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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Lots of trouble concentrating, possible ADD?


 Larry King - Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:07 pm

Hi,I;m sorry if this is not in the correct topic. So where should I start. So over the last 5-7 years I have had a persistent decrease in my levels of mental concentration. During primary school I never had any of these problems and I always enjoy ace-ing every subject and the same for the first 2-3 years of high school. I had no problems coming home and getting all my homework done because I found it quite enjoyable and the rest of the world was 'zoned out' so I wasn't distracted very much.
Although it wasn't to severe my grades slowly started to fall and I started having more trouble concentrating when doing my work but all of this only happened in certain subjects. This continued for a few years getting worse and starting to be distracted, sidetracked and then eventually started procrastinating. Most of my grades started to fall even more to mediocre grades with a few fails.

For the past two years, work became more and more boring and I simply started to put stuff off till closer to the deadlines, but strangely enough for free choice essays I would start those very early and do very well in those together with having to debate topics but in other pieces of work I would often neglect detail.
In some classes I would sit there for an hour and a half and not have learned a thing
because I was too busy thinking about other things or daydreaming.

I discussed this with a friend of mine who has ADHD, and he said he found he had many of the same problems but with the addition of hyperactivity when he was a kid and he was diagnosed by a doctor with his condition. He said he knew several other people who were in similar situations to their surprise they were diagnosed with ADD. At the time I was offered Ritalin, and since I had a math test a few days later I didn't see the harm in taking it. As a precaution I cut the tablet into quarters and only took one piece before studying for the mathematics test and I noticed not long after taking the cut tablet that I seemed to regain the 'zoned out' concentration that I experienced as a kid and it helped me to sit down and just study. I experienced no side effects and have not been experimenting with it since.

For my final exams I completely lost my apatite and lost about 15-20 pounds in two weeks, I was stressing out since it was important that I tried to pick up all the things I had missed over the last two years when studying. I cannot remember much of those two weeks for some reason. After writing essays for several hours I would often walk out of the hall and it would seem like I had complete amnesia what I just wrote about.

I have not been to see my doctor about this yet because it could just be thing that will pass over time, however I am asking here just to ask for some thoughts on the matter.

I wish to already thank you for reading this.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:33 am

Hello Larry King,

The key element of the diagnosis of ADD is the severity of the inattentiveness, that it interferes with all function, and that some signs are present no later than the age of 7 years. Adults have been diagnosed with the disorder, but the history is consistent and is revealed in the psychological interview, often as having been a disciplinary problem.

What you describe, and the development in your age group, is more consistent with depression. Inability to concentrate, feelings of stress, appetite difficulties, indecisiveness, loss of interest in usual pursuits, ruminating or daydreaming, and forgetfulness are all symptoms of Major Depression. The small dose of Ritalin would tend to help anyone concentrate, even without any other issues, so that may not be a significant factor. The incidence of Major Depression in the later teens and early twenties - Junior year in high school through college age - is fairly frequent, so it's worth evaluation. A good place to start is with your doctor, or with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Good luck!

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