View Full Version : The Ups and Downs of Diagnosis


Tetrahedra
10-10-16, 01:05 PM
I haven't been formally diagnosed by a doctor with ADHD, though I've been seeing a therapist for it and I have accommodations at school. After much mental debate, I have decided that I would pursue medications, but this means going into an actual doctor and probably getting a formal diagnosis. It's possible that I might end up being diagnosed with something else in addition to it.

Are there downsides to having a formal diagnosis for ADHD and other conditions? I know that there are laws in place to protect privacy and other laws to protect people with disabilities, but we must be honest here: laws don't always work. Unfortunately I've heard people say things about how they don't want to get diagnosed for ADHD or other conditions because of negative consequences, but no one has elaborated what those consequences are.

I am high functioning enough that I could get by without further assistance, but I am struggling. And I want to live a happy, fully-functioning life. So I'm on this fence because I'm good, but I'm not good, if that makes sense. And if I'm going to be penalized because I end up with a diagnosis, I'm not sure I'm willing to take the risk of reaching out for medication or further help.

Fuzzy12
10-10-16, 01:11 PM
The only downsides I van think o1. In the uk you have to notify the driving and licensing authority that you have adhd but if your psychiatrist confirms that you are fit to drive it's not a problem

2. If you are thinking of ever adopting a child they can check your health re
Cords and some disorders might make the process more complicated though I'm not sure about adhd.

I'd say go for it. Meds made a big difference to my life. A good difference

diagoro
10-11-16, 10:55 AM
I'm in California/US. I haven't had any complications due to my official medical diagnosis, and have had a few due to insurance changes. The only complication was when I encountered medical professionals who either didn't believe in ADD, or with my prior diagnosis.

Tetrahedra
10-11-16, 10:36 PM
I'm in California/US. I haven't had any complications due to my official medical diagnosis, and have had a few due to insurance changes. The only complication was when I encountered medical professionals who either didn't believe in ADD, or with my prior diagnosis.

If you don't mind me asking, what were your complications with your insurance? I'm in USA, too.

diagoro
10-12-16, 03:39 PM
If you don't mind me asking, what were your complications with your insurance? I'm in USA, too.

The main one was when switching to Kaiser. I had been on Adderall for close to 10 years at that point, and previously diagnosed by several doctors. Suddenly I had to go through a new diagnosis that lasted several months, included a doctor who thought I only had depression, and a whole host of other related issues. I'm guessing it was four months until I was back on my meds. Just one of my major issues with Kaiser, which is why I no longer use them.

ADDon1
10-21-16, 07:02 AM
I don't want to crosspost from another topic that I've started which is similar to this topic, but it might be helpfull to post a link (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1845802&posted=1#post1845802) to it.

sarahsweets
10-21-16, 09:28 AM
Are there downsides to having a formal diagnosis for ADHD and other conditions? I know that there are laws in place to protect privacy and other laws to protect people with disabilities, but we must be honest here: laws don't always work. Unfortunately I've heard people say things about how they don't want to get diagnosed for ADHD or other conditions because of negative consequences, but no one has elaborated what those consequences are.
I dont think there are any consequences if your healthcare is kept private. While there are disability laws that are supposed to help provide you with accommodations for work, they can still pretty much fire you, they will just find another reason. So if you dont desperately need work accommodations, I wouldnt share it. Its the same with anyone. I have never shared about my bipolar, I dont want opinions or judgement from anyone, especially because mental illness is so misunderstood.
Getting into see a qualified doctor is a good thing because a therapist can usually weed ADHD out, they do make mistakes.



I am high functioning enough that I could get by without further assistance, but I am struggling. And I want to live a happy, fully-functioning life. So I'm on this fence because I'm good, but I'm not good, if that makes sense.
Adhd symptoms must have been present by age 12,impair you in 6 or more ways in 2 or more areas of your life to be considered adhd. If this sounds like you its worth getting seen.


And if I'm going to be penalized because I end up with a diagnosis, I'm not sure I'm willing to take the risk of reaching out for medication or further help.
Im curious as to who you think would penalize you?

ToneTone
10-21-16, 02:21 PM
If you think you have the condition, get the diagnosis and go for full treatment. Full treatment can (not guaranteed to) change your life for the better.

Worrying about the complications of full treatment is sort of like the person with cancer worrying that the cancer treatment may have a stigma.

I haven't reported my ADHD to any authority or any body.

I don't see any downside to diagnosis. Absolutely none.

Tone

Tetrahedra
10-21-16, 07:37 PM
Im curious as to who you think would penalize you?

I don't really know. But I do know that in the US, if you have certain mental health problems, you can't own a gun, for example. (Or is it if you're ever institutionalized, you can't own guns?) I have no desire to own a gun, but I was just curious if there was anything like that. Or your opinion would be discredited in court, etc.

ToneTone
10-21-16, 08:46 PM
You can relax and feel safe getting treated.

Half of the business elites and polite elites in this country, including CEO's, millionaires, billionaires, U.S. Senators, Presidential cabinet members, news media personnel--all take advantage of mental healthcare for themselves and for their families. I have a buddy who is an extremely successful and influential lawyer. All of his family members are in therapy or treatment and he has a child who is diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.

Your mental healthcare is no more relevant or public to the rest of the world than going to a dentist to get cavities filled.

Commercial pilots can't be on stimulants, I think I heard (though ironically the U.S. military apparently gives stimulants to its pilots for long missions). Maybe there are a few professions like that ... But those are the exceptions.

The condition of ADHD is the problem people grapple with, not some public announcement of the condition. Being late and missing deadlines and failing to finish jobs and courses, getting fired, and inability to maintain personal order and orderly surroundings, constantly misplacing things--THOSE are the problems that bring stigma on us ... And these problems are why most of us get treated. Treatment is what helps people succeed in the world or cope in the world--it's not the obstacle to success. It's what makes success for many of us possible.

But I think I might get where you're coming from. In one of my early jobs about 25 years ago, I knew I needed help but I didn't want to go to a therapist for fear that my bosses at the time would find out.

Well, I got moved to a different office at the same company, and my coworker sitting next to me was a woman in her 30s. One day, I hear her on the phone with one of our supervisors, and she says. "Ok. I'm going to my weekly appointment. I'll be back after lunch." She was talking about her therapy appointment. All the bosses knew she had therapy and none cared! ... None!

So I followed her lead and used the company insurance to go to therapy myself and I began telling my bosses about my weekly appointment. Literally, the matter only came up when they wanted to know what time I would return to the office. Later I find out that half of my bosses and their children were in therapy or treatment of some kind.

Now irony or ironies: I didn't know I had ADHD at the time, so even though therapy was helpful for depression and anxiety, I still was late on assignments, struggled with meeting deadlines and getting my work done. Looking back, I wish I had been diagnosed with ADHD then. Untreated ADHD is what got me in trouble with my job and made the job so hard--not going to therapy on the company health insurance.

Treatment for mental health is widespread and not nearly as stigmatized as it used to be. And it's as private as getting your cavities filled.

You're safe! Go for it and report back to us on your journey. Getting treatment is a wonderful journey.

Tone

Tetrahedra
10-21-16, 09:22 PM
Thanks, Tone. Your post made me feel a lot better.

sarahsweets
10-23-16, 07:53 AM
I don't really know. But I do know that in the US, if you have certain mental health problems, you can't own a gun, for example. (Or is it if you're ever institutionalized, you can't own guns?) I have no desire to own a gun, but I was just curious if there was anything like that. Or your opinion would be discredited in court, etc.

The only penalization I can think of outright would be life insurance. You have to disclose medical conditions and meds so they can determine risk and coverage.

Swissy
10-23-16, 10:16 AM
I have had very mixed feelings. Just dx'd at age 40. I always joked about having ADD, but never thought it was a real possibility because I did well in school and have a career. But over the last 6 months it has gotten worse, affecting my family and causing me to withdrawal. I wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone and just tried to focus on my responsibilities, and I was SUCKING at it all. Forgetting things that have been routing to me for years- IE. Taking the kids to scheduled karate classes or sports practices. Forgetting to turn off space heater. OCD checking and rechecking things- IE. Making sure I actually unplugged my curling iron, making sure I locked house up at night. I would know in my head it was time for medication, then not remember if I actually took it or if I just thought about taking it. I was always upset, cried at the drop of a hat, riddled with anxieties worrying if I was going to upset or disappoint someone. My primary doctor suggested I could not have ADD because I was a good student and have a career, he said if anything I was bipolar. This freaked me out having grown up with an (undiagnosed) bipolar parent who was very abusive, I was afraid I would turn into THAT.

So I went to a neurologist. He validated everything I was feeling and explained that people with ADD are usually very intelligent, we just don't have the necessary brain chemicals to follow through. I started taking a small dose of adderall once/ day 4 days ago. I couldn't believe how it has impacted me. I am happy, I mean happier than I have ever been. No more anxiety (while the meds are in effect.) I am satisfied that I do my best and treat people kindly, so I don't worry about others being mad at me. I am friendly, I enjoy being around others, and the list goes on.

So then I start thinking maybe I made this up. I made it this far in life, right? Do I want the ADD label? Do I want to commit to taking an amphetamine? Then I got upset again, wasn't going to take my meds, started crying on my drive to work. Then I realized this was no way to live and took my pill. Within an hour I was laughing at how ridiculous I had been acting. I realize that my whole life has been one big coping mechanism to not let ADD defeat me. I realize here is no real label, nobody has to know unless I want them to know, and I am a better mom and wife now.

So I went through ups and downs for so long about this. And now I am trying to stay up and I have decided I am going to stay on meds for now and know I can stop if life gets easier. I was worried about the potential to abuse the adderall I was prescribed. But I know as long as I follow Doctor orders and don't self regulate I am ok. If I feel like I need a bigger dose or that my meds don't last long enough, I will tell my doc and follow his instructions. Good luck!

ToneTone
10-23-16, 04:34 PM
Go for it, Swissy!

You deserve good treatment. The help brought about by good treatment can free you up to do all kinds of wonderful things.

And since ADHD folks have a high rate of comorbidity--as in high rates of depression and anxiety--keep a look out for those issues as well.

Good luck.

Tone