Remember that what you have is a neurological condition. It is genetically transmitted. It is caused by biology, by how your brain is wired. It is not a disease of the will, nor a moral failing, nor some kind of neurosis. It is not caused by a weakness in character, nor by a failure to mature. Its cure is not to be found in the power of the will, nor in punishment, nor in sacrifice, nor in pain. Always remember this. Try as they might, many people with ADD have great trouble accepting the syndrome as being rooted in biology rather than weakness of character.
Women often show fewer symptoms of hyperactivity and are therefore diagnosed less than boys or men. This can lead to a host of secondary but related conditions including depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Yeah, that basically sums up my experience with being diagnosed - it was when I was fifteen because I finally decided to speak up about what it was like to try to think and function and suddenly everyone was all “Oh, wait, shit. That explains a hell of a lot.” But that was only after I was already suffering from those other things for quite some time.
With teenagers, the clues can be more subtle. Ask yourself: Is my teen very forgetful? Is he disorganized? Does he have difficulty planning ahead? Is she easily distracted or always on the go? Is he having trouble at school?
This article about the new guidelines for ADHD diagnoses.
I have ADHD. I was diagnosed in tenth grade, and have been working to deal with it ever since. As someone whose diagnoses came much later than that of most people who suffer from it, I think I have a sort of unique perspective. I was able to voice what it was like to live with it much differently than someone whose diagnoses came about due to parental and teacher observations. For instance, I can tell you that not only do these symptoms apply very much, but they have applied for as long as I can remember. I just thought there was something wrong with me - like that I wasn’t trying hard enough or didn’t care enough - and that everyone had to deal with these issues, but that they were simply better at it.