I recently featured in a Mashable article on ‘How social inequities feed into the under-diagnosis of ADHD’ written by Jess Joho. I’m glad Jess reached out to a few people to shed some light on this issue - social inequities isn’t spoken about enough.
I’ve read a few articles on the rise of people seeking an ADHD diagnosis during the pandemic. Many of those articles hardly touched on the lack of access to ADHD diagnosis and treatment.
I spoke to Jess about my experience of getting an ADHD diagnosis via the UK National Health Service. I literally had to jump through hoops to be referred to a specialist for an ADHD assessment. It wasn’t enough to just tell my GP I think I had ADHD.
Here’s a quote from the Mashable article on my experience:
“After watching a documentary on ADHD in 2018 that opened her eyes to all the misconceptions she thought excluded her from the diagnosis, Idowu requested her general practitioner refer her for an assessment. The doctor initially refused, insisting Idowu couldn't have ADHD because she didn't fit the symptoms designed around hyperactive white boys. Upon her insistence though — and after two lengthy psychiatric assessments over two years —Idowu finally got an official diagnosis.” - Mashable
If you’re reading this and you’re worried about your GP dismissing your concerns, don’t panic. This happens, but there are a few things you can do to ensure your GP takes you seriously - it sucks, I know.
Before your appointment:
Write a list of ADHD traits you struggle with.
Match the ADHD traits with examples from your childhood and adulthood. This can include examples from school, work, or your social life.
At your appointment, use these examples to strengthen your points on why you think you might have ADHD.
Sounds tiring right? This is one reason as to why I’m very pro self-diagnosis. The ability to go to a doctor for an ADHD assessment is a privilege that many people do not have.
"As long as lack of access to healthcare, education, representation — or just not being able to afford the diagnosis — are issues, people will have to rely on self-diagnosis," said Idowu. - Mashable
ADHD specific resources
I’m always asked by people who are undiagnosed on what they can do in the meantime. There’s lots resources about ADHD, but I get that it can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions that I think could support those with ADHD and those seeking an ADHD diagnosis.
ADHD coach / Therapist who specialises in ADHD
Let me be upfront, this will probably cost you. I want to get an ADHD coach in the near future, but for practical reasons I haven’t taken the plunge. I’m not sure on what the average cost is, but it is probably the most priciest option. Many people I’ve spoken to have said it’s life changing. I interviewed ADHD coach IngerShaye on what ADHD coaching entails of, you can read it here.
There are quite a few ADHD coaches on twitter that you could find out more information from, try using the hashtag #askadhd.
Listening to other people’s experience of living with ADHD really helped me to understand how my ADHD works. It’s also inspiring listening to podcast guests who are successful in their careers or entrepreneurial journey. I’d suggest ADHD rewired, Neurodivergent Narratives Podcast, ADHD for Smart Ass Women, ADHD Hub, and Translating ADHD.
Some research suggests that assistance dogs can help people with ADHD - this isn’t scientifically proven. Jessica has a series on her YouTube channel ‘How to ADHD’ on exploring how her psychiatric service dog can help with ADHD and Anxiety.
The ADDA has an article on how an emotional support dog can help with ADHD.
Last, but not least, tap into a community! When I was diagnosed last year, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I logged onto twitter and searched ‘ADHD’ and saw that there were lots of people posting about it. I got involved in the community by asking lots of questions and using the hashtag #askadhd.
If you’re in employment/seeking employment, I created a discord channel for Neurodivergent professionals. We discuss reasonable adjustments at work, issues we’re having with workload and difficult bosses, and we encourage one another when we have questions, or a bad day! DM/Tweet @NDProfessionals for a link to join.
Whoop! You’ve made it to the end despite the many distractions, hope you enjoyed it!
Rach, with ADHD.