Partners & Parents

So You Think You Have ADHD – What to Expect When You Get Diagnosed As a Parent

man with adhd

I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 35. I have two children, a husband, and bills. You always kind of hope that when you’re taught a major thing about yourself, that you’ll have time to really get into that self-exploration piece of things. It’s hard, though, when you’ve also got to find time to help with school projects and break up arguments over who owns the one flat, green Lego in the box. 

It is important to find the time to get diagnosed, though, because it gives you information you’ll need to perform to your full potential each day. And who doesn’t want that? 

If you just read that and thought “Okay, but…how exactly does this work?” My answer isn’t as definite as many would hope, because it does depend on where you live, the insurance you have, and your personal situation. 

But, I can give you some pointers. 

Firstly, it is possible that you don’t even have to go through your Primary Care Physician for a referral. To find out, do a search to see if you can find ADHD specialists who do telehealth. Many of them allow you to come directly to them for an evaluation, and can connect you with psychiatric resources if you choose to medicate. 

Secondly, titrating medication isn’t exact science, and is rarely ever immediately successful. So, as you’re testing things out, be gentle with yourself, and try very hard to be mindful of how you treat the people around you. If you notice that you become more irritable towards your children, that you focus too much on very tiny things, or that you’re still forgetting very big things, tell your provider so that they can work with you to get your dosage correct. 

Thirdly and lastly, if wind up diagnosed with ADHD, I’d highly recommend continuing therapy for a bit, even if you medicate. Medication only helps you focus; it doesn’t give you the tools you’ll need to prioritize, to cope with “bad” days when nothing is working, or to work with your overall brain chemistry. And if you’re glaring at me right now like “I don’t have the time for that,” let me ask you something: 

Do you have time for dentist appointments when your tooth is hurting? If you break a leg? Or if your child is injured? I’m certain you do.

This is about your health, and about your personal day-to-day functioning. It’s worth moving things around to make time for. 

Remember that your ability to function is what helps the Family Machine run, which makes your care just as important as everyone else’s. 

Actually, ADHD can make things hard to remember so maybe write it down. It’s important abd you’re important.

Written by Arianna Bradford

Arianna is a Business Productivity Coach who specifically works with people with ADHD. She's also written for many parents over the years, and has been featured on HuffPost, Mabel + Moxie, FilterFree Parents, and Parents Magazine. She lives in Costa Rica with her husband and two children, and you can work with her by visiting here. https://theariannabradford.com/home/prodcoaching/