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ADHD in Women

Psychiatrist not willing to give a diagnosis - Is he right?

After researching and feeling sure for a year and a half that I have ADHD,  I sought out a psychiatrist to try to be diagnosed, to improve my life, and my kids life. I have had a lifelong struggle with being disorganized, have never been able to be detail-oriented, have always felt broken or inadequate.  I assumed one day I’d be grown up enough to understand the systems others make look easy to stay on top of household work and routines. Never happened.

After starting my own business in 2011, things became worse on the home front, as all my energy went to clients to meet deadlines and get work done for them, and my home organization and routines became even more chaotic. I have put off being diagnosed fro         m the fear of learning that nothing is wrong, I’m just lazy or broken. Anyway, the psych basically said that he can’t definitely diagnose me because while much of it fits, the fact that I CAN hit deadlines (for clients, but everything slides for my own family) and I did well in college is an indicator that I’m more of an “anxiety-ridden procrastinator”.  He said if I had ADHD, I would be incapable of meeting any deadlines.

This concluded the intake appt, and, I’ll see him again in a month to “explore further”. I left the appt feeling exactly what I feared, that I’m just lazy and broken, and that’s why I struggle. But can’t shake the feeling that he’s wrong. Should I seek out another psychiatrist, or is this the normal course of things? I’ve never been to a mental health professional before so
I don’t really know.


Yes. Seek out another practitioner. The idea that people with ADHD can’t meet any deadlines at all is completely bogus. Period.

Trust me on this one… that doctor is wrong (doctors are people too, and can make mistakes).

Best of luck smile

Posted by OopsForgotAgain on Sep 03, 2014 at 5:30am

Oh my he couldnt be more wrong. I was successful in college also but when asked about effort and time spent to get my work done it always exdeeded what would have been expected or when compared to my peers.
Im not saying you definitely have adhd but I am certain his understanding of adhd is flawed at best. I would find someone else as well. And if you can take someone with you such as a significant other or good friend they can usually offer valuable insight as well.
Good luck.

Posted by Udderlycrazy on Sep 03, 2014 at 10:42am

Argh, yes, don’t waste your money or time with this doctor, and go find another. The goal isn’t necessarily to get the diagnosis you *want* but to at least find a doc who can make sense out of your distress and your immediate needs. Also, he doesn’t understand: ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t be focused and organized in one or two areas (deadlines) and completely undone in others.

Makes me want to slap him. (not really, but I’d like to)

Posted by JavaMonster on Sep 03, 2014 at 3:55pm

Yep, find another doctor. There are many people with ADHD who find ways to be successful at work and in college. I know many individuals with ADHD with doctorate degrees! The feeling that “emergencies” (like deadlines) create kicks in the motivation in individuals with ADHD( 

A second opinion is most definitely warranted.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Sep 04, 2014 at 1:26pm

Thanks, all for your thoughts and encouragement. I will seek out someone else for a second opinion.

Posted by Breezer on Sep 04, 2014 at 2:56pm

Like anything else, no two doctors are created equal.  While some doctors will go the extra mile to run tests or extra interviews to get to a diagnosis; not all of them will.  It is sad that you have run into one who is unable to at least give a provisional diagnosis.

When you start the search for a doctor, try to find one who works with Adult ADD/ADHD in Women.  Women with ADD are more difficult to diagnosis in the first place, so these doctors will go further to find answers for their patients.

You might also consider some psychological testing to determine whether or not there is a concomitant diagnosis that may be clouding the diagnostic process.

Just so you know, It took over 20 years and eight different psychiatrists to get a diagnosis that actually made sense after years of taking medication for the wrong problems.  It is worth pushing to get things sorted out for you so that you can begin to do what needs to be done.  The doctor is not the only one who has to work on an ADD diagnosis.  You will be learning all sorts of things and then begin seeking the tools and tactics toward helping yourself with the things that medication does not do.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Sep 05, 2014 at 9:37pm

Thanks Dianne. I don’t think I’m so much after medication, as just a clear label for why I am the way I am, and a way to change, so my children have some routine and are able to have playdates at our home again. The psych was very focused on why I can’t get things done at home, and was pretty insistent that I am avoiding doing household tasks because they aren’t fun (since I can get things done in my job field), and not because they overwhelm me or I lose focus. I hyper focus on my work (which is in a creative field and is my escape) which I do from home, so its always there to turn to for escape.

Posted by Breezer on Sep 06, 2014 at 3:08am

Iv not been diagnosed yet n a really need support as ma doc does not understand n can’t get me out office quick enough. Do I need my doctor to fefer me to mental health team or can I just make app? Thanx x

Posted by gill- x2 on Sep 07, 2014 at 4:23am

Hi Gill,

Every situation is unique, but I called my insurance company to find out if I needed a referral from a primary care physician. They also directed me to a list of psychologists and psychiatrists who were “in network”. Maybe start there? I did not wind up needing a referral to seek treatment. Good luck to you!

Posted by Breezer on Sep 07, 2014 at 7:14am

I was diagnosed at the age of 50 having endured a preety crap Life. I saw a programme on tv and said thats me. My doctor referred me to 2 pychiatrists One said l was depressed,  the other told my husband that adhd did not exist.  These people are paid a lot of money on the uk nhs to affect peoples lives in such a negative way having had a rubbish upbringing.  I was lucky with my GP as he backed me allthe way when l found an adhd specialist who confirmed my diagnosis.  She has since retired andnow l am back to being referred to a Community psychiatric Team (my sister is a CPNurse) WHO l would not let examine my car let aloe a human being.  Push push push.  You know How yu feel.  I have spent 30 years back and forth to the GP not knowing What was wrongxxxxxeint and feeling totally inadequate an useless.  You owe it to yourself to fight and get What u rightfully deserve.

Posted by fudgee on Sep 10, 2014 at 5:03pm

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