thread, anyway

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ADHD is a big part of why I homeschool as well--school was misery for me and I was constantly failing and stressed because I just couldn't stay on top of assignments and such.

 

I'm glad I can accommodate my kids, but I'm also considering a medication trial for ds11 because I see him struggling with stuff he wants to do but can't maintain focus for.

 

We avoided medication for a long time.   Finally a doctor convinced us that for our kid, medication was the only way he would succeed with high school work (and beyond).  He was 16 when we started.  I'm so glad we did.  He's so glad we did.  It was a huge revelation to him that his thinking didn't have to be "fuzzy" all the time.    When I read stuff like "god forbid" about ADHD medication (not sure who said it here, but it wasn't maize) I feel a little sorry for the kid, because some people just need it. 

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I see (and DH sees, more importantly) medication as

A. and admission that something is wrong that needs to be fixed

and

B. it takes the easy way out and messes things up (that is, causes problems separate of ADHD like insomnia, depression, loss of appetite -things generally associated with speed addiction, tbh)

and

C. treats the symptoms of a problem that often has causes that are not necessarily chemical but puts your child in a chemical cage (that is, restricts behavior chemically, instead of physically, which is more convenient but not essentially different)

 

 

note: I am not in a mode of attack or judgment (and lord knows I am happy to judge), but in seeking other ways of looking at something I've only ever looked at one way, really

 

please, if you are inclined to take offense, don't take offense

 

I don't mean offense in this thread, anyway

Yep I don't have easy answers on that. I grew up in an anti medication add is a discipline problem type family and it was only after I watched a kid go from barely pass grades to the 90th percentile on medication that I thought it even worth considering.

 

I personally think as long as a solution can be found that doesn't result in major hardship to anyone it's best to deal with it another way but each situation is individual. For me as I am it's not worth it. Sometimes my family has to put up with my mess or forgetfulness but as long as I'm trying hard I don't feel too bad and I try to be equally forgiving of their issues. But if it was having a major impact on the family, I guess taking medication would be the better thing to do.

 

And how you feel about all that depends I guess whether you see it as a normal brain variation that doesn't go well with our society or an illness or chemical imbalance or what.

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It was me who said god forbid, because it is an absolute non-option for us.

 

I think possibly if DS were more severely ADHD, it would be more optional.  I am not sure.  I am lucky in this, I am aware.

 

I am more wondering about my self-perception and the accuracy of it. 

 

 

Did you never think of your kid as lazy or defiant or whatever the moral equivalent would be for his personality?  How did you arrive at "brain difference caused by chemistry" instead of "brain chemistry difference as a result of inferior choices/personality?"

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Yep I don't have easy answers on that. I grew up in an anti medication add is a discipline problem type family and it was only after I watched a kid go from barely pass grades to the 90th percentile on medication that I thought it even worth considering.

 

I personally think as long as a solution can be found that doesn't result in major hardship to anyone it's best to deal with it another way but each situation is individual. For me as I am it's not worth it. Sometimes my family has to put up with my mess or forgetfulness but as long as I'm trying hard I don't feel too bad and I try to be equally forgiving of their issues. But if it was having a major impact on the family, I guess taking medication would be the better thing to do.

 

And how you feel about all that depends I guess whether you see it as a normal brain variation that doesn't go well with our society or an illness or chemical imbalance or what.

 

 

Yes. this is how we live (as DH has sensory issues, kind of (though I am not always sure if they are his sensory issues or my laziness/uncaringness issues, like loud eating or crumbs or smelly laundry) ).  It works for us and I am not interested in changing it - I'm just interested in how people evaluate the degree to which they are either a moral failing (lazy, hyper, uncaring, inconsiderate, whatever) versus a label (ADHD, ADD, depressed, etc.) and how they navigate those differences, especially with themselves and their self-perception

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I find a lot of what you have written upsetting. ADD is not mental illness. "God forbid" is very troubling terminology to use with respect to medicine.

 

 

From how you described yourself, I would armchair diagnose you with ADD. My DH and oldest DD have brains that society chooses to label ADD. Their brains function differently than mine. For my husband, he could not be as successful at his job if his brain didn't function the way it did. He wouldn't be able to come up with the incredibly creative engineering solutions that he does if he couldn't deeply focus on a problem (to the exclusion of things like the location of his wallet and cell phone) for long periods of time.

 

Medicine helps them both function in society. They notice when people are trying to talk them, which is a crucial social skill. They remember to check their planners.

 

It can be very frustrating to live with people with lower executive function because you start to provide it for them. But please research more. Talk to your doctor. Even with medication, my DD and DH donor have the "easy way out." Society is very harsh often towards ADD/ADHD folks.

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In a way, every negativly percived behavior comes in some way from who we are.  I don't think that means we bear no responsibility in most cases. 

 

In general with most things, I'd say our responsibility is usually mixed.  To some extent we're the victims of our own limitations, but most of us also make excuses or allow them to dominate at times when we could do better. 

 

With laziness, ADHD, and other things, can very often be perceived as laziness.  Lazy isn't all that technical a term, so I think it can be used fairly broadly.  I probably wouldnt use it myself for someone putting out a lot of ineffective energy - I'd describe that some other way. 

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I suppose I didn't answer your question. No,I don't label ADD symptoms as laziness. I did until I married my husband and lived with him for a year and realized he truly couldn't help it. That he was just as frustrated as I was. I then tried to stop judging, learn more, understand more, draw more boundaries, set clearer expectations, and offer more grace.

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On the whole, medication (drugs) for psychological differences is treated differently than medicine (drugs) for physiological problems.  Not too many people are selling their chemo on the black market for college students - I had a friend in high school diagnosed with ADHD who sold her Ritalin on the black market at university to Architecture majors.  

 

ok off for the night

 

back tomorrow

 

thanks for replies, actually very helpful :)

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This is a really interesting topic.

 

My first son is 10.  I have no doubt that he is ADHD.  In researching for him, though, I discovered that a lot of the issues I had long had with myself are also part of ADHD, but the more inattentive side.  Because it's something my mother struggles with, as well as my brother, our household growing up was set up with routines and systems that really helped that.  And many of those carried on to adulthood, which have helped (thinking organizational tools and routines).  I have ALWAYS thought of myself as lazy, though.  Always.  And in school, no one ever characterized me as that.  It's always been an internal thought.  That I'm just not getting as much done as I would think I would, and if I would just work harder (though that feels impossible), so much more could be accomplished.  

 

I don't think of my ds as lazy.  But it is a constant refrain towards myself.  I never connected the idea of lazy/ADD, though.

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I'm glad previous posters have talked about about how ADHD is s brain difference.

 

The ADHD brain is under stimulated compared to non ADHD brains. This is well documented and you can find images on the internet comparing the too.

 

It is a physical functioning difference, not a mental illness.

 

The purpose of meds is to bring the brain up to normal stimulation levels so that it's not seeking constant extra stimulation. Then the individual can focus and function easier.

 

With children and teens, the meds allow normal functioning levels, making it easier to learn the necessary habits and life skills to manage ADHD throughout their lives. Combining meds and life skills practice can make an outstanding difference long term.

 

ADHD has nothing to do with laziness, and everything to do with a brain seeking stimulation to reach optimal levels,

 

 

There is so much misinformation, negative stereotypes out there about ADHD and about the meds used to support the ADHD brain.

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I'm glad previous posters have talked about about how ADHD is s brain difference.

 

The ADHD brain is under stimulated compared to non ADHD brains. This is well documented and you can find images on the internet comparing the too.

 

It is a physical functioning difference, not a mental illness.

 

The purpose of meds is to bring the brain up to normal stimulation levels so that it's not seeking constant extra stimulation. Then the individual can focus and function easier.

 

With children and teens, the meds allow normal functioning levels, making it easier to learn the necessary habits and life skills to manage ADHD throughout their lives. Combining meds and life skills practice can make an outstanding difference long term.

 

ADHD has nothing to do with laziness, and everything to do with a brain seeking stimulation to reach optimal levels,

 

 

There is so much misinformation, negative stereotypes out there about ADHD and about the meds used to support the ADHD brain.

 

 

I lied, DH paused the movie so I am back

 

I get that an ADHD brain is different from a NT brain

 

what I mean is (and this is similar to what I wonder about depression, etc., which I've also experienced):

 

Is the brain difference the cause of the ADHD or just the phsyical result of it?  Does it matter which it is?

 

So like if I go to sleep, my brain gives out asleep signals (bear with me, I am not 100% sober).  This is because I am asleep.  on the other hand,  I went to sleep.  I could have stayed up for quite a while longer if my life depended on it, right?

 

So you could say I am asleep because of these asleep brain images/changes, or whatever, but really the changes are because I decided to go to sleep.

 

On the other hand, it is impossible to stay awake forever.

 

 

I am on the whole very gentle with my (likely qualifying for ADHD) DS because I love him and DH is Not Interested In Labels At All, so we just help him navigate the world as is necessary.  

 

But for me it is different, and I hadn't considered I might actually have a brain difference (instead of a morality difference, i, e. laziness) until maybe a week or two ago

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I'm glad previous posters have talked about about how ADHD is s brain difference.

 

The ADHD brain is under stimulated compared to non ADHD brains. This is well documented and you can find images on the internet comparing the too.

 

It is a physical functioning difference, not a mental illness.

 

The purpose of meds is to bring the brain up to normal stimulation levels so that it's not seeking constant extra stimulation. Then the individual can focus and function easier.

 

Maybe this is a stupid question, and I hope nobody is offended: but what is the difference between "illness" and "physical functioning difference that requires medication to function normally"?

How is this different from depression where the brain functions differently due to chemical imbalance and requires medication to restore normal function? (ETA: Many artists found that their depressive or bipolar conditions vital for creating art, and some have refused treatment for that reason - in some cases with fatal consequences)

 

Does this really go beyond semantics?

 

Edited by regentrude
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I think it's good that you've started this thread. You obviously don't know much about ADD! I say that in a kind way.

 

My husband and son have ADHD.

 

It's a very common, almost defining, trait of ADHD that a person can pull themselves together for a short time, if the need is very great. They can focus on a task, such as running from zombies, and get it done. But it fully depletes them and drains them. There is nothing left over. So, when they go back to the daily living, they are back where they cannot maintain focus on tasks, or remember them, or manage to carry them out successfully.

 

It's also been found that playing computer games is a relief to the ADHD brain. Just tossing that out there in case you or your son have noticed that you love games.

 

If the person telling you that you're lazy is your dh, then please know that being married to a person with ADHD can be extremely difficult. (Not always, but can be.) There are support groups for it. As much as one loves ones ADHD spouse, they do let one down much of the time--forgetting this or that, not following through, being spacey about things. I don't say this to condemn. Many marriages change for the better once the AHDH person has been diagnosed. There is finally an answer as to why the ADHD person seems to ignore the spouse and not pull his/her own weight. (Does your DH feel that you don't listen to him? Another common trait for ADHD in a marriage--the spouse doesn't feel heard.)

 

You are at the start of a journey of gathering information. I'd say it will probably be life-changing to get a good grip on what ADHD is and what the symptoms are and how to combat it.

 

Meds! OMG. They have not been god forbid here. They have been a marriage-saver, job-saver, school-saver around here.

 

My husband managed his ADHD pretty well until he was 42. Then he was ridiculously over-committed to his job, family, church. He couldn't manage anymore. Everything was slipping. He got meds. He said that it was the first time in four decades that he had relief and could think clearly. He takes a very small dose that lasts for 4 hours every day, to get him through work.

 

He said, "How can I deny this relief to my son?" Our son was struggling mightily in school. Couldn't do a single math sheet of 10 problems in under an hour.

 

My son took the meds and got his math done in 10 minutes that first day. He was young and said, "Mommy! My feet don't hurt anymore!" I have no idea what that meant, but I think it meant that he was so wiggly that he felt he just HAD to be up on his feet and it was unbearable for him to sit still.

 

I honestly don't have a clue how I'd educate him without the meds. Sometimes he doesn't take them, and I can tell just by his posture that he hasn't. It's dramatic. And the meds only bring out the best in him. Frankly, his behavior could come off as if he was insenstive and smug without meds. On them, he's still vibrant and funny and smart, but his caring side shows through.

 

So, certainly not god fobid at all! It's helped my son and husband to shine and succeed.

 

Not everyone will have that glowing of a recommendation and YES, the drugs are serious and YES they can cause non-ADHD people to get addicted to them. So...we don't go around selling them outside of colleges! We use them for the people who need them. And for the people who need them, it's been only positive for us.

 

Please research for yourself whether or not you have ADHD. Google "test for ADHD" or some such thing and find an online test. For my ds and dh, it was pretty obvious from the simple online tests that they were clearly ADHD.

Edited by Garga
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On the whole, medication (drugs) for psychological differences is treated differently than medicine (drugs) for physiological problems.  Not too many people are selling their chemo on the black market for college students 

 

But many people are selling their opiod pain medications on the street.

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Yes, I see pain conditions as similar - I guess maybe "things people used to handle but not longer handle so now they take drugs and/or sell the drugs because it's not like cancer where you would never sell your drugs because cancer is a real problem"?  

I realize this sounds really derogatory and I don't mean it that way in a specific sense, but obviously in a general sense we as a society have  a huge problem wherein we proscribe and maybe take more drugs than we need  (thus the black market)

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I think it's good that you've started this thread. You obviously don't know much about ADD! I say that in a kind way.

 

My husband and son have ADHD.

 

It's a very common, almost defining, trait of ADHD that a person can pull themselves together for a short time, if the need is very great. They can focus on a task, such as running from zombies, and get it done. But it fully depletes them and drains them. There is nothing left over. So, when they go back to the daily living, they are back where they cannot maintain focus on tasks, or remember them, or manage to carry them out successfully.

 

It's also been found that playing computer games is a relief to the ADHD brain. Just tossing that out there in case you or your son have noticed that you love games.

 

If the person telling you that you're lazy is your dh, then please know that being married to a person with ADHD can be extremely difficult. (Not always, but can be.) There are support groups for it. As much as one loves ones ADHD spouse, they do let one down much of the time--forgetting this or that, not following through, being spacey about things. I don't say this to condemn. Many marriages change for the better once the AHDH person has been diagnosed. There is finally an answer as to why the ADHD person seems to ignore the spouse and not pull his/her own weight. (Does your DH feel that you don't listen to him? Another common trait for ADHD in a marriage--the spouse doesn't feel heard.)

 

You are at the start of a journey of gathering information. I'd say it will probably be life-changing to get a good grip on what ADHD is and what the symptoms are and how to combat it.

 

Meds! OMG. They have not been god forbid here. They have been a marriage-saver, job-saver, school-saver around here.

 

My husband managed his ADHD pretty well until he was 42. Then he was ridiculously over-committed to his job, family, church. He couldn't manage anymore. Everything was slipping. He got meds. He said that it was the first time in four decades that he had relief and could think clearly. He takes a very small dose that lasts for 4 hours every day, to get him through work.

 

He said, "How can I deny this relief to my son?" Our son was struggling mightily in school. Couldn't do a single math sheet of 10 problems in under an hour.

 

My son took the meds and got his math done in 10 minutes that first day. He was young and said, "Mommy! My feet don't hurt anymore!" I have no idea what that meant, but I think it meant that he was so wiggly that he felt he just HAD to be up on his feet and it was unbearable for him to sit still.

 

I honestly don't have a clue how I'd educate him without the meds. Sometimes he doesn't take them, and I can tell just by his posture that he hasn't. It's dramatic. And the meds only bring out the best in him. Frankly, his behavior could come off as if he was insenstive and smug without meds. On them, he's still vibrant and funny and smart, but his caring side shows through.

 

So, certainly not god fobid at all! It's helped my son and husband to shine and succeed.

 

Not everyone will have that glowing of a recommendation and YES, the drugs are serious and YES they can cause non-ADHD people to get addicted to them. So...we don't go around selling them outside of colleges! We use them for the people who need them. And for the people who need them, it's been only positive for us.

 

Please research for yourself whether or not you have ADHD. Google "test for ADHD" or some such thing and find an online test. For my ds and dh, it was pretty obvious from the simple online tests that they were clearly ADHD.

 

 

 

appreciate this and will read it carefully later when I have more brain to devote to complicated and/or long posts

 

In short, yes, some of what you say sounds very familiar

 

On the other hand, none of it seems to preclude (in *me*) a lack of willingness or consideration to just deal with things that are more difficult in order to function normally.

 

Maybe it will make more sense if I recast it as depression (which I know I have had, and so I (and DH) am a bit more willing to admit is sometimes chemical/hormonal):

 

you can feel bad, and your brain chemistry can reflect bad feeling/depression

 

but what *caused* the depression?  It is a chemical manifestation, but who can say what the cause is?

 

 

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Maybe this is a stupid question, and I hope nobody is offended: but what is the difference between "illness" and "physical functioning difference that requires medication to function normally"?

How is this different from depression where the brain functions differently due to chemical imbalance and requires medication to restore normal function?

Does this really go beyond semantics?

 

I think it's an important question, and people often fudge it a little.

 

Though the word "illness" specifically is something some people use to describe something like a disease you develop or catch.  So they would not think of ADHD, or something like Downs syndrome, as an "illness" in that way.  Something like diabetes might walk the line.

 

I think there are a few things people are using for these catagories that ned to be taken apart. 

 

The first is whether it is something that is normal for that person.  Someone born with a cleft palate, or a different brain, or a genetic disorder, might be said to be normal for that person, depending on the cause.  It may not represent something that happened to them from external sources.  I think though that this is actually tricky, we often don't have any idea why something happens, what characteristics form part of our identity doesn't seem to be something that is always the same with a wholly physiological basis either.

 

The second thing that seems a big deal is whether the characteristic causes problems in daily life or otherwise - does it need to be corrected?

 

In the end, we seem to see some things as normal human variation, and others as an illness or condition.  If we can easily see why someone is different (we know say it is due to a chemical exposure in the womb or a genetic error) we tend to see it as an illness.  If it seriously impedes function and requires corrective measures we see it as an illness.  Other times when these things are less obvious, we see them as normal variation or part of identity.

 

But sometimes we don't entirely make sense in how we think about these things, I think.  Saying an ADHD brain is a normal variation does not seem to me to go well with the idea that it requires correction - that's would be like correcting for left-handedness.  You see similar arguments sometimes for deafness, autism, Downs, and some types of transsexualism.  I think the reason is these all impact, for one reason or another, perceptions of identity, so people are hesitant to see them as errors of some kind.  But objectively they all meet either the criteria of being caused by some problem in normal development, and/or causing a problem that affects life significantly and requires intervention.

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I think it's an important question, and people often fudge it a little.

 

Though the word "illness" specifically is something some people use to describe something like a disease you develop or catch.  So they would not think of ADHD, or something like Downs syndrome, as an "illness" in that way.  Something like diabetes might walk the line.

 

 

for the sake of argument, since I think "catching it" is beside the point, let's call it "disability" instead of "illness"

 

there is a definite difference between disability and difference - for one, the former  gets you accomodations and $ (in the US, in some circumstances) and the later gets you nothing

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Or both or neither.  :P

 

I have a kid who doesn't love work.  She rather prefers things to be a bit messy - she will pull out some stuff just to stop her room from looking too neat.  She forgets things and doesn't notice things she should.  She might have a bit of ADD, but no way is it enough to justify labels or accommodations or drugs.  Is she lazy?  Not really, any more than other kids.  She just has different interests, and as a kid, she can get away with it.

 

Then my other kid is super hard working and responsible (for her age).  She's the one who's been "accused" of having ADD, because her brain doesn't always process as fast as it's supposed to.  There were probably times some teachers read this as "laziness" when she gave up trying to keep up with the class, or when she asked for guidance on something the teacher already taught.  Ironically, an ADD diagnosis might help here in that the teachers would believe she needed a little extra help.  But no, she doesn't have it.

 

What is lazy?  I think a lot of times lazy is really more about stress or anxiety.  Speaking for myself, the more stress I have, the more I feel the need to avoid the work that's stressing me out.  I'll get on the internet or even take a nap to postpone the inevitable.  This is a big problem, but it isn't because I'm lazy.  I am a pretty hard worker.  I just suck at focusing on the most important things.  I'm not having fun while lying in bed worrying about the deadline or the stressful phone call I need to make.  PS I probably have some ADD.  How I've dealt with it in the past is to set up a highly structured system which probably leaned toward OCD.  :P  Then I had kids.  Forget it.  I can't keep up with all their crazy and my crazy at the same time.  :P

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Yes, I wonder if the thing that made me forget that I left my piccolo in the parking lot is also the same thing that makes me able to react intuitively to changes in a business.  Who can say?  I wish I could.

 

Yes, that's why it takes all kinds to make a world.  ;)  I remember once my boss was all worried because a problem arose with a client.  I said, "this isn't a problem, it's an opportunity."  I think my promotion was clinched that day.  :P

 

I also think it contributes to a sense of humor, which I think is so essential to a happy life.  I'd rather have a messy house and a good sense of humor than the other way around.  :)

 

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Yes. this is how we live (as DH has sensory issues, kind of (though I am not always sure if they are his sensory issues or my laziness/uncaringness issues, like loud eating or crumbs or smelly laundry) ).  It works for us and I am not interested in changing it - I'm just interested in how people evaluate the degree to which they are either a moral failing (lazy, hyper, uncaring, inconsiderate, whatever) versus a label (ADHD, ADD, depressed, etc.) and how they navigate those differences, especially with themselves and their self-perception

 

 

I lied, DH paused the movie so I am back

 

I get that an ADHD brain is different from a NT brain

 

what I mean is (and this is similar to what I wonder about depression, etc., which I've also experienced):

 

Is the brain difference the cause of the ADHD or just the phsyical result of it?  Does it matter which it is?

 

So like if I go to sleep, my brain gives out asleep signals (bear with me, I am not 100% sober).  This is because I am asleep.  on the other hand,  I went to sleep.  I could have stayed up for quite a while longer if my life depended on it, right?

 

So you could say I am asleep because of these asleep brain images/changes, or whatever, but really the changes are because I decided to go to sleep.

 

On the other hand, it is impossible to stay awake forever.

 

 

I am on the whole very gentle with my (likely qualifying for ADHD) DS because I love him and DH is Not Interested In Labels At All, so we just help him navigate the world as is necessary.  

 

But for me it is different, and I hadn't considered I might actually have a brain difference (instead of a morality difference, i, e. laziness) until maybe a week or two ago

 

 

appreciate this and will read it carefully later when I have more brain to devote to complicated and/or long posts

...

Maybe it will make more sense if I recast it as depression (which I know I have had, and so I (and DH) am a bit more willing to admit is sometimes chemical/hormonal):

 

you can feel bad, and your brain chemistry can reflect bad feeling/depression

 

but what *caused* the depression?  It is a chemical manifestation, but who can say what the cause is?

 

Just for my literalness, could you answer if you mean you've been drinking or if you meant that metaphorically?

 

Honestly, your lists of things you do that concern you don't have to be ADHD.  Lots of people with ADHD manage all those things just fine.  You could have low thyroid.  You could have depression.  You asked about that, and it's chicken and egg.  If you are depressed, it pushes the brain chemicals down.  If the brain chemicals are down, you become depressed.  It can start either way.

 

If you actually mean you aren't sober, I suggest you come back to the thread when you're feeling better.  And probably these are things you need to talk through with your doctor.  ADHD is going to involve a significant attention or hyper-activity component.  The things you're describing could indicate vision problems, depression, low thyroid, or other treatable conditions.  You have a spouse with sensory issues.  Do you have sensory issues?  As you walk through the continuum, eventually another explanation for that level of not noticing and not keeping up with connections is ASD.  

 

All those things have books to help you learn about them, or you can talk with your doctor.

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SKL, I work from home while homeschooling too, and would love any advice about systems that work for you (I have some, but they are not perfect) unless of course they are so specified as to be useless to someone in a different profession

 

I don't homeschool, though I used to spend hours every day schooling my kids.  Except for sick days and holidays, they've spent a large chunk of their day away from home (or with a nanny at home).  I get a lot of my work done (both housework and "work work") when they are away from me.  When home, they've always been good about working independently for part of the day.  Usually I'm only super hands on with them for a couple hours a day.

 

My systems have to change as my kids grow.  I really just go with the flow and do my best to adjust.  Some days are better than others.  I'm not very good at spreading out my work, so I have some weeks when I get behind on my laundry and my sink is full of dishes.  Then I'll have an energy day and get it all caught up while home alone.  Then I'll reward myself with a chill day and the slide will start all over again.

 

Funny thing is that I know what I need to do to fix all this, but can't seem to do it.  It makes me more sympathetic of addicts and such.  It's easy to say what needs to change.

 

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I am drinking, I have been depressed but I don't think I am now and I definitely was not as a teenager (when I was if anything more forgetful and put-it-off-ish)

 

I am feeling fine :)  Drinking alcohol is not a symptom of feeling bad in my life :)  It is just a way to release inhibition (like it is for many people), which in some cases can be I think very useful in adults

 

I do not have sensory issues (the opposite, I don't have refined senses, DH can sense things I cannot)

 

 I do not have a GP; I did have blood testing maybe 9 months ago, including thyroid, but of course it was pretty basic

 

on the other hand, again, these things have been pretty normal for me since say 6th grade (so 20+ years)

 

I don't want to fix them, exactly.  I am okay with me.

 

I just wonder if other people have perceived themselves as morally deficient (as I do) and somehow come around to another perception, or not.

 

 

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