6 thoughts on “Why Is ADHD So Often Diagnosed Late?

  • November 7, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Neil, I was an extremely hyperactive girl growing up in the 80’s, in a small regional town in NSW Australia. ADHD was most certainly not “a thing”, rather my parents were frowned upon for having such an unruly child. They were exasperated every day and often embarrassed. Not to mention they were very sensible and respectable people who had little means or education to do anything further. So for my part, I was diagnosed late because my “condition” was put down to hyperactivity, disobedience and lack of information.
    Regarding School, there were no high grades to speak of as I couldn’t even sit still let alone know what subject matter was at hand.
    I came across my diagnosis through my son and now live with all of the painful “what if’s” that result from such a poor education experience. We are well on track now and making up for lost time and I consider myself very blessed to hold down a family as well as a small business. In fact without my ADHD I really couldn’t be doing what I am doing… So it is a kind of “secret weapon”. Thanks πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • November 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story, Rhiannon! That’s a good point — someone with ADHD being seen as a “bad kid” who just won’t behave is another reason for missed diagnosis. It’s great that you have found a way to make it work and have a small business — I’ve written on here a few times about studies showing that people with ADHD are more likely to be entrepreneurs and to be self-employed.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Hi, I grew up in New York, USA, in the 60’s and finished high school in ’74. I have above average intelligence, but was always a C-D student, never seemed to get my work in on time, could never seem to remember what to do when I got home to do my homework. In elementary school, my report cards always said- “too much daydreaming and talking.” Besides the fact I was a girl, and wasn’t physically hyperactive, no one had ever heard of ADHD or ADD. When I was 35, I had numerous life changing events all in one year, which resulted in me deciding to go to college. After 2 years of some good and some bad grades (even in subjects I loved) my teenaged son was diagnosed with ADHD, and someone I knew in college who had it himself said “Maybe you need to get tested yourself,” and so I did, and of course, that was it.
    The problems over the years are mostly because- 1. They started me on Ritalin, which worked very well, however, many times I haven’t had insurance, and clinics don’t want to prescribe it because of misuse. Some of the other medications have too many side effects for me to take. 2.It seems like every time I try to get help, they want to retest. I’m not sure why, but to me it feels like they either don’t believe it, or they think it might have “gone away.” The last time (3rd) I was tested, I was told I don’t have ADD, I have Anxiety.
    I sometimes venture to explain to someone what is going on, and usually hear something like “Oh, I do that too!” So now I mostly just try to live with it, adapt where I can, and try not to get too discouraged with my shortcomings.

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    • November 8, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      Gocyndygo, thanks for sharing your experience! Switching doctors with ADHD can be a real pain. Something that has helped me with this in the past is to have my old doctor fax my notes to my new doctor, but it’s still an imperfect process. I’ve heard many stories about people who were misdiagnosed with anxiety or depression before finally being correctly diagnosed with ADHD, but I find it really disturbing that you were diagnosed with ADHD, then “undiagnosed.” Best of luck!

      Reply
  • November 9, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Interesting. I was diagnosed at 55. Successful professionally (due to high IQ), but disaster personally. Never understood why until diagnosed. Wish I had been dxd and treated long ago.
    Getting control of life just in time to retire. Missed out on a lot.

    Edit: “they’re symptoms” should be “their”.

    Reply
    • November 11, 2016 at 6:48 am

      HyperGirl, thanks for sharing. I think a lot of people with ADHD can understand how you feel. And thanks for catching that typo — fixed. πŸ˜›

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