Ask the Experts

ADHD Guide to Diagnosis

Your step-by-step guide of what to expect after that first “ah-ha” moment of discovering — and getting a diagnosis for — your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Just diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? In this new video, Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., an ADD/ADHD expert and the author of four books on the subject, guides you through the steps most people take after an ADD/ADHD diagnosis and during their treatment journey as they work toward symptom management. How did you feel after your diagnosis? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Updated on September 19, 2017

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  1. My parents noticed signs since I was 2. They were naive and never got me diagnosed. When I became an adult, all hell broke lose. Enrolled in college, at the demand of my mother despite my father’s reservations. Tuition was paid for via a trust fund I received at 18. Hardly attended class. Eventually stopped going fulltime. Was hired by PNC as a bank teller and took a class here and there at night. Eventually stopped going. Credits expired in 2011, so that was a waste. Got fired from 5 jobs for the same reasons: negligence, incompetence, failure to meet expectations of the job set forth before me, etc. Between all of this, I met a girl. I’ll spare you the details, but we eventually got married and had 2 children. I stole money from her, I racked up 10’s of thousands in debt (some under my name, some under hers) There was always tension due to job instability, her finding documents I had hidden. Then in 2010, my back was getting bad. My PCP sent me for an MRI, read the results, and sent me to pain management. Of course as most people with ADHD wind up doing, I got addicted to the pain killers I was prescribed, abused and went through my script in a week or two, then bought off the street. Stole $5000 from my sons bank account in the meantime to finance my habit, and my personality changed, both at home and at work. Eventually lost that job because I ran out of money to keep up with my habit and my performance went down the toilet. Went to my PCP and asked him his opinion about me having ADHD ( HE had seen me since I was 5, so I figured he would know). He said he agreed I should get diagnosed, but at the time, my ins. didn’t cover mental heath and it would cost me $200/ month to see shrink. He recommended me to someone, and told me if that Dr DX me as ADHD, he (PCP) would write the scripts, therefore saving me a boat load of money. Soon I obtained ins. with mental health coverage, but didn’t tell PCP. I was titrated to 90mg of adderall a day, and then started seeing both doctors. I’d blow through shrinks script in 2 weeks, then go to pcp and get a script from him. Back and forth this lasted from July 2010 to December 2010. In between, I obtained a script for xanax from shrink for anxiety ( didn’t tell PCP) and I used that in case I was a day or too short between scripts, to ease any with draw. Pcp eventually stopped prescribing and told me i would either have to come up with an arrangement with the shrink or find insurance with mental health coverage. The PCP had a feeling something was going on, called my shrink, and both discovered I was (double dipping). Needless to say, I was immediately barred from seeing either of them for treatment. Wife found out, only after I lied to her and kept “forgetting” to call shrink for scripts. She called shrink one day, was told that i was barred from his practice and to “ask ur husband why” and he hung up on her. I had to admit the truth. She called my PCP and he confirmed. She then had me see her PCP and found me another shrink. The drop in doseage from having to ease myself from adderall with what little i had left caused anxiety, so new Dr prescribed me xanax. At that point, my wife had taken over distributing my meds. New Dr. new I had abuse issues and was told by my wife to inform her of any scripts he wrote for me or if there was any change in dose.
    Synopsis of story:

    I applied for SSDI in 2016 at the advice of a shrink I was seeing at the time due too his opinion that between my back injuries and obvious mental challenges, there was no way I could hold a job. It took almost 2 years, but I won a fully favorable decision in 2018. My life has changed for the worse. My wife and children 12/ son, 9/ daughter, have definetly been affected by my issues over the years. I’m basically a shell of a person and was told by 3 medical professionals that hopes of regaining my former way of life would be futile, due to a huge change in brain chemistry and activity. Stability is all I can hope for. So parents, if your kids show sign of ADHD at ANY time, jump right on it. It may very well save there life. Anyone can feel free to email me to ask me anything at all regarding ADHD.

    Thanks,
    R.K.

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