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How Do I Manage Adult ADHD?

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From a man in Canada: I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was a child. I quit taking medication 17 years ago. I feel, and different tests have shown that I have severe adult ADHD.

I explain my situation to my employers during the interview process. Even though they say they understand, I don’t feel that employers even slightly understand ADHD. Even though I feel I have made my weak points clear, they still have high expectations given the situations they put me in. I do my best and generally complete the tasks, but its very difficult, stressful and I feel like I’m being set up for failure.

I can’t get on medication without a new phsyc evaluation and I cant find anyone in my area that is covered by my insurance that is accepting new patients. So I’ve been trying to find ways to work with and around my condition but I’m still struggling.
What do I do? Any advice?

How Do I Manage Adult ADHD?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sorry you are having such a tough time. You are certainly not alone.  According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2.7% of adults aged 20 and over have Adult ADHD. But that may or may not be your problem.

I do have some advice. The first is to get a current evaluation from a qualified mental health professional. Not everyone who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child also carries that diagnosis into adulthood.

ADHD in adults is very difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are shared by other mental health conditions. Yes, you may have ADHD. But it’s possible that what is troubling you is anxiety or a mood disorder or a personality disorder. Complicating things further is that someone can have both ADHD and another disorder.

Assessment is what drives treatment. An assessment will direct whether you need treatment for ADHD, for another mental health condition, or some combination. Often treatment includes medication as well as psychotherapy to help you learn to better manage your symptoms so you can be successful both in work and in relationships.

Psychiatry is free in Canada. Get a referral from your physician and get a competent evaluation. Self-tests won’t do it. Self-diagnosis won’t get you the help you need. You live in a major metropolitan area. Talk to your insurance company about how to find a doctor who will provide a referral.

Do understand that medication alone isn’t going to solve your problems at work. You need to learn how to work with your symptoms. One of my clients tells me that having ADHD is an enormous gift in her profession. It lets her multi-task and get lots done. She’s learned to channel her symptoms to be an effective work style.

That same client is clear that she had to find a job that was a good “fit” for her energy.  If you are consistently having trouble meeting expectations with your employer, it may be that you should consider a career change. It may be helpful for you to talk with a career counselor to look at jobs where your skills would be a better match.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Manage Adult ADHD?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). How Do I Manage Adult ADHD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/05/25/how-do-i-manage-adult-adhd/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 May 2020 (Originally: 25 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 May 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.