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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I am 52 year old woman working as a Special Ed teacher. My

Customer Question

I am 52 year old woman working as a Special Ed teacher. My divorce atty, who has ADHD, told me recently that he is certain I have ADHD. At first I was shocked by his statement, but then I took a few online quizzes and thought back to my own childhood. I scored VERY HIGH on all tests and so much of my past & present behavior made more sense under the idea of ADHD--little sleep, constant motion, always losing and forgetting things since I was a child, thin-skinned and unable to control my emotions in numerous situations. At first I thought I couldn't have ADHD because I work as a teacher. Then I thought about how difficult the paperwork is for me. I need to write numerous reports, IEPs and collect data. I always feel so overwhelmed and unclear about what I need to do. I am considered an excellent employee, but I am always certain that I am not qualified in my position. Now that I think about possibly having ADHD, I want to find a way to make my life easier. I don't think I ever realized how stressed I really am. I am a very upbeat cheerful person with lots of energy and lots of friends. I would love to get help before the demands of work become too much. What should I do next?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

I do not doubt that you have many symptoms of ADHD, but to be fully diagnosed as having the disorder you must also show "clear evidence of clinically significant impairment ins social, academic, or occupational functioning." [DSM-IV TR psychiatric diagnostic manual]

You may have many diagnostic criteria for ADHD, but you do not have the essential one of impairment or dysfunctionality.

Nevertheless, you may be putting out a tremendous effort to do your job, and that shows a remarkable strength and ability.

There is a two-tier approach to Adult ADHD.

I believe that you have already did for yourself what the psychotherapy and psycho-education approach would do: to struggle to bring order into your life. You probably have an organized calendar, sticky notes, special places for keys, purse, etc., and lists. I do the same, without ADHD and it is a great help. Psychotherapy can help.

If you plan to take medication, you may notice changes in your life that you will have to get used to, losing some impulsivity and risk taking, while increasing your self-image, and psychotherapy can help you adapt.

You could continue to do what you are doing or you could turn yourself over to the pharmaceutical/medical industry and try one of their potions.

The drugs can be addictive, and they can interfere with certain medical conditions (heart condition). The ones you would consider are:

  • -Amphetamine-dextroamphetamine extended release (Adderall XR)
  • -Methylphenidate extended release (Concerta)
  • -Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse)
  • -Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • -Dexmethylphenidate extended release (Focalin XR)

Your best move if you feel you could use some improvement would be to see a psychiatrist that you have a good feeling of trust with. I would not let a GP manage my psychotropic medications.

Talk this over with your psychiatrist and reach a conclusion with his assistance and counsel.

I wish you great success, and I congratulate you for doing so well on your own. You must decide if you prefer to do what you have been successful at or try something new.

I wish you great wisdom in moving forward.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC