Next time you talk with your mom ask her if she recalls you having similar attention problems in elementary school. While your symptoms do sound a lot like adult ADD, it’s important to determine whether you experienced these symptoms during childhood or whether they are new. If all of your symptoms are recent, it’s very unlikely that you have ADD. If they’ve been going on for years, it’s more likely that you have have ADD.
There are other possible explanations for your recent changes in your behavior and emotions. Depression or anxiety disorders often emerge in young adulthood and symptoms are similar to what you’re describing – difficulty concentrating, irritability, lack of motivation. ADD is often associated with other mental health conditions as well, so there may be a combination of issues that you’re struggling with.
Your idea about getting an evaluation by a psychiatrist is right on target! An evaluation will provide a clear diagnosis and suggest course of treatment to help you manage your symptoms. Your doctor will likely recommend medication or psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
If you’ve never had a psychiatric or mental health evaluation, it’s natural to be a little nervous because you have no idea what to expect. When you set up an appointment with a psychiatrist, he or she might give you some questionnaires to fill out before the appointment. During your appointment he or she will perform an in-depth interview with you. Medical or psychological testing may also be recommended. In addition to your evaluation and psychotherapy, you and your boyfriend may want to consider couples counseling to help repair any damage to your relationship.
You are in a stressful time of life full of transitions and important decisions – graduate school, serious relationships, career choices. These can be exciting and incredibly stressful. Make sure you’re taking care of your basic needs by getting adequate sleep, eating well, and engaging in regular recreation and exercise. No matter what your diagnosis, all of these lifestyle choices will help you manage your symptoms and will contribute to your overall health and happiness.
Take good care of yourself.