The importance of a professional ADHD diagnosis

Getting a thorough assessment from a licensed and specialized professional, such as a neuropsychologist, is crucial for an accurate diagnosis

In this fast-paced, modern world, it can be tempting to autodiagnose forgetfulness and distraction as ADHD. I was recently interviewed by ikigai tribe founder Nicholas Kemp about my own ADHD journey, and we touched on this issue. TikTok or Instagram reels about neurodivergence may be great at highlighting conditions, but there is a very real danger that they may lead folks to self-diagnose. What’s more, a diluted portrayal of neurodivergence on social media can lead people to minimize the condition of those who have been professionally diagnosed. (“We’re all a bit ADHD, right?”)

Getting a thorough assessment from a licensed and specialized professional, such as a neuropsychologist, is crucial for an accurate diagnosis.

A proper diagnosis can rule out other conditions, can help identify comorbidities, and will lead to a tailored action plan. Because if ADHD is left untreated, it can worsen possible comorbidites, such as anxiety and depression, and can severely affect your self-esteem, as well as your relationships.

woman sitting in window

Working with my diagnosis

My own diagnosis left me a bit blind-sided. As I mention in the podcast with Nicholas Kemp, I’d always had various labels assigned me by teachers, and understanding my diagnosis shed light on some of areas that were negatively impacting me- such as time-blindness, distractibility, and misreading social cues. Yet, at the time of my diagnosis, I believed ADHD was more a ‘naughty boy’ condition – more Dennis the Menace or Bart Simpson than me!  To be honest, it wasn’t until almost two decades later that I came back to the diagnosis and started to work with it rather than let it work against me.

And doing the Ikigai Tribe course was a major component in this shift. I learned about the concepts of ibasho – which means “a place where you can feel like at home, being oneself” in Japanese. It’s also very focused on finding your community and identifying your role in it to help make life richer. And so I’ve focused on finding a like-minded community amongst intercultural and (neuro)inclusion specialists and also within the Ikigai Tribe community, too. Being part of this latter community has really helped me pause and internalize the pillars of ikigai rather than rushing on to the next course/project/dopamine kick – a very common trait among those of us who have ADHD.

Myriad treatment options

However, although it’s a common trait, it doesn’t mean that all people with ADHD have problems in focusing and learning things, or that it impacts us in the same way. And that’s why it’s essential to get a professional diagnosis. It’s not a “one size fits all” disorder because it can manifest itself in myriad ways. Similarly, the treatment options also vary depending on each person’s symptoms and specific needs. Whether it be medication, psychotherapy, coaching – or a combination of treatments – will depend on the needs of each individual, but it begins with an accurate diagnosis by a qualified healthcare professional.

So if you think you, or someone you know, may have ADHD symptoms, please reach out to a qualified provider for a diagnosis. And if you need help with navigating your condition, once a diagnosis has been reached, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I can help coach you to bring out the best in your neurodivergence!

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