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Is My Daughter ADD?

Question:

My son was diagnosed with ADD a few years ago. He takes medication when he needs to concentrate and currently is doing extremely well in college.

My daughter recently returned to grad school and was struggling terribly with the work load. She became anxious and depressed and considered dropping out of school. While she was home for a visit, bringing her many school assignments with her, her brother gave her a sample one of his ADD pills and magic happened. For the first time in her academic life she reported an ability to sit for hours without distraction and crank out paper after paper.

She returned to school with a few of her brother’s pills and finds the medication is a godsend. Forgetting for the moment the illegality of my son sharing his medication with his sister, I’d like to know whether you think my daughter has ADD based on the fact that the medication helps her focus. Obviously, she cannot continue to use her brother’s medication and she will probably see a doctor and be evaluated when she’s home for the holiday break. In the meantime, however, I’m just curious to know what you think. Thanks.

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Answer:

One of the problems with the diagnosis of ADHD is that females are often overlooked. By the way, the general heading for this is ADHD under which come a variety of others, one of which is ADD. It tends to be overlooked because girls are thought of as being calm and quiet in school. If they are not paying attention, teachers do not notice. So, it is entirely possible that your daughter does have ADHD that went undiagnosed all of these years.

When we add to that the fact that she has benefitted from her brother’s medication, it is even more evidence for this.

What I want to stress is that your daugher not wait until she is home for the holdidays. The colleges and universities have health and mental health departments. She could be seen immediately, receive a diagnosis and start a regimen of medication.

There are a number of problems with using her brother’s medication. This class of medications used for ADHD is sought after and abused by students who either want to get “high” or stay up all night to study for exams. The illegality of what she is now doing is very real and she could face consequences if found with medications without a prescription. Then, too, there is the issue of dosage. She could be either under medicating or over medicating herself.

There are many other medication factors she needs to be made aware of. I always encourage people to see their physician or psychiatrist, get an evaluation and be prescribed medicine, rather than borrowing.

Of course, you and she should not rule out the possibility that something is wrong other than ADHD. Get her to see a doctor sooner than later.

Best of Luck

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