Over the past several months I have been doing a lot of research and reading, and I mean LOTS! My man mentioned before that he thinks I might be bipolar because my moods change so frequently, however anyone that knows anything about bipolar knows it takes them longer to change from mood to mood. I have a few friends that are, I’ve read a lot on it too, and I don’t think its that at all. Besides, no history of that in the family and I’m never in a manic stage, just depressed or normal. So I started doing a lot of reading to figure out what it might be.
I have ADHD, been diagnosed twice with it. Once when I was younger but my parents said it’s a bullshit disease and they are not paying for medication for it. They said I need my ass beat more, that would fix it…nice, huh? As an adult I got rediagnosed, this time I am taking medication for it. I found some interesting information that confirms my ADHD has a lot to do with my moods. I don’t have the link anymore, but here’s the information I copied over that confirmed it is ADHD and not bipolar.
ADHD is characterized by significantly higher levels of inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and/or physical restlessness than would be expected in a person of similar age and development. For a diagnosis of ADHD, such symptoms must be consistently present and impairing. ADHD is about 10 times more common than BMD in the general population.
Bipolar Mood Disorder (BMD)
By diagnostic definition, mood disorders are “disorders of the level or intensity of mood in which the mood has taken on a life of its own, separate from the events of a person’s life and outside of [his] conscious will and control.” In people with BMD, intense feelings of happiness or sadness, high energy (called “mania”), or low energy (called “depression”) shift for no apparent reason over a period of days to weeks, and may persist for weeks or months. Commonly, there are periods of months to years during which the individual experiences no impairment.
Making a diagnosis
Because of the many shared characteristics, there is a substantial risk of either a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. Nonetheless, ADHD and BMD can be distinguished from each other on the basis of these six factors:
1. Age of onset: ADHD is a lifelong condition, with symptoms apparent (although not necessarily impairing) by age seven. While we now recognize that children can develop BMD, this is still considered rare. The majority of people who develop BMD have their first episode of affective illness after age 18, with a mean age of 26 years at diagnosis. (I was diagnosed at a very young age, around like 7 or 8 and still have it.)
2. Consistency of impairment: ADHD is chronic and always present. BMD comes in episodes that alternate with more or less normal mood levels. (I’m always aggitated, hyperactive, and just plain restless.)
3. Mood triggers: People with ADHD are passionate, and have strong emotional reactions to events, or triggers, in their lives. Happy events result in intensely happy, excited moods. Unhappy events — especially the experience of being rejected, criticized, or teased — elicit intensely sad feelings. With BMD, mood shifts come and go without any connection to life events. (Yes, this very much describes me. I have strong emotional reactions to events, even when I can’t explain it. As for unhappy events…yep…that is what I deal with, intensely sad feelings, more intense than I can explain.)
4. Rapidity of mood shift: Because ADHD mood shifts are almost always triggered by life events, the shifts feel instantaneous. They are normal moods in every way, except in their intensity. They’re often called “crashes” or “snaps,” because of the sudden onset. By contrast, the untriggered mood shifts of BMD take hours or days to move from one state to another. (Mine can shift so quickly, and I can’t even explain it. Happens in seconds sometimes.)
5. Duration of moods: Although responses to severe losses and rejections may last weeks, ADHD mood shifts are usually measured in hours. The mood shifts of BMD, by DSM-IV definition, must be sustained for at least two weeks. For instance, to present “rapid-cycling” bipolar disorder, a person needs to experience only four shifts of mood, from high to low or low to high, in a 12-month period. Many people with ADHD experience that many mood shifts in a single day. (Same as before, my moods shift so often.)
6. Family history: Both disorders run in families, but individuals with ADHD almost always have a family tree with multiple cases of ADHD. Those with BMD are likely to have fewer genetic connections. (I have an extensive family history of ADHD, but no bipolar in the family at all.)
With all that being said, I have confirmed it’s not bipolar, on many levels and from much more reading. But what is it? After reading webpage after webpage, and books upon books, there is a good possibility that it is simply my ADHD, however there is a good possibility that PTSD is also causing problems. I found some of this information on ADHD and PTSD.
- Often the symptoms begin as feeling a bit dazed and numb–things seem a bit hazy or unclear–that can continue for several days or weeks. Disassociation is a common response to trauma, not unlike the times one’s mind just disappears with ADHD. (I know all about this one, but is it my ADHD causing it? Or something more?)
- The confusion and dreaminess is usually followed by or accompanied with anxiety, often the generalized (free-floating) anxiety that feels like edginess, being easily startled and jumpy for no apparent reason. (Yes, completely. I have had some horrible anxiety lately with no real explanation for it.)
- People usually have problems sleeping or relaxing. Hyper-vigilance, that constant sense of urgency, being on guard or ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’, ramps up the anxiety to the point of paranoia at times. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which amplifies the hyper-vigilance and many other problems. (Sleep problems? Check. Relaxing problems? Check. I’m always waiting and feel a sense of urgency even when I have nothing coming up.)
- Isolation is pretty common for people who are hyper-vigilant or paranoid. In the extreme, people become afraid to go about their daily lives; in less extreme cases, they may avoid certain areas or trigger points and try to continue with their daily routine. If left untreated, this can lead to problems at work or school, in relationships or other facets of daily living. (I think I have hit that “untreated” point now because it is really starting to cause problems.)
- Symptoms of depression may also follow: Frequent crying, feeling ‘flat’ (aka blah) or sad, lack of energy, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, irritability or agitation, problems with concentration, changes in eating and sleep patterns, for some, thoughts of suicide or death and feeling guilty or worthless. (Crying for no apparent reason? Yes. Just plain sad, complete lost of interest…all of the above.)
So…my ADHD might be the main problem, but there is a good possibility that PTSD is causing problems too. It’s one of those disorders people don’t really understand. I think this quote might help people understand what a “stressful situation” is…because it’s always different, based on the person.
People react differently to events. Some people are traumatized by seemingly benign events that other people experience and shake off easily. Others survive horrific events that seem traumatic without long-lasting psychological damage.
So looking at this bit of information helps explain some things too. See…it’s not the big events that have caused me to get to this point, it’s the “stupid pointless crap” that has gotten me here. Understand? I have ran many stressful calls, many, but they never seem to effect me. I have this ability to disassociate myself from that, I can disconnect from it. I am able to separate it and not think about it, it doesn’t bother me. It’s the things from every day life that get to me. The things from every day life are what bother me the most. Starting from early life with my parents, starting with my first beating. Here’s a little bit more reading for you, just giving more information about my ADHD and what could have caused it more.
In a study that compared girls with ADHD to girls not suffering from it, higher rates of abuse were found in the ADHD population. Of the girls with ADHD, 14.3 percent had been abused. Of the girls without ADHD, 4.5 percent had been abused.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) show a high degree of comorbidity in traumatized children. Two hypotheses may help explain this relationship: children with ADHD are at higher risk for trauma due to their impulsivity, dangerous behaviors, and parents who may have a genetic predisposition for impairment of their own impulse control; and hyperarousal induced by severe trauma and manifested by hypervigilance and poor concentration may impair attention to create an ADHD-like syndrome.
As you see, there is a lot of overlap in symptoms and a reported high incidence of abuse in kids with ADD/ADHD. PTSD can exacerbate your ADHD symptoms – and create anxiety with new symptomsEACH TIME THE EVENT IS TRIGGERED IN YOUR PRESENT LIFE.
After much reading from several different places, there is a good possibility that my problem is PTSD. After I started thinking about it, I realized that there are “triggers” I have, things that cause great stress and make things worse for me. However, not everything is completely explainable, sometimes I have rapid mood changes without full explanation. Maybe those are triggers I don’t have figured out yet? I don’t know.
What do you think? Do you know anyone with PTSD that is having problems too? Especially on with ADHD? Because I would like to find other people to talk to that have this.