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ADHD Control

answered 06:00 PM EST, Tue September 20, 2011
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I have had a hard time in the past with meth and cigarettes and cocaine and drinking. I got clean a few years ago but I have had a hard time keeping a job since then. My problem is I tend to lose focus and so I am not very good at following directions. I think I have things together and then at the end I get in trouble for forgetting half of what I was supposed to be doing. I was like this in school as well. It seems strange, but when using I seemed more able to keep things straight than I am now. Not that I was able to really hold down a job then either.

My girlfriend now works as a teacher’s assistant for special needs kids. She says the way I am is exactly like a lot of the kids that come to her with ADHD. Since she said this I have been reading up on ADHD on the internet and it the symptoms of ADHD seem to match who I am exactly.

Maybe if I can get my ADHD cured I can have more luck on the job. But the problem is the medication for ADHD is something that I know can be abused. I have even used Ritalin once or twice. I am not sure I could stay off meth if I had that little taste of speed every day. Is there any way to control ADHD without using drugs?

Jody Hansen Says...

Jody Hansen J. Hansen
MA, LPC, NCC, FAPA

Congratulations on your sobriety. Your current investigation of possible ADHD seems appropriate.

Several issues here:

  1. ADHD needs to be diagnosed by a professional who is qualified to do so. Typically this is done through a psychologist (PhD) and/or psychiatrist. It is important that you get a thorough evaluation to be certain of your problem.
  2. If you have ADHD, then a consult with a psychiatrist would be next. Let your doctor know your history with abuse so that they can take this into account when prescribing medication. There are a few medications currently being used that do not have the stimulant affects you are describing. They will be abreast of the newest alternatives that might benefit you.
  3. Counseling is very good to help you with suggestions dealing with the behaviors associated with ADHD and any additional thoughts you might have about your struggles along the way.

Again, finding someone familiar with individuals who have ADHD is crucial. Good luck in your desire to move forward in a productive healthy way.

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Page last updated Sep 20, 2011

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