Adult ADHD What’s Next | Could it be ADHD?

What’s next?

“ADHD is not an excuse; it’s an explanation.”

Despite the stigma that still exists around ADHD, it can be especially liberating for adults with undiagnosed ADHD to finally obtain a diagnosis. Not only can they and their loved ones now begin to fully understand previously unexplained (and often undesired) past behaviour, but they are also able to identify specific strategies they need to move forward.

While there is no cure for ADHD, when properly diagnosed and treated, ADHD can be well managed, leading to increased satisfaction in life and significant improvements in daily functioning. Many individuals with ADHD lead highly successful and happy lives. An accurate diagnosis is the first step in learning to effectively manage ADHD.

VIDEO:
Steve - Diagnosed with ADHD

The opinions expressed by speakers are based on their personal experiences and are not necessarily representative of those of the general population nor of the sponsor of this website.

To download a transcript of this video, click here.

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How is adult ADHD diagnosed?

Although there is no single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD, a qualified mental healthcare professional or physician can provide a diagnostic evaluation. This evaluation process includes gathering information from multiple sources, such as:

  • ADHD symptom checklists
  • Standardized behaviour rating scales
  • Detailed history of past and current functioning
  • Information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well

ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just by talking to someone or from brief office observations. A person may not always exhibit the symptoms of ADHD in the office, and the clinician needs to take a thorough history of the individual’s life. A diagnosis of ADHD must also include consideration of the possible presence of co-occurring conditions.

Two at office whiteboard

HOW IS ADULT ADHD MANAGED?

Many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continue to experience symptoms after reaching adulthood. If you have adult ADHD, you should know that there are many strategies to manage it, and it’s never too late to get treatment! Detailed guidance has emerged for adults who experience symptoms of the disorder. As is the case with children, combination treatment—medication plus psychotherapy—seems to offer the best chance at symptom relief for adults.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan for ADHD. You and your doctor will need to work together to find out what strategy works best for you. Your ADHD management plan may include:

  • Medication options
  • Education
  • Behavioural therapy and coaching

And your plan may change based on your symptoms and how you respond to any treatment you’re taking. You’ll need to work with your doctor to establish your treatment plan as it evolves over time.

Couple in park

Myths & Facts

MYTH:

I DON’T HAVE ALL THE SYMPTOMS OF ADHD, SO I CAN’T HAVE IT.

FACT:

You don’t have to display all the symptoms of ADHD to be diagnosed with it. For example, some people have the “inattentive” type of ADHD and may not show many signs of hyperactivity. Only a trained professional can determine whether or not you have ADHD.

MYTH:

ADHD IS OVER-DIAGNOSED BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS DIFFICULTY PAYING ATTENTION AND BEING RESTLESS AT TIMES

FACT:

Diagnosis is a complex process. Although many people exhibit some of the symptoms some of the time, the symptoms must be considered an impairment to daily functioning, be recognized in more than one setting, and persist for at least 6 months for a diagnosis to occur. Since there are three subcategories of ADHD (i.e., inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity) you do not need to be hyperactive to have ADHD.

MYTH:

ADHD IS JUST A KIDS’ DISORDER. EVENTUALLY, YOU OUTGROW IT.

FACT:

While it’s true that some ADHD symptoms subside or change over time, the majority of children with ADHD will continue to experience the symptom challenges as adults. If you’ve only just realized that you might have ADHD, it’s not too late to get treatment for it!

MYTH:

PEOPLE WITH ADHD ARE JUST LAZY.

FACT:

Statements like this can be hurtful to people with ADHD. It may help to know that ADHD is not something that can be turned on or off at will. There are actual differences in the way the brains of people with ADHD work, and this is what leads to inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

MYTH:

PEOPLE WITH ADHD SIMPLY DON’T WANT TO FOCUS OR COMPLETE TASKS THAT THEY DON’T ENJOY.

FACT:

People with ADHD find it difficult to regulate their attention. They are not just distracted or absentminded. Others may misconstrue the ability of someone with ADHD to “hyperfocus” on a stimulating task (like a video game) for hours as an example that the person can focus, but lacks willpower. Being unable to break or prioritize focus is a core symptom of ADHD.

Real-life stories of adult ADHD
Hear from real people who have been diagnosed with ADHD and their loved ones

VIDEO:
Lecia, 41-year-old mother diagnosed with ADHD at age 40, has sons with ADHD

 

The opinions expressed by speakers are based on their personal experiences and are not necessarily representative of those of the general population nor of the sponsor of this website.

To download a transcript of this video, click here.

VIDEO:
Kara, 41 - Diagnosed with ADHD at age 40. Two of her three children also have ADHD

The opinions expressed by speakers are based on their personal experiences and are not necessarily representative of those of the general population nor of the sponsor of this website.

To download a transcript of this video, click here.

VIDEO:
Mike - Diagnosed with ADHD at age 6

The opinions expressed by speakers are based on their personal experiences and are not necessarily representative of those of the general population nor of the sponsor of this website.

To download a transcript of this video, click here.