During filming for "Our America With Lisa Ling" on the topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lisa Ling couldn't shake the feeling that she was reporting on something all too familiar.
"I have always had a bit of a difficult time focusing on things that aren't interesting to me, and I get really, really anxious before taking any kind of test or having any kind of evaluation," Ling said in the above video from the episode.
The journalist decided to get tested to see if she does indeed have an attention disorder. Dr. Craig Liden, a worldwide ADD/ADHD expert, began the evaluation by asking Ling about her key areas of concern.
"As a journalist, when I'm immersed in a story, then I feel like I can laser-focus. But if I'm not working, my mind goes in every direction but where it's supposed to go," Ling told him. "I've been like that since I was a kid."
As early as elementary school, Ling says that her teachers frequently told her parents about her issues focusing. When she got to high school, Ling experienced another set of challenges. "I could go through an entire period and not retain a sentence if I [wasn't] interested in the topic or the subject matter," she said.
After the initial evaluation, Ling went to another room for a series of tests as Liden watched from behind a one-way mirror. From following instructions like putting her right hand on the evaluator's left shoulder to trying to pick out the two matching images from a group of 20, Ling felt stressed throughout the experience. Then, it was time to hear her results.
"There's really two or three key things that came out of this," Liden told Ling. "The one that really sticks out at the top is any part of the testing that demanded focused, sustained attention, you had much more struggle with."
Ling agreed, as Liden continued. "The other test with the pictures that she had you name, your performance was below what [we] would have anticipated," he said. "That was a test that really tapped in on all of the issues simultaneously: the need to focus, the ability to process and retrieve things efficiently."
That surprised Ling -- "I thought I did well on that one!" she said -- but she was still eager to hear what all of it meant.
"I do feel like you meet all the criteria for having Attention Deficit Disorder," Liden said to her.
Although she had suspected that was the case, the news still took Ling by surprise. "My head is kind of spinning," she said. "But I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I've been fighting it and I've been so frustrated with this inability to focus."
"My belief is that if you've got a biologically based problem with your ability to pay attention, then you're a candidate for using medication," Liden said. "I don't see the medicine as being the sole treatment. We're going to help refine the strategies that you do have right now and develop some new ones to help you function at a much higher plane than even where you are right now."
Ling nodded, smiling.
"It's sort of exciting to think where things could go," Liden said.
"Our America With Lisa Ling" airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.