Adult ADHD - your symptoms and how did you get diagnosed?

(33 Posts)
Blaziken Thu 25-Nov-21 15:01:57

Currently trying to get help with my mental health and have been wondering about trying to get a diagnosis of ASD (had previous thread about this). I've been reading lots and am now wondering if ADHD fits better. If you have ADHD, diagnosed as an adult, how does it affect you? How did you get the diagnosis? Everywhere has such a long waiting list and I struggle with waiting!

My symptoms:

Constantly distracted, all the time. Have good job but procrastinate and useless at finishing anything until it is urgent and I absolutely have to. Have always been like this. Applies at home too - something need doing? Do 6 other things and forget the original thing! University - no work done on coursework until pulling an all nighter at the last minute.

Always in trouble at school for talking. No matter how often I was punished, couldn't stop myself. Silly impulsive behaviour got me in trouble.

Very focussed on hobbies to the detriment of everything else. Once I'm interested, I can become an expert very quickly. I can lose interest just as quickly,

I have to be doing several things at once. Cooking? Also playing a game on my phone and having a whatsapp conversation. Daydream all the time.

My house is a mess. I will spend an entire day at the weekend making it better but it will end up like it again by the next weekend. Exhausting.

Someone talking directly to me? I will zone out immediately. Same for trying to read something. My poor husband is constantly having to repeat himself.

Emotional outbursts that go as quickly as they came.

Can't sit still, have to fidget or get up and move regularly. Same in bed, can't lie still.

Socially useless. I just don't get people.

Can't watch a film, have to be doing something else at the same time.

Constant anxiety, all the time.

Loads more. But will they really take me seriously as an adult? I have a job but I constantly feel like I'm firefighting and will get into trouble. I exhaust myself.

OP’s posts: |
Blaziken Thu 25-Nov-21 15:10:24

Forgot why I originally posted - could all this just be due to anxiety?

OP’s posts: |
minipie Thu 25-Nov-21 15:17:42

I don’t know but watching as I tick about 10 of those boxes. (Plus some others) And have wondered about ADHD.

Ruple Thu 25-Nov-21 15:56:57

I have been wondering the same the last few weeks. Worried the GP will fob me off though. I always thought there was something wrong with me and my inability to cope. The idea that there could be some help for me with this is just amazing and like I have hope for the first time!

Blaziken Thu 25-Nov-21 19:32:14

My GP has sent me forms to fill in. Hope I will get somewhere.

OP’s posts: |
Ohdoleavemealone Thu 25-Nov-21 19:36:48

You sound alot like my DH. Our DS has just been diagnosed ADHD and he doesn't get it from me. DH says he remembers teachers saying something to his mum as a kid but she dismissed them.

Mjjbgfessrgb Thu 25-Nov-21 19:55:04

Blaziken

My GP has sent me forms to fill in. Hope I will get somewhere.

I did the forms recently too. I'm the same as your OP but I'm not anxious at all and can't finish a hobby. Hundreds of half completed projects everywhere...
The waiting list is about a year here, so I'll have to wait and see.

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tobypercy Thu 25-Nov-21 19:58:23

Your "socially useless" and "don't get people" points sound more like ASD to me, but ADHD and ASD symptoms overlap a lot. Fidgeting is common in both.

My DS was diagnosed with ASD a couple of years ago, I wasn't sure whether to expect that or ADHD because of the overlap. And as CAMHS described most of his challenges they could have been talking about me. I don't feel the need to seek a diagnosis for myself but I feel more positive now I have an idea what causes my issues (I'm not just lazy and careless, after all!)

Either way... there are coping mechanisms that are helpful for both, pick one to try and see if it works for you. If it does then keep it, if not then bin it. Then try another one. Don't try them all at once, tempting though it is (don't ask me how I know this grin )

Okbutnotgreat Thu 25-Nov-21 20:03:48

DD is going down the private route as nhs clinic has an 18 month wait locally. Private appt will happen via zoom in a couple of weeks and hopefully meds will be prescribed. Hoping the gp will agree to fund once meds have been sorted.

SandrasAnnoyingFriend Thu 25-Nov-21 20:06:47

ADHD and ASD often exist alongside one another and you have some key elements of both.

I would ask your GP to refer you to Psychiatry UK, the wait list is long but not as long as the NHS

benelephant Thu 25-Nov-21 20:12:45

Ooh OP your list sounds like me! I think I might have ADHD too. I don't think I'm going to pursue a diagnosis though as I'm self-employed and have discovered my own coping mechanisms. I've also recently started listening to hacking your adhd podcast. I'm only two episodes in (as I can't concentrate long enough to finish them 😬) but they seem like they might have some good tips.

DaisyWaldron Thu 25-Nov-21 20:31:42

I had symptoms very similar to yours and got an NHS diagnosis of inattentive ADHD after a wait of almost 3 years.

I've found the diagnosis really helpful in getting people to take my difficulties seriously - just small things, like if someone's doing a complex set i
of instructions at work, I'll ask them to slow down so that I can take notes, or DH helping me when I get stuck and can't move onto a new task, or friends realising that I'm not being rude when I explain that I struggle with timekeeping so it's better to meet up in the cinema cafe for a drink before the film at a rough time to rather than just before the film starts.

Blaziken Thu 25-Nov-21 20:59:27

So many of us. There must be so many undiagnosed adults. I have seen on some threads that people are fobbed off because they have jobs. This is what I'm expecting to happen, but I'll try anyway.

I definitely have traits of autism. I scored 41/50 in the AQ test. Does anyone know if they would notice traits of autism in the ADHD assessment?

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SelfHelpPlease Thu 25-Nov-21 21:06:11

This is me down to a T. I filled out a questionnaire with the DR and scored high for ADHD. I've been referred but it could take a year or 2 because of the waiting list in my area so I'm going private next year.

amusedbush Thu 25-Nov-21 23:38:25

Blaziken

So many of us. There must be so many undiagnosed adults. I have seen on some threads that people are fobbed off because they have jobs. This is what I'm expecting to happen, but I'll try anyway.

I definitely have traits of autism. I scored 41/50 in the AQ test. Does anyone know if they would notice traits of autism in the ADHD assessment?

No, they will not flag up any ASD traits or vice versa - I asked! You have to be referred separately.

I was totally fobbed off at my NHS assessment for ASD earlier this year. The guy was worse than useless and told me that I’m definitely not autistic because I’m too articulate hmm I ended up going private and being diagnosed after a MUCH more thorough, holistic process. I scored 47/50 on the AQ test, which was part of the private psych’s assessment.

I have ADHD too, which was also diagnosed this year. I seem to very lucky though because I was referred in April this year and diagnosed on 1st November, but some areas of the UK have a 7 year waiting list for NHS assessment. Thankfully the ADHD team didn’t fob me off and my letter from them states that I have ‘severe’ ADHD, combined subtype (inattentive and hyperactive).

FabriqueBelgique Fri 26-Nov-21 00:03:22

I’m finding it more confusing the more I look into these things. I’ve thought I’ve found my people in Introverts, INFPs, then women with ADHD..

My male GP just chuckled at me when I started listing my “symptoms” of not being able to do life and said it’s Anxiety. I know it’s more than that. A male mental health specialist took my very good masking at face value and said I was fine within 30 minutes and should have 6 therapy sessions. I got to speak to a lovely female therapist on the phone who said my ADHD symptoms might be Trauma from abuse presenting similar traits. Then Covid happened, everything got cancelled.

Since then it’s females with Autism I relate to the most, especially looking back at my childhood, learning I’ve been “masking” my entire life, and looking at how I acted during lockdown.. but I feel like I’ve got a fat chance of getting a diagnosis with the NHS as it is, and I don’t have a practical use for one. I just want things explained!

But on the other hand, only I know my brain and what I have trouble with, so it’s on me to work it all out in the end. In an ideal world they’d send me a life-coach/boss/helper type person to help me get my shit together grin

Sunnysidegold Fri 26-Nov-21 06:24:41

I am on the waiting list for assessment. It was reading a thread on Mumsnet that made me see it. For years I've just thought I'm crap at life stuff and a big old underachiever.

After reading the thread on Mumsnet, where basically I went "yep, that's me" to every trait the poster described, I started reading up on it.

Even just getting the referral acknowledged that this might not all be "my fault".

Blaziken Fri 26-Nov-21 07:31:42

amushedbush that’s so annoying and exactly what I’m afraid of. They will fob me off saying I can’t have it because I’m not late all the time (I’m so obsessed with being on time I’m always early and don’t sleep the night before if I know I’ve got to be up early). I think I’m ASD but mask well. I wish private was cheaper. How did you find a private assessment? What did they see that the other didn’t?

GP said 8 month wait but I’m very sceptical and things normally take longer here.

I want to sort it out for my kids really. It wasn’t so soul destroying when it was just me it was affecting but me being so socially shit and distracted all the time is making them miss out on things.

OP’s posts: |
jennyyellowhat Fri 26-Nov-21 10:27:10

Blaziken

amushedbush that’s so annoying and exactly what I’m afraid of. They will fob me off saying I can’t have it because I’m not late all the time (I’m so obsessed with being on time I’m always early and don’t sleep the night before if I know I’ve got to be up early). I think I’m ASD but mask well. I wish private was cheaper. How did you find a private assessment? What did they see that the other didn’t?

GP said 8 month wait but I’m very sceptical and things normally take longer here.

I want to sort it out for my kids really. It wasn’t so soul destroying when it was just me it was affecting but me being so socially shit and distracted all the time is making them miss out on things.

I am just like this and diagnosed with ADHD! I am unbelievably early for everything, and also like you, have trouble sleeping if I know I have to be up early.

I also rarely lose things because I constantly keep tabs on everything. Is my phone in my pocket? My purse still in my bag? Everything has a place and if it's not where it should be I panic, so I have developed (probably unhealthy) strategies to minimise that.

I was diagnosed privately through Psychiatry UK and the psychiatrist who assessed me commented on my coping/masking strategies and was able to see through them.

He also picked up what he thought were more ASD traits and suggested I be referred for assessment, which I haven't pursued. So although he wouldn't diagnose me, he did make comment and it is noted it in his report along with his recommendation for assessment.

RattiesAndPiggies Fri 26-Nov-21 10:34:34

Good luck, OP.
I’m waiting to be assessed too.
I asked to go via right to choose and the GP didn’t send the forms so the waiting list went from 10 weeks to 12 months. I’ve chased them so many times which I find really difficult. At this rate, the NHS will be quicker but I’m not coping at all.

I hope things go quicker for you. I’ve been trying since the start of the year

ATieLikeRichardGere Fri 26-Nov-21 10:35:17

My symptoms are very similar to yours. I got a private diagnosis last year through Psychiatry UK.

However my GP and NHS psychiatrist haven’t accepted this diagnosis and I am on a waiting list again. Apparently it’s all just my aNxIeTy 🙄 maybe just my personality too apparently!

But we ourselves know the truth. Solidarity to everyone in this.

jennyyellowhat Fri 26-Nov-21 10:59:42

@ATieLikeRichardGere can I ask what happened when your GP wouldn't accept the diagnosis? I am due for my follow up appointment with Psychiatry UK next week and think this is when they will hand me over to my GP. If my GP won't prescribe medication will I still be able to get it privately from P-UK? I've been so stressed about this happening.

ATieLikeRichardGere Fri 26-Nov-21 11:20:46

@jennyyellowhat

Sorry I don’t mean to worry people.

Well I do also have anxiety which was exacerbated by my DH getting diagnosed with cancer last year. The combination of that, the pandemic and a difficult small child did, in fairness, send me over the edge. So when my mental health worsened shortly after getting my ADHD diagnosis and I asked the GP for more help and she felt a psychiatry referral was warranted, they together decided that it was necessary to row back on the ADHD diagnosis, treat the anxiety first and then see about an ADHD assessment again in future, the waiting list being on the order of years.

This is extremely unfortunate because my untreated ADHD is definitely a factor in how hard it is for me to cope in a difficult situation. I have been receiving NHS psychiatry support on and off since I was a young child and I think it’s just unfortunate that due to being female and a lack of knowledge and understanding in general, my neurodiversity has gone consistently unrecognised. I didn’t know about adhd until a few years ago but now that I know about it properly - not just the 6 year old boy stereotype - I believe it couldn’t be clearer that I have it like a textbook and that it runs strongly in the family. It is clear to me that it is one of the key reasons that I have been living with the more readily recognised anxiety and mood problems all my life. But yes I guess I’m good at masking. This issue obviously happens to many people especially women.

Prior to this I was already receiving support via the NHS from a psychologist for postnatal struggles. She doesn’t treat ADHD but interestingly she accepted my new diagnosis unquestioningly and I feel she genuinely believed it because she was familiar enough with me to see it.

But the wait to be officially recognised and treated feels quite agonising.

Psychiatry UK can still prescribe for you if your GP isn’t willing but the only issue may be cost.

Blaziken Fri 26-Nov-21 13:11:30

I was just looking at old threads and there was a poster who was told by their GP that ADHD diagnosis would get them referred to social services. Surely they don't do this?!

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jennyyellowhat Fri 26-Nov-21 15:48:02

Sorry to hear about your DH @ATieLikeRichardGere that's really difficult. I hope he's doing ok flowers

Thanks for replying, that's reassuring to know about the medication. I'd prefer if I could get meds on the NHS but I'd rather pay than not have them at all. Since my diagnosis I've moved house and registered with a new doctor who I haven't actually seen yet so I have no idea what the response will be. I'm not good at talking to doctors about my mental health and the idea of having to explain this to someone new makes me feel quite anxious.

I hope your Dr and psych are being helpful and have you sorted out soon. It must be very frustrating to have a diagnosis 'taken away' like that, but a relief in some respects to have validation from someone within the NHS, even if they can't do anything about it. It's shocking that so many of us continue to struggle with this.

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