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Adult ADHD: When and How to be Assessed

In an era where self-diagnosis through social media platforms like TikTok is increasingly prevalent, distinguishing between occasional challenges and symptoms indicative of adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be complex. While occasional symptoms of distractibility or impulsivity are common, for those with ADHD, these symptoms are chronic, severe, and often interfere with various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and daily responsibilities. Social media channels can be helpful in raising awareness and fostering community support, but self-diagnosis may not always be accurate or sufficient. Knowing when to consider formal assessment for ADHD is crucial in obtaining an accurate diagnosis and receiving appropriate, tailored support.

Signs and Symptoms of Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD can manifest in various ways, making it challenging to recognise. Some common signs and symptoms in adults include:

  • Forgetfulness, especially with daily tasks

  • Difficulty maintaining attention, especially during lengthy tasks

  • Impulsivity, such as making hasty decisions or interrupting others

  • Chronic procrastination or difficulty starting and completing tasks

  • Poor time management, leading to frequent lateness or missed deadlines

  • Restlessness or a constant need for movement

  • Difficulty with organisation and prioritisation

  • Impaired executive function, impacting planning and problem-solving abilities

For more information regarding common symptoms and types of ADHD, see here.

When to Consider a Formal Assessment

While self-diagnosis can be a starting point, it's crucial to seek a formal assessment from a qualified healthcare professional if you suspect you have ADHD. Some situations where seeking an assessment (and subsequent treatment) is likely to be beneficial include:

  1. Daily functioning: If you find it challenging to manage daily responsibilities, such as household chores, bills, or personal finances.

  2. Work or education: If your symptoms are affecting your performance at work or school, such as difficulty meeting deadlines, staying organised, or maintaining focus.

  3. Relationships: If your symptoms are straining your relationships, for example due to misunderstandings, communication issues, or difficulty maintaining connections.

  4. Mental health: If you're experiencing emotional difficulties alongside ADHD symptoms, such as depression or anxiety.

  5. Self-understanding and growth: If you want to deepen your self-understanding and open up opportunities for personal growth and development.

The Assessment Process

A formal assessment for adult ADHD typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. This assessment may include:

  • Detailed interviews to gather information about your symptoms, developmental history, and current challenges

  • Psychological tests and questionnaires to assess attention, impulsivity, and other relevant aspects of functioning

  • Collateral information (e.g. from family members or school reports) to provide additional perspectives

  • A review of your medical history to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms

See here for more information regarding Ashley's ADHD assessment process.

Seeking Support and Treatment

If you're considering an assessment for adult ADHD, it's essential to seek support from qualified professionals who understand the complexities of the condition. A thorough assessment can lead to an accurate diagnosis and guide you towards effective treatment options, which may include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these approaches. Remember, seeking help is a positive step towards understanding yourself better and improving your quality of life.

If you suspect you have ADHD, know that help is available. Get in touch today to learn more about effective treatment options and strategies for managing symptoms.


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