First, to review, ADHD is a set of symptoms. You have to have a certain number of them and they have to affect your life negatively.
They have to have been present in your life since childhood for a diagnosis to be made.
Those are the facts.
But is there a difference between facts and reality?
In what way?
What if there is insufficient history of your childhood to verify ADHD at that time?
Does that mean you don’t have ADHD now? Even with all the symptoms? And the negative impact?
Yeah, personally I have a problem with that.
If you have the symptoms and they affect your life negatively, you should be able to be diagnosed.
And if the therapies and medications actually help you, you should be able to avail yourself of those treatments.
The idea that a person whose ability to remember is suspect and who has no one to validate symptomology in their youth and childhood cannot be diagnosed seems not only baffling, but ludicrous in the extreme.
It would be like telling a teetotaler whose liver is failing that they’re fine because there’s no evidence of alcohol abuse in their life.
This week …
I had a stressful week this week and it struck me again how much stress can affect symptoms.
And then it occurred to me that there are people who are borderline on the ADHD spectrum. And yet, stress can put them over that line.
So are these people ADHD when stressed but not when things are rolling smoothly along?
If that is the case, what can be done for them?
The fact that there is still a great deal of stigma attached to ADHD means that people with enough symptoms to put them close to a diagnosis likely don’t even consider the possibility.
And that means they don’t consider the opportunities that ADHD therapy, drugs or otherwise, might offer them during times of stress.
The telling test …
A family member of mine took an ADHD screening questionnaire to help in my diagnosis, giving me some family background to consider during my own diagnostic sessions.
He scored borderline, the resultant statement being, “You have some symptoms of ADHD and might consider a diagnostic assessment with a mental health care practitioner.”
When he told me this it all seemed to fit with my own assessments, though I am way more ADHD than he. (Out of a possible score of 120 he scored 35 while I scored over 90.)
Then he told me that the questions reminded him very much of how he felt during a recent and very stressful time.
He said if he had taken the questionnaire then, he would have failed (or passed depending on your perspective).
So I think …
I think that part time ADHD exists.
I think I’ve seen it.
And I think we need to redouble our efforts to end stigma and understand ADHD more fully.
I think we’re not doing enough.