When your ADHD diagnosis arrives, it can be overwhelming.
Hopefully most of your feelings about it are positive. In some respects, years or decades of frustration and missteps suddenly make a lot of sense. There is also comfort from the revelation that many of the bad habits and problem behaviors that have hampered your personal life and success at school or work are the result of a different neurological arrangement of brain tissue. It’s just biology.
Yet adjusting to the ADHD diagnosis and treatment plan can be stressful as well. Some people might feel lost in a new wilderness, unsure of how to proceed. Others might feel bombarded with too much information. The most important thing is to go slowly and seek out what makes you feel comfortable as you adjust to your new definition of normal. Here’s some back-to-basics advice to help you get there.
Take a Breath, Have a Conversation
When you receive your diagnosis, take a few days to think it over. Often this diagnosis will come after one or even a few other earlier misdiagnoses. This is because ADHD can have secondary symptoms, like anxiety or depression, which are easily mistaken as the only issue at first. Consider all of your questions for your doctor, write them down, and head back in to create a treatment plan. Most ADHDers benefit from a combination of healthy diet, exercise, good sleep habits, meditation, coaching and/or medication.
If your doctor feels strongly about certain details, ask for an explanation, and be honest if you disagree. If you’re interested in a second opinion or a doctor who has more Adult ADHD experience, go look for it. There is no harm in asking, and the most important thing is to create a strong and comfortable support system. Other great ideas about talking to doctors about your new Adult ADHD diagnosis can be found in the ADDitude Magazine article “Adult ADHD Diagnosis – What to Ask a New Doctor.”
On the subject of second opinions, this might be an option utilized more often by women than by men due to an unfortunate, persistent stereotype that women are not afflicted by ADHD. Even though it has been debunked, this myth still leads to misdiagnoses in ADHD women every year. For more information on the special concerns for adult women with ADHD, I recommend the ADDitude Magazine article “ADD Women: Why Moms and Girls Go Undiagnosed.”
One more note about the medical side of diagnosis: try not to expect instant results. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t, be flexible about adjusting your treatment plan, but know that in some cases it takes over six months for the ADHDers to think, “Things are really starting to change for the better.” Simply stick with it! It will pay off in the long run.
Arm Yourself With Information
People with ADHD are protected by federal laws, arguably the most important of which prevent discriminatory job termination. That is just one of the facts which every ADHDer should be familiar with.
There is plenty of food for thought out there for ADHDers – even enough to become overwhelming. Step back and remind yourself of your favorite way to learn, and let that guide you. There are articles like this one, there are videos and slideshows for visual learners, there are blogs for people who prefer to learn through anecdotes, there are in-person support groups and counselors (and, of course, ADHD coaches) for people who want one-on-one attention or a sounding board.
These ADHD resources are a good place to start:
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Psych Central’s ADHD Portal
Everyday Health ADHD Portal
Whichever resource you choose, you will find a broad selection of advice on treatment plans, changing bad habits, modifying negative behavioral issues, minimizing the secondary ADHD symptoms in your life, and moving on to a healthier place in general.
Sharing Your Diagnosis
One of the touchiest subjects in the weeks after an ADHD diagnosis is who to tell. Your own personal reaction may dictate how you go about informing your family, friends and coworkers – those who are relieved by their diagnosis may want to share it with everyone, or those who are unhappy about their diagnosis may want to lock it away as a secret. Either way, it is a delicate situation and deserves special attention.
Revealing your ADHD diagnosis to family members and close friends is a good idea in general. Your treatment plan will entail changes to your habits and routines, and since their lives will be impacted as well, they deserve an opportunity to know what’s going on. They will probably also want to be there for you and show you their support. For ADHDers put on a medication, loved ones can help monitor side effects or adverse reactions as necessary.
Most importantly, your transition from being held captive by the uncontrollable effects of ADHD to a self-controlled and healthy person will be emotional and challenging. Ask the people you love and trust to support you. Share the information you have learned about ADHD with them as well, so they can move past any outdated stereotypes they might have in their minds. Bring them into the loop and give them the tools they’ll need to cheer you on.
Telling bosses and coworkers about ADHD is a stickier subject. It’s one thing if Great Aunt Margaret never bothers to read up on ADHD and makes a spiteful joke every year at Thanksgiving. It’s another thing if that sort of reaction happens in the workplace, when your livelihood could be affected. You are under no legal obligation to explain your condition to your employer. In many cases, actions speak louder than words – it might be best to simply dive in to your treatment plan privately and let your job performance improve naturally. s489 pill 50 mg