Failure at Life or Attention Disorder
Have you always wondered why you just can’t seem to “get it together?” Perhaps you constantly lose your car keys or find them in strange places. Maybe every year your New Year’s resolution is “to get organized.” How many planners or calendars have you bought and never even opened?
Have you switched majors, friends, or hobbies every year? Maybe you have trouble holding down a job? Are you one that starts chores or projects, gets sidetracked, and ends up with a list of half-finished tasks? You feel like your brain is on overdrive and is constantly zooming through different ideas or thoughts.
Do you need to set three alarms in different spots in the room just to wake up on time? Perhaps you have never been “a morning person” and don’t function well before 2 cups of caffeine. Or maybe, you are always the last one at school pick-up. Sadly, your family has become used to you being chronically late.
Perhaps you were one that always managed to “get by,” or were successful until the multiple demands of work, relationships, parenting, and life became too much. Being in charge of organizing not only your life but your spouse’s and kids make you feel like you are drowning. The constant parade of dentist appointments, school plays, soccer practice, dry cleaning, laundry, and meal planning makes you want to hide under the covers and cry.
ADHD Diagnosis in Adults
If you feel overwhelmed by the details of life, you are not alone. Many adult women and men feel the same shame at their inability to cope or keep up with more organized friends and coworkers. Struggling to hold down a job, trouble meeting goals, or constant conflict in relationships can lead to deep embarrassment and sadness. Adults with ADHD often find it easier to avoid relationships, promotions, or new responsibilities for fear of failure. Being told since childhood that you should just “try harder” or stop being “lazy” has caused deep insecurities about your ability and worth. By now, the anxiety and stress you feel may seem like it will never end.
Doctors used to think that ADHD ended in childhood, but now we know different. ADD/ADHD sometimes does not even start or show signs until adulthood; a time when the demands of life overwhelm the ability to cope.
How Can I Tell If I Have ADD or ADHD?
The first step to overcoming ADHD is to get an accurate diagnosis. Adult ADHD testing includes a thorough background interview, rating forms, measures of attention/memory, possible IQ testing, and if needed, emotional assessment. Rating scales ask about behavior and symptoms in childhood and currently, and give an opportunity for other family or friends give input about work, home, or school. Adults often also have additional mental health, substance abuse, or learning problems that are undiagnosed. Any ADHD assessment should also rule out those issues.
After your Adult ADHD evaluation, a second session focuses on reviewing results, strategies, and resources to handle symptoms. You may receive recommendations for medication management, counseling or psychotherapy, stress management services, or ADHD coaching.
The Bottom Line
Most adults with ADHD deeply desire success but problems like forgetfulness and disorganization sidetrack them from their goals. An ADHD diagnosis helps you identify weaknesses and learn new ways to cope. With the right diagnosis and treatment, a new world of possibilities will be open to you. As they say, “the sky is the limit.”
Still have questions? Listen to Dr. Pasqua speak on a recent podcast about psychological testing to learn more.