Psychological impact of an adult ADHD diagnosis: "A blessing and a curse?"
Tickle, Anna C.
Groom, Madeleine J.
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is commonly thought of as a,childhood. disorder but is increasingly recognized as affecting adults. The aim of this study was to explore the psychological impact of receiving a diagnosis of ADHD in adulthood. Method: A qualitative study was conducted. Twelve adults (seven male, five female; aged 18-54) participated in semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Three master themes were identified with subthemes: (1) Looking back: different, faulty; relief and regret; reframing; (2) Looking inwards (with acceptance); and (3) Looking outwards: labeling: disability, stigma and social comparisons. Conclusion: The results highlighted a dilemma: diagnosis was necessary to access appropriate support and helpful to acknowledge (and potentially reframe) experiences, understand oneself better (including recognizing strengths) and foster a sense of belonging. However, after diagnosis there remains a struggle with the sense of self, feeling stigmatized, and the permanence of being or having ADHD forever.