Ross L. Mayberry, Ph.D., LLC WA Licensed Psychologist #1297
2800 East Madison St., Suite 306 www.rossmayberryphd.com
Seattle, WA 98112 (fax (206) 323-7324
(206) 323-7323 [email protected]
OK, You’ve Been Diagnosed with ADHD … NOW WHAT?
What follows is meant as a brief outline of the steps typically taken after you’ve been given a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
1. Diagnosis: You have the diagnosis, but you must make sure it is complete and that you understand it in its entirety! A proper diagnosis should include
an assessment of the type of ADHD, the severity, areas of impairment and any co-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression, addictions, etc.
2. Educate Yourself: The first step in learning to manage the lifelong neuro-chemical condition known as ADHD is to learn as much as you can about it!
Because of the many myths and misunderstandings in the media and society about what ADHD is (and is not) you really should educate yourself via books,
the internet etc. (See Recommended Readings).
3. Treatment Options: the national “MTA” study conducted a few years ago concluded that:
1. Medications are highly useful treatments for ADHD.
2. That counseling was just as helpful as medication.
3. That the combination of medication and counseling was more effective than either alone.
In other words – MEDS ARE GENERALLY NOT ENOUGH ! There are additional options such as coaching/skill building (organizational help, etc)
and naturopathic / alternative approaches (exercise, diet, supplements, etc.) Whatever mode you choose, inform yourself as much as you can
about the pros and cons of that treatment and then proceed with it.
4. Treatment Goals: In establishing goals for ADHD treatment, it is best to target specific problem areas and then develop strategies to overcome or manage
each problem. You may want to use the checklist below to identify problem areas in your life.
q General disorganization
q Time management
q Money management
q Planning / prioritizing
q Poor follow-through
q Management of daily responsibilities
q Avoiding boring, routine tasks
q Poor self-care (exercise etc)
q Drinking, spending, gambling etc.
q Other _______________________
q Other _______________________
q Problems staying focused
q Career dissatisfaction
q Work: deadlines
q Work: lateness
q Work: co-workers and bosses
q Excessive worry, obsessing
q Irritability, anger or impatience
q Hypersensitivity to criticism
q Negative self-talk/self-criticism
q Low self-esteem
q Problems socializing
q Difficulty relaxing
5. Co-existing Issues: a diagnosis of ADHD often does not exist in a vacuum. Frequently there are other concerns going on in a person’s
life that will need to be addressed concurrently. Use the list below to identify the co-existing issues you think you’d better deal with.
q depression, fatigue, self-criticism, negativity
q anxiety, worry, obsessing or panic
q sleep problems
q alcohol or drug use (eating, gambling, spending etc)
q self-esteem and self-image issues
q workplace issues
q relationship or family stress
q social skills issues
q medical problems
q learning disabilities
q academic/school issues (including 504 Plans and college planning)
q other _________________________
It is also extremely important to take a look at the conclusions you have drawn about yourself over the years and rethink them in light
of what the ADHD diagnosis explains.
6. Partners and Spouses: I find it extremely important to work with partners/spouses/family to promote better understanding, acceptance
and teamwork around the difficulties presented by ADHD. So, once the treatment is “on a roll” we will want to meet with your significant other(s)
and get them into the game plan.
**Remember - there are far more positives to having ADHD than negatives.
Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is probably just jealous.**
Here is a list of just some typical attributes of people with ADHD. See how many apply to you:
imaginative playful resourceful
determined creative loyal
forgiving hard-working roots for the underdog
highly visual youthful resilient
adaptable adventuresome curious
spontaneous ability to hyperfocus ability to multi-task