Why get diagnosed with ADHD as an adult/parent/mom?

This morning in a parents’ discussion email group, a mom asked if it is useful to be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. I thought my answer might be useful to others so I’ve excerpted it for you here:

Diagnosis as an adult gives you a lot of information that can be useful, including both medication and non-medication strategies. (you would KNOW that anything dopamine-related can be instrumental; you start to look at caffeine, aerobic exercise, and protein differently)  It also gives you a sense of whether their is an increased genetic tendency in that direction (read: you have ADHD, very good chance one or more of your kids does too).

When it comes to women, there is such an interaction between ADHD and hormones that it gives you a different view and a big heads up around both cyclic functioning variation and what happens in peri-/menopause. ADHD can be much worse in menopause for some women, so that it becomes a time that some need to seek treatment where they didn’t need it, or where hormonal treatment is much more important because it is impacting functioning much more than other people (because the estrogen drop effects compound the ADHD effects).
As an upside to that seeming unhappy news,  older women I know with ADHD have told me that they feel like they are ahead of the game, because they have worked consciously on organizational/functioning/memory strategies long before menopause exacerbated these issues.

Finally, even if ADHD didn’t kick your butt pre-parenting, parenting is a giant load of executive functioning weighed on sleep-deprived shoulders. If you have underlying ADHD, it is HARD, and the label can give insight into why it might topple you over as it were- and what you might need to prioritize to make it work better.