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CHADD's Adult ADHD Support

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First post: trying to figure out if I have ADHD

fals7 profile image
fals7

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this sort of community, and it's been really cool to read through posts and see the community support each other. For reference, I'm a female college student.

I've suspected for a while that I might have ADHD. I tend to have a hard time staying organized and attentive, as well as setting and meeting goals, even if I make the effort to break down tasks into smaller steps. I also tend to do work in big bursts, at the last minute, and am very easily distracted. I find it so hard to just sit down and do one thing at a time because I feel like I'm always looking for more stimulation, and I've gotten into a pattern where I feel like I NEED that stimulation in order to start working, even when it's very clear that I'm less productive with it.

This hadn't been too much of a problem before I got to college, since I had a lot of structure and daily deadlines that kept me on track. I was even very high achieving, so I never thought it was worth doing anything about. But since I've been in college for the last couple of years and have to have more control over my own time management and non-academic tasks, I've been feeling more overwhelmed. My habits have remained, but they are more mentally destructive since getting behind and putting off work for whatever new obsession I have or just to avoid it makes me feel depressed/anxious, which makes my habits worse (my sleeping and eating schedules are also horrible), which makes me feel more depressed/anxious, and on and on. This has gotten so much worse during the pandemic, to the point where my work is being very adversely affected; before now, I've always been able to regroup and pull things together in time for it not to affect my on-paper academic life.

At this point, I'm not sure if I have ADHD, anxiety, depression, or any combination of them. I saw from some poking around online that ADHD in adult women may be caught later in life because we don't tend to express the behavioral disruptions that flag young boys for ADHD, so I thought that this might apply to me. Since most of the people here have diagnoses, what do y'all think? Is it actually ADHD?

4 Replies

I would definitely get a professional opinion, but in saying that, it sounds like ADHD in my humble opinion. Yes women and even men with the inattentive (non hyperactive. formally known as ADD) are missed. I'm 43 and I was just diagnosed two weeks ago. I'm mostly inattentive. You can actually have both. There is a spectrum and not everyone has the same "symptoms." Pretty much what you described above, I can relate to. Ask a pro in mental health. Just my opinion, but I wouldn't see a general practitioner. There are unofficial tests you can take online as well. Attitude: additudemag.com has a lot of helpful info. and an evaluation. Really think about your answers before answering them, if you decide to do so. Also ADHD can also have other issues attached to it, like anxiety, depression, dyslexia, autism and many more. Glad you reached out. It's tough, but you'll make it through. God bless.

BatWoman87 profile image
BatWoman87 in reply to Spacehead

All of the above, ditto for me. 33yo and diagnosed in February. Your situation sounds very, very much like my situation when I was in university.

From my experience, don't delay seeking a diagnosis and treatment. I spent a few years wondering and "poking around online" and all I ended up with was wasted time and suffering greater effects particularly at work.

You can speak to your GP about it but ask them what their comfort level is with diagnosing and treating ADHD in adult women and other potential comorbidities. If they don't give you a response that leaves you feeling like you're in good hands to manage ADHD in adult women, then you should ask for a referral to a psychiatrist for evaluation and diagnosis.

Diagnosis may not be straight forward especially if you were high achieving. The psychiatrist may respond, as mine did, with "it's too difficult to tell". I was told to wait a few months to see how a new medication would work (one I had just started as an add-on for treating my depression and trying to address my concentration issues - Wellbutrin, one of the non-stimulant medication options for ADHD). My ADHD procrastination meant it was almost 2 years later before my GP asked me to book with the psychiatrist again when I started having issues getting any work done because of COVID.

My psychiatrist then said I required a psychological evaluation for ADHD because it was too difficult for him to tell. That involved a bunch of forms and rating scales and interviews with the psychologist. But, I finally got a diagnosis of mild inattentive ADHD. Back with the psychiatrist now to manage my medication and really just starting on this journey of treating my ADHD.

So yes, sounds like it could well be ADHD, and it's worth it to pursue evaluation. You'll need to advocate for yourself and try not to let your ADHD stand as a barrier to your evaluation. If possible try to find an accountability buddy to keep you moving forward.

Best of luck!

fals7 profile image
fals7 in reply to BatWoman87

Thank you! This is great advice, and I'll definitely think about this when I try to get evaluated in a couple months. Best of luck to you as well!

fals7 profile image
fals7 in reply to Spacehead

Thank you so much! I've made up my mind to finally get evaluated once this school year finishes (t makes me anxious to even contemplate adding finding a psychiatrist to the other things I'm behind on), so hopefully something will come out of that. Best of luck to you as well!

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