Psychiatrist reluctant to diagnose

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    • #133826
      Sara Rehan

      I’m a 21 year old female med student from and I have good reason to believe i have ADHD type PI.

      I went to a psychiatrist that specialises in ADHD and he told me in very plain words that everyone suffers from the problems that I described to him and that my other symptoms can be explained by my chronic depression and anxiety.

      I know diagnosing ADHD is hard but I still strongly believe I have it? He very clearly told me I needed to remove the thought of having adult ADHD from my head, that I need to stop reading stuff online and diagnosing myself after having read just one article. I felt like he spoke to me in a very condescending manner and I left the clinic in tears.

      I have researched this topic extensively and over the course of many years. This wasnt’t a sudden thought that I had. The main symptoms that I’ve noted myself exhibiting are:
      1-severe executive dysfunction
      2-short term memory loss
      3-hyperfocusing or complete inability to focus on anything
      4-inability to relax
      5-sudden outbursts
      6-sensory overload
      7-time passes by without realising
      8-constant fidgeting and daydreaming
      9-I have a million priorities at any given time and to do lists are useless because I attempt to do them all at once and then become paralysed and am then unable to finish even a single task on the list

      I also gave multiple detailed examples of each to the psychiatrist but I will not be including those so as not to lengthen the post.

      I have been seeing a therapist for my depression and anxiety but after todays consultation I’ve decided I’m not going to share my thoughts about me having ADHD with him as I have a good relationship with him and i don’t want to risk ruining it by giving him an opportunity to tell me I’m stupid for self diagnosing myself.

      Im not sure what I want out of this post? All of these symptoms are negatively affecting my relationships and my academics. I’m feeling an insane amount of self doubt and I can feel my self hatred intensifying and I feel like I’m going to self harm again if I don’t talk about it to someone, even if all they do is calmly explain to me that I probably don’t have ADHD.

      ANY and all input will be very appreciated.

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Sara Rehan.
    • #133851

      I don’t have an easy answer. It took me a year and a half of working with my Physician Assistant who had initially asked about ADHD when we first met until he finally made the diagnosis. I underwent neuropsychological testing which did not indicate ADHD, but I’ve learned recently that it’s not an accurate way to test for it anyway. I guess I’d say that maybe it takes time to develop a relationship with some providers to get them to understand you enough to diagnose.

      I’d also say that there’s a huge provider bias. How did this psychiatrist get recommended as an ADHD specialist? Does he bill himself that way? Or did another provider refer you? If he’s that negative, if there’s any way to seek a different provider I’d try. If you can’t, I’d try to advocate for more screenings and even bring in some validated tools like the Adult Self-Report Scale made by the World Health Organization.

      Finally, there is a chance that you have depression and anxiety too. Those are fairly common with ADHD. That being said, it’s still important to identify the ADHD and treat that too. Working with a provider to state that you want to address both can be useful. Part of why it took a year and a half to reach the diagnosis is that we spent that time treating the depression and once it stabilized the ADHD symptoms remained. So, maybe there’s a chance that more time will help, but I’d guess not given the psychiatrist’s reaction. I feel for you and hope that you are able to get the support you need, and hopefully find a way to a person who is more informed and supportive.

      • #133856
        Sara Rehan

        Thank you so much for your response.

        The more I read about it the more I realise how hard getting a definitive diagnosis for this is. I’m really sorry you had such a hard time getting yours.

        The country I’m from, we don’t really have any strict rules as to which psychiatrist can call themselves a specialist in which disease as there is no proper governing body or a working healthcare system. I think this is part of the reason why I had such a bad experience.

        I’m going to try and continue looking for doctors till I can find someone I feel comfortable with. Maybe if I work on my anxiety and depression in the meantime I can show my doctor that these symptoms are unrelated to either of those. I’ll also look into the WHO scale that you mentioned along with other diagnosis tools.

        I’m glad you got a diagnosis, even if it took you a while. I hope you have an easier time and wish you best of luck for your treatment.

    • #134056
      Penny Williams

      So very many women and girls are misdiagnosed with depression and/or anxiety with treatment of those conditions doing little good, because it’s really ADHD.

      ADHD in Women Symptom Checklist

      ADHD is Different in Women

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #134302
      Dr. Eric

      You issue is not with the symptomology, but in rule-outs.

      The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

      All of the symptoms that you listed can be explained by either chronic depression or anxiety.
      So either you were misdiagnosed, or you have to have your depression and anxiety under control long enough that you can demonstrate ongoing ADHD symptoms that go above and beyond those by those managed diagnoses.

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