I am a 45-year-old widow–currently being treated for depression and anxiety. I am suspecting more and more lately that i have ADHD in addition to or instead of those disorders. I have done research on adult ADHD, and–quite frankly–much of what I have read is discouraging. Many adults seem to struggle to function even if on medication. So I’m wondering–is it even worth it to try to find out if I have ADHD, and if I am diagnosed, is there any hope for me to have a productive life, and is taking ADHD meds worth the expense and risk, or will i just have to struggle forever??
A: You sure have a lot on your emotional plate. 45 is very young to be a widow. You are already being treated for depression and anxiety. And now you are worried that you have yet another condition that will make life a struggle. No wonder you’re discouraged.
First, there are many, many people with ADHD (both children and adults) who learn how to manage it, with and without medication. Some people with ADHD even argue that it is a positive in their lives. But more to the point, when I read your letter, I hear the anxiety and depression talking.
I hope you are being treated with counseling as well as with medications. Both anxiety and depression respond better with that combination than by medication alone. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be especially effective. If you aren’t currently seeing a therapist, I urge you to do so. If you are seeing a therapist, please take your letter and this response to your next session and ask to work on your feelings about your present and your concerns about the future.
The support of some good friends and involvement in work or volunteer efforts that give your life meaning will also help you feel better. I hope you will reach out for that as well.
I can tell that things look bleak to you right now. You still probably have half of your life to go. I hope you will get the treatment you need so that the next half can be what you’d like it to be.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Mar 2012
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Will I Have to Struggle Forever?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/23/will-i-have-to-struggle-forever/