Why get a diagnosis?

So I have recently spoken to a psychologist or psychiatrist and I was asked why do I want a diagnosis. The only accommodation you can supposedly get with adhd is extra time in tests which I would not need since I normally finish tests really fast. In hindsight I guess I was thinking even further in the future and if anything does go wrong I would be able to get help, but now I wonder what are the benefits to getting a diagnosis?

Extra Rambling"

Besides medicine though, he constantly mentioned how I could get the medicine now but I made it as clear as possible I was not doing it for the medicine, even quoting Jessica’s “pills don’t teach skills”. I found it a a bit bothersome how easily he was ready to prescribe Medicine though (and he brought it up multiple times) . As of my current state I’m not sure if it’s 100% necessary.


I wanted a diagnosis because (a) I wanted to know that this was REALLY going on for me, and not some hypochondriac mental illness situation I made up in my own head to justify being a shitty person, and (b) if legit, I wanted treatment/medication to help in addition to my already ongoing therapy.

For diagnosis, I went to see a psychologist I had never met or heard of before, because I wanted the cleanest feeling interaction possible. I know my regular psychologist agreed that ADHD diagnosis fit me, and could have issued the formal diagnosis if I asked her to, but I wanted a diagnosis from someone without the bias of already knowing me.

Medication has been helpful with daily function, but escaping the misdiagnosis of depression/anxiety and getting a correct realization of ADHD as a verified source of my struggles has been the most healing part of my journey.

If you can get by without meds, then that’s great. However it might be worth trying just to see what difference they make. Maybe one day a couple months ago, when ADHD is wreaking more havoc than normal on you, a couple days with pills could be a huge help.

I’m also worried about addiction because I get addicted to just regular things extremely easily. Such as I’m currently addicted to the smell of rubbing alcohol, and my mom says I look like an addict. So I’m trying my best to avoid anything that people get addicted to normally.

Also, I know my addiction is weird, but ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I can understand your concern then.

I wanted to get an actual diagnoses for the purpose of extra accommodations when I return to college next year. ADHD qualifies as a disability which will also give me a break on tuition. Just $1000K. That doesn’t go too far, the course is about $6600 and we have to account for me not working for almost a year.

When my son was diagnosed in November so much of what I read resonated with me that I wanted to talk to someone about it. Suddenly so much made sense! Having someone tell me that in fact that all my traits that caused me pain wasn’t my fault was priceless. I can work on loving me, improving things I need to improve and even be a better mom.

Medication has changed things for me too, though it has just been a month.

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Welp anything that helps tuition is amazing for me.

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Someone correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t being easily addicted to things an ADHD thing? The substance abuse rate for people with diagnosed but untreated ADHD is supposedly three times that of neurotypical people, while people with ADHD who are recieving treatment are only at the same risk of substance abuse as the general population. (I don’t have a source for this though since I don’t remember where I read it.) People with ADHD on ADHD meds are (supposedly) LESS likely to get addicted to them as people who don’t have ADHD.

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I think the most important thing is to know how your brain works and how to use it most effectively.

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I got mine because I wanted to know. I wanted a word for it. It’s how I think. If I can conceptualize a problem, I can work it with more purpose and confidence than if I only have the vague notion that there are some things I’m just not good at. I sought out the diagnosis at a pretty low point in my life. Like being lost in a swamp and looking for a signpost pointing to the nearest road.

Oh, and now I can get treatment that my health insurance pays for. That’s good, too.

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A diagnosis has helped me for several reasons.

  1. Access to medication
  2. Has help my therapist tailor her therapy to me
  3. Will help any future therapists not need to go through a figuring out process
  4. Has given me mindfulness as to why I act the way I do, and has helped me reduce the impacts of ADHD on my life
  1. My boss knows about my diagnosis, so he can help tailor job accommodations to me.
  2. Has helped my marriage, because my it has given my wife and I a common language to talk about my difficulties and she knows that I am not just making it up.

I can go on further about the benefits of an official diagnosis.


I actually find that elvanse prevents my addiction slightly because it just gives my mind something to chew on almost and if i take too much it doesn’t feel right and the side effects make me take less the next time. I’ve even found it’s made me cut back on the amount of cannabis I smoke too.

ive not been diagnosed but have just been watching this video, not only has it help me realise a lot of the areas i struggle with that i hadn’t realised he also gives the argument for meds, I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t but i think arming yourself with information from both sides is important.


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Not complaining, every bit helps! The cost of my education when you factor in the living expenses as well will be in the $30K range… but $1K will buy my text books!

After a conversation with my parents I’m not sure I’ll want to get an evaluation. To them it would just an that I’m just looking for a diagnosis, and maybe they’re right. I asked my father why he thinks I didn’t have it and he said that it was because I wouldn’t have done as well as I have in school. I replied and said that people do well in school even with adhd and he basically said I would rationalize anything towards it. He said that in the medical field they don’t get a diagnosis and worth towards/around that, they get a list of symptoms and they use that to figure out what is wrong. I already had spocken to a psychologist to get a referral since they don’t do adhd evaluations where I’m at/in the clinic I went to and they supposedly said no (although I recall an I don’t know but my memory isn’t amazing I guess ). My father also was saying how once you take a mental drug you can’t go back and if they say I’m severe enough, me deciding to be un-medicated could be problematic. It’s also been 2 years since I first brought it up and he says that since I’ve stayed with it so long in just hunting for an ADHD diagnosis. So I guess I’ll do nothing. I’ve survived this far generally fine and I’ve got the charm to hopefully have my future professors not completely destroy me. Thank you all for all your help and guidance! I may never be a part of the tribe though. And I guess that’s fine. Wish me luck!

Maybe it’s your Dad who’s doing the rationalising.

It sounds to me like you have your suspicions, and need to know why your life is the way it is.

Is your Dad qualified to make a diagnosis? No. Does he sound like he has some preconceived ideas about ADHD and is trying to steer you away from the possibility that you might be right? Yes.

He may have some valid reasons why it might be better for the world to not put you in the ADHD box. Maybe he is misinformed.

You sound like you are on the fence regarding whether or not you have ADHD.

My opinion would be to get the diagnosis. If it’s not ADHD, it might be something else. If it turns out that it’s nothing at all, then you will have that knowledge, and you can then do with it what you will.

But keeping yourself in the dark will put you exactly zero steps ahead of where you are now. And things could potentially get worse.

You do not want to be my age, and have your entire life go to shit behind you. You will never get your past back at that point, and your available time on this planet to make changes in your life will just get shorter and shorter every minute.


Okay, I’m gonna rant now. Because this kind of stuff makes me angry.

First of all, your health and well-being should not be determined by your dad’s dismissal. Especially since he doesn’t seem to know the first thing about ADHD. You’ve already called him out on the falsehood of how doing well in school doesn’t mean anything.

If nothing else, you should get the diagnosis to get a perspective that is more realiable than that. If your parents won’t back you, you need that even more. They’re not living your life and facing the challenges you’ll be dealing with down the line. You are.

Even if you don’t have any diagnosable mental state (which is possible if you’re not exactoly suffering from it - they may determine that you have the traits but not the dysfunction), knowing that from a reliable source will put you ahead. Will your dad mock you for wasting time on that if it turns up nothing? (He kind of reads like that kind of bloke to me, hence the ranting.) Let him. But you will know. All your dad seems to offer is mere prejudice.

While I did hear about studies where students entered clinical psychiatrical treatment under false pretenses and then tried to get out and failed because everything they did just confirmed to the doctors they were in denial and needed even more treatment and tougher meds, this is not how ADHD treatment works. You can stop at any moment, the treatment is not in a clinic and nobody’s force-feeding them to you. Also, there are no side-effects to stopping because they’re not addicitve.

And just because you managed to pursue that question for two years, doesn’t mean you can stay on a topic and thus don’t have ADHD. (Although I’ve joked in another thread that in Germany, you really need a lot of determination and will power to get your lack of it diagnosed.) It just means that it kept nagging at you long enough and will probably continue to do so. Which is exactly why you should keep pursuing it.

Also, you may get by fine now, but this may change as life’s challenges change. I thought I was fine until I was 45 or 46 or so and started pursuing mental health explanations why some things just didn’t work.

Oh, and feel free to stay in the tribe even if it turns out you don’t have ADHD. If Jessica’s tips or any of the ideas presented here work for you, that’s cool either way.

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I… what? I don’t understand what your dad would mean by this. Getting treatment for mental illness isn’t going to permanently alter you. You don’t suddenly become irreversibly reliant on your medication. This seems like a huge RED FLAG bias against mental illness to me.

Echoing what @Smoj said, is your dad qualified to make a diagnosis? (Trick question, even if he was a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, he would not be qualified, because he’s YOUR dad.) This is one of the reasons I sought a psychologist who had never ever met me before, when I sought ADHD diagnosis. I wanted someone who was unbiased by knowing me personally. However, it’s possible that what is going on for your is not ADHD, but instead could be… a sleep disorder, depression/anxiety, a mood or personality disorder, or even post traumatic stress disorder if you’ve ever experienced an emotional or physical trauma. There is a lot of symptomatic overlap. This is the reason why we hire highly trained professionals to do the work of diagnosis.

EDIT: You could also ask to see a counselor or therapist without a diagnosis, btw. In fact, there are whole subsets of psychologists and other mental health professionals that specifically practice treatment without diagnosis. My therapist is one of them. Even though she never really “saw” ADHD in me until I brought it up, it isn’t because I don’t have it. It’s because she doesn’t run her practice seeing individual patients as “depressed” or “traumatized” or having any particular disorder. She feels it gets in the way of being able to take a holistic approach and treat the whole person. My psychologist isn’t treating me any differently now that I have an ADHD diagnosis, and the work that we’ve done together over the years has gone towards helping me manage (what I now know are) my ADHD symptoms.

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I just want to say thank you for all all of you have said. I find I feel a lot better about the situation. And I think that it’s slightly mental illness in general. Since despite being diagnosed with depression with three different people he seems to not really believe that I’m depressed or sometimes it seems that he gets angry because of it. But I can understand that, you wouldn’t want your own child to be depressed and you’d probably want to look for a different reason. Ironically it wasn’t depression though and apparently it’s dysmithia (or something like that, my therapist changed it). If I’m being honest with my self, I wouldn’t say I was on the fence about it at all. I believed it was true. I knew every single bit about it.
Although I would have to slightly agree with this statement for when I look back in it that was kind of one of his arguments. He gave the analogy of a fox hunter who knows everything about foxes because that’s what they’re trained to find. But they won’t know how to capture a water bear (he didn’t use a water bear but I said it because they are cool organisms that differ greatly from a fox. He used the animal my sister called out but at this moment I can’t remember what it was so LET’S GO WATER BEAR). Since you know everything about the Fox and that’s what you’ve trained yourself to find, that’s what your going to find. And I think he’s saying it you push so hard for this one thing you could pretty much rationalize it even if it’s not the case.
‘and then what’ was also a big part in what he was saying (which was ironically why I made this thread), but atleast for the medicine part I know that what he was saying wasn’t true (although I was generally not thinking about meds). Also my mother is bipolar and has very negative views about how people with mental health labels are treated and what medicine could do to you. Her experiences probably didn’t help the conversation but I guess trying to show her how the benefits can out weight the negatives (like stigmas). I would say that currently (and a warning that my mind has flip flopped a lot in the span of just 2 days) if I were to get the diagnosis or just check, I wouldn’t want to tell my parents.
Also something else that was said was that ‘it seems like they want to be adhd’ (said my mom (‘they’ being me)) to which my dad responds 'of course they do! (insert real name here) would want to put the all of her problems into this one thing. It would explain why they fidgets, why they lose focus (etc) …"so i would also say that they think it might end up being used as an excuse so I could give up on working on those things. Which was something I wanted to make sure I would never do. But if I’m going to continue to work on it, then why move forward? What would it change . Gosh I’m a mess right now. I’m not exactly sure what to think. And I’m all over the place. If you read this far, thank you and you probably deserve a reward from decifering this incoherent brain dump XD. Again I just want to thank you guys for trying to help in whatever way you have! It actually means a lot to me!