When to See a Doctor About ADHD

By Eileen Bailey

Adult ADD/ADHD is a relatively new concept.  For many years, ADD and ADHD were considered to be disorders of childhood.  It was thought that symptoms began disappearing after puberty and continued to decrease through adolescence.  It was not until recent years, when parents began to see their behaviors mirrored in their children that adult ADD/ADHD was considered a valid diagnosis. 

Adults with ADD/ADHD have learned to cope with their symptoms over the years.  Historically, they often have not considered their symptoms as part of a disorder, but rather as part of their personality. 

Adult ADD/ADHD can be treated and managed in the same way that children are treated.  With proper medical care, adults can live successful and productive lives.  But it may be confusing to know when or if you should consult a doctor.  The following can be a guideline for determining if you should see a doctor:

  • Do you have problems focusing or find it difficult to sustain attention and complete tasks and have had these difficulties for most of your life?
  • Do you have a history of failed relationships or poor interpersonal and social skills?
  • Do you consistently fail to complete projects or tasks?
  • Do you have a poor concept of time?
  • Do you have a history of changing jobs often?
  • Do you become restless easily or become bored with activities quickly?
  • Are you in constant motion or do you always fidget?
  • Do you act impulsively, interrupt others or speak without thinking first?
  • Do you have symptoms of depression?

Keep in mind that going through a stressful time in your life can also cause some of the above symptoms.  If you are going through a difficult time in your life, think back to determine if your symptoms were present before the stressful period began. 

There are also a number of adult ADD/ADHD screening tests available online.  Although these are not meant to be used for diagnostic purposes, you can take the screening test and print out the results to take with you to the physician.  This can be used as a starting point for discussion.

One such online screening test can be found at the Amen Clinic Web site.

Suggested Reading:

10 Medical Conditions That Share Symptoms with ADD/ADHD

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