More adults than ever are experiencing the benefits of an ADHD diagnosis. Most of us associate ADHD with fidgety and “hyperactive” kids, but ADHD presents differently in adults, making it difficult to diagnose. Accepting an ADHD diagnosis can be emotional, but the freedom you experience accepting and normalizing your experience is so worth it. If you suspect that you have ADHD as an adult and want some help, this information is for you.
Although more and more adults are learning how ADHD presents through social media like TikTok (the algorithm can definitely pick up on if you relate to ADHD TikTok), ADHD is still underdiagnosed and untreated. But if you find it difficult to concentrate, follow directions, stay on task, organize, and keep your emotions stable, you may have adult ADHD.
I myself was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, and it gave me so much clarity. I also finally felt understood, like my behaviors weren’t a “weakness.”
Since ADHD presents differently in adults, treatment for ADHD is different. Along with typical ADHD treatments like medication, we‘ll explore the identity crisis and stigma you may experience as a neurodivergent person. As an ADHD therapist for adults, I understand where you’re coming from, and we can work through it together.
Many adults who have ADHD also have other mental health diagnoses, which we call comorbidities. Learning about these things in therapy helps you gain a deeper understanding of your mental health.Ready to give ADHD therapy a try? Contact me to schedule an appointment.
As I mentioned, I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. Online, I related more and more to posts and videos about ADHD in adults. Once the seed was planted that I may have ADHD, I took to the DSM, or the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual, which helps therapists and doctors diagnose different mental health disorders.
Because of my clinical expertise, I got in my head and questioned whether or not I actually had ADHD. There’s so much ableism and skepticism in the medical field when it comes to ADHD, so doctors invalidated my experience by immediately dismissing my symptoms. Doctors certainly gatekept medication from me, even though I wanted help. The implication was that I was lazy, which fueled my negative self-talk.
I found that the medical system didn’t support people with ADHD at all. The hoops I had to jump through were not built for people like me. That’s why in ADHD therapy, I will validate you. Your experience is real, and I know the weight that a professional’s opinion can have. I’m here to help you understand and advocate for yourself. You’re neurodivergent, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of awesome.
Along with coping strategies for ADHD, we’ll discuss how it feels to receive an ADHD diagnosis as an adult. You may feel understood and confused at the same time, which is totally normal. You likely have a lot of thoughts, concerns, and questions. I’m here to help.
Here are some common questions I get about ADHD and ADHD therapy.
Although you’ve always had ADHD, certain things do trigger your ADHD. For example, increased screen time, stress, bad sleep, and overstimulation may worsen your symptoms. When you understand that you have ADHD, you can start curating your environment and lifestyle to support your ADHD, not work against it.
This is super common. In fact, a study reports that 81% of adults with ADHD had at least one comorbid diagnosis (which are two or more mental health diagnoses at the same time), while 56% had at least two comorbid diagnoses. Many times, therapists and doctors rule out other diagnoses by treating the most severely representing disorder first. This helps us rule out other diagnoses.
As an anxiety therapist, I see a lot of clients with anxiety that suspect they have ADHD. Many people with anxiety feel panicky as their minds jump from one thought to another, so they may struggle to concentrate on the task at hand. Although this symptom is shared with ADHD, ADHD presents with other symptoms like impulsivity and difficulties with time management.
As a therapist, I like to provide actionable solutions and a safe space for clients to process their ADHD diagnoses. That means we’ll discuss practical strategies for managing ADHD, but also the realization that you’re neurodivergent and were misunderstood for a lot of your life. You’ll learn that an adult diagnosis is way more than discussing medication and trying to “pay attention.” There are complex emotional reactions too, and those are completely valid. Although our society has come a long way when it comes to stigma against mental health, we still have a long way to go.
A lot of times, elementary and middle school teachers suspect students with behavioral problems have ADHD. Even though you had ADHD, you may not have had behavioral problems, so your ADHD presented more subtly. But as you know now, ADHD is so much more than hyperactivity. You learned how to cope with ADHD in school, slipping under the radar for decades. Now that you experience ADHD while you are “adulting” and working in a professional setting, you may notice your ADHD for the first time.
Differences in ADHD between males and females are more obvious when we are children and teenagers. Women and girls are less likely to have the hyperactive component of ADHD. Instead, women are more likely to have low self esteem, underachievement issues, and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.