Still struggling to figure out a way to handle my ADHD (or SCT=Sluggish Cognitive Tempo)

Dear all,

I’m Roger, 47 years old. I live in the south of the Netherlands. I was diagnosed with ADHD some 9 years ago. After I was diagnosed the puzzle fell together, finally I realized what my struggle in live was, why I was actually feeling like a fish trying to climb up a three. Why I failed at school, in jobs and in fact for some part in life. In the mean time I read almost everything I could find about ADHD and tried to find a way to understand what was wrong with me. Why I could not hold on to a steady job or finish that study I started with.

In the mean time a met a lovely girl whoI still am in love with, who understands me completely and we have two beautiful children. My son who is 4 years old and my daughter who is almost 2. My son has probably ADHD as well, but as he is only four years old, we don’t bother to get him diagnosed. If he has ADHD so be it. At least I have a lot more knowledge about ADHD than my parents when I was his age, and probably I can understand and help him better than my parents could. I don’t have any hard feelings about my parents. I know they did the best they could.

I suspect my trouble with ADHD isn’t in fact ADHD but a subcategory from it, who is named SCT or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. As there is a lot of information about ADHD, I can’t seem to find any usefull info about SCT, rather then a Wikipedia page and some pages which descripe shortly what it means and how it differs from traditional ADHD.

In school and work I always had trouble to understand things as they were explained to me. I had to read it and ask about it over and over again. I can remember at one time the manager of the firm I worked for (who was in fact formerly a psychiatrist) recognized some of the symptoms from SCT and told me about it. At first I was really angry with him and sad about myself as I was trying so hard to do the job right, but I failed, even when I worked harder than anyone else. Later on, I realized he was right about everything.

I would like to know if you experienced the same issues with ADHD or SCT? Does anyone has an official diagnosis for SCT? Are there any good books or websites, rather then the one I mentioned or any other which are not only medical and try to describe the problem, rather then the solution. For those of you with SCT, how do you deal with it in daily life? I still wish to get a high school degree, but after 3 unsuccessful attempts I just stopped trying. Do you have any other useful tips and tricks about dealing with SCT regarding to this?

Thank you for your time reading all this!

I wish you all the best and I really hope to hear from you soon!



I know this is late, but welcome to the tribe!

I don’t have any specific resources on SCT myself, though.

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I only recently learned about SCT. It is much less studied than ADHD. So far, the best information I’ve found is a YouTube video featuring Dr. Russell Barkley, who is also a prominent ADHD researcher. The video is an hour and a half, and was a professional presentation, so it’s not completely in layman’s terms, but Dr. Barkley does a great job of making it understandable.

I thought that maybe I have a mild form of SCT, but maybe not. I am slow to process things often, but only just a bit. It’s more that I get distracted, focusing on something that was said and not noticing the next thing.

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Thank you JD, for your reply.

I know dr Barkley’s explanation of sc
t. I watched his videos a couple of times and your right he does a job by explaining sct in plain language (and not like a scientist).

I’m curious though, how do you know that you have sct? Is it diagnozed by an psychologist or psychiatrist? And how is your life affected by all this? For me I only have been diagnozed with adhd not for sct. But I have a very strong reasons to believe that it must be sct. Do you use any medication for this? And does it help you?

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Found some general information about SCT:

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I tend to ramble, so I’ll start by saying straight-away that I do not think I have SCT.

It was something I had first learned of just a few days before I saw your post mentioning it. I’m not a medical or psychological professional. I don’t even know for sure if SCT is a discrete condition.

There is still much debate about SCT. From what I’ve read, it’s still not recognized as a diagnosis by much of the medical and psychological community. Without a consensus among the doctors, I think of it as a theory or proposal. Certainly more study should be done.

I first learned of it via a presentation given by Dr. Russell Barkley that was posted on YouTube. I found the presentation very informative, and at least some of the traits described seemed like how I am much of the time, but I really couldn’t say.

I still haven’t been given a formal ADHD diagnosis, but because I’ve struggled with Executive Functioning skills my whole life (inattention, working memory problems, etc), I’m working with a mental health counselor. I have never been prescribed any medication for ADHD, and I’m not one to self-medicate.

It is certainly true that I often process things slowly, mulling over information a lot before acting on it or moving on to something else. I’ve also been prone to daydreaming for literally as far back as I can remember (it was identified as a problem when I was in first grade). But with no formal diagnostic guide, there can be no formal diagnosis, only test subjects, and I’m not one.

To me, the description of SCT traits sound similar to Inattentive ADHD, which is what I believe describes me (but then again, I have no formal diagnosis, just things I struggle with). According to Dr. Barkley (who is qualified to study and present findings on it) SCT is a discrete set of traits which is often overlapping with ADHD.

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So, the more I learn about SCT, the more I am convinced that Dr. Barkley and the other researchers are right, that it is a distinct condition that can be co-morbid with ADHD.
(Just because SCT is not added to the DSM or ICT yet, doesn’t mean that it’s not a valid condition. There’s more research with each passing year to validate it.)

I know that I do have ADHD Inattentive presentation, but now I’m more sure that I also have SCT traits, too. In a video from 2018, Dr. Barkley listed these 12 distinct traits of SCT, and said that if a person often displays 5 or more (or was it 4?), then they meet the diagnosis criteria for SCT. I recognize that I often do all of these except staring a lot (but up until my 30’s, I did stare a lot… But because I was aware of this, I made a point to look downward or find something to fix my stare on, like straightening the shelves of merchandise at work over and over again).

• Daydreaming excessively *
• Trouble staying alert or awake in boring situations *
• Easily confused *
• Spacey or “in a fog”; Mind seems to be elsewhere *
• Stares a lot
• Lethargic, more tired than others *
• Underactive or have less energy than others *
• Slow moving or sluggish *
• Doesn’t seem to understand or process* information as quickly or accurately as others
• Apathetic or withdrawn*; Less engaged in activities*
• Gets lost in thought *
• Slow to complete tasks *