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ADD Maybe?

Question:

Dr. Schwartz,

I am 30 yrs old attending college classes and I recently began feeling like something is wrong with me and my life. I can’t really put my finger on it but, in my research, I have found that I have almost every symptom of Adult ADD. My primary care doctor’s professional prescription, after I have spent thousands of dollars on blood tests, breathing tests, cardiologists, xrays and everything else under the sun, is that “you just need to learn to relax.”

Is there something I can try or can you recommend someone I could see that might be able to help me get my life back in order?

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

I must admit that I find it a little surprising and disappointing that you doctor did not refer you to psychotherapy for help. After all, it seems to me that it is ridiculous to tell a patient to relax. Be that as it may, it is important to discuss what might be going on and what you should do.

Perhaps you do have ADD or, perhaps, you are experiencing high amounts of stress, anxiety and, or, depression. Regardless of the diagnosis, you need a consultation with a mental health professional. I am sure there are many good clinical social workers, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists in your area who you could see, get a diagnosis and the correct recommendation for treatment. Normally, I would suggest you ask your doctor for a referral but, all things considered, it’s not a good idea in this case. Your doctor should have thought of it to begin with. Having said that, you could certainly try by telling him something like, “look doc, I am very upset and need to talk to someone. Please give me a referral.”

Friends and family are often sources of recommendations for who to see. However, if you do not want to ask them or if you believe they would not know, you could go online and look up Psychology Today. I believe you can find it at: http://www.psychologytoday.com and they have a list of therapists from every geographical area in the United States.

Another option is to go to the health center of the university you are attending and ask them for referrals. All universities and colleges, these days, have mental health services for the simple fact that so many students are coping with stress and depression. Whether you are a full time or part time student, you can ask them for a recommendation.

I hope this helps. Act now and don’t wait.

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