Late diagnosis for many with ADHD or ADD does not happen until adulthood even though their symptoms have been present, in one form or another, since childhood. Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can lead to a lifetime of emotional turmoil and difficulty.
Late Diagnosis versus Inaccurate Diagnosis
Often a diagnosis, when finally given, is not an accurate one, leading to a common reason for a late or delayed ADHD diagnosis. Adults with ADHD tend to receive a diagnosis of depression with the focus of treatment and medications used dealing with the depressed mood, leaving ADHD undiagnosed and untreated. While depression may be present along with ADHD, it is common for the inexperienced mental health professional to treat the “most obvious” leaving their patient with continued frustration, life disorganization, and social difficulties.
Late Diagnosis ADHD Steps of Acceptance
Many adults find difficulty in coming to terms when they finally received an accurate late diagnosis of ADHD. Some of the common steps to self-acceptance through the treatment process include:
- Denial – even with relief that a correct diagnosis and treatment is in place, it may take a period of time to accept the diagnosis and understand how treatment will change your life
- Anger – many feel anger over past lost opportunities, at others for not seeking help for them sooner, at the unfairness of life in general, or with all the difficulties faced in life because of the undiagnosed ADHD
- Depression – medication may not cure all the difficulties experienced with life and social relationships even though there is much improvement with less overall frustration. Many need time to adjust to a new lifestyle, sometimes wanting to return to old familiar ways even with all the daily struggles involved.
- Acceptance – with support, education, medications prescribed, cognitive behavioral therapy, adjustment to a different type of lifestyle, or just with the passage of time, most are able to accept the late diagnosis of adult ADHD and enjoy the positive changes.
Late Diagnosis Adult ADHD Implications
The serious impact of failing to treat ADHD continues throughout adulthood. Adults with unmedicated ADHD are 78% more likely to be addicted to tobacco and 58% more likely to use illegal drugs than those without ADHD. Additionally, 79% of adults with ADHD report symptoms of anxiety, depression, and physical ailments. Symptoms of ADHD interfere with personal relationships and reduce chances of personal satisfaction with life choices. Left undiagnosed and untreated ADHD is among the most debilitating disorders to live with.
Late Diagnosis Adult ADHD Psychiatrist
Left undiagnosed and untreated ADHD is among the most debilitating disorders to live with. If you feel you may have ADHD, call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation for an accurate diagnosis which may include late diagnosis adult ADHD.