Diagnosed with ADHD – Now What?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with ADHD, you may already have read about studies which reveal that in many cases, ADHD symptoms in adults can be treated using behavior therapy in conjunction with medication. Of course, not everyone with ADHD is actively seeking treatment or for that matters, classifies their symptoms as ADD disease, but rather an integral part of who they are and a key to their success in life.

It’s not uncommon for people who experience the symptoms of ADHD to not only accept them as a part of their lives but to fear what might happen to them if they begin treatment. If you worry that being treated for ADD will affect your personality, change who you are or impact the way that the people in your life see you, you’re not alone. There are those who weigh their options and ultimately decide that the symptoms of ADHD are a price well worth paying to, essentially be who they are.

In many people, being diagnosed with the condition isn’t exactly a surprise – people who seek a definitive medical diagnosis or even those who take an ADHD self-test generally suspect that they may have ADHD. Even so, receiving a diagnosis as an adult can bring up a lot of different feelings. After all, it’s not necessarily an entirely bad thing to have this condition – people with ADHD are often creative, out of the box thinkers, very energetic and sometimes highly successful.

However, ADHD symptoms in adults can also be problematic in the workplace as well as in social interactions and relationships. People with the condition are typically aware that they experience more difficulty focusing, getting and staying organized and being productive than do most other people without ADHD. A diagnosis can bring a measure of relief, providing answers for some of the questions that people may have asked about themselves. At the same time, learning that one has ADD only as an adult can lead to wondering how differently things could have gone had a diagnosis come earlier.

Because the condition can be hereditary, many of those who are diagnosed as adults decide to be tested for the condition after seeing ADHD in children – namely, their own sons and daughters. Recognizing the struggles that their own children are having in school or, perhaps, in getting along with their peers, can lead parents to see parallels in their own lives. The symptoms of ADHD in children may not be completely identical to those seen in adults, but the similarities are strong enough to give parents cause for suspicion.

These suspicions are often well founded. The parents of children who have received a diagnosis of ADHD have a nearly 40% of having the condition themselves – one or both parents may have passed the trait to their child. If you also happen to have ADHD, then you’ll need to make the decision for yourself whether being tested and seeking treatment is the best course.

Patience, patience, patience

If you do receive a diagnosis after being tested and opt for treatment, patience is the keyword. Finding the right mix of behavior therapy and medication can take time and knowing what may work best for you starts with a little self-education. You don’t need to be a physician, but you should take it upon yourself to learn a little about the condition and have an idea of what you hope to achieve through treatment. It can take months or even as long as a year before you start to see significant improvement while you and your doctors work out which combination of medications and therapy works for your ADHD symptoms; think of your goals as longer term objectives.

While it often takes a significant amount of time before patients see results, ADHD symptoms in adults can also subside quickly in some individuals. There are many people with ADHD who have reported positive results from medication in a matter of days, rather than months.

Therapy and support are the other main component of ADHD treatment and therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist should begin as soon as you begin a course of medication. Therapy can help you to develop better time management and organizational skills to help you to cope more effectively with your symptoms.

Living With A Diagnosis

If you’re diagnosed with ADHD, you’re also eligible for legal protection under federal law. These protections extend to the workplace, where accommodations can be made to make it easier for you to perform your job. You aren’t required to disclose the fact that you have ADHD to your employer or to anyone else, for that matter. However, if there are things that could be done to help you perform at a higher level at work – shorter, more frequent breaks, for instance, or shutting out distractions by closing the door to your office, you might want to talk to your employer about them.

A strong social support system is also important. Try not to rely too much on any one person, but do accept the support of the people in your life – you may also want to consider joining a support group for people with ADHD. In combination with medication, therapy, and reasonable accommodations at work, if needed, you may be surprised by just how well you can overcome the symptoms of ADHD while managing to stay entirely yourself!

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Latest update: October 12, 2016
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