Posted by: Matt | 2013/01/10


ADD/ADHD measurable?

Good day I was diagnosed with ADD by a neurologist approx 2 years ago. I got immense pressure from my boss to take the medication even though I didnt feel I may have had ADD. I rebelled against taking the medication concerta as it is very expensiveand second of all how do we know ADD even exists? How did it become a condition? IS it measurable with tests? This doc ran no tests and just asked a few questions and said try these. What are the side effects of concerta because I got headaches. I didnt notice the medication making a big difference to my concentration but my boss said that i helped immensely, perhaps because he paid for the consultation and the first batch of medication? My symptoms are the following, I cannot watch a full movie without getting frustrated and bored and battling to follow what is going on, I forget characters names and the story line and I feel I must be stupid or something. I barely passed matric and was found at the back of the class platying the drums on the desk as I love the drums. haha. I have left the house open by mistke many times and have almost burnt down the house more than 7 times by leaving the stove on and forgetting that I was cooking and doing something else in the meantime and forgetting ewhat I was doing. I am intelligent but my grades and ability to study are pathetic, it drives me absolultely insane! I take jobs that have very little responsibility as I feel immense pressure and stress under more detailed jobs. I battle immensely with social interaction and have for the most of my life been a loner. I find relationships to be hard work and I cant keep up. I long for relationships and having more friends however I just cant maintain them. Is my behaviour towards studies and jobs more of a beahvioural aspect than anything else? I cant figure it out? IS ADD born into? Can it be tested for weith blood samples? I had epileptic seizures when I was younger and have had to usse antidepressats in the past such aas serdep, cilift and prozac to feel better. I oscillate between interests and I find jobs absolutely daunting as I get so freakin bored and cant maintain the interest. I listen to music as a means to deal with my frustration and I often fantasize about being in the band and expressing myself. I find it cathartic. I am 29 and male and am not going anywhere with my life. I have studied things and then not sed them for fear of the humiliation of failing again and of course the shame. I feel ashamed of myself and therefore try and avoid people and social contact, I feel like a fsailure and inferior to others who have careers and plans with their lives whereas I am lost and I dont believe I could be a personal trainer, I just think mentally I would be able to handle it, I have just lost current girlfriend because of my lack of direction and it has further enhanced this feeling of inadequacy. I desperately need help. I dont have a medical aid as my way of coping with my problem has been to save every penny and take jobs I can just handle, I remember being a guy doing presentations to schools about fitness, very very basic ones with a script and the worst part was driving to and from schools as the two girls in the car with me hated me as I would always get lost and forget routes and where to go and I was just useless. As a rsult of all these fsaulures I think Im dumb and have even had people say: You mustve got dropped on your head as a baby. Youre a scatterbrain! Getting laughed at and teased at school. I hate my lie and I feel there is very little hope for me to meet someone and maintain a relationship as my mind is everywherre and I cant even finish reading a book or any task. I also cant make my mind up on the simplest things, going to the gym or not and I get so lost I forget what I was going to do and nothing happens the whole day! Im going nowhere and I feel like Im in a maze. Im 29 and not getting any younger so what can I do, I feel like it is too late anyway as I am embarasssed to show myself out thee to the world. Feel like a total failure and stupid! Why is it that others are able to maintain or career and study and I just cannot sit there and do it? I cant afford private neurologists as I dont have money are there any government doctors who could help who are professional and helpful? I stay in the roodepoort aresa.

Expert's Reply


ADHD Expert

Dear Matt,

Firstly, it is never too late to seek assistance.

Secondly, measurable tests are not available for ADHD; all assessments are done on an interview basis. Wherever possible, family and colleagues are also interviewed in attempts to eliminate personal biases. The reason blood tests are not possible is ADHD is a result of lowered neurotransmitters; the levels of which are vastly different depending on the time of day and activity currently involved in - there is no baseline. There are claims that ADHD trends can be seen on a QEEG which basically measures your brainwaves in a non-invasive manner.

In terms of using government doctors: we have some wonderful doctors and phoning your nearest hospital would be the best place to start, alternatively you can ask your GP for a referral.

With regards to medication: if the side effects outweigh the benefits, dosage or change of medication is required, provided some time has been given to determine if the side effects are short term and will go away on their own.

I am assuming you are no longer on the medication; should anything further be prescribed it is sometimes worthwhile not telling certain colleagues that you are trying a new med as they tend to watch you more closely. Rather ask them after two weeks if they have noticed any difference in your performance or behaviour.

Best of luck to you.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Matt | 2013/02/03

Hi there Sally my email address is blackice1983 at yahoo dot com. Please say hi and then maybe we can meet and figure out how we can improve our lives? Im really looking to grow. Many thanks for your words.

Reply to Matt
Posted by: Sally Walker | 2013/01/13


Here''s a book you might want to read 

You mean I''m not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy: A Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder: Kate Kelly &  Peggy Ramundo:
a book by ADD adults for ADD adults, practical help and moral support to adults who are struggling to understand themselves.

Reply to Sally Walker
Posted by: Sally Walker | 2013/01/13

Hi Matt

I''m not a doctor or medical practitioner. I have an honours degree in Psychology though so I know a little bit. I was very recently diagnosed with adult ADHD (I''m 32). Before that, I''ve been taking anti-depressants since I was 17.

I struggle with many of the same issues you do. It took me 7 years to complete my first degree and a diploma! It took me another 4 years to complete my honours degree. I struggle immensely to sit down and focus on studying even though it is something I want to do.

I find exams and job interviews EXTREMELY stressful and used to avoid them COMPLETELY. These days I FORCE myself to do these things that absolutely terrify me. It doesn''t always end successfully but it makes it less daunting the next time.

Even though I''ve studied, I still don''t have a permanent job (I''m a primary school teacher) and I''ve been doing supply teaching jobs for the last 5 years. Needless to say, I feel like an utter failure professionally as it''s taken me so long to get where I am and I found it so difficult. It took my peers 5 years to achieve what I have and it took me 11!!!! They all have permanent jobs now!

My marriage ended because I struggled to " be a grown-up"  and to maintain routine. I have always found routine EXTREMELY difficult and exhausting to maintain.

I''ve been forcing myself to maintain a very strict routine for the last 2 years but it drains me COMPLETELY.

So, long story short Matt. I have not been officially diagnosed by a psychiatrist yet but from what I know about children with ADHD and from what I''ve read about adult ADHD, it DOES seem to me like you may have the condition and taking the medication should help you. Having some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may also help you to learn to control your behaviour and your thoughts of being inferior. Just because you FEEL that way, DOESN''T MAKE IT A FACT.

Also, yes, ADD and ADHD does exist. It''s useful to read the package insert of your medication and also to find some reading material about the condition.
There are no blood tests that can confirm the condition and unfortunately, not a single assessment tool or questionnaire that is used for diagnosis. A diagnosis is usually made using a variety of tools and observations.

Matt, it really is worth setting aside some money to get this seen to as your life will continue as it is now and your frustration will simply grow until you sort out your mental health.

Finally, it is a genetic condition. It''s the way your brain was made and how it secretes neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that tell the rest of your brain and your body what to do). ADHD typically affects the front part of your brain where executive functions (planning, attention and organising) take place. The medicaiton works on these areas. That''s why you''ll have headaches at the front of your head when starting to take the medication - this stops after a few weeks.

I hope you get a real expert to answer your question and that you will somehow manage to find the help you need. I do believe that some counselling along with the medication might just be the answer for you but again, I''m not a doctor.

Good luck Matt, and don''t be too hard on yourself.

Reply to Sally Walker

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