ADD or ADHD Diagnosis — ADD Tip o the Day 304

This was my response to a guy who thinks he has ADD or ADHD and was starting to get on top of it, until he saw a doctor who told him he didn’t have it but was just anxious. And told him the medication would cause weight gain!  –Argggghhh!


“wow.  bummer.  I can’t diagnose you as you said.  but there are a lot of doctors even psychiatrists who do not understand ADD.  by the way, the medication doesn’t cause weight gain, it sometimes causes weight loss.  there are a lot of sites on the net that give you the tests, you can take those, tho they aren’t definitive.  suggest you read the part of the book about diagnosis and also on the blog – put diagnosis in the search window.  do you have a choice of seeing someone else, and even of asking what they know about ADD first? anxiety is not part of ADD, but often accompanies it – if i have a lot to do and can’t  get organized or started and am frustrated and my wife is complaining and I screwed up the last thing i tried – i can start feeling pretty anxious.  on the other hand, anxiety can cause a lot of the same symptoms as ADD, so it needs teasing out. hope this helps.”




If you’re going to seek help, which I recommend, be sure they know ADD or ADHD.  If you can’t get or tolerate the medicines, there may be some ‘natural’ things that will help (I’m not sure tho)

clik diagnosis  add, adhd, coping with add, strategies for add, audlt add,adult adhd

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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18 Responses to ADD or ADHD Diagnosis — ADD Tip o the Day 304

  1. Pingback: Living with ADHD and Getting an ADHD Diagnosis — ADHD Tip O the Day 727 | ADDadultstrategies

  2. Scott Marckx says:

    Thank you for this! After my Priest suggested I might have ADD I started reading about it, including your book, which has been VERY helpful! Then I went to my Doctor, but I don’t do the can’t sit still thing. I can sit still, so he didn’t think so, but put me on Welbutrin for depression and said it is also used for ADD. At my suggestion, he sent me to an ADHD specialist, but that doctor only sees kids so pushed me off on another Psychologist who has no training in ADD but said he could do the tests and diagnosis. Looking back at it now I feel like I should have said no, but I went through that and it was frustrating, reading about ADD and then listening to him start to make a diagnosis without even having looked at the test results on the first day, then backing up later when he saw some of the test results, but still not wanting to admit it. I finally got a diagnosis of “ADD not otherwise specified”, which seems to me to mean, “not really”. Once the diagnosis was completed, I wanted to see an ADHD specialist, but finding someone near where I live is difficult. I kind of hit a wall and stopped. I’m still reading some and trying to use the cards and some visualization techniques plus meditation. One-on one help from a professional that is skilled in these issues would be wonderful though.


    • wow. what an ordeal! have you done some of the self tests on the net? and i guess youve read on the blog about the difficulties with the diagnosis and making sure you see someone who knows what they’re doing. the classical plain vanilla cases, and there are a lot of us, are pretty easy, but still a lot of people are not typical. i hope you find someone. you might look up add coaches and then they would know someone to refer you to?
      glad the book is helpful.
      thank you for posting the comment
      best wishes


  3. Betsy Davenport says:

    I always ask people about their stimulant use, including any illicit drugs. Answers are not in themselves diagnostic, but added to other things, can validate.

    Some questions to ask a physician when looking for one who can be helpful are:
    Do you diagnose? Treat?
    What percentage of your practice is debited to AD/HD?
    F or how long have you been working with AD/HD patients?
    How often do you diagnose and treat women with AD /HD?

    The last question can tell you whether the doc can recognize it in its different manifestations, as women were sorely overlooked until recently and in many areas, still are. A doctor who sees it in women is more likely to see it wherever it is.


    • yes, i look for drug use in evaluation, and especially for ad/hd. and what are the drugs of choice? stimulants are a big clue, including caffeine.
      thank you for the suggestions for evaluating the treater – i especially like the one about women.


  4. Lisa says:

    Getting diagnosed can be a challenge for adults! The first time I mentioned it to my primary care physician, he looked at me quizzically and said, “You don’t just develop ADHD at age 32.” Well, duh! So I had to explain my whole history going back to grade school of messy room/desk/locker, unfinished assignments, chronic tardiness…and once he was satisfied that it was indeed a long-standing problem he tried me on ritalin. I take strattera now…dealing with the regulations around ritalin was a real PITA, so I went with a non-stimulant. It works well, but it takes a while to ramp up (weeks) as opposed to the very quick results you get with ritalin or adderall.

    Interestingly, one of the big clues (besides my history) that my problem is ADHD was my response to caffeine. I was seeing a counselor, and after hearing about my issues with attention and organization, he asked how I respond to caffeine. I told him that it makes me sleepy unless I have a LOT (like 4 cups of coffee within an hour or so). One or two cups mellows me out and makes me drowsy. He said that is often a sign of ADHD…and that might explain why a stimulant like ritalin helps someone with ADHD. I don’t know how common that is, but that’s my experience anyway.


    • very interesting! coffee used to make me sleepy (long before I knew I had ADD), but now it keeps me awake, and also produces restless legs. and for a while i was addicted to and abusing it.
      glad to hear the strattera works for you, i have never prescribed it but can see it could have advantages.
      thank you for the comment


  5. Anahi Ortiz says:

    Thanks Doug. This is an excellent post. You are absolutely right, people need to ascertain first if the physician they are thinking of going to has experience with ADHD. I’ve had other docs say to me that they dislike dealing with ADHD but they’ll still take those patients. Well, what kind of care will that patient get! Asking docs how many patients they treat with ADHD is important as well as getting word of mouth recommendations.


    • that’s good advice, asking how many they see, but also you suggest that even then they may not know much about it. I wonder if there are some ‘test’ questions to ask to check their knowledge?
      and of course word of mouth is good, although often patients can’t tell whether or not they are getting good care.
      thank you for commenting


      • Margaret says:

        I have to say that if someone asked me how ,many patients i seen with ADHD, I wouldn’t even know where to start counting!! Let’s see at least 6-7 new consults a week, and probably more then a dozen follow-ups a week (I keep my ADHD patients,and once they are stable, see them 3-4 times a yr).
        What sort of response rate should people be looking for?


      • betsydavenport says:

        A trick question would be to ask about cure rates, or at least, how often the doctor’s patients improve enough to discontinue medications.


        • doug says:

          i think i get how it would be a trick question but would you elaborate to be sure we’re seeing the same way? ( if they say cure means they dont know what theyre talking about).
          do you think if yes to improvement that can happen with more understanddingneducation and strategies?


          • betsydavenport says:

            Well, this comment was partly facetious, but one might glean something about how the doctor thinks by asking about how patients do on medications, whether they continue with them over time, or not. (“Cure,” of course, is unusual, so if a doctor says patients are cured, that would be one not to try out.) I’d also want to know if a doctor recommends anything besides medication, and if so, what. While meds seem to be the first thing for almost everybody, they aren’t the only thing; and the other things (like education, learning how to develop structures and strategies, etc.) are made possible with medication. Etcetera. But really, what’s important in a doctor is whether that person is able to think about AD/HD, and the people who suffer with it, in such a way as to contribute to the situation in specific, perhaps novel, ways.


  6. yes! – i hadn’t heard of cognitive anxiety, but it sure sounds familiar. my active creative undisciplined mind is going in 40 directions at once. need strategies. sometimes i am able to pick one thing, focus on it, and forget the rest, sometimes it helps if i write down the 40 things first and then pick one. sometimes, nothing helps
    as always, thank you for your great comments


  7. Betsy Davenport, PhD says:

    Oh, that is so BAD. You are entirely correct that the inadequacies of performance caused by ADD can make a person anxious. Also, there is cognitive anxiety, which I have witnessed at close range and understood to be not anxiety per se; but it is a mental experience that comes from too many thoughts, not being able to sort thoughts or organize the thinking. Clearly described by Dr. Charles Parker.


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