I was 36 years old when someone first suggested I might have ADHD.
"No way—I can spend hours focused on something if I'm interested in it," I said.
Turns out that's called hyperfocus, a symptom of ADHD.
After reading about more all-too-familiar symptoms, I decided to get an official diagnosis.
Why Get Diagnosed?
ADHD can be a "good news" diagnosis because life often improves once you know that you have it. There are many treatments that can help including:
- Medication. ADHD meds have a bad reputation because they can often be abused, but they are life-changing for many.
- Coaching/counseling. A coach can help you find strategies and behavior methods to manage your symptoms.
- School or workplace accommodation. U.S. federal law recognizes ADHD as a disability, meaning you may be eligible for accommodations.
Who Can Diagnose?
In the United States, you can be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional, clinical social worker, or physician (including psychologist, neurologist, or family doctor). Find someone that specializes in ADHD.
Warning: some medical professionals still deny the existence of ADHD, despite its inclusion in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Stay away from these people.
Life After Diagnosis
After my ADHD diagnosis, I sought counseling. This helped me better understand my relationships, my behaviors, and enabled me to grow in ways I never thought possible.
If you think you might have ADHD, seek out a diagnosis right away.