ADHD is a congenital neurological condition where insuffucient Dopamine is available to the combined region of the brain called Executive Function. That is, you are born with it and while you can do some work arounds, there is a limit to how much you can compensate for neurology. Many children are not diagnosed who have this struggle, leading to late diagnosis as an adult for many missed youth.
It isn’t easy.
Note that this is still a simplified version of what needs to be done for and Adult ADHD diagnosis here in Australia.
= Text says =
The Medical System: Late diagnosis Adult ADHD is a complex problem with ‘impaired’ Executive Function – where planning, keeping appointments, tracking complexity and remembering details can be adversely affected.
ADHDer trying to get a diagnosis: Ok, that makes sense and sounds like me. What do I do about it?
System: Get a diagnosis.
ADHDer: Ok, makes sense. How?
System: Well, that’s perfectly simple.
- Make an appointment with your doctor, convince them that this is probable and has existed since you were at least 12 years of age
- Get them to refer you to a Private ADHD Psychiatrist, since the public system doesn’t do this, and most Psychiatrists are not qualified.
- If they don’t take your case, go back to your GP and ask for a new referral. They probably won’t tell you they won’t take your case. If you’ve heard nothing in 2 weeks, the odds are they didn’t take your case. You may have to repeat this step a few times.
- When you do find a Private ADHD Psychiatrist that can see you, they’ll set up an initial interview with you in around 9 months. Don’t forget, and don’t be late.
- When you go for your first interview, try to bring evidence from your childhood that this is a long term condition. School reports or teacher testimonials are great – you kept those, right? Your parents coming in or writing a report is good too – you have a positive relationship with your parents, right? Or other people who knew you well back then will do. You are in the same country and state you grew up in, right?
- Remember to show the psychiatrist enough ADHD traits that they can diagnose you, so don’t mask too much. Also, don’t be too ADHD, or you may look like too high a risk. Just hit that comfortable balance point, okay?
- Remember not to take any “non-scripted” substances before your interview. You are likely to need to do a blood test or urinalysis. Some “non-scripted” substances need about 12 weeks to fully flush from your system, so mark that in your calendar too, and remember to stick to it.
- You’ll likely need a cardiogram. You’ll need to book that, attend, perhaps wear a monitor for 12 to 24 hours, to ensure your heart is going fine.
- Come in for your second interview sometime between 4 to 12 weeks later, after your drug screen and cardiogram results are ready. You did book that in time, right? Again, don’t forget, and don’t be late. All going well, you’ll get a script for ADHD medication.
- If medication is scripted, there will be a whole bunch of information that the Psychiatrist should tell you about adjusting the dose so that you can get to an effective dose over time. If they remember to tell you the details. Probably best to take notes.
- A third interview should occur in 4 to 12 weeks to review how the medication went. If you find your medication is not compatible with your brain (each brain is different, not uncommon), you’ll need to call the clinic and organise an earlier appointment so that the dose can be adjusted or the type changed.
There you go. Simple.
ADHDer: I… um… About that ‘impaired’ Executive Function…