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Why an ADHD diagnosis is important

Why is an ADHD diagnosis important? Why do I need to go through a whole assessment process just to get a diagnosis?

When we've previously talked about why it's important to get a thorough ADHD assessment, we only talked about how important the assessment is aside from 'just' the diagnosis. But why is the diagnosis itself so important?

Here are some reasons why an ADHD diagnosis is in fact important:

* It's important to know what you have before starting a treatment plan. A concrete diagnosis helps us choose the safe and appropriate next steps. It helps give us a guide for treatment; so we know what to expect, and so do you.

* You might think you have ADHD, but you might not. It's important to get a diagnosis to get an accurate sense of what's getting in your way. For example, what looks like ADHD might actually be anxiety, or vice versa (see: Testing for ADHD: Is it ADHD or Anxiety?).

* If you're a student and you need accommodations, you also need a diagnosis. Without a diagnosis you won't have access to support like extra time on tests or note-takers. Not all students need this support, but if you do, you need that documentation.

* An ADHD diagnosis gives you both a framework and a language for your challenges. It helps you better understand what's been getting in your way, which is empowering to say the least. You can name your symptoms for what they are as a way to move forward!

* Along the same lines, an ADHD diagnosis helps to normalize your experiences. Having a name for what you're dealing with gives you reassurance that you're not alone. You're not crazy, this isn't something shameful, and it's not your fault. There's a huge body of research, knowledge, and experience on your side.

So yes, an ADHD diagnosis is important. A diagnosis alone isn't enough by any means, but it's an essential step in your process!

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