by Sarah

I'm a 27 year old female. All my life I have been told I have ADHD by doctors and psychologists, but can't get a diagnosis because in some parts of Australia psychiatrists don't believe in it. I was told last week it could be SPD but most of the checklist I don't have wrong but I am very sensitive to sights, sounds and touch. I am currently a drug addict because I need something to calm me down because the sensitivity causes a lot of depression in my life. Is there any medication treatment for SPD? And what is the difference between SPD and ADHD? Because alot of the symptoms are the same.

You are right, many of the symptoms and behaviors associated with ADHD can mimic SPD, to the point where you may not be able to know which it is. I understand you are in Australia? Your medical system may be different than in the states where you do not need a psychiatrist to diagnose ADHD, or SPD, necessarily. Here, if a doctor diagnoses a disorder they can proceed to write prescriptions for medication, if they choose. In some cases they might also refer a patient to a neurologist or other specialist to determine if there are co morbid disorders or underlying conditions.

If what you feel you need is medication management, seeking local resources through an Australian group really may help you to find it. We have a free online yahoo group, SPD Australia SHARE, I would like to refer you to, for local support and recommendations to providers in your area:

If you are considering recovery through treatment for the symptoms, so you may be able to live without medication, I would like you to read an article about ADHD & SPD regarding a recent research study that treated diagnosed, medicated ADHD children with Sensory Integrative Occupational Therapy, and what good results they had, to the point where this type of therapy is considered here in the states, as a possible alternative treatment for ADHD.

It is not uncommon at all for people who have not been able to get appropriate treatment or support to turn to self medication, which is what you may be doing, really. Is it healthy? No, of course not. It is a compensation, a way to help yourself feel better, when you don't know any other way. It can be dangerous for you in many ways, but you know that. You need to learn safer and healthier ways to feel better to replace self medication.

If you are willing to consider therapy for yourself, to learn healthier ways to help yourself feel better, please consider The ALERT Program, for self regulation. There are now several programs that can be of benefit to you which I go into more detail about in the article, above. There are OT's in Australia who are doing fine work with regulation disorders such as ADHD and SPD.

I am happy you did look over the Adult SPD Checklist, because you became aware that several of your sensitivities that bother you are processing issues, sensory processing. And they are in fact, treatable.

At home and with the help of a therapist, I am sorry to tell you there is no medication specifically to address SPD. The sensitivities can be reduced with OT therapy, and there are ways to help yourself cope and feel better in your own home environment. To learn more about how to help yourself at home, you can read this article:

The SPD Companion, Issue #019-- Using SI Theory To Help SPD Adults At Home And Work

Good luck to you. The first step towards recovery is reaching out and asking questions. Your life can be so much easier as the more you learn what to do to help yourself, the more tools you will have to make it all better. Don't forget about your own gifts, because I have no doubt you are probably very creative, bright and insightful. Learning more about the unique traits that go along with many ADHD and SPD people can help you see how special, in a good way, you really are!

Comments for SPD or ADHD?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 18, 2007
Problems in Northern Ireland.
by: Angel

I too have trouble getting ANYONE to listen, including my own husband who is now my ex who just thinks they need a firm hand. My son is diagnosed with ADHD, which is so wrong, and Preconception difficulties. The school, educational psychologists etc. all say the same.

I just want to help my children and all I get told is your children are broken, here are a few exercises that should fix it goodbye. The doors are all closing. There is now no O.T in our area due to lack of funding, so no help. Being a single mother I find it difficult raising 2 sensory seeking boys. They also have significant dietary problems and textural problems. My son is off to secondary school next year so it will basically be starting at the beginning again with a different school.

I wish you good luck with your fight which will help lots of Australian children 1 day. I won't give up. EVER!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to ADD & ADHD Resources.