If My Physician Doesn’t Understand ADHD, How Can I Expect My Employer Or Colleagues To Understand? 6

#9. This post is a part of a series where people answer my anonymous survey question. If you have ADHD but haven’t gone public with it, what would it take to you go public with ADHD?

There are risks and rewards for going public with ADHD AND for staying hidden in the ADHD closet. See this post for context on the series.

“I still feel shame about my diagnosis of Adult ADHD. I believe it would harm me at this point to “go public” . I shared my new diagnosis with my family and a few close friends, their reaction and lack of empathy made me realize the negative stigma associated with ADHD. I would go public if I felt it would be viewed as a real medical condition. My family physician had little empathy or understanding of ADHD and how it affects my life. If my physician doesn’t understand, how can I expect my employer or colleagues to understand?”

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6 thoughts on “If My Physician Doesn’t Understand ADHD, How Can I Expect My Employer Or Colleagues To Understand?

  • Nick Mortensen

    I don’t think you can expect anyone to understand anything they don’t know about. It is more or less up to you to educate these people & I think the best way to do this is to discuss it with them in ways they can understand it – their schema.

    For me, the best way to do this has always been to discuss ADHD symptoms instead of ADHD itself. Most people have preconceived notions about ADHD and there isn’t much you can tell them about ADHD that will change their minds. However, if you told them that you’ve got a different sort of brain function that makes it difficult for you to accurately estimate time passing by and you’ve really got to work extra hard to ensure that you are on time – they’d get that. They might even wonder if habitual lateness in anyone might be a result of that different sort of brain.

  • Pete Quily

    If you know enough about ADHD to do that Nick, you should. Trouble is many people with ADHD don’t know enough to do so, and few are willing to do that.

  • Blaine Jessome

    Dear Pete
    I think I might have adhd or add. It’s hard to find someone who will diagnose. I’ve been suffering from clinical depression for the past 4 months and I believe there is a direct link. My doctor says that my depression has nothing to do with adhd. I was born a blue baby , with the umbilical cord around my neck. I have severe hyper focus when I’m working on projects that I’m interested. I forget about everything around me. Some days my brain goes into overdrive .I fidget alot and am very restless and I am a poor sleeper. I don’t retain anything if I’m not interested in it. My therapist says that I have above average intelligence. So why is it so hard to get someone to diagnose this. i feel like I’ve been robbed of a proper education because of this. What can I do?

  • Pete Quily

    Hi Blaine,

    I’d suggest find a doctor who’s trained in ADHD, many are not, since govt, media and health care doesn’t take adult ADHD seriously and few adults with ADHD seem to be willing to do anything to change that.

    Currently at UBC medical school in Vancouver medical students only get one hour on ADHD during their whole training. Some doctors have no training at all in ADHD. It may be ADHD ie caused by reduced oxygen to your brain, or something else.

    I have a list of people in the Vancouver BC area who can diagnose and treat ADHD.

    If you’re outside Vancouver, ask your closest ADHD support group for a list of names of those who can diagnose and treat ADHD. See my list of Canadian, US and International ADHD support groups on my website


    This question is perhaps the most pertinent and poignant question that can be asked. We do have Dr’s undermining us, negating our diagnosis and unintentionally (?) promoting more stigma because they continue to make statements that are not evidence based.

    Until the medical profession stops it’s denial of ADHD as a real disorder I don’t think we can get out of the closet. It’s a big problem when you actually do need to hunt down a list of Doctors who can or will diagnose you and provide treatment.

  • Pete Quily

    well some in the medical profession do it, not all. But you’re right it is a big problem and it still exists because most people with ADHD don’t go public about these things and demand equal treatment.