Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fighting for your right to get a diagnosis - the many struggles ADHDers face.

In this world we live in there are plenty of obstacles for your ADHD children, but I never imagined those obstacles would be at your Doctor’s office. I personally have been very lucky to have been in the care of very attentive health providers, but that isn’t always the case for everyone.

I was shocked to find out a co-worker of mine had been turned away from her local ADHD specialists’ office by whomever was in charge of taking appointments. I was even more upset by the reasons they used to turn her away. She is the mother of an 18-year-old boy that has had a history of forgetfulness, inattentiveness, and falling grades. Schoolteachers never asked for an ADHD evaluation, but then again ADHD kids aren’t always as easy to spot. She told me she had finally worked up the courage to get her son evaluated when she heard me talking about my husband and my daughter and how different things are now that we know what we are dealing with and have implemented tools to help address our issues. She felt there was hope for her and her son, about to start college, and that what she thought would be a terribly difficult journey could somehow be made less so if diagnosed properly.

With a brand new attitude she went on the search for a specialist. She mustered up the courage to call, and when asked the normal questions of the reason to get an appointment, the person on the phone kept attempting to persuade her to desist from an appointment. The main reason she was given over and over? “Your son is too old to be ADHD!!” “What??, But I have been told ADHD doesn’t go away! It is not cured, only managed! What do you mean he is too old?” “If your son has made it this far without being diagnosed, then he isn’t” “Isn’t there a chance they never caught it?” “Maybe, but those odds are slim. Teachers know how to catch these things. It doesn’t sound like your son would benefit from seeing the doctor”.

Insist to have the Doctor see you!

I was a bit more than upset when I heard the story. I have been up to my eyeballs in articles and research papers for the past 2 years reading how so many adults have gone undiagnosed. They lead troubled lives, suffering from depression, mood swings, addiction, all because they were never diagnosed. And this one person is doing all in their power to add one more young man to the list, simply because he didn’t cause enough havoc in school. 

I am not an expert, and I have not met this young 18-year-old boy, so I cannot say if he is indeed ADHD, but neither has this person on the other side of the phone.

To those people out there thinking “my child could be ADHD” or “my spouse could be ADHD” or even “maybe I am ADHD”, please don’t let the naysayers stop you from getting the proper attention you need. If it isn’t ADHD, maybe you can still benefit from a Doctor taking a look at the symptoms and giving you another diagnosis or provide additional help.

Hold to your guns, and ask for the appointment. If the Doctor has availability to take new patients, and you have all your required paperwork (insurance and the like),  there should be no reason to turn you away.

To all those working in Doctor’s offices: You are not the doctor, and working in their office for however much time does not make you one. Please don’t stop patients from getting the help they need and want.

What are some of your Doctor's Office pet peeves?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

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