May 22, 2024

A man from Kiel managed to get out of the crisis

Kale. According to psychologists, daily life for many people with ADHD feels like an obstacle race in which obstacles are half a meter higher than other runners. Attention-deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity — that's what the H in ADHD stands for — was previously considered a childhood illness. It is known today that in about 60% of those affected, this disorder persists into adulthood. This is the case with Oliver B from Kiel, who used to work in construction and is now a surf instructor in Kiel. Even if he doesn't want to read his real name in the newspaper, he is willing to share his experiences.

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“Maybe I'm too stupid” – Oliver B. lived with this thought for 37 years. First, bad grades at school, then problems at work, and finally a sudden dropout without giving a reason. Diagnosis Fall 2023: Oliver P. has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – a type of attention disorder in which hyperactivity is not focused on. Instead, there is ongoing inner turmoil in Oliver B., he says. He suffers from problems concentrating for long periods and motivating himself to do monotonous work. Everything was always so stressful for him.

The person affected by Kiel: attention deficit disorder due to a lack of dopamine in the brain

She says that this feeling occurs in people with ADHD due to a lack of dopamine in some areas of the brain ADHD Information Portal, a platform funded by the Federal Ministry of Health. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. In the brain it is used for communication between neurons.

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Dopamine deficiency manifests itself in three basic symptoms in those affected, explains Kiel psychologist Milan Frank: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

This often results in people with ADHD being unable to live up to expected performance in school or at work and causing abuse, says Frank, who specializes in diagnosing the disorder. Your private life is also affected if you are impulsive and inattentive or often forget appointments.

“If your own environment constantly gives you the feeling: You're a nuisance, you can't deal with it — then it's doing something to you,” says the psychologist. As a result, those affected often suffer from other disorders, such as depression. For Oliver B, it's a migraine.

Unable to work for weeks, he was then fired – due to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

The man reported that he had suffered from migraines since puberty. Last year, at the same time as the job change and the stress associated with it, things got worse. It was so bad that Oliver B. repeatedly had to report being unable to work for days or weeks. “You don't know how to take the pain,” the 37-year-old said. You no longer want to hear anything, see anything, or feel anything.

His boss at the time had little understanding of his employees' frequent absences due to illness. In addition, Oliver frequently made errors in reports or was unable to remember clients' names. After nearly a year at the company, he was fired — without warning and without giving a reason.

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The main symptoms of ADHD appear before the age of 12

The diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) came a few months later. On the advice of his family doctor, who was treating him for persistent migraines, Oliver B. turned to a psychiatrist. He says he had to answer a lot of questions there and bring his old school reports with him. “The main symptoms of the disorder appear before the age of 12,” says psychologist Frank. Comments on report cards such as “easily distracted” or “often forgets homework” as well as poor grades would indicate ADHD. This is exactly what can be seen in the testimonies of Oliver B.

He went to therapy and participated in group sessions with other Kiel patients. He says it was a “hinder” at first. There he became aware of the full extent of the disorder. But over time it improved. “The gist of it is: You have to accept that you work differently.” Then you have to learn how to do things your way.

Psychologist: ADHD diagnosis isn't 'one big deficit'

What helps him in his daily routine is medication. Upon request, Oliver P. was prescribed amphetamine to compensate for the lack of dopamine in the brain. Suddenly things weren't so boring and stressful, but rather “just okay,” he says.

Frank says medication is not necessary for those affected, but it is a way to deal with the disorder. Another option is to organize life in such a way that the disadvantages of the disorder are less important. According to Frank, it's not the “nine to five job” at the tax office that helps, it's a job with a lot of variety and dealing with people. One should not view the diagnosis of ADHD as “one big deficit,” but simply as an aberration from the normal brain.

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ADHD patient: “Surfing is the perfect treatment”

Oliver Bee has also refocused his life since his diagnosis. After being laid off, he traveled extensively and now works as a surf instructor in Kiel Bay. Staying in the water all day is the “perfect treatment,” he says. Surfing gives him back his self-confidence after years of haunting him.

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He barely gets migraines anymore. Oliver P. has now reached the point where he can imagine a “normal” job again. Thus, he notes that things are moving in the right direction. “With a little help, you can organize your life so you don't feel stressed anymore.”

Editor's Note: ADHD is used as a general term for a disorder with and without hyperactivity.