I think I have ADHD, but my parents are objecting to diagnosis. What do I do?

I have many of the symptoms of ADHD: difficulty controlling my focus, unable to meet deadlines, carelessness, forgetfulness, disorganised, daydreaming- even my friends who have experience with other teens with ADHD, or have ADHD themselves, are telling me I need to seek help for it.

I’ve approached my parents before, but I was met with a negative reaction. I was told that I was getting enough attention from them, that I was just trying to follow a trend, and that I don’t act like their friends who have ADHD. Somehow or rather, they’ve completely neglected the fact that they are both not certified to diagnose anyone for ADHD.

I’m not sure what to do now, as the days pass I get more and more sure that I have it. I want to seek help before my mental health deteriorates further as I develop anxiety from growing pressures caused by the lack of a diagnosis for ADHD. How should I go about getting to a doctor for it? Is there a solution other than convincing my parents?

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Hey @junn, thanks for your question! While it does sound like you might have some symptoms of ADHD, I would like to firstly stress that you do not self-diagnose. Doing so will only lead you to feel stressed about it and it sounds like you are already feeling pressured to get a diagnosis for it. The symptoms you mentioned are more common than you think, especially for those in their teens! I am not saying this to discredit your symptoms by any means, I just wanted to let you know that you are so much more than any amount of symptoms you may have, and getting a diagnosis does not change who you are as a person.

Unfortunately, in most cases, you cannot get a formal evaluation for ADHD without parental consent. What you could do in this case would be to reach out to your teachers or school counsellor and let them know your predicament. They would be able to discuss the issue with your parents and advise you on the next step.

In the meantime, here are some things we can do to help your symptoms:

  1. Practice good sleep hygiene and ensure that you are getting proper sleep. Restful and restorative sleep helps tremendously with regulating emotions, improving memory, and maintaining attention throughout the day. Additionally, sleep deprivation actually amplifies ADHD symptoms and it is easier to experience stimulation overload. Here is a tool on sleep hygiene you may wish to try (https://mindline.sg/youth?wysa_tool_id=sleep_hygiene)

  2. Implement relaxation techniques in your daily routine. This does not have to be done at set times of the day, feel free to practice this whenever you feel a bit frantic or just need to chill out during a study break. Here is a relaxation exercise (https://mindline.sg/youth?wysa_tool_id=soothe_your_mind) and a mindfulness exercise (https://mindline.sg/youth?wysa_tool_id=learn_mindfulness) to get you started.

  3. Take exercise breaks. On top of health benefits and relieving stress, physical activity is known for improving ADHD symptoms. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or like you can no longer concentrate on your study material, take a break to do some physical activity. This can be as simple as taking a walk, doing some push ups, or even dancing! The point is to get your body moving and your mind away from what is stressing you out. Exercise breaks can be done in shorter bursts of time as well, so it can be easily implemented throughout your regular day.

  4. Eat nutritiously. The food we eat has a big impact on our brains and how we function. Having a balanced diet has benefits beyond improving ADHD symptoms. This includes eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. fish like salmon or tuna, nuts and seeds like chia seeds or walnuts) and protein (e.g. eggs, pork, poultry). Conversely, avoid foods high in sugar and caffeine as may cause over stimulation. You may reach out to your family doctor or dietician to learn more about the right kind of foods for you.

I hope this helps! :slightly_smiling_face:

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