Benefits to being clinically diagnosed?

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    • #74023

      I have ADD but have never been diagnosed by a doctor. I came to realize I had ADD while I was filling out my sons Conner’s assessment for his ADHD diagnosis.
      The entire time I was thinking “if this test was given to me as a kid I would have been diagnosed with ADD” then it hit me like a truck , omg, I have ADD.

      I’ve learned to deal with my issues somewhat so I don’t want to be medicated but is there any benefits to actually being diagnosed by a doctor?
      It wouldn’t put me at ease or make me have a ‘now I know for sure’ moment.

      I’m asking because my husband wants me to be diagnosed for him to have a ‘now I know for sure’ moment for the way I act (very impulsive, inattentive, unfiltered speech…)

      Thanks for any input.

    • #74034


      I would say it’s a good idea for 1 reason: Many people exhibit some of the same behaviors as people with ADHD, but don’t actually have it. I’m not minimizing what you’re saying and you may very well be right. Aaaand if you do have ADHD you might feel motivated to use the resources, such as this forum, that are available so you can get the help and support that only our tribe can provide. (Okay, so, technically, that’s 2 reasons.)

      Just my 4 cents (adjusted for inflation 🙂

    • #74090

      I think the benefits to being diagnosed by a doctor are 1) if you are requesting accommodations at work or 2) if you really have to prove to certain people who does not believe ADHD is real.

    • #74417

      After evaluating my life- or the lack there of- I looked for a therapist to get a diagnosis. However, it order to get an actual diagnosis that is medically sound I would need a second person to state my behavior and mental aptitude which I have no one. There is not a single person I know that can do this.

      even though I am still married, we have been separated for 5 years (totaling less than a year of happy marriage). I have no friends, I work from my house because I can’t keep a job and my sister hasn’t spoken to me in 7 years. I have NO ONE.

      So much that! I should have never considered this because now I am depressed and feel completely lost.

    • #74452

      Hi Themodemo,

      I’m sorry that you are feeling depressed. I can relate to how you are feeling. I also have no friends, don’t get along with anyone in my workplace and get depressed from the challenges of ADHD. We are here for you. Are you trying to look for a psychiatrist or MD that can diagnose you? You can try the directory in the Additude and Chadd website. Maybe you can also call the psychology department of colleges or universities near you and ask if they have any doctors specializing in Adult ADHD?

      Take care and remember that you are never alone

    • #74624

      I understand your uncertainty about getting a diagnosis. A couple of things to consider are whether it might be easier now rather than later to get a diagnosis, even if you don’t do anything else differently at the moment. Perimenopause and menopause seem to exacerbate symptoms for some women (they did for me), and if you then change your mind about medication, you would not need to go through the diagnosis steps.

      Also, you wrote, “I’ve learned to deal with my issues somewhat.” First, that’s really terrific and shows a lot of insight and persistence on your part. But if there is a chance that the “somewhat” could be changed to something better with a diagnosis, it might be worth it?

      It would also be a vote of confidence for your child that having a diagnosis is not something to avoid. (And maybe (?) make things easier for you if it makes your husband more at ease.)

    • #74898

      I agree with Lisa. Not sure how the relationship is with your husband but perhaps it could be better if he had an explanation for how you are. Same for yout sister. And someone mentioned that a diagnosis can enable you to get accommodations at work. Then maybe you would feel better if you were working outside the home. ADHD is often part of a dual or multiple diagnosis so its not surprising that you are depressed. A diagnosis would make it easier to receive counselling, which often can be just as effective as medication and can help you find even more ways to cope. And even if you choose not to seek a formal diagnosis, you could always hire an ADHD coach that might be able to work with you on the thoughts and behaviors that are at the root of your feelings of isolation. From some of the wording in your posts, it sounds like you could probably benefit from some therapy, medication, coaching, or some combination of the 3. I wish you all the best!

    • #74925

      I had a very similar experience, discovering my ADD in seeking help for my son. I was 40.
      I recommend you get a diagnosis for one reason – YOU!
      You said that it would not make any difference to know for sure, but from what you have said further about being alone and depressed, your diagnosis is your first step to shedding all the negative self-talk you have learned over the years that is at least in part interfering with some foundational areas in your life. It is admirable that you have taught yourself to cope, however your trouble with relationships indicates that you are still struggling and have not yet found the keystones for the life you dream of. You might also find it helpful to go on medication for a while as I did. I was able to relearn better skills and self-confidence, and retained that learning after going off the meds. I now manage when necessary with different herbs – lemongrass is my main go-to, but you may need to try a few different ones until you find the one(s) that are compatible with your unique chemistry.
      One thing I want to say to you from the heart – as you rediscover and create yourself as the brilliant, different-thinking person you are, it will sometimes be hard and require a little mourning for the past you who struggled when it seemed everyone else had it all figured out (they really didn’t by the way). The fun begins when you start to realize ADD is a gift that makes you strong, creative, adventurous – whatever you desire. Oh and incidently, lucky you! It took me years to stumble onto ADDitude!
      Good luck!

    • #74939

      Get a diagnosis from a professional, preferably with a recommendation from someone you trust. If you are ADHD, get medication, unless there is some physical issue that makes that dangerous. Why should you do that? Well, stimulant meds are out of your system in hours. Even if you choose to discontinue using them, you will have a baseline of your clarity with and without meds. I had learned to deal with my issues, but that was a far cry from how functional – and how much less stressed – I am on meds. If you were diabetic, you wouldn’t refuse insulin. But you may be a person who can use fitness to reach a point where you don’t need insulin anymore. But you needed that insulin to get there.

      ADHD is a biological condition that affects our executive functions. The things we take or do that alter are chemistry and improve our clarity are our only option right now. That includes exercise, extreme athletics, and anything we put in our bodies that changes the chemical equation in a way that compensates for the diminished dopamine absorption in the parts of our brain affected. Meds won’t diminish your creativity. They also won’t solve all your issues. A diagnisis will give you a chance to find a therapist that can help as much or more than meds or anything else you are doing. Meds are another tool in the toolbox. My advice is to use every tool and see what helps you feel more functional. Good luck!

    • #74977

      If your husband wants you to be diagnosed, I’d think he’d be willing to talk (or email…) to your therapist. It might seem impossible to ask him, but if it is for your son’s health and future success (seeing his mother succeed means he can, too), I’d take a deep breath or 7 and follow up. If that really can’t happen, ask your therapist for another way to be evaluated. Even seek out a second opinion, like you would with a questionable physical health diagnosis.
      Learn and apply what tools might help you. Re-evaluate your opinion of medications at some point in the future (6 months, a year…)if you don’t feel like you’ve gotten “far enough”. (I do not want meds for myself because of potential side-effects that I’ve experienced with other related prescriptions.)

    • #74982

      Dear Themodemo, my two sons (ages 13 & 18) have AdD and I was diagnosed at age 39. I have struggled since I was 5 years old and finally broke down and cried in my doctor’s office at 39 years old begging him to tell me if I had AdD or something else was wrong with me. Growing up as a polite but chatty girl in the 1970s I wasn’t pegged as “hyperactive” like a few boys in my class. I now know that girls often go undiagnosed even today. I urge you to get officially diagnosed in order to know who you are and why your life is the way it is. Remember that if you had a thyroid disease or diabetes (or your son did), you wouldn’t want to ignore it. Any issue that you have that can be improved by counseling, medication and or JUST Knowledge should be taken seriously. This is especially important since your son has it, too. Know that AdD/AdHD is a different way of living and learning but NOT something to hide or be ashamed of. The more you know, the better you and your son will thrive at home, school and work. I believe that you will come to realize that you can improve your life (relationships, career, taking care of your home and especially yourself) even though you feel it is satisfactory. I always believed I was just “broken” – messy, late, forgetful, too talkative – but I have learned that all of these things are part of me for a reason. My father (a school teacher) always said “you are capable but you just don’t try!” But, in fact, I have tried so hard all my life to be a good student, an attentive mother, a valued employee – to no avail in many ways until only recently. I was never taught about ways to study, organize or break tasks down into small steps. With my children I never say “clean your room” “do your homework” or “practice piano for 30 minutes”. I teach them to “put all the legos in this bin” THEN “hang your coat” THEN “put your shirts in the 2nd drawer” OR I body double AT the piano and do a song then my son teaches ME to play – keep your child interested, focused and engaged by helping him feel empowered and to have pride in his accomplishments no matter how small (feed the cat every morning, put his shoes in the same place by the door, read a book for 10 minutes). Set timers for tasks, chores or homework. “I’ll cook dinner while you sit at the table and do your math but when the timer dings, please help me set the table” – this way he (and you) won’t dread the entire math worksheet or ALL the homework. Again, the MORE you learn about yourself (as a child and as an adult) the more you will understand yourself and your son. It will be a great relief to you and please your son to know that you are very much alike and struggle with the same things but ALSO have similar creative minds, fun outgoing chatty personalities and you both will conquer the world! Good luck to you! You are not alone…moms like me understand! Mom in Mass.

    • #74984

      Dear Themodemo, I highly recommend that you and your son take medication for AdD/AdHD if recommended by a doctor. It doesn’t hurt you and doesn’t dull your activity or personality! Insist on meds that work – don’t settle because ONE doctor said so. Trust yourself. You are a mother and you know yourself and your son best! Get a 2nd opinion without apologizing! Avoid people who aren’t supportive! This is your life and your deserve happiness! Mom in Mass.

    • #75125

      I have watched some videos recently about medication and ADHD or ADD. In my understanding, ADD or ADHD is a FOCUSING issue caused by a biochemical imbalance, in very simple terms.

      If you required “see-eye-glasses” to correct your eye vision because of an inability of your body/brain connection to FOCUS on the world, would you deny corrective vision lenses to yourself or your child because you believe that there is a problem with using medical interventions? Would you demand that only the bare minimum of corrective FOCUS lenses be given? Or would you want optimum focus? What if there were a drug that could help yourself or your child not bump into things or help avoid crashing into things that you/they cannot FOCUS ON clearly from a distance? A drug that corrects a chemical imbalance that could help with physical vision FOCUS? A chemical that could prevent blindness, or a potentially damaged life and life expectations, because you/your child cannot FOCUS successfully on school work? Would you say No if there was a chemical corrective lens (think ADD executive functioning)… please think about it…

    • #75144

      I recommend getting a diagnosis. Russell Barkley’s You Tube videos are great too. He states that ADHD is also a disorder of inhibition and self-regulation.

    • #75174

      I think so – it will motivate you to find out more about your symptoms and how to resolve them, you’ll have AHA! Moments where you realize that THAT’S why that certain thing has been that way all your life… and if you’re interested, consider medication. It made a world of difference for me.

    • #75183

      Themodemo – I understand much of what you say. I have lived with ADHD, undiagnosed, most of my life. I was in and out of therapy in HS and college and developed a deep distrust for Psychiatrists and meds that affect the brain due to a fact that often doctors prescribe them like throwing spaghetti against a wall waiting to see what sticks. I did not want to risk loosing “who I am” while doctors played a guessing game with meds. I had found ways to cope (pause for a 10 min., helper cat cuddle break – resume now) through out my life, but I was often at odds with the world around me. I made poor life choices, got angry when the world did not spin the way I thought it “should” and in almost every performance review I got knocked for poor interpersonal skills. I managed to get through HS, graduate from college and spend 12 years in the Army Nat. Guard Infantry, but it was all much more difficult for me than for many. I entered into a bad marriage that lasted 3 yrs, but only half that was living together. She is not a bad person, we were a bad match. So in a nutshell I can relate to what you are saying.
      I was not diagnosed until my mid 40’s and only because I got a co-worker with ADHD worse than mine and we got to talking. Up to that point I thought ADHD was an over-diagnosed and over-medicated excuse for kids just being kids and parents not wanting to be parents. I still think there is some of that, but I digress. Once I was diagnosed with a mild form of ADHD, medicated and started Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) it all started to make a whole lot more sense. The meds gave me that split second to decide to do/say something before my impulsivity kicked in. My attitude changed at work and I was able to interact on a more professional level. This did not come without some costs. My ambition (high energy drive) is nearly gone and I have much less ambition. I do not have the drive to workout and stay in shape. In the year prior to meds I trained and completed a 1/2 marathon and a Tough Mudder. Now I am 50 lbs. heavier and my back hurts. Some of that may be due to age as well. YMMV. There are side effects from these meds so I would have to disagree with newenglandrose on that score. They can heighten anxiety alter your sleep, eating and sex habits.
      I would recommend getting the diagnosis, finding a med that works for you and working with a therapist. ADHD has some symptomology of other cognitive disorders and can amplify anxiety. Getting a professional diagnosis can help determine the unique cocktail of cognitive disorder(s) you may have. Yes the meds are scary, but, for me, it was like a moment of clarity when they kicked it. So may things made sense and I was able to get better control of my life. My performance reviews have improved and I no longer go into my crazy, high stress “beast mode” when the poo its the fan at work. I don’t feel like I have to be everything for everyone when I am covering for my boss. I can dial it back and just do what I can do.
      I am not cured, but I have found tools to help me live a better life. I still struggle, but knowing my situation helps me put it into perspective, when I have calmed down. I have been in and out of CBT sessions as my situation evolves and have tried group therapy. Sometimes sitting in a room full of strangers who can relate to your experiences and share mutual struggles is somewhat cathartic. I have gained useful insights and tools from fellow ADHD people. If nothing else I do not feel I am walking alone.
      In short, get the diagnosis and then decide what to do about meds and the like. Start simple and get therapy so you have a safe place to talk about where you are, how you feel and what you want. If nothing else, you will be able to relate to your son and help him as he works through his ADHD plan for a better life.
      All the best and good luck.

      • #87008

        Mac11b20f, it’s possible you need to adjust your med dosage. It may be possible to balance your motivation and your focus to get the most out of both.

    • #75307

      I just want to add to the above insights and suggestions from other people. I am now in the second half of my fifties and have requested of my GP a psychiatric referral with a particular focus on inattentive ADHD. For some reason it is really important for me to have a professional agree with me. I had a UK national health service psych assessment fifteen years ago, after I had paid privately for assessment with a probable ADD outcome, but the psychiatrist I saw via the UK health service was adamant I had an obsessive-compulsive disorder, my GP at the time kept telling me I was depressed and that was the cause of the problems; a CBT person pinned a social anxiety disorder on me. Within the context of inattentive ADHD I can explain all of these: of course I’m depressed! Of course I’m socially anxious – do they not know how difficult it is in groups to maintain attention. I know social skills ‘rules’; it’s just difficult applying them when your mind is all over the place. Yes, I’m anxious, or is it actually the churning of my engine running? As for OCD, yes, I do repeat things, especially those things I like; it helps pin me down, keep me grounded and I get stuck on my emotions, repeating, repeating, repeating in my mind over and over again until I wear myself out. And yes I’m certainly compulsive and impulsive! Now I can add my alcohol use to the list that professionals can use instead of being willing to try with my suggestion of ADHD.
      When it comes down to it, I am 98% sure (much of the time, but have chinks when I’m in ‘your lazy, stupid, useless’ mode; quite often) that I am inattentive ADHD, whatever a professional decides I am. But I do crave recognition from a professional. And of course, the professional psychiatric root is the path to monitored and financially less costly medication prescription. Without that I would be financially paying out a lot in self-experimentation and also taking stabs in the dark with medications that I know little about.
      Ultimately, I have to live the best I can. But a diagnosis I believe can bring some relief and a sense that I am not as insane as I think I am!

    • #75321

      My understanding is that very few Doctors will even try to diagnose an adult for ADHD. I’m 58 & have definitely had it all my life but wasn’t aware of it until about 18 months ago, when a Counselor I was seeing stated she thought that’s what I had. I never really knew much about ADHD but i read up on it & everything fits. I’m medicated now with Adderall; but no Doctor has ever even mentioned diagnosing me, even though though I am on my second Doctor prescribing me medication for ADHD.

      • #75328

        I just want to check with you dff, how come the doctors are accepting to prescribe you the medication? I can survive without the diagnosis, and have survived without a medication I suppose, albeit I think in a very inconsistent and quite destructive way particularly my education. I would like a trial on meds to see if one of them helps even if it is only Wellbutrin the anti-depressant.

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