What made you decide to get formally diagnosed?

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    • #102812

      I’ve just in the past few weeks realized that my 6yo daughter checks all the boxes for inattentive ADHD (and a few hyperactive ones as well). This explains so much of our experience with her since she was very little. We homeschool, so for now I am quite content to try adjusting diet, environment, implementing strategies to accommodate, etc. to see if I can help her. There is no pressure related to school at all. At the same time, I am curious about when seeking a formal diagnosis would be useful or worth the time/effort/money. I’d like to have some means of gauging whether we’re doing well or need more help. Maybe a period of time with no improvement, certain symptoms/behaviors that show up new? I also realize that a formal diagnosis is necessary for medication, so I’d be interested to hear how you decided it was time to go that route. At present, I don’t believe it is necessary, particularly when we’ve only just started to address the issues understanding what’s going on. But again, I’d like to have some way of assessing when that might be needed. Thanks for any wisdom you can share!

    • #102858

      In college, to get any studying done I would use a study room in the library, because studying at home had too many distractions, three cats to play with, snacks, and TV.
      But the study room walls were paper thin, if people were taking (distraction) or sometimes they were all in use, so I’d try to study in the library proper (no talking) but people constantly walking by, my peripheral vision is excellent,
      Meaning any movement I’d HAVE to look (extreme distraction)
      Finally when I had no choice but to try and study in in the commons without my mp3 player, without realizing I started writing down what the people next to me were taking about, I decided enough was enough.
      I went on the internet and started researching ADHD,I took every online test I could find and took screen shots in case my doctor showed scepticism, but come to find out both her daughters have ADHD, and when she scored my test she told me I scored exactly the same as her older daughter, we both have ADHD inattentive type.
      So in one aspect I am really happy her daughters have ADHD, made it much easier to get diagnosed as an adult (the whole stigma you’re an adult so you are obviously just trying to get drugs to get high) but I hope that her kids won’t have to go through the hell I am.
      Also I think it was pretty easy because she knew I really HATE taking meds and I’ll do what’s needed to not have to take them unless they are absolutely necessary, and my methylphenidate is necessary because I found out that I was close to getting fired just before I started taking methylphenidate.

      • #102861

        Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I also could never study well in common areas, with any kind of music playing near me, or with other people when I was in college. The environment had to be just right and even then I’d often sit for hours attempting to get thoughts out – so frustrating and exhausting.

        Do you think you would have benefited from medication when you were younger or did all this only become necessary because of the requirements of working and going to college? I also try to avoid pharmaceuticals as much as possible, but I’m trying to keep an open mind for my daughter.

      • #102940

        Well I feel my life would be very different now, if I had been diagnosed and medicated in grade school.
        To be blunt, with exception for college professors, with my experiences in grade and high school, I have utter contempt for teachers and counselors.
        Throughout my k12 years it was obvious something was wrong, but because I wasn’t hyperactive, they assumed I was just lazy or seeking attention, even if it was negative, so they put me in counselling.
        Now we all should know the mental faculties of a grade schooler, when they do something wrong and are asked WHY they did it (forgetting an assignment at home repeatedly, for instance) and are very adamant that they DON’T KNOW why they can’t remember to bring it to school.
        Or for any reason they’ve messed up, and talking with a counselor the child gets frustrated because they are unable to communicate why they are the way they are.
        So after a while they just started laying the blame squarely on my shoulders, and said I was just seeking attention and I’m just doing this on purpose and won’t admit it.
        I didn’t start with behavioral problems they have gave then to me, through blaming me for something I didn’t understand and teaching through humiliation, I have horrible math anxiety from repeatedly having to stand at the board for the whole class period, because the teacher said I couldn’t sit down until I figured out the problem on my own.
        Also having aptitude test scores saying that I was above average intelligence didn’t help.
        High school was more of the same until I was expelled, I was tired of being blamed so I stopped going and got my GED.

      • #102948

        Ranma, I’m so sorry you went through all that as a child in school. I had some negative experiences in school as well and my mom ended up pulling me out and homeschooling. I’m so glad we are homeschooling my daughter now too because I can do whatever I need to do to help her learn, which in 1st grade means I’m basically doing everything with her to help keep her on task, we keep lessons short and pleasant, take breaks to move/play in between, eat snacks as needed, and I’m trying out some strategies to help with some working memory issues in math. Thank you so much for sharing your story – I feel like you’re telling me to stay in tune with her overall happiness and ability to do what needs to be done. Right now I think we are managing pretty well without meds, but I can see how they could be quite helpful down the road when her schoolwork is more demanding and she’s at an age where she needs to be doing more independent work.

      • #102966

        Your daughter is fortunate have parents that will make the effort to find what works.
        When I started taking night classes in college, it worked for me because many of us with ADHD are nightowls, also it was usually only two classes a night for anywhere between an hour and a half two three hours, so you’re not trying to focus on too many subjects.
        I was quite puzzled one day when a very large envelope came from my college after exams were over and grades were posted.
        I was dumbfounded when I opened it, I immediately thought it had to have been a mistake, it was a certificate stating that I Ranma had made the deans list with a 3.85 GPA.
        I just wish I could afford to go back and finish my degree.
        I wish you and your daughter all the luck.

    • #102883
      Penny Williams

      If your child is struggling (more than a typical child their age), then it’s time to consider all options.

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

    • #103381

      One day, I took Advil for my migraine. And a few hours later, I realized that my headache was still there, and hadn’t eased up at all. It dawned on me then, that I had actually double-dosed my Effexor instead. I felt sooo sick.

      That’s when I realized that this was a serious problem that I needed to address.

    • #103566

      My 10 year old child has struggled with focus for a number of years with inattentive symptoms. I avoided a diagnosis because I knew the most effective treatment was stimulants and I didn’t want to go there. I was hoping he would grow out of it. He was still doing well academically (although underperforming for a gifted kid) and had minor behavior problems crop up this year, but his attitude towards school was so bad. He was starting to give up because it took so much effort to focus and keeping up while intermittently focusing was getting harder as academic challenges were growing. I knew we had to change something before middle school. We finally put him on a stimulant 10 days ago. A low dose of the stimulant has been nothing short of amazing for him. He loves it and his whole attitude towards school has changed now that he can focus. I am kicking myself for letting him cope for so long.

    • #103567

      Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve had sort of the same attitude so far – not feeling compelled to get a diagnosis because I’m hesitant to jump right to stimulants and we homeschool so I can make adjustments to help her be successful, etc. But after hearing other people’s experiences I think I’m getting a more realistic idea of what the decision to diagnose/medicate would look like. Lots to think about for sure!

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