Can “inattentive” ADHD actually be AS?

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Carpeta
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30 Aug 2020, 11:32 pm

I have heard ADHD-I explained as being internally hyperactive, rather than externally hyperactive.

In addition to all the symptom overlap between ADHD and AS, there's overlap with a third area, "giftedness." Take a look at the symptoms listed here. This is the type of giftedness that some argue is misnamed because it can be a curse, not a gift; it can mean spiky skill profiles, social isolation due to difference from peers, sensory issues, emotional regulation issues, and more. It does not equate to being more successful in life, and it does come with a lot of stigma that is painful. I got the "gifted" label, yet really struggle with some things. I'm here on WP as part of trying to figure out if I am actually AS; previously I investigated if I might be ADHD-I, but decided that the definitional symptoms did not apply to me.

I really wonder if all three of these, ADHD, AS, and "giftedness," have an essential neurological commonality.


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LisaM1031
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31 Aug 2020, 12:33 am

Carpeta wrote:
I have heard ADHD-I explained as being internally hyperactive, rather than externally hyperactive.

In addition to all the symptom overlap between ADHD and AS, there's overlap with a third area, "giftedness." Take a look at the symptoms listed here. This is the type of giftedness that some argue is misnamed because it can be a curse, not a gift; it can mean spiky skill profiles, social isolation due to difference from peers, sensory issues, emotional regulation issues, and more. It does not equate to being more successful in life, and it does come with a lot of stigma that is painful. I got the "gifted" label, yet really struggle with some things. I'm here on WP as part of trying to figure out if I am actually AS; previously I investigated if I might be ADHD-I, but decided that the definitional symptoms did not apply to me.

I really wonder if all three of these, ADHD, AS, and "giftedness," have an essential neurological commonality.


I also agree with the giftedness overlap. This is probably partly where the “eccentric genius“ stereotype came from. I wondered if I could also be ADHD-I based on some of the descriptions but most of the DSM criteria doesn’t apply to me. Some of the descriptions seem like they are describing more of a personality type rather than a disorder. They describe this type as “introverted”, “introspective” and good at “solitary” jobs such as research or creative fields. These descriptions can also apply to many with ASD. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Myers Briggs personality types but it almost seems like an INxx type being described through an SJ bias, or someone with a weak “extroverted sensing” function.



HoppingBunnyRabbitGal
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04 Sep 2020, 12:07 am

Carpeta wrote:
I have heard ADHD-I explained as being internally hyperactive, rather than externally hyperactive.

In addition to all the symptom overlap between ADHD and AS, there's overlap with a third area, "giftedness." .... This is the type of giftedness that some argue is misnamed because it can be a curse, not a gift; it can mean spiky skill profiles, social isolation due to difference from peers, sensory issues, emotional regulation issues, and more. It does not equate to being more successful in life, and it does come with a lot of stigma that is painful. I got the "gifted" label, yet really struggle with some things. I'm here on WP as part of trying to figure out if I am actually AS; previously I investigated if I might be ADHD-I, but decided that the definitional symptoms did not apply to me.

I really wonder if all three of these, ADHD, AS, and "giftedness," have an essential neurological commonality.


Oh holy cow, that's so much me.

LisaM1031 wrote:

I also agree with the giftedness overlap. This is probably partly where the “eccentric genius“ stereotype came from. I wondered if I could also be ADHD-I based on some of the descriptions but most of the DSM criteria doesn’t apply to me. Some of the descriptions seem like they are describing more of a personality type rather than a disorder. They describe this type as “introverted”, “introspective” and good at “solitary” jobs such as research or creative fields. These descriptions can also apply to many with ASD. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Myers Briggs personality types but it almost seems like an INxx type being described through an SJ bias, or someone with a weak “extroverted sensing” function.


As an INTJ, I resemble this. :D



Jon81
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05 Sep 2020, 2:58 pm

Interesting read. I'm in the process of being examined for ADHD. I have already made an impression by contacting them because they didn't call me up on the 23rd of july. Turned out it was 23rd of august they were supposed to call... Just the typical me.

I tick almost every box appart from the impulsivity and need for change. So if being avert to change and risk is part of ADHD I can easily say I fit in.

I'm a little bit nervous about the test. The biggest concern is me overanalyzing everything trying to figure out what they're after.


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theboogieman
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03 Jun 2023, 9:07 pm

Bumping this old thread because I have some experience with this:

I am deeply confused about what ADHD-I is supposed to mean. When I was ~12 years old, I was diagnosed with ADHD-I and still have that diagnosis today. I still see that same psychiatrist as my only mental health professional. If I remember right, the psychiatrist essentially said that I don't fit much of the description for ADHD, but when I took the computerized testing (doing this really mundane task of pressing the spacebar when a color said out loud matched the word printed on the screen) I tested so well that they stated it was a prime example of hyperfocus. They claimed my ADHD was primarily manifesting by being so hyperfocused on something that interested me at any given time that was unrelated to the task I should have been doing while in class/at home.

I have suggested that I think the ADHD-I diagnosis is an incomplete view of my ailment for about ten years now (I am now 23.) I've specifically mentioned that I suspect I may be on the autism spectrum, but my psychiatrist has literally laughed at me for suggesting this.

They claim I am "too connected" (no idea what that's supposed to mean, the only clue they gave is that I wanted to be a priest as a child), I don't stim (most of my stimming is in the form of finger twiddling so they can't see that from the desk we sit in during checkups), I could keep a job (I literally had to quit my last software engineering job because, even with stimulant medication, I would spend months sitting in front of my computer doing little but whimpering like a kicked dog some days from overwhelm), and I have and always had friends (while ignoring that I do not have the same friends because people leave me all the time with no reason that I can discern.)

That said, I am currently seeking an ASD diagnosis from a different psychologist since I am not being taken seriously. I am definitely decent enough at masking so I can understand why I am not "stereotypical" enough of an aspie for them to recognize (that word was used the last time I brought up autism), but the struggles with blending in socially and dealing with sensory overwhelm in a "normal" way absolutely wrecks me internally. I don't believe I have ever had a public meltdown in my teenage years and adulthood, but several times a month I need to leave social gatherings early because I am experiencing what seems to be a perfect match with what autistic people call "shutdown" (I used to call it "dissociation", though I knew the label didn't fit perfectly) and nowadays I just don't go to many social gatherings at all in environments where I know I will become overstimulated.

They say overstimulation is a common symptom of ADHD, but unlike all the ADHD people I know, most of whom fit the diagnosis far better than I seem to, never report overstimulation to the point that it is a central part of their decision making.

The overstimulation and self-isolation to counteract sensory overwhelm is a trait I have had since I was a little boy. I was also more "stereotypically autistic" as a child: I would spontaneously vomit if an unexpected loud noise happened, I would take my parents' keys and lock myself in the car during large family gatherings when I needed "alone time" (my words), I was fully capable of working a Windows 98 computer while in diapers, all the way down to defragmenting the hard drives, needed to go to therapy for speech impediments and poor motor skills, I was hyperlexic (reading at age 3), the list goes on.

Despite all this, my psych believes I am ADHD-I with likely social anxiety and a sensory processing disorder (and if they would have let me speak longer, likely depression as well), which to me sounds like "reverse-engineering" ASD with several other diagnoses.

Basically, I think some psychiatrists, possibly those more heavily in the pockets of Big Pharma, will diagnose high functioning ASD as ADHD-I, and depending on the gender and external presentation, will tack on generalized/social anxiety disorder, depression, and/or OCD. I know other people who have the same diagnosis that I strongly suspect are on the spectrum, some of these people I feel even more strongly are on the spectrum than me.

I'll hopefully edit this post after my screening and hopeful ASD evaluation which is coming up soon. Please reply to this if you've had a similar experience.



auntblabby
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03 Jun 2023, 10:23 pm

i can get the "whimpering like a kicked dog" bit for sure. that was overstressed me for many years 'til i was able to leave the rat race. among my many dx's are inattentive subtype ADHD, useta just be called ADD back in the stoned age.



jimmyjazzuk
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04 Jun 2023, 2:09 pm

I have very low concentration in everything unless very interested in the subject. I live in chaos around home because I have a tendency to do nothing. I find it difficult to switch actions. I was described as a daydreamer at school and misunderstood as uncooperative or defiant. I am extremely disorganised and time management is bad. I am what society deems 'scruffy'. I am slow but methodical thinker and easily distracted. I am forgetful I get over stimulated. Sounds like innatentive ADD?



Last edited by jimmyjazzuk on 04 Jun 2023, 2:41 pm, edited 6 times in total.

jimmyjazzuk
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04 Jun 2023, 2:31 pm

boogie perhaps printing out a letter and handing it to them might help, seems like they dont understand you very well. Or get a different psychiatrist.

As for laughing about possible autism, it is a spectrum afterall.



jimmyjazzuk
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04 Jun 2023, 2:43 pm

Interesting that you might not have done homework because you were hyper focused on something else. I never thought about it like that. With me I was probably playing computer games, listening to music or playing music. Or too depressed and anxious to do anything!



theboogieman
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04 Jun 2023, 3:00 pm

jimmyjazzuk wrote:
boogie perhaps printing out a letter and handing it to them might help, seems like they dont understand you very well. Or get a different psychiatrist.


I'm going see a psychologist next week to be screened. I was very up front and assertive (something I struggle to do) about my thoughts that I may be on the spectrum last time I saw my psych, and even with that assertiveness I was dismissed. I don't think a letter would do any good.

What I would like to do is get a second opinion, and should they decide that I am on the spectrum, present my psychiatrist with that information and some points that came up during the evaluation. I believe my psych has an outdated view on what ASD looks like, and if I can show that even her seemingly "less stereotypical" clients may be on the spectrum, this may help other patients not deal with 10+ years of confusion and possibly improper medication for their neurotype.


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auntblabby
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04 Jun 2023, 4:44 pm

jimmyjazzuk wrote:
I have very low concentration in everything unless very interested in the subject. I live in chaos around home because I have a tendency to do nothing. I find it difficult to switch actions. I was described as a daydreamer at school and misunderstood as uncooperative or defiant. I am extremely disorganised and time management is bad. I am what society deems 'scruffy'. I am slow but methodical thinker and easily distracted. I am forgetful I get over stimulated. Sounds like innatentive ADD?

i would have to say yes. you just described me as well.



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04 Jun 2023, 10:41 pm

Maybe ADHD-I can often be helped by medication ? ? ?

In that case, the doctor should just say so. He or she should say something like, Hey, there’s a fair amount of overlap between ADHD-I and the broad autism spectrum. Some people are helped by medication.

[don’t quit the medication cold turkey] <— I don’t know about this case, but often this is excellent advice.



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04 Jun 2023, 10:46 pm

strattera did help me with both my inattentive/distractible ADHD as well as my AS and Avoidant PD and perhaps a few other things as well, with minimal side fx.



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04 Jun 2023, 11:06 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
Maybe ADHD-I can often be helped by medication ? ? ?

In that case, the doctor should just say so. He or she should say something like, Hey, there’s a fair amount of overlap between ADHD-I and the broad autism spectrum. Some people are helped by medication.

[don’t quit the medication cold turkey] <— I don’t know about this case, but often this is excellent advice.

Afaik, it's an active area of debate as to whether or not ADHD is a separate thing from ASD. In some ways it's like a significant "milder" ASD. But, then again audihd folks do exist and present as very different from what you'd normally expect from either group.

As far as medication goes, ADHD usually does respond to medication, the issue tends to be finding medication and dose that's effective and is tolerable. For many people, it's a stimulant, most of which run through the system completely in a day or so, but other options can require more time to ween off of.



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05 Jun 2023, 1:22 pm

auntblabby wrote:
strattera did help me with both my inattentive/distractible ADHD as well as my AS and Avoidant PD and perhaps a few other things as well, with minimal side fx.

sounds like a clear winner for you! :jester:



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06 Jun 2023, 7:08 pm

MatchboxVagabond wrote:
For many people, it's a stimulant, most of which run through the system completely in a day or so, but other options can require more time to ween off of.

With anti-depressants, I understand it’s not just the medicine washing through a person’s system and the half-life and all that. It’s also that your body has gotten used to the medication and made adjustments.

* haven’t taken anti-depressants, but they’re my Ace in the Hole! :nemo: