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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am really struggling with my life functioning. I have, for

Customer Question

I am really struggling with my life functioning. I have, for as long as I can remember (which is about 14 years old), had difficulty with organization, procrastinated on work or chores because I found them to be daunting, would misplace or lose items needed to complete chores or assignments, be easily distracted when trying to maintain focus on things requiring mental effort (i.e. the ticking of a clock, background noise, etc. would make it impossible for me to read/study/retain information), would lose track of what I was doing if interrupted, have my mind wander in class/lecture, and have never been able to multi-task with the exception of talk and walk at the same time. These things happen even when I am cooking, paying bills, or cleaning the house. I always compensated for it by doing things like take notes to try to keep my mind from wandering, study at night in a quiet area where there were no distractions, use a highlighter when reading to help me stay on track, and reread if my mind wandered. I also compensated by not cooking more than one thing at a time (makes cooking obnoxiously long), using autobill pay when possible, and just letting the rest go. However, with things like math, it helped to have music playing. These symptoms do not seem to be too prominent if I am engaged in conversation with friends or am playing a game I find interesting, but they are present if I am reading for pleasure, although not to the same degree. I find deadlines and a degree of anxiety help me focus more to complete things, and can sometimes give extended concentration on one task, but I find that many things still get left undone. At times I have had anxiety/depression, so I thought that was at least part of it. However, even when I am not anxious or depressed or when I have taken an SSRI when I was depressed, these symptoms persisted. It takes me easily twice as long as other people I know to complete tasks, but I always managed somehow. Now, I have a toddler at home, and I can no longer compensate by finishing work assignments at home because I was too distracted to complete them at work. I went to the doctor, and he suggested that I am doing to much and I should do less, exercise more, and cut out caffeine. For the last three months, until this week, I drank mostly water, swam at least three times per week, and cut my caseload in half, yet the problems persist. I need to do paperwork and submit billing, but I cannot concentrate for any length of time. It keeps piling up to the point I have lost money because I can't bring myself to do it, or I forget, or I get distracted. I am realizing I am starting to get depressed or at least overwhelmed because I canNOT do it. I have the time, but I just can't. It's not a matter of will power, either. I sit in front of the computer and just can't even start. It's ridiculous. When I think of it logically, it's not even hard. But I still can't. I am truly at a loss, and I don't know what to do. It seems like I have a lot of ADD symptoms but no hyperactivity, so the online tests say I do not have ADHD, but I score high in inattention. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

The fact that you have these many symptoms and that you have tried various ways to address them without success says you could possibly have ADHD. You can have some of the symptoms of ADHD and still have the disorder. You can also have symptoms and not have the disorder but still need the same or similar treatment. Regardless, you are bothered by your symptoms to the point it affects your ability to function like you want to and therefore they need addressed.

Since your symptoms appear to point to ADHD, you may want to look into that as a possible diagnosis until you learn otherwise. The best way to tell what is going on is to have a mental health evaluation. Any therapist Master's level or Ph.D can do an evaluation for you and determine exactly what your symptoms are. Your doctor can help you find a good therapist or you can search on line at:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html

For adults who have ADHD, it is characterized by trouble concentrating, organizing tasks, remembering information and completing work on time. Up to 10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD and 60% of those carry the disorder into adulthood.

The criteria for Adult ADHD is different than with children. Here are some common symptoms you might experience with the disorder:

Anxiety
Chronic boredom
Relationship problems or Marital Difficulties
Impulsiveness
Tendency to overlook details
Not paying attention during conversations, inability to listen well (in any conversation)
Easily distracted
Emotional difficulties
Impulsivity

Medications can do wonders. The medications work by stimulating the pre frontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain remains in a less mature state (ability to organize) and has trouble dealing with the impulses from the central part of the brain where wants and desires emerge. The medication simply "wakes up" the pre frontal cortex further and allows it to function as it should.

These medications do have some side effects such as possible sleep issues and changes in appetite. However, for short term use, they are usually considered safe.

You can also use self help and support groups to help control your symptoms, if you have ADHD. Here are some resources to help:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm

http://www.add.org/

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo and Edward M. M.D. Hallowell

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Kate










May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Kate,


 


I know that it sounds like ADD, but I was hoping for more detail as to the symptoms of Adult ADD.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
The symptoms I gave you for Adult ADHD above are some of the main criteria for diagnosis. Others include:

sense of underachievement
doesn’t deal well with frustration
easily flustered and stressed out
irritability
mood swings
low motivation
hypersensitivity to criticism
short, often explosive, temper
low self-esteem
sense of insecurity
careless mistakes (at work)
absent minded even with no distractions
difficulty finishing tasks
reluctance to take on work that requires long term attention span
often losing things such as keys, phones, etc
forgetting day to day task such as returning calls, paying bills

Most of these symptoms are directly from the DSM V which is the current diagnostic manual. You need at least 5 of these in order to have Adult ADHD.

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5559
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Kate,


 


Thank you so much! That was very helpful!

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome! Hang in there. It sounds like you are on the right path.

My best to you,
Kate

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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.