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ADHD in adulthood: Clinical diagnoses and coping mechanisms

ADHD diagnosis starts with a thorough psychological assessment. It usually includes a series of tests and questionnaires, but it's more than just filling in blanks and multiple-choice questions; it's about engaging in deep, meaningful conversations with a professional about your behaviours, experiences, and challenges.

By Amara GomezPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Assessment

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is something that was often swept under the rug, and as a result, many adults with the condition did not receive diagnoses growing up. There are plenty of older people who are completely unaware that they have this condition as they have likely become exceptionally good at creating coping mechanisms throughout their lives.

Many people operate under the misconception that ADHD is solely a children's issue, the reality, however, is quite the opposite. Regardless of whether it has gone undiagnosed or perhaps misdiagnosed, those with the condition continue to experience its symptoms right through life.

This brings us to the question: Why should you consider getting an official ADHD assessment for adults?

Coping mechanisms: Helpful but limiting

We all have our quirks, right? Maybe you're the person who always loses their keys or forgets appointments. Perhaps you're perpetually late and have a knack for procrastination. You've found ways to manage: sticky notes everywhere, setting multiple alarms, or enlisting a 'nagging' partner to keep you on track. These coping mechanisms might seem like everyday strategies, but they could also be masking underlying ADHD symptoms.

Coping mechanisms are not inherently bad. They can act as little life rafts that help us to navigate the choppy waters of everyday life. But unfortunately, they can also limit us.

Relying solely on coping strategies without understanding the reason why you need them means that you’re treating the symptoms instead of the root cause. This can lead to frustration, decreased productivity, and even jeopardise relationships.

Unlocking doors: The importance of a psychological assessment

Getting an official ADHD diagnosis starts with a thorough psychological assessment. It usually includes a series of tests and questionnaires, but it's more than just filling in blanks and multiple-choice questions; it's about engaging in deep, meaningful conversations with a professional about your behaviours, experiences, and challenges.

Think of it as a personalised GPS for your mental landscape. Just as a GPS needs to survey the land to provide the best route, the assessment helps clinicians map out your unique cognitive patterns.

The results of the assessment allow healthcare providers to tailor treatments to your struggles, habits and triggers.

You’ve probably felt like it’s all in your head as many other people with undiagnosed ADHD do. But it isn’t and you’re not imagining the problem. A psychological assessment gives you something extremely powerful: validation. If you receive an ADHD diagnosis, you should view it as tangible proof that what you're experiencing is real, and it's not because you're lazy, unintelligent, or not trying hard enough. This affirmation alone can be incredibly liberating and can even act as a catalyst for positive change in your life.

Once you have a formal diagnosis, a whole new world of resources will open up to you from support groups and forums to educational materials specifically designed for adults. Connecting with others who are experiencing similar challenges can be comforting and enlightening.

Many adults who receive a diagnosis later in life also find that they can set themselves up for improved health and success in the future. The condition can interact with other life changes or health conditions in unpredictable ways; by having an understanding, you will be equipped to manage these connections going forward.

Medication and management

One thing to be aware of is that medication is not for everyone, and it is not the only treatment option out there.

However, knowing you have ADHD will give you the opportunity to collaborate with your healthcare provider on what the best course of action should be based on your specific needs.

If you do decide to try medication and it is effective, it can have a huge impact on how well you can manage daily challenges. People often find that difficulties they had holding focus and completing tasks without procrastination have melted away, and they can easily boost their productivity.

Holistic treatments and therapies

If medication is not right for you, there is a wealth of other treatment options. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)is a method that helps many people to identify negative patterns and replace them with constructive habits. Other therapies like mindfulness and meditation can also be effective when tailored to address ADHD symptoms.

Managing what could be ADHD with coping mechanisms can help adults without a diagnosis to get by, but daily tasks can still be incredibly difficult. Finding out what the root cause of this is can be liberating and life changing as it opens up the door to effective, clinical treatment.

But this can only be achieved through an ADHD assessment for adults. If you struggle with similar symptoms to those mentioned above, consider seeking out a specialist and getting tested for the condition. Taking the first steps to understanding your own challenges is daunting, but it may be one of the most worthwhile investments you can make.

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About the Creator

Amara Gomez

I am skilled in go-to-market strategy, product and consumer insights, messaging, demand generation, digital marketing (PPC, SEO, social, email, website, content, etc...) product marketing, customer advocacy, and content development.

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