The “aha” moment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) diagnosis -- let alone finding the appropriate treatment -- is a long time coming for many with the condition. Some are shocked by it, others surprised, and many have their long-held suspicions confirmed.
Below, our readers share their own “aha” moments, revealing just some of the variety behind the same diagnosis.
Diagnosed as a Kid
"My parents realized I had ADD when I was very young. I was bright, creative, and outgoing, but I forgot to do projects and assignments until the night before they were due. Somehow, I managed to make it through college and earn a degree without treatment. It wasn’t until I decided to return to school to become an engineer, while working full-time, that I realized something had to be done. I have been successful, at my job and in school, ever since." -Dustin H., Tulsa, Oklahoma
"I was first diagnosed in 1989, when I was nine. Not much was known about ADD in women back then, so little was explained to me about the condition. It wasn’t until 2002, when I attended Landmark College and learned more about the topic, that I accepted my diagnosis and went on medication." -Sara, Vermont
Diagnosis: The College Years
"During my first year at college. I lost the safety net of parents, caring teachers, and friends that I had depended on for years. At college, I got locked out of my apartment, lost my shoes, my student ID card, and everything else. When I got home, I demanded to be tested and to get a diagnosis. It was the best thing I ever did." -Kristen, British Columbia
"When I was 18 years old, during my freshman year of college. I’m 27 now and I work as a nurse. I just gave up meds." -An ADDitude Reader
"I always knew there was something different about me. In college, a professor suggested I get tested for a learning disability, even though I got A’s and B’s in grade school. It wasn’t until I was 32 that a doctor finally told me I had ADHD." -Jenny Mooneyhan, Camden, South Carolina
Diagnosed as an ADDult
"I suspected I had ADHD in 2001, but it was only last year that I knew for sure. A co-worker was making an appointment for her adult son to get tested, and I figured it was time for me to find out. I was put on medication a month later." -Krista,Richmond, Virginia
"I was 32. I couldn’t handle the workload of a demanding job, even though I was capable of doing it well. I got treatment right away, and my life got better. I wish I had been diagnosed earlier. My college years would have been so much easier." -Melissa H., Michigan
"When I turned 33 years old. I was relieved to find out that there were explanations for what I was doing and not doing. I bought books about ADD, saw a counselor, learned about medications, and hired a life coach, to help me with my career." -Eugenia Dansinghani, Middletown, Connecticut
"At 37. I started therapy to learn about stress management, and I was diagnosed as having ADHD in the first session! I was shocked, but after reading more about it, I knew that ADHD symptoms had troubled me all my life. Medication and counseling have done wonders for me." -Deena, Austin, Texas
"I didn’t realize I had ADHD until I was in my 40s. A cousin, whose son has ADHD, heard my husband and me arguing, and suspected that I might have it. After reading Driven to Distraction, I went to the doctor and received the diagnosis and treatment." -An ADDitude Reader
"I was diagnosed at 42 -- and I jumped right on treatment. That’s what we ADDers do, right?" -Eva O’Malley, Howell, New Jersey
My Child Has ADD/ADHD? I Do Too!
"I wasn’t diagnosed until 42. I was working with high school students who had attention problems, and I realized I had the same problems. I have been medicated since." -Susie Johnson, Branson, Missouri
"After I had kids and had to juggle everyone’s schedule. Even though I was overwhelmed, I still felt the need to volunteer for everything, because I saw myself as Super Mom. I am over 40 now and tired of being pulled in so many directions. I went on medication and found that my compulsion to say yes was greatly reduced. Yeah!" -Rebecca, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Read More About ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment
This article appears in the Summer issue of ADDitude.
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