Do I have ADHD?
I answer a lot of questions about ADHD in online forums. Questions are often variations of “I [have symptom]. Does that mean I have ADHD?”
The answer: I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not.
ADHD Stranger danger
When I answer, I note that it’s dangerous for strangers on the internet to diagnose or prescribe. It’s also irresponsible. It’s irresponsible for you to ask for health advice and it’s irresponsible for others to provide it.
No one who doesn’t know you should diagnose or prescribe without any sort of assessment. “Do I have” questions about ADHD or any other health concern does not provide in-depth information for assessment.
Paging Dr. Google
I understand the allure of Dr. Google, of asking those with personal experience, and of crowdsourcing.
I get it! I research everything. Dr. Google is my primary caregiver. Like you (I’m guessing), I like shortcuts. I like free. We dislike barriers.
ADHD experience matters
it really helps to speak to people who’ve been through it and who understand it and who knows what it might be. It can be educational to get that feedback from strangers on the internet.
BUT, I know that Google, social media & message boards don’t replace advice based on an in-depth assessment by experts.
Be discerning, know the risks
A stranger doesn’t know your health history, your lifestyle history, your behaviours, your environment. They don’t know if you have a history of mental illness or if it runs in your family, and they don’t know about your past trauma.
As such, they can do more harm than good. You can give yourself an incorrect diagnosis or go into a downward spiral of anxiety.
Know when to ask the internet & when to seek professional advice
What strangers answering questions online can do is recommend online tests and resources for help. If you think you have ADHD, I recommend starting with an online assessment.
After that, you can see a qualified, licensed healthcare professional. A thorough assessment requires getting your complete physical and psychiatric medical history and screening to rule out other physical & mental disorders. You can then discuss drug treatment with a healthcare professional with the authority to prescribe.
I designed my coaching program to help people with and without a formal diagnosis.
Neurotypical people can benefit too.
My lifestyle-based plan won’t hurt or damage you, but you might still benefit from medication. I offer tools. Medication is a tool but it’s not one that I have the expertise or credentials to offer.
I don’t discuss medication except for providing information when asked. I keep myself educated about ADHD medication and medications for depression and other mental health issues.
Be careful of where you go for advice. Be discerning.