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Teen Girls and ADHD

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teabag6
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#1

My DD has just turned 18 and I am really struggling to understand her. I read an article about girls/women with ADHD and it really made me think about how much of what they were saying sounded like her. I have never been sure how much is just normal teenage behaviour and what is not.
She has a job 3 days a week and goes to uni 2 days. The job is in the field she is studying and will lead to full time after she finishes uni. She cant get out of bed in the morning to get to work on time, misses breakfast, doesn't organise lunch. Finishes getting dressed and hair etc in the car and looks a mess. The worst part is she barely showers and smells really bad. She can go usually 4-5 days without a shower and no matter how gently I try and remind her that the smell is bad and people at work wont want to be near her, she just wont do it. Her room is a mess (think rotting food and used sanitary items) and washing piles up, her schoolwork for many years has been always been done at the last minute.
She is on anti depressants for anxiety and was seeing a psych before lockdown but now wont go back. I really want to help her and I don't want her to lose her job because I know it is something she loves doing but nothing I say or do makes any difference to her. I hate nagging her to do things but if I don't she will just lay on her bed and do nothing. Is this normal teenage behaviour? I have another teenager who is nothing like this.
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BornToLove
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#2

She sounds depressed. I would keep pushing to go back to the psych or seeing the GP to have her meds reviewed and increased if needed. I would also insist on cleaning up her room, or at the very least having the food cleared out as it will attract bugs.
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Okelydokely
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#3

It sounds very familiar, although mine is only 11. She has a chaotic room, and thankfully we are not yet needing sanitary items, but I’m sure that even if I put a special bin for her when the time comes, that won’t be utilised. She needs soooo much prompting to do basic activities of daily living. I’m fortunate that she is young enough that it can still be a bit of parental responsibility to try and make these things happen, but we are getting to the point where she won’t want that soon.

Anxiety and depression feature heavily in our picture along with ADHD and ASD. I agree with PP that maybe she needs a medication review. If she won’t go to psych, that’s going to be a tricky thing to try and push, but maybe delving into why she isn’t keen would be good? There’s a lot of online resources young people can access for mental health. But motivation is the hard part with adhd in the mix.

I feel you. Unfortunately it sounds pretty darn normal for a young person with ADHD. It’s very challenging to get them to self motivate and take pride in themselves when they can’t - it’s not always not wanting to, it’s sometimes the busy-ness of their brains too where they simply CANT organise things and do motor planning and prioritise and stay on task. The multi factorial nature of ADHD is what makes it so complex.
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LifesGood
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#4

I'll BBL as I've got to dash out now but she sounds so similar to my 15 y/o DD
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Prancer
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#5

I have 2 boys with ADHD. I also have a teen girl that I do wonder at times if she could do with a diagnosis. She is bright, does well at school and is generally happy so have just parked doing anything for now. I have read bright girls with ADHD come unstuck in later teen years.

My 12yo with ADHD combined types has trouble leaving the house on time. It is not that he does not want to go to school or whatever, he just takes forever and meds generally have not sunk in by then. He gets distracted mid task. So will start reading a book, play with something or put his socks down somewhere and spend another 10 minutes looking for him. Trying to get him to hurry up seems to make him anxious ams takes even longer. He will look at the clock and think he can do everything he needs to go in 5 minutes, but it always takes longer. Until recently with lots of interventions to change, it has taken him an hour to have breakfast. I have also had to do lots of work on stuff like changing underwear each day. He would struggle to clean his room. Whereas my younger one with just (just!) hyperactive ADHD and my teen will clean their rooms, but it quickly turns back into a bomb site.
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Gracie1978
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#6

Sounds like me as a teenager, except the shower part!
ADHD inattentive here.
Please get her to see a psychiatrist that really understands ADHD.
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teabag6
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#7

Thanks so much for all your replies. I have encouraged her to go back to the psych a few times but I cant force her and I'm pretty sure she would refuse any sort of testing for ADHD, she is also very stubborn! Yes Prancer she is very bright which is how she got through high school with minimal effort. Maybe if I send her some information on girls with ADHD she might see some of herself in the descriptions. Depression is also a concern, she goes back to the GP regularly for her script but I'm not sure if it is discussed in those appointments.
Some days I just feel like letting her face the consequences of being late for work but I don't think its one of those situations where natural consequences will teach her a lesson. I thought she might mature and grow out of it but its only getting worse. I'm just scared for her future and how she is going to cope on her own one day.
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Froggie
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#8

Recently diagnosed grown adult with ADHD and what I would give to have been diagnosed earlier. She sounds like she checks quite a few boxes and I’d be trying to get it checked out. ADD mag have some great articles that might be worth giving her to read. I found that most anti anxiety meds did nothing for me but stimulant meds make a big difference.
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BusbyWilkes
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#9

teabag6 wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:13 pm Thanks so much for all your replies. I have encouraged her to go back to the psych a few times but I cant force her and I'm pretty sure she would refuse any sort of testing for ADHD, she is also very stubborn! Yes Prancer she is very bright which is how she got through high school with minimal effort. Maybe if I send her some information on girls with ADHD she might see some of herself in the descriptions. Depression is also a concern, she goes back to the GP regularly for her script but I'm not sure if it is discussed in those appointments.
Some days I just feel like letting her face the consequences of being late for work but I don't think its one of those situations where natural consequences will teach her a lesson. I thought she might mature and grow out of it but its only getting worse. I'm just scared for her future and how she is going to cope on her own one day.
Would she consider seeing a psychiatrist? They would be able to tease out anxiety vs depression vs ADHD, and are the only ones who can prescribe stimulant medication for an 18 year old. Even if it's not ADHD (and there are certainly lots of red flags for it) it doesn't sound like the medication she is on is effective. A psychiatrist who specialises in teens/young adults would be ideal.
If you are concerned that the GP isn't aware of all of the issues, you could contact them to discuss your concerns. They won't be able to let you know anything, but it will give them some background for when they next see her. They may be more questioning of your DD, rather than just giving another script. Or would she let you go along with her (maybe bribe her with a lunch out afterwards)?
How long did she see the psych for? Teens I know with ADHD have been happy to go to psych initially, enjoyed the rapport building sessions, but when it came down to reflecting on behaviours/making change, felt it was too confronting and stopped going.
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teabag6
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#10

She is very closed off and difficult to talk to about personal things, her eyes just glaze over and she switches off when I try. I find texting her sometimes works better.
How can I go about finding a psychiatrist that specialises in these types of things? I don't really want to just choose a name from a web search, Are there any online groups that anyone knows of where I can ask for referrals?
Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions.
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Froggie
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#11

teabag6 wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:09 pm She is very closed off and difficult to talk to about personal things, her eyes just glaze over and she switches off when I try. I find texting her sometimes works better.
How can I go about finding a psychiatrist that specialises in these types of things? I don't really want to just choose a name from a web search, Are there any online groups that anyone knows of where I can ask for referrals?
Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions.
The one I see is awesome and he works for an entirely online service, he sees people all over the country. My psychologist knew who I was talking about without me even mentioning his name
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BusbyWilkes
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#12

If you're comfortable to say what state/area you're in, you may get some local recommendations.
How is she socially? Do you know any of her friends? Would they be concerned, or would she hide that part of herself from them?
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teabag6
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#13

We are in Victoria but could do online too.
Busby I don't think her friends would know what was going on, she doesn't see them often.
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Gracie1978
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#14

Dr Peter Heffernan
Dr Olelekan

These two Melbourne ones were recommended in an ADHD FB group.
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LifesGood
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#15

Does anyone have recommendations for psychiatrists in northern/north-west Sydney that specialise in teens with these symptoms? DD15 is much better since starting Lovan a few months ago but still struggles with anxiety and disordered thinking. She has a real battle with being organised and focusing her attention on anything even slightly onerous. Her room is a constant shambles similar to the OP description. She looks after her physical cleanliness better these days but pre-Lovan she would go days without washing. I tried unsuccessfully to arrange psychiatrist appointments for her (all booked up, not taking new patients etc).
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teabag6
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#16

Thanks Gracie for the names, I will look into these keep encouraging her to see someone.
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Lunagirl
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#17

There's a YouTube channel called How to ADHD. The presenter has combined ADHD and is in her late thirties but looks a lot younger.

She's got videos on a whole lot of topics to do with ADHD. They're mostly only a few minutes long. You could pick one that seems relevant to your daughter and send it to her? She might respond to that more than a brochure? (Or she might think they're lame, but you will be a better judge of that...)
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Antifa
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#18

That sounds just like my DD14, who was diagnosed with depression last year and then ADHD (primarily inattentive) earlier this year.

I cannot tell you what a difference that has made, as well as getting meds to treat it, she is a different person to what she was a year ago. Yes, her room is still an absolute tip, but she’s interacting with us far more, her school work has improved (another bright child who was able to coast along while not necessarily getting it) and she seems more comfortable in herself. Even the fact that we have a diagnosis, so that things that would have just been seen as scattiness and ‘can’t you at least try to remember’ are easier for all of us because we know there’s a neurological reason for it, We went to a child psychiatrist in Sydney who has been good with us.
Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.
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Gracie1978
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#19

LifesGood wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:24 am Does anyone have recommendations for psychiatrists in northern/north-west Sydney that specialise in teens with these symptoms? DD15 is much better since starting Lovan a few months ago but still struggles with anxiety and disordered thinking. She has a real battle with being organised and focusing her attention on anything even slightly onerous. Her room is a constant shambles similar to the OP description. She looks after her physical cleanliness better these days but pre-Lovan she would go days without washing. I tried unsuccessfully to arrange psychiatrist appointments for her (all booked up, not taking new patients etc).
I see Dr Peter Hoey in Roseville.
I can't speak highly enough of him.
Just double check with his rooms that he sees patients that young. You need to leave a voicemail as his receptionist works remotely.
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BusbyWilkes
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#20

teabag6 wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:44 pm We are in Victoria but could do online too.
Busby I don't think her friends would know what was going on, she doesn't see them often.
We’re in a different state, so don’t have any specific recommendations about who to see. My teenager is now only on stimulant meds. The mood issues were secondary to the inattentive ones - once adhd was diagnosed and treated, other meds weren’t required.
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Bornagirl
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#21

Gracie1978 wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:49 am Dr Peter Heffernan
Dr Olelekan

These two Melbourne ones were recommended in an ADHD FB group.
Unfortunately Peter Heffernan is not taking referals at the moment.

I can't get any matches for Olelekan. I do get this: Dr Lekan Ogunleye is an Australian-based health professional. Lekan is trained as a Psychiatrist and has a practice located in Werribee.
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Gracie1978
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#22

Bornagirl wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 1:51 pm
Gracie1978 wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:49 am Dr Peter Heffernan
Dr Olelekan

These two Melbourne ones were recommended in an ADHD FB group.
Unfortunately Peter Heffernan is not taking referals at the moment.

I can't get any matches for Olelekan. I do get this: Dr Lekan Ogunleye is an Australian-based health professional. Lekan is trained as a Psychiatrist and has a practice located in Werribee.
Sorry
Yes, the one in Werribee
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