Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be very challenging to live with. Adults who have symptoms of ADHD are more likely to be in car accidents, be divorced, and often suffer financial hardships. “A.D.H.D. is a very debilitating mental disorder,” said Russell Barkley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. “It can produce more severe impairment, and in more domains of life, than depression or anxiety.” According to a recent article, nearly five percent of the adult population has ADHD, yet only a fraction of them ever get a proper diagnosis. The symptoms can mimic those of anxiety, bipolar or depression. Women, in particular, often get misdiagnosed. One of the first things to identify is if the symptoms have been present throughout your lifetime. Dr. Barkley added, “If you tell me, ‘My life was fine until I was 24,’ you don’t have this disorder.”
Finding a doctor who can diagnose ADHD correctly can cost time and money. Some clinicians prefer to have extensive evaluations conducted while others arrive at a diagnosis much too quickly. Ari Tuckman, a psychologist in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said, “Many clinicians do not know how to spot the signs.” He added, “I can’t guess how many clients I have had who have seen other psychologists, psychiatrists and primary care physicians who missed their A.D.H.D., even though it was burning like a bonfire. It’s possible to make a diagnosis by using a rating scale and a 10-minute discussion, but it’s also far too easy to make an inaccurate diagnosis or miss a diagnosis.” Experts recommend that a client make appointments with several professionals who have experience diagnosing and treating ADHD. Once diagnosed, experts emphasize that a person can learn to live a balanced and productive life if they receive the proper treatment for their ADHD symptoms.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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