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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.
Updated on July 13, 2020