How to Bring Up ADHD to Your Doctor | Smart Guide

How to bring up ADHD to your doctor? This guide covers discussing ADHD symptoms, preparing for an ADHD evaluation, questions to ask, and more.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common issue. It affects individuals well into adulthood. This guide helps you talk to your doctor about it. It explains symptoms, how to recognize undiagnosed ADHD, and the need for professional assessment. You’ll also get advice on how to talk to your doctor about ADHD, what to expect during diagnosis, and how to cope with it.

  • Adults must show five out of nine symptoms from either group to be diagnosed with ADHD.1
  • Many adults with ADHD didn’t get diagnosed as kids.1
  • Noticing signs like forgetfulness or time management issues should make you consider seeking help.
  • When talking to your doctor, use real examples to show how ADHD affects your life.
  • Treating ADHD with medications or therapy can make a big difference in your daily life.

Understanding ADHD Symptoms in Adults

In adults, ADHD shows up in ways that are different from childhood. It’s vital to know the symptoms in adults to recognize and deal with it effectively. We’ll look at the main symptom types.

Inattention Symptoms

Adults with ADHD might find it hard to focus. They could miss details, have trouble staying on task, and struggle to listen when talked to. Plus, keeping things organized can be a challenge for them.2

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity Symptoms

For others, staying still can be difficult. They might feel restless, prefer not to sit for long, talk a lot, or cut into conversations. These are signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms.2

Defining Adult Onset vs Adult Presentation ADHD

There’s adult onset ADHD, which starts in adulthood, and adult presentation ADHD, where symptoms start in childhood.3 Knowing the difference helps in diagnosing and treating it well.3

Signs You May Have Undiagnosed ADHD

Finding signs of ADHD in adulthood is the start to getting help.4 Many symptoms point to ADHD, even if it wasn’t found in childhood.

Forgetfulness and Disorganization

Always forgetting things, struggling to keep up with tasks, and feeling disorganized are big hints of ADHD.4 Even without distractions, focus and keeping up are hard for ADHD adults.

Difficulty Focusing and Listening

ADHD often means trouble focusing, listening, and paying attention.4 It’s difficult to stay on track in talks or follow orders, even if you want to.

Time Management Challenges

Issues like being late, missing deadlines, and not finishing tasks point to ADHD.4 Without good time plans, stress and problems build up fast.

Impulsivity and Emotional Dysregulation

Making quick choices or cutting off others, and unstable emotions, show ADHD too.4 These can harm work and social life for those with ADHD.

It’s key to spot signs of ADHD to get checked and find the right treatment. Addressing ADHD helps make life better with good symptom management.

Importance of Seeking Professional Evaluation

If you think you might have ADHD, it’s very important to see a professional. A diagnosis from a primary care doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist is key. It helps in making a good plan to treat ADHD.5 Trying to figure it out on your own or handling symptoms without help isn’t the best idea. It could mean not getting the right treatment. Seeking a formal evaluation for ADHD is the best path. This way, any related issues can be found and treated as well.67

ADHD is not easy to pin down. It takes a lot of thorough examination to get it right.56 Specialists might need to talk to you, do tests, and look over stuff for hours.5 Sometimes, other problems like learning or mood troubles might be missed at first by general doctors.5

For adult ADHD, looking closely at symptoms and their effects is critical.6 Doctors must also check for other issues like depression. These can show up with ADHD’s symptoms too.6 Plus, knowing your family’s history can offer clues. ADHD often runs in families.6

Seeing a specialist can confirm if you have ADHD. They also make sure to check for any related issues. This step is vital for a solid treatment plan. It’s the way to go for an ADHD diagnosis.567

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importance of adhd evaluation

Discussing ADHD with Your Primary Care Doctor

Talking about ADHD with your primary care doctor is a good first step. Try taking an ADHD screening test first.1 Dr. Lenard Adler suggests using a 6-question form. Bring your test results to your appointment. It can help start the conversation and guide your doctor’s next steps.

Taking an ADHD Screening Test

An ADHD screening test is a great tool to bring up the topic. It’s a short test to check for symptoms.8 Taking this test shows your doctor you’re serious about looking after your health. It can shape your talk with your doctor in a more helpful way.

Referring to a Specialist

If your doctor thinks you might have ADHD, they might refer you to a specialist.19 This specialist could be a psychologist, psychiatrist, or neurologist. They’re experts in diagnosing and helping manage ADHD. A full assessment by a specialist is key for the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

ADHD Symptom TypePercentage of Adults with ADHD
Inattentive ADHD33%9
Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD7%9
Combined ADHD60%9

how to bring up adhd to your doctor

Don’t be scared to talk to your doctor about ADHD.8 Many people deal with it, and it’s often missed.8 Be honest and share how you feel.

Don’t Worry About Being Labeled

Telling your doctor about ADHD symptoms is okay.8 Symptoms differ from one person to another.8 It’s key to look out for your health.

Schedule a Specific Appointment

Set up a special talk about your ADHD symptoms. Do this in a separate appointment. This way, your doctor can focus just on you.

Provide Real-Life Examples

Have examples ready of how ADHD affects your daily life.8 This might be trouble with focus, staying organized, or being impulsive.8 Sharing real-life stories helps the doctor see what you go through.

Be Honest About Previous Medication Use

Be truthful if you’ve tried ADHD drugs not prescribed to you.8 Stress, little sleep, bad diet, and mood issues can make ADHD worse.8 Your past with drugs can aid in proper care and support.

Being honest with your doctor and sharing real cases is a great start. This is how you begin to deal with ADHD and get the help you need.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Prepare a list of key questions for your doctor about [questions to ask doctor about adhd]. This list should cover important topics like [adhd medication options] and ways to [track adhd progress]. It will make your talk with the doctor more effective.

Medication Options for ADHD Treatment

Ask your doctor about more than just Adderall for [adhd medication options]. Find out about other medicines like Vyvanse, Ritalin, and Concerta, or non-stimulant options such as Strattera and Intuniv.10 Know the differences in how these drugs work and their side effects. This knowledge is crucial for choosing the best treatment.10

Tracking Progress and Symptom Management

Discuss how to effectively [track adhd progress] with your doctor. Consider using a self-report checklist to assess changes in focus, mood, and impulsivity.1 Regularly tracking your symptoms helps you and your doctor see if the treatment is working well.

Potential Changes in ADHD Over Time

Remember, ADHD might change over time. Your doctor can tell you how symptoms may change as you grow older. Things like hormonal shifts and big life changes can affect ADHD in adulthood.1 Be ready to talk about any new symptoms. Your doctor can then help update your management plan.

Considering Therapy and Lifestyle Changes

In treating ADHD adulthood, therapy and lifestyle changes are key.8 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is very useful. It helps in managing symptoms, getting organized, and controlling emotions.8 A healthy lifestyle is also important. This includes eating well, drinking enough water, sleeping well, and using relaxation methods.11

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a proven way to help with ADHD. It teaches people to cope and manage their symptoms. By focusing on changing negative thoughts and behaviors, it can make a big difference.8 Adults with ADHD learn to be more organized, manage their time better, and deal with their feelings. This helps them in both personal and work life.8

See also  ADHD Testing: How Long Does the Process Take?

Healthy Lifestyle Modifications

A healthy lifestyle can also help those with . This involves eating right, drinking plenty of water, and sleeping well.11 Doing regular exercise is vital too. It helps burn energy, improves focus, and aids in sleep.11 Using relaxation methods, like meditation, is also beneficial. It can lower stress and manage ADHD better.11 So, making these changes can really improve how someone with ADHD feels.11

Seeking Support and Resources

If you have ADHD, getting support and using resources can make a big difference.8 At Kaiser Permanente, members can find helpful digital tools for mental health and wellness. They can use apps like Calm, myStrength, and Headspace. Plus, they get to talk with health coaches for personalized advice and support.8 These tools and support are great for learning coping strategies and staying on top of your health. They help you build good habits and manage your ADHD better.

Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Tools

Kaiser Permanente has a lot of online mental health tools made just for people with ADHD.8 You can use the Calm, myStrength, and Headspace Care apps for things like meditation and mindfulness. These activities can ease your stress, boost your focus, and make you feel better overall.8

Health Coaching Sessions

Aside from the apps, you can work with health coaches at Kaiser Permanente.8 These coaches are experts at helping people with ADHD. They give you one-on-one advice, keep you on track, and show you ways to set up a healthy life. You’ll learn to cope better and handle the challenges that come with ADHD.8

Recognizing ADHD in Childhood

ADHD often shows during childhood. Kids with ADHD may be very active, impulsive, and have trouble in school.3 Many continue having these signs as adults. Yet, those who were mainly inattentive might not have been spotted early on.3

Behavior Issues and Hyperactivity

Children with ADHD might not act like other kids at home or in class.12 Their behavior and being too active are common symptoms.12

Undiagnosed ADHD in Adulthood

ADHD can go unnoticed until adulthood hits. Life’s more complicated and demanding then.3 Sadly, 3 of 4 adults with ADHD weren’t aware of it as kids.3 It’s key for these adults to realize ADHD might have slipped through the cracks in childhood.3

The Diagnostic Process for Adult ADHD

The process starts with looking at the symptoms. These include how severe they are and their effects on daily life.13 Doctors have to make sure it’s not something else, like depression or anxiety, before diagnosing.13

Symptom Evaluation

Evaluating the symptoms is key. Doctors look at how much the person struggles with focusing, being hyper, and acting without thinking.7 They check if these match the ADHD criteria.7

Ruling Out Other Conditions

Checking for other conditions is crucial. This means looking at depression, anxiety, learning issues, or use of drugs.13 Doing a full check helps be certain it’s really ADHD and not something else causing the symptoms.

Genetic and Family History

Family history can tell a lot about ADHD.13 Since ADHD can run in families, knowing if it’s shown up before helps in diagnosis.7

Living and Coping with Adult ADHD

Life with adult ADHD can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.7 You can find ways to manage and succeed, even if it seems hard at first.7 Problems in work, relationships, or finishing tasks can be common.7 Yet, with the right help, adults with ADHD can learn skills and do well in life.

Therapy for Emotional Support

Therapy is key for adults living with ADHD.7 It offers vital emotional support and teaches ways to reduce anxiety and depression.7 Learning from a therapist can show adults how to manage their ADHD and its effects on relationships.

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Couples Therapy

For adults with ADHD, couples therapy is very helpful.7 The condition can make it hard to relate and communicate.7 In therapy, both partners can understand ADHD better and learn how to help each other. They can improve how they solve problems and make their bond stronger.

Focusing on Strengths and Acceptance

Focusing on what you’re good at is crucial for adults with ADHD.3 Instead of worrying about what you can’t do, it’s better to focus on your talents.3 This mindset helps individuals with ADHD not only accept themselves but also find paths to success.


This guide shared a smart way to discuss ADHD with your doctor. It covered symptoms of ADHD in adults14 and how to notice signs of undiagnosed ADHD15. It also taught you how to talk about the condition with your healthcare provider. This helps you get a proper evaluation and the right treatment options.

With the right guidance, adults with ADHD can learn how to manage it well. They can learn to cope and do well in their personal and work lives.15 The big lessons here are to seek professional evaluation and be honest with your doctor. Also, use the help and resources available for managing ADHD.16

Concentrating on this guide’s ending helps you understand the next steps. It points out the resources you have for dealing with ADHD in adulthood.141516


How do I bring up ADHD to my doctor?

Talking about ADHD with your doctor can be hard. But, don’t worry about what the doctor might think. It’s important to trust your gut and share your worries. Make a separate appointment to talk about your ADHD, not at the end of a different visit. When you go, be ready to talk about how ADHD affects your everyday life.Let your doctor know if you’ve used ADHD meds without a prescription. This can help with your diagnosis and finding the best treatment.

What questions should I ask my doctor about ADHD?

Plan some key questions for your ADHD doctor visit. Ask about treatments other than Adderall, like other stimulants or those without stimulants. Find out how to keep an eye on your progress, maybe by using a self-checklist.Also, talk about how ADHD might change as you get older. Things like hormonal shifts, life changes, and getting older can all affect ADHD in adults.

What are the signs of undiagnosed ADHD in adults?

Undiagnosed ADHD in adults shows up in several ways. For instance, you might forget a lot, be messy, or have problems paying attention. Even without distractions, focusing can be hard.Challenges in managing time, like always being late or not finishing tasks, are also signs. And, you might act without thinking, or have trouble controlling your feelings, like having sudden mood swings or getting angry easily.

What is the process for getting diagnosed with ADHD as an adult?

To diagnose adult ADHD, doctors look at your symptoms closely. They’ll also check for other conditions that seem like ADHD, like depression or anxiety. Your family history and genetics can provide clues, as ADHD often runs in families.

How can I manage my ADHD symptoms as an adult?

Treating adult ADHD often involves more than just medicine. Therapy, like CBT, can help you handle the symptoms. It aids in better organizing yourself, managing time, and controlling your emotions.It’s also important to live healthy. Eat well, drink enough water, sleep adequately, and have ways to relax. These steps can support your ADHD care.

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