To get a diagnosis or not get a diagnosis - that is the question

When you are about to turn 50, and have managed to survive this far coping rather well with ADHD - then should you bother going for a diagnosis. In my case, my son was diagnosed, so really the diagnosis should all be about him. The fact is that I can now see the traits going back down the line through me to my father - and I had a lightbulb moment at the ADHD international conference in Liverpool to make me realise - Aha! I'm the genetic culprit!

So, should I go for that diagnosis? Well I think, I have now, with a little bit of helpful therapy, decided yes. It's not just the self medicating, perhaps controlled medication would be safer all round, but also it might actually push me into a new phase in my career. I realise that my efficiency has floundered in the unstructured world of a freelancer, and myabe I'd be able to manage better if I was to take the official medication instead of calming myself down daily unofficially.

Perhaps the most enlightening realisation, that was for all my proselytising and fighting on behalf of my son to counter the stigma around ADHD (or any neurodisability, or neurodevelopmental disorder or mental health full stop for that matter), I realise that I was subject to that myself. With a diagnosis, I might have to declare my ADHD - say on job or work applications, or god knows where. Without it, I am still in the dark.

But for all the helpfulness in realising that I have it (or am fairly sure I have it) and all the measures that I have put in place to try and counter my daily forgetfulness and havoc I wreak regularly, I still think that I will go for the diagnosis.

How can I fight that stigma until I am brave enough to own who I am myself. Reason enough to do it.

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Comment by Mickie As In Mouse on September 9, 2014 at 3:21pm

I am 63 & was diagnoised this summer by my therapist. I realize I have learned lots of ways over the years to cope, but many changes-destabilizers have happened over the last couple of years & not much works anymore. Trying to decide if I should go to my medical dr. for pills. Am taking Prozac for depression. keeps me Level (which was good the last week, where I probably had a major breakdown) but am still kicking & coming out of it. I definitely have lots of life left to live & do not want to go on this way. (My mom just turned 92 & I can see I go it from her. And passed it on to my daughter. Go figure.

Nice to know someone out there is in my same boat. Thanks.

Comment by Emma on March 30, 2014 at 5:49pm

WEll I think Giving up smoking was when a sudden burst of hyperactive energy followed, and that is when it was suggested by the doctor to go and get a diagnosis. We are fortunate to have private healthcare BUT, since my son was diagnosed, guess what? The PPP plan has stopped offering diagnoses for ADHD and similar disorders on their care plan. The thought of going through the NHS fills me slightly with horror. The little brush I have had with child psychiatrists on the NHS and the total lack of follow up and support, which pushed us into the private paediatric psychiatry sector (not covered by private healthcare) was enough to put me off that route. I call it the Sybil Fawlty approach, the so-called professionals just sat around in the room saying "Isn't it awful, I knooooww", as I articulated the struggles my son was going through before suspended from school while doing Absolutely Nothing to help.

There is a degree of self-medication going on as well, which may be better controlled with medication rather than substance abuse. 

The truth is at 49 I am conflicted over whether it is worth bothering for me.

Comment by Susan on March 29, 2014 at 4:27pm
I also want to say that Ashley makes a valid point so you may want to ask your Doctor what he or she thinks.
Comment by Susan on March 29, 2014 at 4:26pm
can a job force us to tell them that we have ADHD? I don't think so. I think what you have to watch for is your own reaction to a diagnosis. How we handle our mistakes and difficulties can really determine how others see us. for a long time I would feel shame and over apologize because I knew I had a disorder. It is my experience that people do not respect that and in fact trust less. Some people can make mistakes but because they have confidence or show confidence people do not think anything about it. If officially being diagnosed with ADHD erodes your confidence in yourself then perhaps you are wise to hesitate. Additionally, there is no objective means of diagnosis. In schools, sometimes a Doctor will give a parent a checklist called, the Connors Scale. The parents fill out the form and the teacher might fill out another form and that is how it is decided. I know that Dr. amen does brain scans that shows ADHD but that would be very expensive. On the other hand I was diagnosed and am glad for it. I am taking medication which helps tremendously. this is an individual decision. I think that if you are not sure perhaps waiting is not a bad idea.
Comment by Ashley on March 27, 2014 at 5:37pm

It is good to just know for sure what you have going on. Also, there are other things that can cause or even mimic ADHD symptoms, so I would definitely go in for a checkup. 

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