How did you get your adult AD(H)D diagnosis?


I got an appointment with a doctor at the clinic at the university I used to go to. She gave me about 10 pages of questionnaire, half of which was for my parents to complete, and they were supposed to answer the questions regarding my behavior when I was under 12.

First problem: parents don’t speak English, so I had to translate the questions using my terrible Cantonese. Second problem: my parents both had to work full-time to put food on the table and did not pay attention to whether I did my homework or whether I lost my pencil crayons. So my mom’s answer to every question was, “let’s just say it’s 3/5”.

Did you have to get your parents to do a survey to get diagnosed? This seems really hard. I ended up cancelling my follow-up appointment because I didn’t want the doctor to conclude that I was just making stuff up about experiencing ADD symptoms. What would you do if you were an orphan?

PS: this was maybe a year ago now, I have been putting off pursuing it further but Jessica’s How to ADHD videos have shown me that perhaps getting diagnosed would help my life a lot. It would be nice to hear what other people’s experience with this process is like.

Thank you!

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I did not have to have my parents input with my diagnosis (got it when I was already in my 30s)

As far as I can tell, it’s an optional part and mostly useful if the person being tested is under 20.

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I didn’t need my parents to get diagnosed ( I was 33 at the time).

I started seeing a therapist because my unreliability was putting a strain on my relationship with my wife (like, nearly ending our marriage strain). She didn’t even hesitate, “This is probably ADHD, have you been tested”

I then went to see a psychatrist. I filled out some paperwork, a long questionaire about different facets of my life what worked and what didn’t. After a short conversation, he confirmed the diagnosis, and prescribed Concerta.

No questions for my parents, though i do believe he asked about my childhood.

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I was diagnosed with ‘high-functioning ADHD’ because I outwardly appeared to be doing just fine, until I wasn’t. I was aided by having a comorbid diagnosis from when I was a kid, but my doctor still demanded that I give that questionnaire to my mom as part of my assessment, since, again, I seemed to be doing just fine until then.

Luckily I could translate it easily into our mother-tongue but my mom answered ‘medium’ to pretty much every question with the excuse that ‘everone’s like that once in a while, right?’ so it wasn’t exactly helpful, hehe. But I explained it to him, and how it wasn’t necessarily representative, and gave him plenty of examples that I could remember from school, and struggling with certain things. Maybe you can do the same?

I’m sure the doctor will understand that your parents were too busy putting food on the table, and weren’t THAT obervant of these things.

Wish I could ask my wife to help translate the questionnaire into Cantonese for you, but she’s really busy at work these days, don’t wanna risk a fight that’ll end in a ‘no’ anyway, so sorry…:sweat_smile::disappointed_relieved:

Have you tried finding a Chinese version online? Maybe some of our Taiwanese friends can help with a translation, or they already have one?

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I had my diagnosis about 3 months ago. I’m 39. I visited a Psychologist because my life was not where I wanted it to be and I was fighting depression and anxiety. After 2 visits and filling out pages of surveys, I was diagnosed with ADHD.

I know this doesn’t help with your question of the process of diagnosis. I’m responding to let you know to not put this off. Call your doctor back and explain your situation. I know it may be hard, but please know that getting the proper help can shape your future towards the more positive side. From a personal experience the ADHD medication has really helped put my life back together.

I wish you luck and sending you positive vibes, appleboat. :slight_smile:



I was diagnosed in my 40s, i took along someone who had known me for over a decade, to confirm that certain behaviours were visible over a l o n g period of time. They also asked for my school reports, to show that I was like this as a kid. Luckily i still had those, and they were pretty revealing! (A year on, i looked at them again, and in fact they were even more ‘typically adhd’ than i had realised.)

Other options I’ve seen given for the ‘symptoms present in childhood’ part of the diagnosis is siblings or childhood friends.

Without any of these, anecdotes and memories may be the best you can give them.

I am so glad i got a diagnosis, though. It was worth the effort, definitely!



I was diagnosed at 26 and brought my mum to the appointment with me after she filled out some questionnaires.

My mum hugely underestimated the problems I had as a child because she also had other things to worry about, like your parents, so didn’t notice. However, that just further proves why you weren’t diagnosed as a child! If your parents didn’t notice your symptoms for whatever reason, either because they were busy or didn’t have the understanding or simply didn’t see them, it explains a lot why you’re being assessed later in life.

My mum sat there in the appointment and the dots connected for her. It helped that I also had some old school reports with me, which all had evidence that I was bright but not concentrating in class. My mum never understood why, but she did tell the doctor that I never did my homework, and she even started remembering other things! Things I didn’t even think about, like the fact that my room was always messy, and I lost things a lot. She also remembered a few instances of me hyperfocusing as a child.

My dad also doesn’t speak very good English (he didn’t come to the assessment because he lives far away), but when I described my signs of ADHD, he said he thought it was normal because that’s how he is! Again, this actually further proved to the psychiatrist that I DO have ADHD, because my dad probably has it too!

Basically, don’t be put off if you end up with a questionnaire filled out by your parents and every answer is 3/5 or “I don’t know”, this won’t make the psychiatrist think you’re fabricating it. If anything, it’s proof of why your ADHD wasn’t picked up on in your childhood, and if your parents are workaholics or can’t remember things from your childhood then it’s possible they have ADHD too! I would still encourage you to fill out the forms with your parents if you can, because any psychiatrist worth their salt will take notice of your disclaimer that they worked full time and wouldn’t know the answers. Psychiatrists know that not every parent of an adult is going to be able to remember those details anyway.

(Side note: I have 3 siblings and 2 of them already had a diagnosis of autism, so my mum had a very different standard of what children were supposed to behave like! I was the best behaved out of all of them, so she assumed I was neurotypical!)



Thank you for sharing your stories, I truly appreciate it. It’s encouraging to me that 1) not every diagnosis requires parental input and 2) even if parents are unsure of a kid’s behaviour from 20+ years ago, the person could still get an ADHD diagnosis.

@Rob_G and @djelibeybi you’re totally right I need to stop procrastinating! Doctor’s in on Friday, I’ll try and get an appointment then. Wish me luck :roll_eyes:



I wonder if the parents’ questionnaire being part of the process at this clinic because it was in a university… where the majority of their patients are in their 20’s! That would make sense :bulb:



Wow your mum really had her hands full! It’s really nice that she went with you to your appointment :slight_smile:



Nope, I am in my 40s and went to a non-university clinic. I think it’s because the DSM specifically states that adhd is present in childhood (or by definition it can’t be adhd. There is no such thing as ‘adult onset adhd’).

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I’m amazed that you still had your school reports. You must have been like “yes!! I knew I kept these for a reason!”



There goes my theory :balloon::round_pushpin::yum:

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Hahaha, no, I am a hoarder :joy:

Got to admit that it was useful in this case :grin:



Don’t feel bad @Lustforlife I have a tote downstairs with everything from preschool to college that my mom saved for some reason but now they are coming in handy since I couldn’t remember things from back then.

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All of that will fit in a tote…?!:open_mouth::open_mouth:

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with my diagnosis i went to my GP and told them i my issues and told them i was tested at 7 and i was told i would grow out of it and not to worry about, then she sent a referral the the only Psychiatrist in my town that would diagnose adults and he offered to bulk bill me, so i went in with all my report cards from school the ones i could get a hold of and he asked he he could speak to a family member and i had to do a test and just from the appointment he was suggesting what i was showing just in the room. then he had called my mum and asked her about the questions i answered for my childhood and she said it was all correct and added her input and 2 weeks later i went back in and he said he would start me on medication and i just had a medication review and this new medication im on is amazing im more focused Than ever

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