Not All Attention Problems are ADHD- When NOT to Take Medication

I’m Dr. Tracey Marks this is part 2 of a
series that I’m doing on ADD or ADHD. Today I’m talking about other symptoms
or other problems that can look like ADD but aren’t really ADD or aren’t the
official disorder. ADD is a disorder of childhood that can continue
into adulthood it does not show up for the first time at age 40 when you’ve had
a successful career and now after your promotion you have some additional
responsibilities, a new baby at home and you can’t keep up with your work. If
you’re having these kinds of problems you don’t want to use stimulants to push
yourself to achieve more. What else can cause attention problems? If you’re
anxious, you can have trouble focusing. If you’re depressed or have bipolar
disorder, you will have trouble focusing. and you may even have memory problems if
you have depression. If your problem is anxiety and you use stimulants to better
focus it can take your anxiety through the roof. It’s the same with mania. A
person who has mild or hypomanic symptoms and has trouble focusing can be
escalated into a full-blown manic episode with psychotic symptoms if they
take stimulants. Another thing, being sleep-deprived can cause focus and
thinking problems. If you’re stressed out because you’ve got too many things going
on, you can have trouble organizing your thoughts and concentrating. Not everyone
who has ADD as a child takes medication. So there’s people who never – didn’t start
taking medication until they became adults. Whether or not you take
medication depends on the severity of your symptoms.
You could you may have had some symptoms and problems as a child but you were
able to compensate by studying longer or maybe you just got mediocre grades. But
as the demands on your brain got greater and greater like college or
graduate school, it became harder and harder to compensate. So I’ve seen many
people who start treatment for the first time in college or graduate school but
they still had a history of disorganization and impulsivity or
difficulty staying on track with tasks. But it’s very unlikely that you manage
to get by all of these years until age 30 or 40 years old to now need
stimulants because you’ve got a lot going on. Too much on your plate can make
anyone have difficulty paying attention and getting all your tasks done. If you
make the mistake though of taking stimulants to get more done, you can burn
yourself out because with the stimulants you’re forcing your mind and your body
to go beyond what it can do naturally. And that might work for a little while,
but the success is usually short-lived and a person can crash and burn. What is
the crashing and burning look like? Very bad anxiety or depression. So you
don’t want to push yourself past your normal capacity. Another example of this
concept of pushing yourself too hard is having a job that requires you to work
all day and then when you get home you’ve got to work in the evening. Some
people will want to take stimulants in the evenings so that they could get in
another few hours of work and someone will say to me “by 9 o’clock I’m really
starting to drag, I just I just can’t get through it.” Well if you’ve been up since
6:00 a.m. it’s only natural that your body is going to start slowing down by
9:00 p.m. Our minds aren’t meant to be super sharp for 16 straight hours. So if
you notice that as an adult in your 30s or beyond that you’ve got a lot going on
and have trouble keeping up with things before you assume you have ADD and need
stimulants, first take a step back and allow yourself to decompress and try and
reduce your responsibilities. If that doesn’t help, then you may want to be
evaluated for an anxiety disorder or depression. For more on my series on ADD,
you can take or click on the link the corner right up there on my series
on ADD and if you have any questions leave me a comment. Or if you just have a
comment leave me a comment. Thanks for watching. Okay For more information on ADD you can click the link. For more information on
ADD. Whimpering… It’s only when I record that people need to take showers, run water, flush toilets.. You know, that’s that’s my life.