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Could I have ADHD? Why an ADHD Diagnosis for Adults is beneficial.

Dispelling Stigma: Neuro-Affirming Approaches; Living contentedly with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common developmental disorder, that affects around one in twenty Australians. According to the ADHD Foundation, “There are in excess of one million people with diagnosable ADHD in Australia, most of whom are adults and with no diagnosis or access to treatment”. 

Living with ADHD at any age has its challenges, and its benefits too. Treatments both therapy-based and medicinal are available to support an ADHD diagnosis. But adulting with undiagnosed, unsupported ADHD is associated with a “reduction in daily functioning and quality of life in a largely neurotypical world”. And without seeming alarmist, it may also be life-threatening.  

So, if you’re an adult and wondering if your existing challenges are due to ADHD, grab a pen and paper. Check out how many of the following questions or statements sound like we have hidden a secret camera in your house.

Could I have ADHD?

Do any of these statements ring a bell?

  • It feels like I have early onset dementia!

  • Why am I late so often? 

  • Why are subtitles on T.V SO good? 

  • Why do my colleagues seem able to concentrate in this busy open plan office?

  • How do people stay so tidy?

  • I’m busting to pee (how did I not notice before?)

  • Where are my keys? 

  • I need a change, I’m bored.

  • What was I saying?

  • I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me?

  • Gee I wish I could stop my brain from worrying. 

  • I forgot to pay the bill…sorry!

  • Am I sensitive when it comes to friends, peers, partner fear of rejection?

  • How do people put their head on the pillow and instantly sleep? 

  • I’m a bit addicted to… 

  • This will take about 15 minutes. 4 hours later…. Um woops.

  • Ooooh I need that new thing.

  • I like cruise control for long distances, it stops me speeding!

  • “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you again.”

  • “Hi… (scratches head - oh no…what’s their name?)”

How many did you tick?  (Please note this is a playful example, not an exhaustive list) If you can relate to several of these statements… you may want to read on.

There is a strong focus on children obtaining an ADHD diagnosis to support them through their key developmental years. Today we highlight an equally important topic: adult ADHD. And neuro-affirming benefits for receiving a diagnosis. 

The Hidden Neuro-affirming Benefits of Seeking an Adult ADHD Diagnosis

While the prospect of an ADHD diagnosis may seem daunting, the benefits it brings can be life-changing for Australian adults. 

What does neuro-affirming mean?

In 1997 Aussie sociologist Judy Singer hatched the term ‘neuro-diversity’, which has made its way into the mainstream, as a term to acknowledge and embrace various neurological conditions (like ADHD or Autism, Dyspraxia etc.). A neuro-diversity affirming approach acknowledges that all neurotypes have unique strengths. It aims to support and adapt to a person's neurodivergent identity, rather than to conform or be ‘fixed’.

Understanding Self: Clarity Through Diagnosis

Receiving an ADHD diagnosis provides clarity and validation for many adults who have long struggled with symptoms but couldn't pinpoint the cause. It explains the challenges you’ve faced in various aspects of life, from education and work to relationships and daily tasks. Understanding ADHD empowers individuals to seek tailored support and strategies to manage your symptoms effectively and with mindful self-compassion.

Access to Treatment and Support Services

An ADHD diagnosis opens doors to a range of treatment options and support services tailored to your specific needs. Options for managing ADHD include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and coaching. These all help improve overall quality of life. In Australia, access to these resources usually begins with a formal diagnosis, making it a crucial step for those seeking support. 

Navigating Work and Education: Accommodations and Strategies

For many Australian adults with ADHD, the diagnosis offers opportunities for workplace and educational accommodations. Understanding their unique cognitive profile allows individuals and their employers or educators to implement strategies that optimise productivity and performance. This might include flexible work arrangements, assistive technologies, or specialised learning accommodations, all of which contribute to a more inclusive and supportive environment.

Strengthening Relationships: Communication and Understanding

ADHD can impact relationships in various ways, from forgetfulness and impulsivity to difficulty maintaining focus during conversations. With an ADHD diagnosis, you may gain insight into how your symptoms may impact interactions with others. Armed with this knowledge, gained from therapy like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), you can learn to communicate more effectively with partners, family members, and friends, fostering greater understanding and empathy within your social circles. But remember this…the most important relationship to strengthen after your ADHD diagnosis is the one with yourself. While learning how to be your best self, remember to be patient and kind with yourself. It's a mindset shift that involves breaking away from traditional neurotypical methods.

An ADHD diagnosis as an adult in Australia is not only about understanding your challenges. It's about unlocking potential, accessing support, and reclaiming control over your life. 

The statistics underscore the importance of addressing ADHD in adults, while the benefits of diagnosis speak to the transformative impact it can have on you, your relationships, and your overall well-being. If you suspect you may have ADHD or are struggling with its symptoms, don't hesitate to book in for Breakthrough Psychology’s GOLD standard (the most comprehensive and compliant) psychological assessment and diagnosis. Remember after your assessment and if you receive a diagnosis, there are therapy and medicinal options to support you. You're not alone, and help is available.

About Breakthrough Psychology

Breakthrough Psychology offers a holistic approach to your family’s mental health. Located in Sydney’s Hills District in West Pennant Hills, our team (led by Director, Clinical Psychologist and Adjunct Fellow; Narmi Thillainathan) of qualified and experienced psychologists provide a calming and accepting space for therapy and psychological diagnostic assessments. Dedicated to child, adolescent and adults’ mental health, wellbeing, and breakthroughs, we run workshops throughout the year. Or book a School or Corporate Talk, providing evidence-based insights coupled with practical tips on a variety of topics.

Disclaimer The information provided by Breakthrough Psychology, on our website, and in our blogs and posts, is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site and social outlets is not, nor intended to be, a substitute for individualised professional advice or care. Please book in for an appointment. If something you have read here has raised any questions or concerns regarding your situation, feel free to call 02 8978 0600 or ask a question here.

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