Do I Have ADD? Diagnosis & Next Steps

How an ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment Can Change Your Life for the Better

Proper diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD can improve your life for the better through diet, exercise, medication, and resolutions to make positive change.

Adult ADHD Help: Changing Your ADHD Life with Diet, Exercise and Hope
Adult ADHD Help: Changing Your ADHD Life with Diet, Exercise and Hope

A proper ADHD diagnosis and treatment can change your life dramatically for the better, no matter what your age.

I’ve treated many older adults with ADHD, the oldest of whom was 86. She said that the ADHD treatment led to a more simple life — among other ways, by allowing her to play with her great-grandchildren without getting distracted and to read aloud with them. She felt tremendous gratitude to me for giving her great-grandchildren back to her.

It is important to think of ADHD as one kind of mind, one that you were born with and will live with forever. The goal of ADHD treatment should not only be to minimize negative symptoms, but even more important, to identify and develop the talents you have.

People with ADHD are often just one or two changes away from a much happier life. The change might be a new job, or a new exercise regimen, or a new understanding of who you are and how you got to be this way. One of the most important changes is to understand yourself in medical, as opposed to moral, terms.

Before they were diagnosed, most adults with ADHD carried in their hearts what amounted to a “moral diagnosis” of being “bad” or “irresponsible.” When you replace that moral diagnosis with the correct medical diagnosis, you can start to lift the burden of self-condemnation.

[Get This Free Guide: What Every Thorough ADHD Diagnosis Includes]

The victories that can ensue are not only related to work and professional success. They are also victories in your personal life. You can learn to sustain a close relationship. You can learn that your problem has not been a problem with intimacy but with the difficulty of lingering over any moment. If you can never linger — over coffee, over a remark, over a kiss — it is hard to get close to anyone.

You may also find that you can play with your children in a more focused way. You may find the company of your friends more fulfilling, less tedious. You may find reading a book less of a chore; you might even look forward to reading!

You might find that you can clean up your desk and, finally, set up a filing system that works. You might excavate all your piles. You might wear socks that match every day.

Your victories might be won over your emotional states. You might begin to control your anger more effectively, or give in to impatience less vociferously. You might find that waiting in line is not like having bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails.

[Read: Better Late Than Never  — Adults with ADHD]

You might begin to find meaning in your life, find continuity from day to day, and from one year to the next. You might develop a definition of who you are, and might feel comfortable with it. You might start to like yourself. And others might start to like you better as well.

You might begin to quiet that critic inside who has been eating away at your soul for as long as you can remember. You might find yourself laughing more and learning a new skill called “relaxing.”

Your physical health might improve. Treatment of ADHD — through medication, diet, exercise, and/or alternative therapies — often reduces all kinds of somatic complaints, from low-back pain to nonspecific headache syndromes to digestive troubles, to skin rashes, and on and on.

I have seen people achieve all of these victories and many others. That is why I love to treat adults who have ADHD. They change for the better, and they change quickly.

[Read This Next: Late Diagnosis —Was ADHD to Blame All Along?]


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Updated on July 13, 2020

4 Related Links

  1. Thank you for not recommending that ADD and ADHD sufferers bare their soul and go public. If your boss ever finds out that you have this shit, you will have signed the death warrant on your career. If your neighbors find out they will think that you emit gamma radiation.

    I’ve always known that I am different from 97% of the general population but now I know the name of this honky mo’ fo’ that’s been dwelling inside my own brain like a terrorist sleeper cell agent. I’m a dude in my pre-geezer years and was recently diagnosed. This was enlightening but not liberating and I’m still intensely embarrassed about it.

    There’s no cure for this affliction. It’s like buying an expensive new car and finding out that it has an engineering design defect that can never be corrected under warranty and the dealer will not take it back under the Lemon Law. With this information I can try to anticipate the bad effects and shortstop doing or saying something stupid.

    I am still angry and in shock. I grudgingly accept the diagnosis and am following the treatment plan of my mental health professional but I will never publicly admit it even if waterboarded. That’s 2 out of 3 and that’s the best I can do.

  2. That’s great advice, ADDsecret.(Recent diagnosis here.)

    Only I, in my relief and excitement, told everybody I knew. In what I thought of as a “mass apology”, before stopping to consider those ramifications you mentioned.- No impulsivity here.(Eye-roll).

    I cannot wait to see my Doctor and get my medication adjusted. This pandemic has kept me from this desperately needed re-evaluation/adjustment. I’m hopeful that I too will one day get to that magical place I’ve heard of,-“relaxing”.

  3. Otterbear, we are kindred souls. I’m sure that I come across as intense but I’ve been living this nightmare since I was in First Grade. I cannot think of anything good that has ever happened to me because of this. It have paid dearly for it; it has cost me friendships and gotten my ass in trouble at work.

    I just bristle when I see someone saying to celebrate this affliction. What naivete! Celebrate? Celebrate what? To me it has always been a handicap and an embarrassment. It took me 4 1/2 years to get through engineering school, when normal people do it in 4. If it took me 2 hours to do a homework assignment while my classmates did it one hour, I stayed up after midnight. I got my degree and have had a moderately successful career. I did it by unwavering commitment and dogged determination. I accomplished this IN SPITE of ADD, not BECAUSE of it.

    I freely offer what I think is solid advice to the younger generation (I’m in my late 60s). So, believe me, I’ve seen it all. I’ve always worked at for-profit corporations. These places are run by hard-ass dudes who don’t tolerate incompetence, mistakes, missed deadlines or excuses about mental illness. Again the inexperienced pollyanna optimist kids who tell you to bare your soul are wrong and should STFU. I once had an HR director tell me that he could fire or refuse to hire anyone he wants and make it all sound legit and I saw him do it.

    This ADD affliction has caused me also to do impulsive things that I immediately regretted. It’s not possible to un-ring a bell. I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’. FWIW, if your associates ask you about it, I’d just smile and tell them that it’s been diagnosed and you now have total control over it. I’d keep the conversation very brief. You may be pleasantly surprised that someone might open up and share their intimate story with you. That would be a stroke of luck. These will be people worth cultivating as friends. I’ve never had this happen to me because I maintain an air-tight security blanket around my, ahem, condition.

    Meanwhile, if you have this information out in social media, squelch it, eradicate it. Hiring companies hire background search companies who use ‘data mining’ techniques to dig up dirt on job applicants just like ‘opposition research’ done by political operatives, so steam clean and fumigate your e-files.

    Good luck. I wish you well.

  4. ADD/ADHD DAMAGE CONTROL and RECOVERY

    Hello to all,

    I direct this to no one in particular. I speak from the voice of experience. Believe me, I’ve BTDT. I want to address the subject of what to do if you should have committed a bad gaffe, most likely the result of this awful ADD/ADHD condition.

    Most people will ignore and forget what happened or what was said. Mature and self-assured people might ask. Read their body English to discern their attitude. If they seem sincere, simply tell them that you have the situation under control and feel great. Period. For bullies who want to diss you, just walk away. People who behave like that are highly insecure and have their own problems that they should seek professional help for.

    Work hard at what you are doing. Try not to let anyone rile you. Be calm, professional, courteous, helpful, polite and civil. If someone tells a joke and it’s not at your expense, go ahead and laugh at it but don’t become the office comic/class clown. Consistently good and steady behavior is critical. Eventually someone or something else will grab the front page headlines.

    Learn how to calm yourself. Take a walk, read a book, ride your bike, paddle your kayak. Time heals.

    Good luck. Hang in there. Peace be with you.

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