ADHD Myths & Diagnosis Questions

Hello Dr. Eckman,
I really like your website, it seems like you really understand ADHD. I’m pretty sure that I have it too because my dad and my grandma are just like me. I have trouble paying attention and seem to have a problem with staying focused on one thing at a time. For instance when I’m in class, my mind wanders and when I try to study, my concentration lasts for maybe like 10 minutes. I have always had this problem but now that I’m older its getting worse. Can you help me? I should tell you that I don’t live in Portland Oregon but I’m wondering if you could treat me over the phone? I do have insurance through my dad. Please let me know if you can help me or if you can’t, could you recommend someone that can?
Drew S.

Hi Drew,
Many thanks for sending me your note. Firstly, a diagnosis of ADHD requires an in depth, very detailed evaluation which is usually done in person. There are many parts to the evaluation and making a diagnosis over the phone is difficult at best. I would suggest that since you have insurance through your father that you go online to that insurance company’s website and find a list of their mental health psychiatry prescribers such as psychiatrists, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners etc. and see if they have an expertise in treating ADHD. If that doesn’t work, then it may be useful to Google the name of your town, for instance if you lived in Portland OR you could use the search terms: ADHD Portland Oregon (OR), or ADHD diagnosis Portland Oregon (OR) or even ADHD treatment Portland Oregon (OR). Then I would suggest you contact those individuals and discuss your symptoms and concerns.

Dear Mr. Eckman,
Thank you so much for your posting on ADHD myths. I was told by my old therapist that there is no such thing as ADHD. He sent me to see a doctor who said that I had depression. I was put on depression medication which didn’t do anything except make me feel worse. I felt very tired, was not able to focus on homework, and ultimately felt worse than before. I tried to tell my therapist about that, but he told me that the he and the doctor knew best and to give the medicine more time to work. I felt as if I was not being listened to. I told the doctor that I was also experiencing anxiety problems now, and he gave me another medication to try and solve that problem. I grew more and more unhappy, until it got to the point that I dropped out of college. I had to move back to my parents house. In desperation, I went online and started to read everything I could on ADHD. I learned that what I was experiencing was not unique and that others had similar stories. I took an online ADHD test and it said that I had many of the symptoms. So I called a few people who were on that website and asked them about ADHD. I was relieved to find one that I liked and once I got on some medication my world changed. I felt truly alive for the very first time. I now see that some people think they know all about mental problems but they do more damage by saying things that aren’t true. My ADHD had nothing to do with depression or anxiety and that myth needs to be exposed as not true. I tell everyone I know about what happened to me, and I’m happy to see your page that exposes the myths on ADHD.

Dear JM,
I was touched by your note. I write this ADHD blog for people like you that have similar stories. I’ve heard many such experiences where clients are not listened to and given diagnosis that are in opposition to their symptoms. I have heard too many tales where clients have classic ADHD symptoms and are told that either ADHD doesn’t exist or that it’s due to some anxiety experience from childhood. In some cases they are misdiagnosed by medical personnel and given erroneous medications which can exacerbate the symptoms. I hear that you finally found an ADHD specialist who properly diagnosed your symptoms and started you on a regiment that is working. You are to be commended for continuing your search until you found the right ADHD specialist to treat you. Good Luck!

If you or a loved one thinks they may have ADHD or ADD, please find a local specialist who can take the time to accurately assess your symptoms. ADHD or ADD is very real and can be treated with many things including medication, counseling, coaching, and others interventions. If you are in the local Portland Oregon (OR) area, I can be reached at (503)492-2200. If you live in another area, consult the internet for an ADHD specialist close to where you live.

Please keep those letters, concerns, questions and suggestions coming.

2 thoughts on “ADHD Myths & Diagnosis Questions

  1. Academic difficulties are also frequent. The symptoms are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw a line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

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