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8 Reasons For Late ADHD Diagnosis Among Adults

Getting diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as an adult is pretty awkward. For one, the diagnostic criteria for ADHD were designed to identify symptoms in children. Signs like "constantly running about and climbing to places," or "difficulty in accomplishing schoolwork" are more inclined to children's symptoms, thus, do not help with adult ADHD diagnosis.
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8 Reasons For Late ADHD Diagnosis Among Adults


Getting diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as an adult is pretty awkward. For one, the diagnostic criteria for ADHD were designed to identify symptoms in children. Signs like “constantly running about and climbing to places,” or “difficulty in accomplishing schoolwork” are more inclined to children’s ADHD symptoms, thus, do not help with adult ADHD diagnosis.  Adults tend to have their own criteria, like being hardworking, problem-solving individuals who have developed strategies to cope with their symptoms.

Common ADHD diagnosis is made when kids show signs of disruptiveness or are discovered to have learning disabilities. The ones who fail to notice these instances tend never to get an official diagnosis.

Here are eight reasons why most Adult ADHD tend to slip and miss the opportunity of getting diagnosed:

1.) Mediocre Criteria for Adult ADHD diagnosis

Here’s an “oh my!” fact: a lot of today’s physicians still don’t believe that ADHD exists, especially among adults. What’s worse is that about 90% of psychiatrists for adults claim not to have any ADHD training. These physicians do even consider the importance of having ADHD training added to their medical practice. Why would they when ADHD is for kids, right? Wrong! This is the reason why most are unaware of recognising ADHD symptoms of adults.

Most physicians are still following the outdated little boy archetype. Because of this, they aren’t familiar with adult ADHD experiences like sleeping difficulties, relationship turmoil, and rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD). These symptoms are not found in children nor is it included in the ADHD category of symptoms outlined by the National Health Service (NHS).

2.) The ADHD Stigma

Adults with ADHD have endured their symptoms for their entire lives. They’ve gone through the depression of being told that they’re not living up to expectations, along with the struggle of being told that they are not normal, or have a bad brain. In some cases, the symptoms of RSD among adults with ADHD experience withdrawals and rejections in an excruciating way.

Often times, the only reason why adults seek for ADHD treatment is that their spouse, or their boss sad, “Get yourself together, or this is the end of the line.” All of these criticisms and pressure can build up into shame that can make seeking for medical help seem impossible.

3.) Misdiagnosis

With ADHD symptoms overlapping with other mental health conditions, it’s a pretty common theme for doctors to make mistakes with their diagnosis. They may mistake your ADHD symptoms for anxiety, mood disorders, OCD, or other mental health conditions that have symptoms that overlap with the ADHD. Hyperactivity for adults can be turned inward. You may think that your racing thoughts are a result of anxiety when it’s actually caused by your over-activity in the brain due to your ADHD.

Internal behaviours are a bit more complicated to detect and diagnose. To come up with an accurate diagnosis, doctors tend to need more time to find and put together the pieces of various ADHD symptoms during a holistic clinical interview. However, most doctors only offer a 15-minute visit to their clinic, which is not enough time, to say the least.

4.) Sleeping Problems

There hasn’t been any evidence that would prove sleeping difficulties to be an official symptom for adult ADHD. However, research shows that 40% of adults with the condition say it’s their biggest problem. Some adults with ADHD even describe themselves as night owls, as they tend to get their best burst of energy during the night. Their minds are functioning at night, and they’re unable to turn it off. They tend to become uncomfortable, which results in a lot of turning, fidgeting, and worrying though there are tips to overcome sleep challenges in people with ADHD.

In the same research, another 20% claim to fall asleep fast, only to wake up a couple of hours later with their minds exploding with different thoughts and impulses.

5.) Coping Skills & High IQ Could Lead To Missed Symptoms

An ADHD-influenced nervous system is usually brighter and more creative compared to the typical average person. Because of this, adults with ADHD tend to develop ways to compensate for their ADHD symptoms and control their ADHD tendencies and make their way through life. Diagnosis will usually occur once an adult has a child that is diagnosed with ADHD or complains about their career becoming too stressful and too much to bear.

6.) Fear Of Medication

People with mood or anxiety disorders often hesitate about treating their ADHD because they assume ADHD medication aggravates their symptoms, or interfere with other meds that they are also taking. However, recent studies made by the NHS confirms that stimulants like SSRI do not worsen anxiety, especially when the dose of medication is just right. As long as conditions like high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and other types of disorder are controlled and stabilised, ADHD medication is safe. Keep in mind that stimulants don’t increase blood pressure unless your dosage rate is way too high.

7.) Self-Treatment & Medication

Undiagnosed ADHD can result in depression and low self-confidence. These effects are brought by a lifetime of poor job and relationship performance. Many adults who go undiagnosed resort to self-medication consisting of drugs, alcohol, smoking, and several other bad habits. However, 20% of undiagnosed ADHD adults have obtained their ADHD-regulation solution through regular exercise. An hour of aerobic activities can already translate into four hours of relief from ADHD symptoms. Others, on the other hand, abuse caffeine, which isn’t the best, but still works better than another to manage their symptoms.

8.) Slow response to Medication

Just because you lack an immediate reaction to ADHD medication doesn’t’ mean you don’t have ADHD. It can either be the dosage is just way off, or the medication you’re taking doesn’t fit. If you’ve tried methylphenidate and it didn’t work, amphetamine might be an alternative solution.

Most of the time, it can take a few tries to find the right treatment for your ADHD. Some people tend to give up after failing on the first try. One way to treat your ADHD is not to give up and try other alternative medications until you come up with the best one for you.

Get Expert Help Now!

The reason why some people get a late diagnosis is that they tend to ignore their ADHD symptoms. Some even assume that it will eventually subside – but it didn’t, and now you’re faced with having ADHD as an adult.

Your symptoms will stay unless you do something about it. So if you think you have ADHD, it’s crucial that you get help right away. So book an appointment to your nearest local ADHD clinic today and get a proper diagnosis as early as possible. If you live on or near London or Manchester, you’ll be relieved to know that the ADHD Centre London is currently operating in these areas.

The ADHD Centre offers holistic ADHD treatment and cares for both children and adults. We are also affiliated with other ADHD clinics and organisations to maximise our services. Are you living within the UK? Lovely! We also offer online assessment via Zoom for Healthcare. So wherever you are in UK, know that the ADHD Specialist UK is always available for your ADHD needs.

Get Diagnosed As Early As Possible

To overcome your ADHD, it’s crucial that you get diagnosed and receive treatment right away. There’s no reason to get an official diagnosis in the first place. If you think that you have ADHD, then that’s more than enough reason for you to go and consult an ADHD specialist. So stop doubting and start making a difference in your life by getting an official ADHD diagnosis and taking proper medication today.

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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