Can I have ADD even after performing exceptionally well in Academics (by sitting with the books for an awful lot of time)?

by Ritesh

I am writing to you because I have tried treatment (spending LOT of time, money and effort) with my local psychiatrist and clinical psychotherapist for a long time only to get treatment for depression. But I thought that I had ADD. The people treating me told me that my inability to concentrate was due to my depression. I did have some symptoms of an episode of depression at that time; since then the symptoms have gone. But the symptoms of ADD had started much before the episode of depression and are continuing after the episode of depression (it has been 6 months now) and the earliest symptoms ADD that I can remember started 3 years ago. While Depression started just an year ago and ended in four months with medical help. I attempted medical help for ADD only after I got cured of depression but it was probably because I had just had and episode of depression that the doctors thought that my inability to concentrate was also because of that. Please help.

I seem to have many symptoms of ADD. But when I go to a new place to live for some days I can concentrate much better and the symptoms of ADD seem to have lessened for some days. Does this mean that I do not have ADD? The reason I am asking this is because I have been told by my friends that if I had ADD it would not get suppressed even slightly when I change my place.

I am a student of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), for which the ratio of the number of students who applied to those who were selected is about 100:1. Thus, just because I cleared this exam, people think that I am very intelligent and can not possibly have ADD. But I used to sit with books literally all the time that I was awake (even in the toilet and while eating) and I feel that giving much more total time led me to joining the institute in spite of having ADD. I felt like I used to study just 15 % of the time I sat with the books. Can I have ADD even after performing exceptionally well in Academics (by sitting with the books for an awful lot of time)?

One more symptom that I want to point out is that I can concentrate almost 100 % while giving and examination but it does not come to me in a non-examination scenario however hard I try. Does this point to me not having ADD?

I had a score of 87 on 28th June 2010 in the standard Jasper-Goldberg Adult ADD Questionaire and it said that I have Serious ADD.

Further, one biography of a teenage girl suffering from ADD said that ADD drugs can lead to low moods (specifically the girl said that after she started taking the drugs she started counting the number of places in her house that people could hang themselves on). Is it true? I want to avoid so low moods and I feel like I should rather manage ADD myself. For me Depression is much more difficult to control than ADD. What is your advice, sir?

I tried to use will power to improve my concentration and also a little meditation but to no avail.

Please help.

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Mar 12, 2017
ADD questions
by: Ben

Hello Ritesh.

While ADD is not one of my areas of specialization, I have seen many clients, of all ages, who have ADD. I personally have not seen any of my clients become depressed as a result of taking ADD meds (sometimes I've seen the improvement in ADD symptoms cause a quick alleviation of depression). But I do feel that there are potential negative side effects with virtually every medication, and you have to carefully evaluate the pros and cons.

It is shown that excessive television/computer time for kids can contribute to ADD. As an ITT student, I'm assuming you have a lot of time in front of the computer, which can't be helping matters.

I have observed that some people with ADD function very well in certain situations, and not in others. You may be sensitive to particular types of distractions and not others. Some people with ADD find it possible to be super focused on things they really care deeply about, while other things that they don't have much interest in are nearly impossible to stay focused on.

It may be that novelty - experiencing new places for example - can keep you more alert and engaged than routine things and familiar places.

I would highly recommend meditation as a regular, formal practice. It is one of the best ways to improve concentration and focus, as well as having a multitude of other benefits. Daily practice is best. Starting with at least 10-15 minutes and gradually building up to 30 minutes or more. Even twice a day can be fine, but do at least once - preferably at the same time each day.

Another thing to consider is supporting your brain health with a good quality vitamin/mineral supplement. There are some meant specifically for brain support. Make sure you get an abundance of vitamin B and also Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Having time in nature is also often very helpful and can keep you more balanced. Obsessive studying, trying to cram more info into your brain is not the most healthy or sustainable way to succeed. You need time to relax deeply, get grounded, and learn to turn off your thinking mind to give it some rest. There are times to study hard, and times to relax.

I hope this is helpful.

Best Wishes,
Ben Schwarcz

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