How a Diagnosis Can Provide Relief
It's unknown exactly how many people are living with ADHD without knowing it. They may have the symptoms, but without a diagnosis and treatment, they could continue to suffer. Those symptoms may cause problems in their personal and professional life due to their undiagnosed ADHD.
At the same time, there's also the potential for mental anguish when someone doesn't understand why their brain seems to work differently compared to other people. In this way, an ADHD diagnosis can provide a great deal of relief. Being able to finally name the cause of the symptoms and understand why they happen can end up becoming a turning point in their lives.
ADHD Diagnoses Provide Practical Solutions
A diagnosis of ADHD automatically comes with a variety of practical solutions that can immediately begin addressing the symptoms that someone is living with. While ADHD cannot be cured, it's a disorder that has many viable and effective options for treatment.
Stimulant medications are considered one of the first-line treatments for ADHD due to the fact that they are not only effective but also fast-acting. In fact, many stimulants begin working as quickly as 30 to 45 minutes after you take the first dose, and they are effective for 70% to 80% of people with ADHD. If someone has been unknowingly struggling with ADHD symptoms for years, a diagnosis can lead to a treatment plan that can make daily life much more manageable.
There are also non-stimulants available which can also be very effective but which often take a few weeks to become effective. Holistic strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and stress management, can also be incorporated with medication to better manage symptoms of ADHD. Once a diagnosis is given, these types of treatments can open up a world of possibilities for someone with ADHD.
Avoiding the Costs of Untreated ADHD
What if someone is pretty sure they have ADHD, but they don't think they need a diagnosis? There are some people who recognize that they might have ADHD symptoms, but they feel that they have it under control and don't need any medications, therapy, or other strategies to manage those symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
The truth is that a diagnosis can be life-changing, even for someone who doesn't feel that their ADHD is a huge burden. For one, someone living with ADHD may underestimate the extent to which their symptoms are affecting their work, their relationships, and their mental health. ADHD begins in childhood, so they may have been experiencing these symptoms for their entire lives and have nothing to compare it to. Even those who have developed coping mechanisms over the years may not realize just how much the right treatment could improve things.
Studies have shown that people with untreated ADHD can face serious challenges. In fact, one study found that people with untreated ADHD suffered worse long-term outcomes than people with ADHD across a number of different categories, including academics, antisocial behavior, addictive behavior, obesity, work, and self-esteem. This is part of the reason it's so important to not only raise awareness of how ADHD presents, but how much a diagnosis and treatment can improve someone's life.
Creating ADHD-Friendly Spaces
ADHD awareness is clearly very important on a personal level. When someone knows the symptoms, they can recognize them in themselves or their loved ones and then seek out a proper diagnosis and treatment to improve their lives.
But on a broader scope, ADHD awareness is important for the way we structure our society around those with neurodevelopmental conditions. For example, it wasn't that long ago when ADHD was not as fully understood as it is today. As a result, places like schools and offices weren't as accommodating to people who were dealing with ADHD symptoms.
In recent decades, however, there have been major strides when it comes to recognizing the unique needs of individuals with ADHD. In fact, the disorder is now protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) thanks to the Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which expanded and clarified the scope of the ADA to include neurological issues like ADHD.
As ADHD awareness grows, people with the disorder are better able to advocate for themselves in a variety of spaces. At work, adults with ADHD can request reasonable accommodations for their ADHD symptoms, such as access to a quieter workspace with fewer distractions or using a chair or desk that helps manage restlessness. It's important to work to maintain and expand ADHD awareness to ensure that these protections are available to the people who need them.
If you're curious about an ADHD diagnosis, Done can help. Our licensed clinicians can review your symptoms and, if you're diagnosed, help you find the right treatment plan to meet your needs — all through our affordable and accessible telehealth platform. To get started, just fill out our one-minute online assessment.