Quotes, quotes, quotes: SCT commentary by the online community

I have organized some quotes about SCT made by online community support groups and message boards. I have grouped the comments into categories. I do not make any edits or changes to the content, but I do omit portions of member’s comments to conserve space.

On finding out about SCT as the “eureka moment”

I discovered SCT a few days ago, and it was literally a life changing moment, because it was the first time in my life I had found any 100% accurate third-party description of the syndrome that I suffer from. I have tried on a lot of different diagnoses, especially over the last 8 years, but none have ever quite explained everything or had some parts that didn’t fit. My life will from now on be divided into before and after I found out about SCT. – TheSCaTman

Just came across the info on Sluggish Cognitive Tempo this week, and am quite sure if I could find a time machine and drag my 7 year old self in to see Dr. Barkley he’d be using that child of many years ago as his poster boy. – Echo5Tango

What a revelation this SCT is. I think it describes me very well. I test high for intelligence and thrive in the world of abstractions such a philosophy, theology, sociology, etc. But, still I am the last one to get a joke or an out of context reference in conversation. People find my conversation ponderous, deep but quite slow moving. So, I think SCT does describe me. I have inattentive ADD, social anxiety and left to my own devices am utterly hopeless at sorting papers or ordering my desk. Projects, deadlines etc. are easily forgotten, lost somewhere in my inner cosmos. – john arthur

SCT, that Wikipedia entry just made me so happy – finally something that really described ME! Brain fog? Check. Depression? Check. Physically passive due to lack of motivation? Check. I’ve long thought I’ve had ADD due to having such a hard time focusing on things, finishing projects, following audible lectures, and so on, but the rest of the ADD/ADHD symptoms just didn’t fit the bill and I personally didn’t feel that drugs were the right answer for me. – Schroeder

WOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! if i tried to explain how well this describes me id just be quoting the entire article!!! i cant believe this…from the medicine, to the sluggishness, to..all of it….they need to hurry up and make this official!!! 🙂 – BudalaADDzena

I just heard about ADHD-I/SCT a few weeks ago and it totally described me. For the last two years I have been studying Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression and OCD, thinking that I had one or all of them. But none of them seemed to describe me completely and it was frustrating because I felt like I was the only one in the world with my symptoms. Anyway, I am so relieved to have found out what i have and to know that I am not alone. – squarerootof2

Hi I have only just joined ADD Forums. I see myself 100% in the Wikipedia definition of SCT. Finding out about SCT was a revelation and has been a massive relief. In common with someone else earlier on in this thread (sorry, can’t remember who), I had previously felt isolated, like an outsider even within the context of ADD, and was frankly despairing. Finding this thread has felt like coming home! – Jag78

Hi Everyone, I’m new here and I am just as grateful as most of you here to have come across Sluggish Cognitive Tempo.. It’s been 6 years going through the craziest of things.. from being diagnosed with OCD to Social Anxiety to Depression to Asperger’s Syndrome and FINALLY I have found some kind of relief when I chanced upon SCT in Wikipedia. It even went to the point that I was posting on an Asperger’s Forum, the last “misdiagnosis” I remember, because I thought I had that condition from some comments by a psychiatrist a few years ago – which did match the traits I was displaying, but I knew something was Off, because my mind was moving So damn slowly and I could interact with people.. just slower. – windsoul

If you were to look at my bookmarks, you’d see “non sequitur,” “absent-mindedness,” “imagination,” and “daydreaming.” I’m excited SCT is being looked into or at least acknowledged by others because I’ve never seen a diagnostic framework that matches me so perfectly! – grumblyintumbly

I googled SCT and found this thread and I was in all tears. I found out a lot of people around the world actually have the same patterns in their lives. – ataibei

I found out about this disorder yesterday and believe that I have a lot of the attentional problems listed here. I have had academic success as a PhD student and programmer. Since I have been programming since a child, I may have been receiving working memory exercise that helped me to deal with this problem more effectively. My working memory is pretty good if I’m programming or thinking through a problem, but I have difficulty focusing many other times (especially during conversations). I think the problem is following the line of thought of others. I can keep track of my own thoughts well, but it can be more difficult to think the same way others do. I often prefer to reason things out in writing, that way I can re-check the logic. Maybe being able to see the information lets me overcome the working memory problem. I received a perfect math score on the GRE, but I often have difficulty doing simple arithmetic in my head. I was able to do well on the GRE by working even simple arithmetic out on paper. Variables seem to present much less of a problem. My personal feeling is that SCT may not be that bad of a thing. Answers do come more slowly, but in math or science you may actually come up with a better answer by doing it the slow way! – neuroscientist

Well SCT chums, all I can say is we have to keep chuggin along. One day the public will realize how narrow and discriminatory their view of AD/HD really was, and maybe we’ll get the respect we rightly deserve. But I’m glad to be a part of this forum, It’s really nice to find people like me after all these years of daydreaming inside my head and thinking I was the most messed up person alive. – natg989

SCT and intelligence

I think one of the fallacies that many people make with SCT or any of us with ADHD is that we lack intelligence, simply not true. Conversely though having SCT or ADHD does not make us more intelligent either. – sarahsweets

I am both smart and SCT. Star Student at my high school, high IQ, advanced placement classes, Phi Beta Kappa, blah blah blah. But I’m definitely SCT. I have trouble with motivation, tend to wander off mentally in the middle of conversations, zone out a lot, sleep a lot or not at all, feel fatigued most of the time, etc. I never studied for tests until the night or the weekend before, and I’ve never turned in a paper on time in my life. The pressure of having a deadline on top of me usually causes the hyperfocus to kick in, and I’m able to plow straight through whatever I need to do. – T-Rex65

My therapist brought up SCT with me and it fits me perfectly. I’ve been told I’m intelligent and I have a challenging job that requires brain power. But, the amount of effort it takes for me to put together a sentence, to think of the right words, to recall facts and concepts takes SO much effort. My memory retrieval is terrible. The memories are there, it just takes time to pull them up. Because of this, people often finish sentences for me. And I have to think of alternate words because I can’t think of the ones I want to use. – Gwen1234

It must be nature’s little Joke that good is thrown in with the bad, things like artistic ability or high intelligence often accompany ADD/ADHD. – OHPE

My whole life I have been depressed, sluggish, daydreamy, have virtually no concentration, no energy, terrible memory, barely able to communicate. I have been on many different medications with virtually no positive effects. My whole life I have walked around like an undead zombie. Despite having a high IQ I am unable to do even the most menial jobs because I have zero concentration, and when I am able to concentrate on things that interest me it is for a very short period of time. I am not stupid. With these horrible symptoms I still scored a 126 on an IQ test yet I can’t even concentrate on the most simplistic, mundane tasks. – Jshect

I took a professional IQ test (WAIS 3 I think) when I was 15 years old, and the score was exactly average, at 99. Might as well round up, eh? I have never been proud of that score, of course. I don’t really remember what the profile looked like, except I believe it was somewhat lopsided. I did generally well in verbal tests, but poorly in tests that stressed spatial skills, math, and logic. – Batman66

There’s a term for it: the absent minded professor. Said term wouldn’t exist if certain intelligent men didn’t also give of a day dreamer, forgetful, not quite with it, air. Oh and women. – fracturedstory

Classic signs of ADHD never really fit me dead on then I ran across SCT and the light bulb went off and exploded. Fortunately for me I am one of those fortunate IQ >130 individuals so I haven’t experienced all of the same problems as other people. I realized my problems early on, of course I thought they were normal problems, and adapted strategies to get me by. As an adult my most significant challenges are the daydreaming, staying on task, and motivation. I have never really been in a position that I have had to attempt to operate my brain at 100% capacity all the time. So these weren’t really issues before, but now when I spend 20 minutes spacing out trying to read 3 measly pages of a lesson and I have 50 pages left to go there is a definitive “problem”. – kalmnight

Another thing…having a high IQ is both good and bad as far as ADD is concerned. I too range above the 130 mark as far as my IQ goes…that’s why I was able to make it through HS and college with decent grades no less. Our ability to cope with our ADD symptoms better than less “gifted” persons often rules out even the possibility of attention/focus/energy problems for far too long. It also depicts us, falsely in my opinion, as relatively “successful” or “normal” people. You may have made it through school with decent or even good grades – you may have a nice job or career – you may be able to read and comprehend better than most folks – etc etc – but remember, it’s well below expected levels for someone of your potential. My peers in HS – people with similar or even less admirable grades and potential – are far more successful by any standard of measurement than I am. I too realized that I COULD READ once I started medication. I’ve read more books in 2 months than in 20 years. – JonADD

When I was a kid, it was determined my IQ is 117 and I’ve always been a classic case of SCT. However, the sluggishness to which they are referring is more closely related to chronic fatigue and does not reflect on intelligence or creativity. – Shiloh102

I’m your intellectual doppelganger, more or less. I could sit down and talk to you about Hegel’s influence on Romantic Nationalism, modern vs postmodern views of science, yada yada; give me a list of mundane tasks, however, and you might as well count them as lost in the Ethers because, well, they are. I’m a good writer, except for all those words I skip. I’m a decent carpenter, except that I take a measurement and immediately write down the wrong number. I’m also lathargic, a fact that inevitably derails any project I manage to even begin. That expalins why I was able to teach myself C#, rewrite nearly all of a fairly complex utility, only to leave it unfinished. It’s sitting on my hard drive with a novel, a nearly finished journal article, and a million other untied ends. – Erasmus777

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, having these limitations. I feel everyone on here functions much better than I do. It makes me wonder if my SCT is compounded with a low IQ. One area I excelled at was drawing and other visual arts. Unlike other activities I could do it hours on end. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone else that outdid in me in that area. Maybe I should pursue it again, as it might be the only way to escape my mediocrity. – lamby

People with a low IQ do not write “It makes me wonder if my SCT is compounded with a low IQ. 😀 ” – Retromancer

Being sluggish, daydreaming, having trouble with motivation and working memory problems have nothing to do with intelligence. I had found that medication helped immensely with my working memory problems although it may not work for everyone. Sometimes it would take me longer to “get” something that everyone else got almost immediately. It wasn’t a lack of intelligence; it just took me longer to process the information. – ADDMagnet

When I was tested for ADD, I was told by the woman who did the testing, “If it weren’t for your IQ, you’ld never notice you had a problem. As it is, though, you have a razor-sharp focus on your mental deficits and only a vague idea of of your abilities.” – firstdesserts

Classification of SCT

I don’t think the diagnostic labeling is the major issue. For instance, Andrew’s mom doesn’t really care what her child is labeled with as long as he gets the best service and treatment possible.

What is important, is providing best practices for these children. At school where I work these kids, this group is a clear and distinct from other ADHDers. Do I write SCT on these kids IEP’s? No, but I know that generally, these “foggy” kids have a unique set of problems not related to classic ADHD. Typically they have true processing difficulties and memory retrieval difficulties. I see this everyday. Am I simply to ignore this and not provide special accommodations for these kids because these issues are not typically an ADHD problem? That would be a little backwards.

My philosophy is to provide the best service possible based on current info and best practices suggested by current research. Slap my wrists if you must but what matters is to do the best job possible. – scuro

Does the classification of my disorder matter to the little screwed up chemicals in my brain that make me think slow? No. Why change the classification, then? Simple. Research. Just because adderall may work for a certain individual with SCT doesn’t mean a BETTER cure won’t be discovered tomorrow. – CaptainObvious

I don’t care if SCT is considered a sub-category of ADHD I or it becomes an independant disorder, just as long as it finally becomes recognized by the medical and psychiatric community. I have tried the stimulants and nonstimulants and they only make my condition worse, so maybe then they would start making medications geared towards us SCTers. – Jshect

On the label “sluggish cognitive tempo”

I don’t mind the term “sluggish”…I like that it’s distinctive and different. Helps to emphasize that it’s NOT ADHD. Talk about inaccurate terminology…how can you have a hyperactivity disorder without hyperactivity? – iqiocrxmjcu

I was kind upset at the idea of sluggish being used to describe my cognitive speed. Now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I feel that is pretty accurate. . To me the things that are in my head (the many things I ponder, toss about, pull and break apart) are part of the reason my processing of input (from the world outside of my head) is slow. Because I get bored so easily, I am always going back to the more interesting distractions I keep handy in my head. So, when someone begins a long explanation to something that they may be interested in and I am not, well, I’ve only processed a bit of what they’ve said. It’s okay. I know that’s just the way I am. The output part kind of bugs me more. I HATE that I can’t express myself verbally as quickly and as wittily as I’d like. I am fine writing. – pepperann

One problem I have with the “SCT” label, though. You would have to keep it under the umbrella of ADHD inattentive, even if you separate ADHD-I from the other types. There are a billion causes for people thinking slow, and if you make “sluggish cognitive tempo” it’s own disease, you have to include everyone. Then the disease is way too broad, easy to fake just to get meds/accomodations, and hard to research. – CaptainObvious

I like SCT(Beta), it brings clarity to what was neutrally coined “brain fog” or a “processing disorder”, after being negatively labelled “laziness” Sure it’s not rubber stamped yet, so lets call it SCT(Beta) {this is meant to be funny ha-ha} as in “Beta stage of development” not suitable for production use or widespread diagnostic glee, but you’re still highly encouraged to download it and poke around. That way it can continue to be referred to without ruffling the “officially released label” folks’ feathers. It’s still in Beta – OHPE

As I e-mailed to Dr. Barkley, “may I recommend: ‘Restricted Cognitive Tempo’? Being likened to an animal, reptile, or invertebrate of sloth all my life is getting old. Besides, look at it from the inside, I can see that my brain is not always slow, but something besides me decides where my thoughts will go. – firstdesserts

I agree it should be separated and I do not mind being called “slow”. To me it is not about the label it is about the awareness. I am nothing like the hyperactive or combined ADHD and the PI types are still much different which makes finding information is nearly impossible. – SirSleepsAlot

Also, an editorial comment: Is it just me, or is “sluggish cognitive tempo” about the most stigmatizing name anyone could possibly come up with? Who wants to be called “sluggish”? It’s a fancy way of saying “slow”… (And based on some of the papers I’ve seen, it looks like response time or other specific aspects of processing speed may not even be impaired in SCT…so it may not even be accurate.) I hope that if/when this entity is formalized, The Powers That Be will think up an accurate-but-less-awful-sounding name! – namazu

Agreed, Sluggish Cognitive Tempo is a horrid name. It almost needs to come with an asterisk reminding people that it can occur in someone of any IQ. – Marzipan

I’m diagnosed ADHD-PI, with all the symptoms of SCT, and I really don’t mind the name. I don’t think of the term as derogatory, or implying that I’m slow in general, because it is specific and accurate in naming what is sluggish. Once I have internalized enough information, I skip from step 1 to step 5, to step 7, to step 12, so forth and so on, and then, when I reach a conclusion, I go back and fill in the blanks with a retroactive analysis. In situations where information flow is at my discretion, and in a format suited to skipping around, I perform extremely quickly. Diagnosing problems with computers for example… often it only takes a few seconds to test a hypothesis, and from that, glean more information than a person could provide orally in 5 minutes of continuous chatter. So my “tempo” is very slow, and the term is accurate, at least for me. It doesn’t imply to me that I am a slow thinker. Just that my mind stops to consider new information in longer intervals than most, because it’s always trying to skip ahead. It’s often a curse, sometimes a boon. – danpan

On the quest for treatments

Frankly, I am at the point where I really don’t care what causes ADHD/ADD, whether it be neurotransmitters, mis-wired frontal lobes, hemorrhoids, Chinese toothpaste, or special radio signals beamed by satellites launched by the New World Order (tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek). All I really care about is what can I do about it. Pills help some, but they don’t solve everything. Hence, my questions, what have people tried, and what has worked? What you and others have said about Adderall I found signifigant and helpful, and am looking forward to talking that drug over with my doctor very soon. Found some interesting articles today on Modafinil, which I want to look into further. The few blurbs I’ve found on Social Skills Training (SST) being helpful for those with ADD-SCT point toward another avenue, and I’ll continue to look for anything else that might help, though I’ll want several peer-reviewed double-blind studies as evidence showing aluminum foil head covers really work before adding that to my wardrobe

Like many here, I am extremely frustrated with the problems that come with ADHD/ADD and how they have impacted on my life. I am even more frustrated with how little there is on what you can do about them. –Echo5Tango

Maybe I should switch my major from Computer Technology to Psychiatry and start a research program on SCT 😛 – Schroeder

And yes, as has been pointed out, there is no shortage of research on google about SCT. However, this research is dedicated to differentiation only. Not to treatment. “ADHD inattentive subtype shows different neuroactivity than combined or hyperactive subtype” or something of the sort. Yeah…. no sh*t….. how do you fix it?

If ya’ll want a good chemical that helps with the “fog” effect, try some ALCAR (acetyl-L-Carnitine). Stack it with a good choline source such as bitartrate or citrate, a B-complex, and some ALA (alpha lipoic acid). Last maybe some potassium.This stack really seems to make everything more clear for me. Especially when you first start taking ALA, your vision is clearer, which only adds to the good “clear” feeling this stack gives you.

It’s not a solution to the sluggishness/motivation difficulties. That’s best solved with meds + therapy. Nor does it help with processing speed, per se. When I’m on it, my thoughts and task accomplishment are still slower than the average person, but everything “clicks” more, and you’re just a little closer to “normal.” If you have no idea what any of that stuff is, just google “nootropics” and immerse yourself in a brave new world of brain chemicals. – Captain Obvious

I was diagnosed with ADHD Innattentive. I’ve tried Adderall, Nuvigil, Ritalin and concerta. The ritalin and concerta turned me into an empty-headed, emotionless zombie. As for the Addy and nuvigil, the first three days were great! Plenty of energy and motivation. But later in the day, when they wore off, it felt like the “Creeping Death”! Anxiety and his cousin Depression paid me a visit. They brought some friends with them, too. Mr Shortness of Breath, Mr Extreme Fatigue and General Lack of Interest. – dy95

The adderall treatment has worked very well for me, at least work-wise. But it has had adverse effects on my social abilities, as I often feel a lack of emotion that makes me seem very disconnected and “stiff,” for lack of a better word, to many of my peers. Since I don’t take adderall on the weekends for the most part, many of my friends have mentioned to me how differently I act in social settings on those occasions. – alextai356

On written and verbal expression

I’m a great writer and a lousy speaker. – Technojunkie

My idea about the main difficulty with processing verbal information (for me, both speaking and listening mainly when there is some explaining involved that requires selecting and categorising information is seated in the working memory) is that there is not enough ‘buffer space’ to manipulate the concepts in my head, which results in jamming. Next to that, there is still the more general ADD problem of ‘being distracted by my inner thoughts’. Writing does not suffer (that much) from a lack of buffer space, since there is no time pressure .. plus, there is the paper of computer screen as ‘external buffer’ to temporarily park ideas and concepts. – Luthien

I can’t hold a conversation to save my life. I always envied those who could. When I’m with a good friend, my mind can function fast enough to hold a decent conversation. I often have to ask twice to get a grasp on anything verbal. – TheJdogg

I feel exactly the same about the verbal expression vs. written expression dichotomy. I always feel that I said the wrong thing or should have said something at all hours after a social interaction. I feel much more comfortable expressing myself in writing because I have time to think it through, and the end result is always much better. – chadega

I believe I have SCT. I’m usually slow to speech and slow with using speech… but every once and a while I’ll be able to express myself very quickly. The problem is that even though I’m speaking quickly I’ve sort of shut off that part of me that is trying to talk clearly. Other people can barely keep up, and there can often be mistakes and wrong words thrown in. I’m also fairly intelligent and when my problem solving skills are taxed more than my working memory skills I can think very fast. – Pugly

It’s not that I don’t want to be social, or have casual conversations, it’s just that it’s damn nearly impossible for me. I can ask a question or two, or answer something. But after that, there are awkward pauses while I’m trying to think of something to say, but my mind is usually blank. All my conversations just seem kind of forced and fake. But I see people just sitting around talking for what seems like hours, it all just seems to flow naturally to them. I’ve never been able to do that. It’s like my brain is very slow to process thought to speech, or just thought in general. – eddie49

SCT and depression

I sure hope there’s reincarnation and I get a second go around because I’ve missed a whole lot of living. – tototwo

SCT is a horrible disease. I can think of nothing good about it. I would say that it ruined my life, but that would presuppose that at one time I had a life to ruin. The thing about mainline ADHD is that there is a strain of thought in the ADHD community that advocates that ADHD is actually a gift and you can learn to love it. It apparently gives some people extraordinary levels of creativity and lots of energy which propels them to great achievements. They are not talking about my disease. There is nothing good about SCT. Nothing. – TheSCaTman

My whole life I have been depressed, sluggish, daydreamy, have virtually no concentration, no energy, terrible memory, barely able to communicate. I have been on many different medications with virtually no positive effects. My whole life I have walked around like an undead zombie. Despite having a high IQ I am unable to do even the most menial jobs because I have zero concentration, and when I am able to concentrate on things that interest me it is for a very short period of time – Jshect

I can’t help but feel sorry for myself as I’m very intellectual yet I will fail exams and whole courses just cause my brain can’t produce enough neurotransmitters , not to mention being unable to hold on to the ones it can make for very long. Whenever I think of how such a flaw could possibly exist after so many years of human evolution I just remember that there are far worse genetic disorders out there..many of which where drugs , supplements , behavioral therapy won’t be of any good. – whatsthebuzz

Why can’t ADHD and SCT get along?

ADHD/ADD is a diagnosis, that is, a definition of difficulties and problems that need to be addressed. It is not a group nor a person. It confers no special status, nor does it bestow some exclusivity to any of us. I have seen people on this forum refer to “us Hyperactives” as if we all shared that in common. Those with SCT to battle would probably find that phrasing exclusionary, as they are hypoactive and could only wish for the energy those who experience hyperactivity try to focus, control and contain. To pound the point home, while we may share some characteristics, and have some things in common, there are many differences. We take different meds, we use different compensations, and adjust as individuals to how this disorder affects us as individuals. There is not one drug that works for all, there is not one intervention or compensation that works for all. We are all not the same. We all do not have to be the same in order to get along, share, and support one another, accept and understand that what applies and works for one, may not apply and work for all.

In none of the reading I have done since coming across ADHD or ADD-SCT have I ever found anything that says “this disorder is completely unlike anything ever seen before in the history of mankind”. Indeed, what I see often are articles, such as “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Predicts a Different Pattern of Impairment in the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type” that compare and contrast ADHD and ADD-SCT, and state where they have similarities and differences. If we want to set up ADHD and ADD cliques, then I would guess articles such as that could be seen as a way to divide people up. – Echo5Tango