“in medicine we don’t only treat the worst cases.”

I think that understanding this concept when dealing with ADHD is important and under recognized. And more than just ADHD, I think all psychiatric disorders can suffer from a reticence to be dealt with unless they’re extremely severe. As far as I’m concerned that is in regards to the spectrum of psychiatric disorders overall as well as within individual disorders. I think most of us would agree that treating a paranoid schizophrenic it’s probably a good idea. I think we’d all agree that treating someone with severe melancholic depression who has talked about, threatened, or attempted suicide is a good idea.

but wisdom that my pharmacologist departed to me once was that, “the medicine we don’t only treat the worst cases.” We treat a hairline fracture as much as we treat a compound fracture. We even treat a sprain, which isn’t even a break. Yet when it comes to mental health many people feel like they need to hit some undefined but specific level of suffering or dysfunction in order to seek help. And shamefully, many physicians don’t take patients seriously enough until they get to a catastrophic point where treatment is infinitely harder.

this came up in my life when I was getting my oldest diagnosed with ADHD. As an ADHD person myself and an ADHD coach professionally, I knew he had adhd. But he didn’t necessarily present in a typical way. He was doing really well at school because he enjoyed it. But he was really struggling and the rest of life in ways that I won’t get into, but that made it very obvious that he was on his own planet. He wasn’t the traditional hyperactive ADHD boy. So even though I see one of the best ADHD doctors in the world, I still felt like I had to come in improve some sort of case.

the reality was that I didn’t. It qualified experience clinician and a small bit of testing show that he was very bright but had ADHD which needed to be treated. Just because it didn’t rise to the level of catastrophe… Yet. And because he presented in a slightly different way from most school age kids didn’t mean all the signs weren’t there. Our doctor diagnosed him easily, started very effective treatment, and put me at ease with this one phrase.

the takeaway? Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers or you have to be at a point where things are falling apart to get help. Whether it’s a physical ailment or a neurobiological ailment, treat it as soon as you notice it. In the long run, you’re going to be glad you made that choice. And if you don’t know what it is, find a qualified professional to help tease out all of the possibilities. But stick to your guns if you think there’s something wrong with you or your kid that needs to be treated. It might take a little while and it might take a few different clinicians. But don’t let anyone gaslight you into thinking it’s not a real thing or it’s not really that bad. Trust your instincts.