Aaron, I feel your frustration, but keep in mind ADHD is a spectrum. However, particularly your one statement has the potential for hurting a lot of people – including me, hence why I’m responding.
“There seems to be a sudden inflation of diagnosis, especially in pretty successful, “high functioning” individuals who at some point develop symptoms like those/similar to those of ADHD which were however never present during their childhood and yet, they get a diagnosis based off of the assumption of their being intellectually gifted (though, again, most never actually get tested for that kind of thing…) and thus supposedly mostly capable of somehow “compensating” the normally pretty obvious, often downright debilitating actual, real life- symptoms of the disorder.”
No adult should get a ADHD diagnosis based on what you stated. The DSM-5, used in many countries for diagnosis, specifically states that symptoms must have been present before age 12 (present, not clinically significant!). Most experts agree that adult-onset ADHD does not exist and those people most likely have other mental disorders going on, such as anxiety, depression and a whole set of other possibilities. A diagnosis of adult ADHD without symptoms present in childhood only means a professional didn’t do their job.
However, with your claim your dismiss an entire demographic of actual sufferers. You state that there is an inflation of “highly functioning, successful individuals who at some point develop symptoms“.
Maybe instead of them “developing symptoms”….how about they literally cope until they don’t? They may always have had symptoms, they just managed to not let them impair their life to a clinical level. Burn-out is highly correlated with ADHD for obvious reasons. Masking is a major problem with ADHD.
I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD until I was 32. I’ve always felt “different” from people around me. In hindsight, I’ve always had pretty obvious ADHD symptoms — but the tell-tale sign of “problems in school” was missing. Further…being female….you’re dismissed as an ADHD possibility from the get go.
So yes, I somehow coped and masked all my life. I was good in school, went on to college and am currently enrolled in a graduate program. Genuinely loving to learn and loving science made this possible because it was my much needed stimulus and allowed me to hyperfocus on school (+ just a shit ton of extra effort on my part). But hardly anyone knows what it cost to actually get there. As I mentioned, I’m 32 and have been dealing with severe chronic fatigue for over a decade, now. I’m not just tired — I’m literally exhausted as my baseline, regardless of how much I sleep. I have daily physical pain courtesy of tension from anxiety. I’m burned out from night after night scrambling, from a lifetime of procrastination, from having to work more than seemingly anyone else around me. I’ve been diagnosed with a number of other mental disorders in addition to my physical problems.
All my life I’ve been fighting with “not quite fitting in”, which leaves one extremely lonely and isolated – of which depression is only the next step.
Decades of RSD and emotional dysfunction, things you’re not allowed to “show” or act upon, take their toll as well.
Instead of gatekeeping, try to consider that the more we learn about ADHD the more people will receive the help they deserve. For one, ADHD is overdiagnosed in white boys and way underdiagnosed in girls.
You say getting misdiagnosed does help nobody. But it also doesn’t actually hurt you personally, does it?