Should I Get Tested For ADHD?

Should I Get Tested For ADHD?Are you wondering if to get tested for ADHD when you are an adult? Some people are hesitant to get an official diagnosis for ADHD. They wonder if there is any point spending time and money on getting a test now they are adults.
Getting an official diagnosis can be empowering. It explains why you are the way you are; why aspects of life are more challenging for you than other people. It can increase your self-esteem and confidence, because now, you know your struggles aren’t because you are lazy or careless, but because you have a real, neurological differences in your brain.

There are also some darker emotions that surface as you think of having this new ‘official’ information about yourself:  Anger and sadness that your life could have been different if you had known sooner.  Sometimes, it’s the thought of those emotions that prevent people from getting diagnosed.

If you are wondering if to get tested for ADHD, here are some points to consider:

Yes get tested!

Burning desire to know
If you have a burning desire to know if you have ADHD, making the decision to get tested is an easy yes. When you know for sure if you have ADHD, you gain clarity, have “a-ha” moments, and feel validated. You can also start treating your ADHD.

You are a student
If you are a student and you think you have ADHD, then absolutely get tested. No matter what your age, 18 or 64, being a student when you have ADHD, is challenging. By getting an official diagnosis for ADHD, you are eligible for student accommodations, such as extra time with exams, sitting exams in a quiet room, help with note taking, etc. These accommodations are only available when you have an up-to-date ADHD diagnosis. They are very helpful in making sure you get the grades you are capable of.

On the fence?

If you are on the fence and can’t decide if you should get tested or not, it means you haven’t got enough information at the moment to make your decision. Here are some common concerns people have when they aren’t sure if to get tested for ADHD.

  1. I don’t want to take ADHD Meds There is an assumption that if you are officially diagnosed with ADHD you will automatically have to take ADHD medication. It’s not true!. Getting a diagnosed and taking medication are 2 separate things. When you know that you have ADHD, taking medication one option in a broad spectrum of treatments.  Head here to learn about the 4 prongs to treat ADHD.
    Remember, you are always in control.
  2. My spouse / parents don’t think ADHD exists The topic of ADHD triggers a lot of people. Even people who know very little on the matter have strong opinions about it! If you bring up the topic of getting tested for ADHD, people close to you might say things like:“You managed this long without knowing, why do you want to know now?
    “I don’t believe ADHD exists.
    “Well, it doesn’t change your daytoday reality.
    By moving ahead and getting tested, it can feel like you are rocking the boat, and upsetting these relationships. Still, getting tested is a personal decision and one only you can make for yourself. It might mean being brave and doing things that other people don’t agree with, maybe for first time in your life.
  3. What if I don’t have ADHD? Before I decided to get tested for dyslexia, this was one of my concerns. I was worried that I would have made a fuss about nothing and wasted peoples’ time (even though I was paying them). Self-doubt creeps up in many ways, so it could be how you are trying to stop yourself from doing something that feels scary.

For ADHD, there are screening quizzes that help you know (or rule out) if you might have ADHD. Here are the links to 3:

http://psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm

http://totallyadd.com/do-i-have-add/

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1041.html

It’s ok to be wrong! I know a few people who felt they had ADHD. Their behaviour to an outsider looked like they had ADHD.  However, after they went through the ADHD testing process, the results show they had unusual learning disability; not ADHD. This would never have been picked up if they hadn’t been tested for ADHD. Plus, the treatment plan is different. So, even though the results came back negative for ADHD, the testing gave them extremely valuable life changing information.
Another reason people shy away from getting diagnosed is that knowing they might have ADHD gives them hope. They always felt different somehow, and found life a struggle. The only explanation for these differences seemed to be that they were ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’, etc.When they heard about ADHD, light bulbs went off. “Yes! That is it!” They feel full of hope.  The thought of an official diagnosis being negative is crushing because, then what? Does it mean they are lazy, etc. after all?

Absolutely not. If the diagnosis is negative (and we don’t know it will be,) it just means you are one step closer to solving the mystery of what you do have. There is a leap of faith involved and only you can decide if you want to take it. However, I don’t know anyone who has regretted being tested for ADHD.

If You Decide No

If you decide not to get tested at the moment, you can change your mind at any time. It’s not a permanent decision. You can re-evaluate at any time. In a week’s time, or 5 years of time, etc. – It’s totally up to you!

 

Have you been tested for ADHD? Leave a message in the comment below!

 

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Comments

  1. Jen says:

    I got tested ‘inadvertently’ last year whilst at university, at the age of 45. I thought I may be dyslexic, and realised I really do need some support to finish my final year of studies. Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I was diagnosed with ADHD instead….and I was DEVASTATED! I felt like I had been told I was adopted, and not the person I thought I was.

    I then went through a stage of denial, and this was partly because of the stigma attached to ADHD, due to the very negative stereotype. When I told a few close people, they suggested I ‘keep it to myself’.

    I have 2 sons, 20 and 22. The likelihood is, they too have the condition (I have read somewhere it’s a disease!) which explains so much. It’s usually the kids get diagnosed first, then they start looking at the parents. My diagnosis has helped my sons though. My eldest is at university too, after many years of underachieving, he’s not willing yet to go for an assessment to confirm it for sure, but the university is aware of our family history, and keeping an eye on him. My youngest is working hard and doing well. I just wish the schools had mentioned to me that they had concerns my boys may of had ADHD, at the time, and not casually mentioned it to my sons.

    I eventually came to terms with my diagnosis, then got quite angry with feeling I should ‘hide’ it from the world. So I told more people, including work colleagues. I’m not ashamed, and I don’t want the children with ADHD to be ashamed either.

    Because I’ve been studying ADHD, extensively, since last August, I’ve decided to write my dissertation on ADHD and exercise, no official title yet. Because, on reflection, and trust me there’s been LOTS!, exercise and sports has always been a big part of family life, and it would of definitely been a contributing managing strategy, without us realising it at the time. My newfound knowledge, and past experience, as also helped with my voluntary work. I support a family, the 14 year old is constantly being excluded from school, 3 times already this year. I can see the signs of ADHD, although I understand they can be symptoms of other conditions. There is also a family history. The school was not convinced, but they’ve now finally agreed, and she’s waiting to be seen by the educational psychologist.

    I now actually feel I’m in a really good place. When I graduate from university, I’d love to work with children/young people with ADHD. One thing I’m certain of, is they ALL have unique talents, but quite a few need the right support to channel into them. Michael Phelps’ story is totally inspiring. I’m reading a great book called Natures Ritalin for the Marathon Mind, it looks at ADHD in a positive way, it’s not anti drugs as such, by the way.

    I think I’ve probably gone off track slightly, but as you can see, my life has taken a strange turn since my diagnosis last year. But what I can say is, if you’re considering being tested, go for it, like I’ve told my son, you’ll find out one way or another.
    ADHD isn’t something to be afraid or ashamed of. I now actually love my ‘marathon’ brain. And I love the fact I’d make a great hunter as apposed to a farmer. The condition can run alongside anxiety, depression, but anyone of us can suffer with it, regardless to if you have ADHD, and knowledge is power.
    I hope this has been of some help, and good luck.

  2. I took all three of the tests and they showed the same pattern – attention deficit but not hyperactivity. AND when I got to one of the questions about procrastinating, I laughed out loud because I was reading the newsletter and doing the tests instead of what I sat down at my desk to work on!

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