I do not know much about ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), but I know a few people who have been diagnosed as suffering from one of these disorders and who are taking medication for it. They seem to be coping well.

I, myself, have been thinking that I may be ADD. I have difficulty in being present and concentrating on what I am busy with. I am thus quite accident prone. My husband has, a few times already, put his hands on my shoulders and told me to stop, as he could see that I was not “there” and at risk of hurting myself. I generally struggle to concentrate and can hardly recall the contents of book I have read and movies that I have seen. I zone out a lot when people talk to me. But, I am very careful to consult Doctor Google and self-diagnose. I shall discuss this with my Psychiatrist when I see her next time.

I recently saw a client. While she was talking, ADD kept on popping into my head. As mentioned, I do not know enough about it and am in no way qualified to make a diagnosis. I asked her if she knew anything about it. She mentioned that she has read up about it and promised to send me an article. This is the article that she duly provided:These adults have ADHD but was misdiagnosed.

I read the article with interest and wondered how many people I know, who are being treated for depression and/or anxiety, and I know a lot, may actually be walking around with an incorrect diagnosis.

Reading more about it, I see that ADD is one of three subtypes of ADHD and classified as the “Predominantly Inattentive Type”.

The most basic symptoms adults with ADHD may experience are;

  • extreme activity or restlessness,
  • impulsiveness,
  • struggling to pay attention (this can lead to forgetfulness).

Other symptoms may include:

  • trouble to prioritise;
  • inability to focus on a task,
  • poor planning,
  • unable to multitask,
  • poor impulse control, manifesting in impatience, mood swings and anger outbursts
  • inability to deal with stress.

Many of these symptoms present themselves as poor time management skills and an inability to see tasks through and finishing things.

A lot of us display some of these behaviours on a daily basis. Adult ADHD sufferers however can most probably track the existence of these symptoms back to childhood. They can acknowledge how these are and have been severe enough to cause them continuing difficulties in a few areas of their lives.

The main difference between ADHD and ADD is the absence of hyperactivity in ADD sufferers. ADD prone people tend to be in their own world, seem shy and daydream a lot. As they do not seem hyperactive, their ADD is often overlooked.

The reason why some ADD and ADHD sufferers are misdiagnosed as suffering from depression, anxiety or maybe borderline personality disorder (PBD), is because some of the ADD/ADHD symptoms can cause these feelings and/or behaviours. Depression symptoms can present themselves due to the hopelessness and frustration felt as a result of not feeling better, despite taking medication. This can be because of incorrect diagnosis and resultant ineffective medication. They feel inadequate and anxious because of an inability to focus and finish tasks. Due to hyperactivity in ADHD patients, they do not sleep well, which is another symptom of depression and anxiety. Mood swings, anger outburst, impatience and dreamlike state (ADD) may lead to a diagnosis of bipolar depression, while difficulty to interact and connect can be seen as borderline personality disorder.

A misdiagnosis may not only lead to much time and money spent, but some people can find the stigma attached to some of these labels very damaging to their psychological health .

I find that many of my clients accept psychiatric or mental health diagnoses and resultant prescription medication from their General Practitioners faithfully, even if they do not experience freedom from the initial presenting symptoms. As a rule, I refer them to a Psychiatrist, who is appropriately qualified to diagnose mental health issues and prescribe the correct medication.

If you have been diagnosed with a mental health issue and are on medication as treatment and you are not feeling a vast improvement in your symptoms, please do not accept this as okay. Modern psychiatric medications are quite effective in treating most mental health issues and should work well if you are on the correct medicine and dose. Continue to consult the correct professionals until you are happy with the results.