Why is an ADHD Diagnosis So Important?

"I heard that 80 to 90 percent of adults with ADHD haven't been diagnosed. I think I might be one of them. Why is a diagnosis so important and what are the downsides of not being evaluated?"
The Experts | posted by Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA

An accurate diagnosis guides effective treatment. Until you know what you are dealing with, it's harder to identify the best treatments or strategies. For example, if you are depressed because of your ADHD-based difficulties, addressing the depression won't get to the root of the problem and probably won't lead to lasting solutions. By treating ADHD directly, you will hopefully have less to be depressed about. Treatment could entail medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and educating yourself about ADHD so you can view yourself and your past struggles in a new light.

The goal of diagnosis and treatment is to help you be more effective in your day-to-day life and reduce the extent to which your untreated ADHD interferes with getting things done and your happiness. Without this deeper understanding that comes from an accurate diagnosis, you are likely to keep trying the same old strategies that probably won't work as well as more targeted strategies would. The good news is that doctors know which strategies will help you manage your symptoms.

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