Adult ADHD Treatment on a Budget

Reader’s Question

Hi. I have read everything I have been able to find about ADD/ADHD. At first I began reading it because I believed my daughter was ADHD. Upon discovering all the information I have realized that I fit the symptoms myself. Others in my immediate family have also been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD this year so I am beginning to think I have it even more. My nephew had to go to therapy for three months before receiving a diagnosis, but didn’t enter saying “I think I have ADD”; it was just discovered. I have a $30 deductible for every doctor’s appointment, and my prescriptions cost $30 for brand name. I don’t make much money and am a single mother so I can’t afford to be going to the doctor every week just to get diagnosed. Do you have any advice for me that may help me with this situation?

Psychologist’s Reply

Time is money. As in your nephew’s case, it took a lot of time to diagnose his ADHD, requiring many visits. The best way to approach your situation is — Do Your Homework. The idea is to have all the information, tests, recommendations, etc. done prior to the visit to the physician. For example:

  • Educate yourself on the diagnosis. If you have ADHD, you are most likely to have ADHD, Inattentive Type. I’d start there.
  • Take several of the ADHD tests available on the Internet and this website. Print them off. Be prepared to discuss the results with the physician.
  • It’s also helpful to be able to discuss what other conditions might be causing the problems such as stress, depression, and/or anxiety. Educate yourself on those as well.
  • Write down your family ADHD history.
  • Research common medications used for Adult ADHD. Strattera, for example, is quite popular. Another frequently used medication for ADHD is the antidepressant Wellbutrin because it has a side action of increasing dopamine (also blocking the craving for cigarettes!), the neurotransmitter action of most stimulant meds.

Once you’ve done your homework you are ready to meet with the physician and ask to be considered for an ADHD treatment program. Present your evidence to him/her. They may not feel additional testing or diagnosis is needed if you do your homework.

If you are prescribed ADHD medications — your job isn’t over. Take those tests again after two weeks, four weeks, etc. Chart the improvement if present. The more information you can provide to your physician, the safer they will feel (and the fewer visits you’ll have to pay for).

There you are — a plan for ADHD treatment on a budget!

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