Reply To: Newly diagnosed, not sure what to do, please advise

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These are all great responses.

I am 52 years old. I am a licensed therapist who has provided mental health, substance abuse and crisis counseling in educational settings for 25 years. In adulthood, after many years of education and training around ADHD, providing counseling support to adolescents with ADHD, and after becoming a parent of a wonderful son with ADHD who was diagnosed in 5th grade by a neurologist, I felt confident that I, too, have ADHD (and symptoms before the age of 7) – but I know better than to diagnose myself.

When I thought about trying medication (in my 50s – after getting a well-earned job promotion that made life more challenging), I went to a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD and went through a formal evaluation. I implore you to do this. Too many PCPs are writing prescriptions for drugs outside of their wheelhouse. ADHD should be diagnosed by either a psychiatrist or neurologist You may benefit from seeing a neurologist as opposed to a psychiatrist – and many neurologists have expertise in ADHD. I had my son evaluated by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist (instead of a psychiatrist) because I had other concerns around visual processing, dyslexia – and I wanted a thorough evaluation. I did not want him medicated if he did not, in fact, have ADHD. Based upon the symptoms you are describing, a neurologist may be better able to explore or rule out other issues.

After I was diagnosed and began medication, I felt calmer, more centered, and more clear. I am able to prioritize. Stimulant medication actually slows things down for me. I do not accomplish more in a day – but everything I do is done with more clarity and precision.

I did have some issues with raised blood pressure while on my medication that I have to manage. Going on stimulants at our age is serious business. I wish you luck – and encourage you to see a neurologist or psychiatrist for a correct diagnosis.