Where to go for ADHD diagnosis? I got my diagnosis from TikTok. Yes, you read that correctly. TikTok, the app famous for its viral dances and lipsynched acting diagnosed me with ADHD.
I’m 23 years old. I graduated from college almost three years ago (with a pretty decent GPA, if I’m allowed to boast). Somehow, I made it all the way through school without anyone thinking I was neurodivergent, including myself.
Looking back on my childhood, I remember my dad telling me that my two older siblings were diagnosed with ADD. A few years later, so was my younger brother. I had no idea where to go for ADHD diagnosis. But I was the lucky sibling, apparently. The “gifted” one.
Since I continued to bring home a report card filled with A’s, no one questioned my ability to learn.
No one questioned why it took me all night to finish my homework. When I was still up in the early hours of the morning, my parents assumed the teachers had simply piled up assignments for me.
My mom used to say I was “messy but organized” because, in terms of my schoolwork, I did try to keep a system going (I have a passion for color-coding). Other aspects of my life showed a different story, from a consistently cluttered room to every task I left incomplete due to forgetfulness. I would cry at small details. I would cry all the time.
I felt overwhelmed every minute of every day. I saw this therapist and that therapist, but none of them really helped.
- “You struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”
- “You have a Panic Disorder”
- “You’re Bipolar type II.”
- “You have Borderline Personality Disorder.”
And I believed them. I believed these diagnoses and integrated their treatment plans into my life. And yet, I kept feeling worse and worse.
Growing up, I was told I was a bad listener. I was told I was rude because I interrupted too much. I was told I was a failure because of my habit of starting a project and not finishing it. I was told to “just relax, nothing is wrong”. I was told a lot of things that didn’t turn out to be true.
Where to go for ADHD diagnosis?
I downloaded TikTok in January of 2020. By May, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with ADHD and prescribed Adderall.
Turns out, there’s a sizable populace of neurodivergent people on the app. Medical professionals, social workers, and therapists alike have created accounts to help spread awareness about ADHD, ADD, and Autism.
I learned the symptoms of ADHD from TikTok — specifically, the symptoms that girls and women show. Every video I watched reminded me of the daily struggles I face. It was hard to stop thinking about how relatable these videos were.
I thought I was alone in these feelings for so long, I had given up on trying to make others understand. TikTok’s neurodivergent community is what made me feel hope again.
I ended up making an appointment with a psychiatrist who specialized in ADHD.
After a few hours of testing, he let me know that I have ADHD at a pretty severe level. Which was scary at first. But, when I realized I was now able to put a name to the debilitating anxious feelings I had, it felt as though a massive weight had been lifted.
I felt free.
ADHD Symptoms and Treatment
ADD and ADHD have long been assumed to be disorders that predominantly affect boys. Medical communities across the country have falsified this assumption through years of research dedicated to women with ADD/ADHD.
This research has shown that boys and girls with these neurodivergent disorders often show different symptoms.
There are three types of ADHD:
1. Impulsive and Hyperactive: symptoms include excess energy and little impulse control.
2. Inattentive: symptoms include being easily distracted, poorly organized, “messy”, or forgetful.
3. Combination: includes symptoms of both hyperactive and inattentive types.
Boys often show the hyperactive/impulsive type, which is also easier to diagnose. Girls are more likely to show inattentive symptoms, which can be easily mistaken as general laziness or apathy towards school.
Symptoms often displayed in girls include:
- struggling to stay organized or keep track of assignments and projects, even if they try to use an organizational system
- consistently being late, even if they try to plan ahead
- “daydreaming” or spacing out and then missing information in class or other situations
- unable to stay on a certain topic, frequently jumping across multiple topics in conversation
- known to interrupt people often or “blurt out” things at inappropriate times
- seemingly inattentive at school and home
- often forgetting what they have just read or what another person has just said
Untreated ADHD in Adults
If ADHD is left undiagnosed, it can lead to the development of a psychological illness, such as depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. This is especially true in girls because when dealing with their ADHD symptoms, girls tend to mask and internalize their problems. The situation is often the opposite in boys, who tend to place the blame outward, perhaps on a teacher or their environment.
ADHD symptoms may change as a girl reaches adulthood. Common symptoms women face are:
- struggling to get finances under control
- a constant feeling of being overwhelmed
- poor recordkeeping/paperwork management
- feel unable to keep up with daily tasks such as laundry, cooking meals, cleaning, and hygiene
- often feeling fatigued or exhausted
- a consistent feeling of “masking” or internalizing your emotions
It’s estimated that 50–75% of girls with ADHD go undiagnosed. You don’t have to struggle outwardly to be struggling mentally.
If you feel like I’m writing a memoir about your life and you’re not sure where to go for ADHD diagnosis, maybe it’s time to make an appointment. Or to think about making one at least.
It’s never too late. My life has changed in the best possible way. I feel capable. That may sound simplistic, but it means a lot to me.
- I feel capable to succeed.
- I feel capable to handle my emotions.
- I feel capable to take on the world.
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