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Readers Respond: Diagnosed with ADHD as an Adult? What Were Your Feelings After the Diagnosis?

Responses: 23


Updated November 17, 2010

If you are an adult who has finally been accurately diagnosed with ADHD after a lifetime of struggles, frustration and self-doubt, the diagnosis itself can be the first step in initiating a healing process. It can also open up a wide spectrum of feelings.

What were your initial feelings after being diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood?


Diagnosed with slight ADHD, and this revelation feels like relief. As a child I didn't struggle with focus too much but towards my sophomore year in college, struggled a lot with anxiety and concentration. This wasn't a huge deal, but had I known that this wasn't really normal I would have sought help faster. Glad to know that this does not interfere with what I can do now! ADHD is nothing to be ashamed of.
—Guest jude0233


Ashamed that I had something wrong with me. My husband doesn't believe in ADD. I feel like I have to hide it from everyone.
—Guest Dee

A Welcome Surprise

A woman at work asked me if I was ADHD a few months ago and I got really upset. When I would think of ADHD I would think of crazy little destructive children who are uncontrollable. A few months later I revisited the idea and did some research only to realize that she was dead on! I went to the doctor and got diagnosed today. I am 27 years old and all of the struggles with anxiety, depression, addiction, emotions, etc all make sense! I always thought there was something wrong with me, and now I know why I am the way I am. I'm so happy that my coworkers made that comment. I feel like I can now have the chance to reach my full potential! I'm excited to see how the medication works out. I hope it will finally tone down my thoughts. It's like my mind is always going at full speed without any set direction. I'm so glad to finally find the missing link.
—Guest Lindsey

38 years old, just found out

I feel so angry & confused. I need help to get through this. Also pray that my family will finally understand me. I feel all alone!!


I'm almost 50 years old and have been told I have ADHD. Why am I now just being diagnosed? And my doctor diagnosed me, not a shrink... I am wondering if I should trust her?
—Guest whobe

Still Confused

I’m 38, just diagnosed with ADHD...and I’m still feeling confused by it all! I mean the second time I was assessed after my anxiety meds were increased, I thought maybe it wasn’t ADHD. But the psychologist said nope, still ADHD.
—Guest Amemphis

Adult ADHD

I was diagnosed with Minimal Cerebral Dysfunction at age 25. ADHD wasn't a diagnosis then. I must have been 30 something when I learned about ADHD. I was very excited about it because finally I had a reason for me being me. I'm proud of being ADHD and having that high level IQ that goes with it.
—Guest Glenda

Diagnosed at 70 - is this a record?

Do your own research – many doctors aren’t well-briefed on Adult ADHD. It took me nearly 10 years of abortive treatment and wasted time, from age 60 to age 70, to find that my problem was not anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder, but highly treatable Adult ADHD. I’m still going through the anger phase at the moment, but now I have an understanding psychiatrist who agrees that ADHD was not likely to have been diagnosed when I was a child over 60 years ago but is clearly there and is treatable. I’m taking the pills and hope to live to 120 to make up for wasted time!

Now I know why

Not "officially diagnosed" yet, but my son is ADHD and many of the symptoms are there. It is a good thing to know why I could be so lost in school and everybody would laugh when the teacher approached my desk without me realizing it. I have a very nice life, a fairly successful career, have been always bright and with good ideas, but struggle too much to get anything done. I am the master of procrastination. I am curious about what medication may be able do for me, looking forward a medical confirmation.
—Guest jaragono

Trying to Overcome the Anger

I'm sorry but I can't be the only one out there who was overcome with a sense of confusion and sheer anger upon diagnosis (before the whole relief part set in)?? I have been misdiagnosed with major depression for the past 10 years of my life. For the past 10 years I thought I was JUST sad. It NEVER occurred to me that repeatedly losing things, forgetting to complete tasks or simply not having the motivation to, being late for work all the time, WASN'T normal. It was me. They were character flaws. It was a joke among my family. It was a joke among colleagues. What wasn't a joke was when I started losing friends and came close to being fired from every job I had. The feelings of depression kept resurfacing again and again as well. Well recently I had to switch doctors because of a new insurance plan and what I found out will forever change my life. My new doctor told me outright: "you have ADD" The road to recovery will take a while. But, for the first time, I feel like ME.

Newly Diagnosed w/ ADHD

I am 21 yrs old and have struggled through everything. All through school and now I’ve been badly struggling through college. I’ve never been able to sit still or concentrate and have always been in trouble. This week my doctor told did a series of test and questions and said I had ADHD bad and prescribed me Straterra to try and she said we would adjust from there. Hope this helps.


"It's not your fault." (Robin Williams) "I know." (Matt Damon) "It's not your fault." (Robin Williams) "I know." (Matt Damon) “It's not your fault." (Robin Williams) --Good Will Hunting scene....then the tears began to fall of all the years of frustration, trying to organize, embarrassment of seeing my home, car, or purse. Frustrated parents, friends, co-workers. My hyper activity has been changing to withdraw. Antidepressants only made me more tired. I finally came to the realization that I need help and it might be ADHD. Not because I wanted to abuse medicine or have an excuse, but because it’s now becoming debilitating. I was not going to work. Finding excuses to stay in. Watching the same sitcoms over and over again. Letting the laundry pile up and the world enclose around me. I needed help and I got it!!!! Two days ago I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. My psychiatrist was glad that my primary care had started me on 15mg of Adderall but she wanted me to double it! There is hope!
—Guest Forever "trying to organize my life"

So that's what's happening!

At first I was in denial, but then it made sense. Funny that I had no idea, I was just thinking that I was stupid. Then I started researching it, found an ADHD Coach, and realized that my life could be so much easier if I used the right tools. The impact has been significant. Before I was diagnosed, tasks that I had to do for my business used to take an hour. The same task would take someone else 15 minutes. Now, it takes me closer to 15 if I use the right tools, and get into the right mindset. When I had a corporate job, I realized there were too many things I was required to do that just were not compatible with ADHD. I mean who decided to have 2 calendars that don’t sync required by 1 company! That is a recipe for disaster for someone with ADHD. I ended up leaving my “stable” job to pursue a career as an adult ADHD coach for business owners. It was the best thing I ever did. And I have the satisfaction knowing that I can help people who were just like me.

Diagnosed at 43

What a relief. I always knew I was different, people just didn't understand or "get" me, and they seemed to be able to manage life so much more easily than me. To finally find out that I wasn't just a flake, that there was a name for the problem, and there was something I could do about it was like winning the lottery....well, almost. Now, 7 years later, the reality is, it is a lot of work, but so much better than the despair of not knowing what was the matter with me. And much easier to help people understand the way I function. I've always loved the book title "You mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?" It just seemed to say it all!!
—Guest Kathy-

Knowing the unknown

I spent the first 35 years of life knowing there was something wrong, recognizing symptoms and telling people about them in education and later in workplaces. I did not know about ADD. I had been treated for depression over the years, spent 4 years in therapy to be told by my GP 'some people are just sad'. Nobody mentioned ADD. In the end I turned things around by myself, I looked for reasons, I turned things inside out and looked at my symptoms to find the best fit; up popped Adult ADD and I realized the lifelong struggle I had endured really was a struggle that ordinary people do not have to deal with or want to accept/understand. Professional diagnosis followed, I am now medicated and understanding just how badly ADDers have been and are still being let down by society and the rules that are supposed to protect them. People with ADD/ADHD need to be valued, not have their weaknesses highlighted at the expense of their strengths.
—Guest DX

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