Employers/Managers. Should you tell t... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Employers/Managers. Should you tell them you have ADHD or not?


Does keeping your employer informed help you and them to a better working relationship? Or are there pit falls to disclosure that may occur?

19 Replies

I think that has to do with how comfortable you are in disclosing that information. If you do decide to bring it up, plan it ahead of time. It's better than finding yourself in a stressful situation at work, and then blurting out: "You don't understand what I'm dealing with- I have ADHD." It's your decision on this issue obviously. Others will chime in on this issue hopefully...

Sausages99 in reply to dgs2018

You’re absolutely right. The reason why I asked is that I’ve had two very different responses as to disclosing health issues to my employers.

One was really accommodating and supportive. The other was very dismissive and uninterested. I know it’s a very personal choice and depends on so many variables. In a way I’d like to know if anyone has had positive experiences from disclosure. An example might be given tasks or responsibilities that are suited to ADHD?

I also hear what you’re saying if, whilst completely over stressed, just blurting it out would be embarrassing.

In my experience, not with ADHD, some employers are in the stone ages whilst others are really inclusive. Thanks for the reply.

I'm in the UK and work for a County Council. They have been reasonable with providing equipment and training for me and colleagues, but this is mostly central Goverment funded so won't cost them much. They haven't been keen on on changing the work I do though and I get the feeling that if I were not to produce enough output, things might be tricky. They also didn't want to change the workstation or position I work in. It's difficult to say, but I guess out of choice they would rather have one fully productive member of staff with no issues rather than me!!

I didn't have much choice about telling them or I couldn't have accessed the central Government funding either.

Having worked in the UK public service industry (briefly) I didn’t tell them. But I read this article and now I know where I stand it helped:


Can I also ask a question as we’re both from the UK.

Have you found it really difficult to get help with ADHD, diagnosis, medication, counselling, fit notes from the GP? I’m finding it really difficult to get any help from the NHS. I’m having to pay privately which is costing me an absolute fortune!

The Dr was fine - I took a long list of adhd traits and showed him.cost referred me to Norfolk Adult Mental Health who sent me surveys and this was fine. Sadly they would have taken 2.5 years to look at my case, so I got a private diagnosis, but the psychiatrist was NHS registered (important). This cost £700, but I could afford this as a one off cost. Due to my blood pressure being high I couldn't go straight on tablets, but I had this controlled with meds and then started eleven on the NHS. I have had a very good experience with them and I'm now moving on to do strategic training. This is funded by central govt access to work scheme on Gov.uk, but you then have to disclose to work. I chose to and they have been OK. I would say different areas NHS work differently and I have had to be quite focused to get this done (irony or what!) but between diagnosis and meds was about 5 months, but could have been quicker but for the high blood pressure. Hope this helps ask more if you like - happy to help!

Thanks for that. I seem to be on the first rung of the ladder you describe. GP wasn’t particularly helpful. In fact verbally kicked me out after 8 minutes! Had to pay for initial Private Psychiatric assessment, I thought it was just anxiety and depression, that was £300. He initially diagnosed ADHD but wasn’t a specialist and couldn’t give ‘official’ diagnosis. Referral to Private ADHD Psychiatrist assessment, NHS said at best 8 month wait sometimes 18 months, that was £695.

Went back to GP with report and asked where to get help etc. Again he wasn’t particularly interested. Just gave me a phone number of the local mental health team (it was the wrong number). Got it off the internet and they pretty much said that due to austerity they were now only a ‘crisis’ team. They offered generalised ‘steps to wellbeing’ the NHS short CBT course. I’d already done that. It was facilitated by a non-clinical practice worker. Not great. Other than that they said over a year to see a psychiatrist specialist in ADHD and even then medication would not be guaranteed. GP continued to show no interest to the point I made a formal complaint which I have never ever considered because I think the NHS is amazing. Just the mental health part has been ruined in the last 10 years.

Eventually I’ve just gone private again. Found a really good local Psychiatrist, specialist in ADHD and other co-morbidity issues I have. Again though that was £250 for first meeting and then £100 an hour after that. A private prescription will cost me over £100 and then, if I can find a GP willing to prescribe it’ll be ok again.

I did have a slight moment of panic when he suggested the possibility of a 6 week intensive ‘inpatient’ treatment at a private facility for £16,000!

I’m not in work but luckily had some savings so just to get to the very ‘start’ of treatment has cost £1500! It was that or stay in mental anguish for a couple of years whilst the NHS got me in.

Really feel for people who can’t afford it. No wonder all the mental health teams are ‘crisis’ only now. They don’t treat anyone early on and thus avoid them moving into crisis.

Thanks a lot for the reply. I’m going to have a look at government help. Although I hear Universal Credit and the other access to help is a battle in itself. Good luck and all the best.

Sorry to hear you've had to do this the hard way. Perhaps I have been lucky - I think Mental Health Services have been cut all over.

Sorry I think I sent that too soon! Access to Work does I believe give help to get into work so Best of luck with that too!!

Thanks again.

I choose not to tell them, I don’t think it would have helped me if I did.

Goo god no. dont do it. Dont tell your employer about your ADHD. I did and the CFO who didnt like me because I inadvertently made her look inept used it against me, in some very harassing and underhanded ways. My boss had no business telling anyone what I told him in confidence but that type of information does not stay where it should if someone can use it to there own personal advantage.

Sausages99 in reply to leighan

Yep had that happen as well. As I said in my other post I’ve had two starkly different experiences. Not around ADHD specifically, so this might not be the right platform to explain. It was about a mental health issue though.

Ironically enough the negative experience was working for a charity that helped people with mental health problems. I disclosed to my line manager that I was beginning medication for depression and anxiety. This would take 4-6 weeks to begin to work and I’d been told that I might feel lethargic until they became fully effective. I was a little ‘rough’ around the edges but it didn’t effect my work in anyway. Long story short, missed promotions, singled out for team failures etc. Always with a patronising ‘ now you did tell me that you have a mental health condition and I’m not singling you out but your performance.....’ Soon left that job.

The other experience was great. Understanding line manager. Kept it all really informal. Occasional tap on the shoulder with a ‘you ok?’ Or ‘have the afternoon off go relax’. She totally got it. I worked really hard and they were really pleased with me as an employee. If I made a mess it wasn’t anything to do with my condition it was just one of those things.

What I’m trying to say is that it can take a little time to gauge the culture of the company. I have no experience with disclosing ADHD but from reading this forum there are genuine work related issues. And I thank you for giving another angle to the story. It’s interesting to hear the different stories.

I’ve also read in my brief ,but somewhat obsessive research , since diagnosis that certain careers really suit ADHD. Dependant in type, severity and treatment success. For example if I’d know that a job that demanded long focussed attention to detail then I wouldn’t have taken up those opportunities unless I had too.

Whereas jobs that utilise the persons abilities and aptitudes in conjunction with their ADHD can lead to a successful and satisfying career. What those jobs are I have no idea but maybe someone could post about it? There are over 4000+ members of this forum. I’m sure some of them have brilliant careers.

I am loving reading these posts! I have been thinking about throwing a post out there about dealing with job stress around this. I just didn’t know where to start . I agree that you need to get to know the culture of the Co first and the personality of the manager. I am a hair dresser and it has been the best job for me with ADD. The only problem is I am single now and need the money of a full time job. I can’t stand and do hair 40 hours a week it’s just too hard on me physically . I do about 25 hrs/wk. also I am finding it difficult to stay that long in one place, probably due to the condition. I have been trying to find a second part time job where I can sit a little and have variety. Whenever I start a new job especially if it is spending a lot of time at a computer I realize how much ADD effects me . It is incredibly frustrating and hard on my self esteem. I recently started one and had to leave it after only 9 hours invested because they were starting to give me that look I have come to know. The look that says- Why aren’t you getting this faster? Why are you making mistakes? Then I know I’m on borrowed time, it makes me nervous and therefore causes more problems with memory and detail mistakes. They made it some what uncomfortable for me Putting me on the phones with customers with little help or support. I became so nervous that my usually confident, happy self when in the salon disappeared and I couldn’t ask a question without a dear in the headlights look and the words coming out scrambled. They were becoming annoyed with me and quite frankly so was I lol. Finally, I squared my shoulders and walked in the managements office. I told them they made me nervous and not act like myself . I said I have ADD and this environment and training is not at all accommodating to that. The trainer said I’m sorry I was being short with you but your not getting it as quick as the others and I don’t have the time . You can try longer if you want but it won’t get less stressful from here . I knew then I had left my lane and I needed to get back to it again. At the salon I thrive and feel valued . My ADD symptoms are overlooked. A lot of them probably relate . I think people with ADD are typically highly creative, sensitive and good with people, ya ? I love art and have been drawing and painting and can focus very well at those times. So careers with that in my mind are good. Although it seems hard to keep up financially in those areas . It seems at times my symptoms are worse and I’m trying to pinpoint what’s causing it. I am either really on or really off. Maybe lack of sleep.? Do you need a lot of sleep ? I am frustrated and trying to focus on the positive attributes of this but can’t help but to feel inadequate in so many ways. Thank you if you made it to the end of my very long post and I would love any comments .

Hi Thedesertvibe,

Thanks for taking the time to tell me your story and experience.

I can certainly relate to a lot of it.

One particular thing I remember was one job, with loads of quite different roles, and I found a certain part of it really really interesting and engaging. It was probably the part of the job that took the most time , around 3/4 of the total job description. I had lots of interaction with people, it was challenging but allowed real creativity and problem solving. Other colleagues really struggled with it. But I loved it.

Eventually I get called into the office and get the ‘talk’. I’m neglecting my other duties due to focusing on only one part of the job. Which wasn’t true. That I can’t ‘pick and choose’ which parts of the job I want to do. And although they’re delighted with the work I do surrounding the part I thrived at I’m getting an ‘informal’ warning. You get the idea. Eventually ‘informal’ becomes ‘formal’ becomes ‘disciplinary’ and then I walk. I get a phone call a week later more or less begging me to come back because my colleagues were making a mess of it. By this time I was too annoyed and was moving onto other things.

The point of my example is that, like you with your creative hairstyling, I had found something I was good at, enjoyed and suited my ADHD. I offered to work with the management on numerous times so as to get the best out of me as an employee and contribute. They were less than accommodating. So I left. I went through a lot more jobs where I couldn’t cope and like you my self-esteem really took a hit.

With your post you’ve added to the almost certainty that I need a job that harnesses my brain and my particular way of thinking. With that perhaps telling an employer that you have the condition could be a good thing. No special treatment but utilise my skills. But as someone else has said it’s very dependant on the culture of the employer.

I’m with you all the way! Time and effort and giving ourselves a break will bring good things. We all have so many positive attributes. Not just with ADD but because we’ve survived the difficulties and this has made us stronger! All the best and thanks for the reply. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you ! If only Your employer was savvy enough to let you do what you do best and give the rest to the other employees. Just as you said I find this is often the case with me. I do well with 3/4 of the job, people really like interacting with me but I get let go or have to move on because of that small portion that I don’t do well. I hope somehow there will be more awareness and open mindedness in the business world so that we can more easily support ourselves ! 🖤

I totally agree. I’m a realist. I know that there are shitt£ parts of most jobs. And I know that because I have ADHD and a host of other mental health issues that in the real world I’m going to have to take it on the chin and adapt the best I can.

I think it takes real guts, practice and more than our fair share of setbacks before, hopefully, we find ourselves in a place in life where things are just ‘ok’. That’ll do for me. I don’t feel entitled to be happy all the time. It would be nice to have a consistent level of contentment whilst being able to deal with life’s ups and downs much like everyone else does. I find it really hard to get the balance between asserting my needs and help without being classed as ‘special’ or ‘arrogant’. It’s very hit and miss. Although the stigma and lack of information about mental health has got better it seems to me that it has a long way to go. Certainly around ADHD.

In the U.K there has been a massive drive from the government, people of public interest and the media to break down the stigma of mental health that has damaged our society for generations. Newspaper articles by celebrities, announcements by government, disclosure of personal struggles by people in the public eye. This is great. And I’m glad that it’s happening. But I have two problems.

Firstly the whole world could stand up and disclose their innermost struggles and mental health disorders. But where is the practical, long term, systematic changes to the access and availability of quality treatment? Mental health is as diverse in its symptoms as any other disease or condition. Depression is not OCD, Anxiety is not ADHD. They can certainly overlap but it takes time, a good Doctor and hard work on our part to get things right. I can read a fantastic article by a sports person I respect or a musician as they disclose their struggles: when I go to the Doctor or employer I’m often met with a wall of ignorance or discerning lack of interest. Hence why I find myself having to be really really assertive to get anywhere. This has its intendant problems too. In essence there is a lot of ‘ your so brave’ and ‘ we understand’ but where is the practical help to get the best out of me and contribute? Which I’m desperate to do because when I contribute my self esteem gets better and I work even better. It’s exponential.

My second problem is that if you suffer from a diagnosed mental health condition it’s incredibly subjective. I’m sure you have good weeks and bad weeks, like I do. If I had a broken leg it would be obvious. But when the symptoms of my ADHD are at their worse I sometimes can’t see them. I’m merrily going about my work, some project or some task I think I’m doing great. It sometimes needs someone in a work environment to help me get back on the task at hand. That’s the sort of place I’d like to work. Just somewhere that it’s not taken as a big deal, the help is offered, there is give and take and my skills are utilised to the max. I think we as a society are at the ‘talking’ and ‘exposure’ stage. With luck will come the ‘education’ stage. And then, which I personally need desperately, is the ‘action’ stage. Patience. Thanks for the continued discussion. Have a good weekend.

P.S I hope I don’t come across as too Sanctimonious and moaning. I’m really just a pup at this stuff and maybe I’m over complicating it drastically!! 😂😂

Well how embarrassing I didn't see your reply till know and I really enjoyed it so I wanted to reach out 🤣! I agree with all of it. You explain yourself well and no need to apologise. It's nice to hear from someone that relates. It's been 4 months now and I have decided to stay in the salon where I thrive and just cut back on expenses. I am happier and more content. I have also found that working on art projects at home when I can relaxes me. I too am ready for the action stage 😊

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