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Have not been diagnosed.

dudealone profile image

Hi guys. I’m new to the community. I’m a 27 year old who has not received an official diagnosis due to financial circumstances and the country I live in but due to some research online I share a lot of the symptoms explained on adhd. Mostly with inattentiveness and motivation levels that’s really low. I also struggle to formulate my thoughts into words and tend to be very forgetful. I don’t know how to proceed without an official diagnosis so I’m hoping to read stories that is similar to mine to see how one can overcome this without medicine.

5 Replies

Hello, dudealone ! Which country do you live in (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm curious about the ways that ADHD is handled differently around the world, and it might be easier to find resources specific to your location and situation. In terms of what you can do without medication, Dr. Russell Barkley recommends externalizing information, visualizing time, and using incentives to keep up your motivation (source: russellbarkley.org/factshee... ):

"Some of the principles of EF [Executive Function] deficit management that arise from this view of ADHD as a disorder of self-regulation (EF) are:

1. If the process of regulating behavior by internally represented forms of information (working memory or the internalization of behavior) is impaired or delayed in those with EF deficits, then they will be best assisted by “externalizing” those forms of information; the provision of physical representations of that information will be needed in the setting at the point of performance. Since covert or private information is weak as a source of stimulus control, making that information overt and public may assist with strengthening control of behavior by that information.

2. The organization of the individual’s behavior both within and across time is one of the ultimate disabilities rendered by the disorder. EF deficits create problems with time, timing, and timeliness of behavior such that they are to time what nearsightedness is to spatial vision; they create a temporal myopia in which the individual’s behavior is governed even more than normal by events close to or within the temporal now and immediate context rather than by internal information that pertains to longer term, future events. This helps to understand why adults with EF deficits make the decisions they do, short-sighted as they seem to be to others around them. If one has little regard for future events, than much of one’s behavior will be aimed at maximizing the immediate rewards and escaping from immediate hardships or aversive circumstances without concern for the delayed consequences of those actions. Those with deficient EF could be expected to be assisted by making time itself more externally represented, by reducing or eliminating gaps in time among the components of a behavioral contingency (event, response, outcome), and by serving to bridge such temporal gaps related to future events with the assistance of caregivers and others.

3. Given that the model hypothesizes a deficit in internally generated and represented forms of motivation that are needed to drive goal-directed behavior, those with EF deficits will require the provision of externalized sources of motivation. For instance, the provision of artificial rewards, such as tokens, may be needed throughout the performance of a task or other goal-directed behavior when there is otherwise little or no such immediate consequences associated with that performance. Such artificial reward programs become for the person with EF deficits what prosthetic devices such as mechanical limbs are to the physically disabled, allowing them to perform more effectively in some tasks and settings with which they otherwise would have considerable difficulty. The motivational disability created by EF deficits makes such motivational prostheses nearly essential for most children deficient in EF and can be useful with adults having EF deficits as well."

You can also find a lot more ideas on the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website here:


I would highly recommend finding a way to get diagnosed and try a stimulant medication if at all possible, however.

Thank you for the reply. I am from Cape Town South Africa. There is such a stigma around mental illnesses that this would just get brushed off as laziness or such. It feels good to know that it could be something else. I will give your recommendation a try.

Re: "It feels good to know that it could be something else."--I think maybe there was some confusion regarding the term "executive functioning deficit management"? If so, I apologize for the lack of clarity. This is not a separate disorder, just another way of describing ADHD. Russell Barkley sees ADHD as a disorder of executive functioning. See this video for more on this:


I found this article on accessing free counseling services in South Africa:


Have you tried reaching out to any of them already?

p.s.--Here's something else that you could try: Reach out to a local expert on ADHD, briefly explain your situation (like you did here), and see if they can suggest any options/resources that could help you get diagnosed and treated (assuming that it is ADHD, of course). The worst that can happen is that they can't or won't help you, and your situation will remain unchanged.

A person who appears to be one of the top experts in your country is Renata Schoeman, who is the " the convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD," according to her website (source: renataschoeman.co.za/ ). She even coauthored the ADHD treatment guidelines in your country (see: sajp.org.za/index.php/sajp/... ), and seems interested in countering stigmatizing myths about ADHD (see: renataschoeman.co.za/is-adh... ). Her contact info is on her website here:


When I was little, a psychiatrist or psychologist who evaluated me thought I had ADHD. But my parents and another psychiatrist(I think he was a psychiatrist or psychologist or someone who could evaluate me) disagreed. Mainly because they only knew about how ADHD is presented in boys. Also, my parents didn’t want me on medication. But it turns out I do have ADHD, but I didn’t get diagnosed until high school. I am on meds now but I wasn’t before. And my symptoms were always there. And I mean, what helped me was just quiet time. I would sit there and think and stuff. Also, I had supportive parents. Hope that helps.

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