An ADHD diagnosis in adulthood rarely comes as a complete surprise, and often carries with it a mixed bag of emotions. Mixed, because many know that while ADHD is not all about problems – the creativity, original thinking and other talents are what some refer to as a ‘gift’. So there are pro’s and con’s depending on your perspective. However, referring to ADHD as a gift is problematic, particularly when one thing most adults with ADHD know for sure is they have more difficulties than the general population with time management, organization and planning, focus, and productivity in general.
"As far back as I can remember I have always felt different from the rest of society.
I just didn't know there was a name for it”
Those diagnosed often feel relief at knowing why they are the way they are, but this can be tinged with regret for past struggles, and for what might have been had they been diagnosed earlier in their lives.
"I love my parents, but I was angry at first that they did not see my ADHD traits as a child."
Often, it's a child's diagnosis that leads a parent to be tested for and diagnosed with ADHD. During the process of having a child diagnosed, parents often learn the condition is hereditary.
In some instances a diagnosis of ADHD can throw adults off balance, because the condition in adulthood still needs much research. Experts estimate that about 80 percent of adults with the disorder haven't been officially diagnosed, primarily because ADHD was not seen as a condition that persists into adulthood until about 20 years ago. Doctors used to be taught that ADHD affected only children, but now we know that, although hyperactivity may wane, symptoms such as inattention and impulsivity continue into adulthood.
"Even though my diagnosis made sense, I just couldn't or didn't want to believe it. I asked everyone — my husband, my sister, my friends — if they thought I had ADHD. They all said they did....
I was shocked that everyone had suspected something but me."
For those who take the plunge and start treatment, it can take time to find the right professional help and therapy. ADHD WA recommend a multi modal approach which might include medication. It is important to have some knowledge of the condition, as well as what a clinician can and should do for you, so that you can make an informed choice about what to do next.
Even under the care of an experienced physician, it may take weeks or even months to find the treatment combination which works best for you. It may take anything from six months to a year to see major improvements, but you can also experience improvements early on.
ADHD WA is here to assist you at every step of your journey.
It is recommended that once a newly diagnosed person has started medication, it is important to begin working with an experienced psychologist, psychiatrist, or coach. These professionals can help people with ADHD learn behavioural, time management, communication, decision making, problem solving and organizational strategies to enhance their quality of life.
Suggestions for the newly diagnosed:
- Join a support group, attend workshops, seminars and educational organizations talks on the condition
- Learn as much as you can about the condition so that you empowered and counter the myths and misconceptions. Ensure that what you read or view is evidenced based and peer reviewed.