Mental Health

Unlocking Support: Telling Your GP About Suspected ADHD

Discover how to approach your GP if you suspect having ADHD. Learn the importance of documenting symptoms, conducting research, and setting clear treatment goals to ensure you're prepared for your appointment and beyond.

Written by

Jacqui Walker

Published On:

Apr 18, 2024

Unlocking Support: Telling Your GP About Suspected ADHD
Unlocking Support: Telling Your GP About Suspected ADHD
Unlocking Support: Telling Your GP About Suspected ADHD

Ever found yourself wondering if those moments of forgetfulness, periods of intense focus on interests, or struggles with organisation are just quirks or something more? You're not alone. Many adults are exploring the complex waters of identifying ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in themselves, pondering the next steps. Telling your GP you think you might have ADHD can feel daunting, like stepping into uncharted territory without a map. But it's the first step towards clarity and support.

In this guide, we'll walk you through how to approach your GP with your concerns, ensuring you feel prepared and confident. It's all about making the conversation as smooth as possible, turning what could be a nerve-wracking experience into a proactive stride towards understanding yourself better. Let's immerse, shall we? After all, it's about taking control of your journey, with the right information in your pocket.

Understanding ADHD and Its Importance

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It's crucial to grasp the significance of ADHD, not merely as a diagnosis but as a guide to understanding your behaviors, reactions, and challenges. Recognizing ADHD's impact on various aspects of life—work, relationships, and self-esteem—enhances your ability to seek appropriate support and interventions.

When discussing the possibility of ADHD with your GP, it's essential to articulate your experiences clearly. Express your concerns by explaining specific instances where inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity has interfered with your daily life. For example, if you find it challenging to follow through with tasks, mention how this affects your productivity at work or home.

Understanding ADHD also involves debunking common myths. It's not just a childhood condition; adults can and do have ADHD. Also, it's not a matter of being unable to focus but rather struggling to regulate focus appropriately. Misunderstandings like these can lead to underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis, particularly in adults.

Know that effective strategies exist for managing ADHD, ranging from medication to behavioural therapies and adjustments in daily routines. The decision to explore these options begins with a conversation with your GP, who can guide you towards a formal evaluation and, later, the most appropriate support tailored to your needs.

In sum, understanding ADHD's nuances and articulating your experiences to your GP are pivotal steps. They lay the groundwork for accessing the support necessary to navigate life with ADHD more successfully.

Preparing for Your GP Appointment

Preparing for Your GP Appointment

Preparing for your GP appointment is a crucial step when you suspect you might have ADHD. The aim is to clearly communicate your experiences and concerns, enabling your GP to support you effectively. Here’s how to prepare:

  1. Document Your Symptoms: Start by jotting down the ADHD symptoms that resonate with you. Examples include difficulty focusing, impulsiveness, or forgetfulness. Be specific about how these symptoms impact your daily life, such as at work or in relationships.

  2. Gather Evidence: If possible, bring along any reports or observations from others who have noticed these symptoms. Teachers, family members, or work colleagues might have provided feedback on behaviours that could be relevant.

  3. Research ADHD: Understanding ADHD helps you articulate your experiences better. It also prepares you for a more informed discussion with your GP.

  4. Prepare Questions: List any questions or concerns you have about ADHD and its management. This will ensure you don’t forget to address any important points during your appointment.

  5. Identify Treatment Goals: Think about what you hope to achieve by seeking a diagnosis or treatment. It could be improving your concentration at work or managing relationships more effectively.

  6. Arrange Support: If necessary, consider asking someone you trust to accompany you to the appointment. They can provide emotional support or help articulate your concerns.

Remember, your GP’s appointment is the first step towards getting the support you need. By being well-prepared, you’re more likely to have a productive dialogue, paving the way for an accurate assessment and tailored advice.

Communicating Your Concerns to Your GP

Communicating Your Concerns to Your GP

When you suspect you have ADHD, expressing your concerns to your GP is a crucial step. Begin by scheduling an appointment, specifically requesting extra time if possible, to discuss your ADHD concerns. Here’s how to approach the conversation:

  • Be Direct and Specific: Start by stating clearly that you believe you might have ADHD and why. Use specific examples from your life where ADHD symptoms have caused challenges such as difficulties in concentrating, managing time, and maintaining relationships.

  • Document Your Symptoms: Prepare a list of your symptoms and how they've impacted different areas of your life, including work, home, and social situations. Bringing notes or a symptoms diary can help articulate your experiences more effectively.

  • Research and Education: Show that you’ve done your assignments by mentioning any ADHD research you’ve read. This demonstrates seriousness about your concerns and helps establish a base for discussion.

  • Express Your Feelings: Don’t shy away from revealing how ADHD symptoms are affecting your emotional wellbeing. It’s important for your GP to understand the emotional toll plus to the practical challenges.

  • Ask Questions: Prepare a list of questions related to ADHD assessment, diagnosis, and possible treatment options. Asking questions not only provides you with valuable information but also engages your GP in a dialogue, making it easier for them to understand your needs.

  • Highlight Life Impact: Emphasize how ADHD symptoms are significantly impacting your daily life, work productivity, or relationships. This will help your GP gauge the severity of your condition.

  • Discuss Treatment Goals: Share what you hope to achieve through diagnosis and treatment. Whether it's improving concentration at work or managing time better, knowing your goals can help your GP recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Remember, your GP is there to help you. Being open, honest, and prepared will make it easier for them to understand your concerns and guide you through the next steps in the assessment and treatment process.

After the Appointment: Next Steps

After discussing your ADHD concerns with your GP, the journey towards management and understanding doesn't end there. The subsequent steps are crucial in advocating for your health and well-being.

Firstly, confirm the referral process. Your GP might refer you to a specialist for a full assessment. Ask for an estimated timeline and what you should expect. This step ensures you're not left in the dark about when and how your diagnosis process will proceed.

Secondly, continue your research. Understanding ADHD's intricacies will empower you to make informed decisions about your treatment and management options. Websites, books, and forums dedicated to ADHD offer a wealth of information.

Thirdly, consider joining a support group. Interacting with others who share your experiences can provide not only solace but also practical advice on exploring life with ADHD. These groups often share tips on managing symptoms and can offer a sense of community.

Fourthly, prepare for possible outcomes. Whether your diagnosis is confirmed or not, think about your next steps in terms of support and treatment. If diagnosed, work with your healthcare provider to create a comprehensive management plan. If not, explore what other factors might be impacting your health and well-being.

Finally, reflect on your lifestyle and consider adjustments that might help manage symptoms. Simple changes in diet, exercise, and sleep can significantly impact your overall health and symptom management.

In taking these steps, you'll not only be better prepared for your ADHD journey but also active in managing your health.

Overcoming Challenges and Misconceptions

In exploring the journey of living with ADHD, understanding and overcoming the associated challenges and misconceptions can significantly impact your path to management and acceptance. Challenges often stem from misunderstandings about ADHD itself, which can lead to miscommunication with healthcare providers, including GPs.

Recognising Misconceptions: A common error is the belief that ADHD affects only children, leading to adults overlooking symptoms. Educating yourself on adult ADHD symptoms can empower you to articulate your experiences more accurately to your GP.

Effective Communication: Clear communication is crucial. Be specific about your symptoms and how they impact your daily life. This precision helps avoid generalisation, a frequent hurdle in accurately diagnosing and treating ADHD in adults.

Documentation and Preparation: Preparing for your appointment by documenting your symptoms can mitigate the challenge of recalling specific instances during your visit. It's a practical step towards a comprehensive discussion with your GP.

Seeking Support: Joining ADHD support groups provides a dual benefit. It breaks down the isolation often felt when dealing with misunderstood symptoms and offers a platform to share strategies for effectively communicating with healthcare professionals.

Adapting to Responses: Be prepared for varied responses from your GP, from immediate support to possible skepticism due to the nuanced nature of adult ADHD. If the response isn't supportive, consider seeking a second opinion from another healthcare professional with more experience in adult ADHD.

Through understanding and countering these challenges and misconceptions, you'll be better equipped to advocate for your health and well-being when discussing the possibility of ADHD with your GP.


Approaching your GP about ADHD might feel daunting but remember it's a significant step towards understanding and managing your symptoms. Armed with thorough documentation and a clear communication strategy, you're setting the stage for a productive dialogue. It's crucial to stay informed and prepared for various outcomes. Whether it’s seeking further assessments or discussing treatment options, what matters most is taking that initial step. By doing so, you're not just advocating for your health; you're exploring towards a better quality of life. Embrace the journey with confidence, knowing you're equipped to handle the conversations ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should adults suspecting they have ADHD take?

Adults who suspect they may have ADHD should start by documenting their symptoms carefully, researching ADHD thoroughly, and setting clear treatment goals. Preparing this information before seeing a GP can help the appointment go smoothly.

How can adults overcome challenges associated with adult ADHD?

Overcoming challenges associated with adult ADHD involves preparedness and advocacy. Documenting symptoms, understanding potential misconceptions, and being ready for varied GP responses are crucial. Joining ADHD support groups for additional advice and support can also be beneficial.

Why is documenting symptoms of ADHD important?

Documenting symptoms is important because it provides a clear record of how ADHD impacts daily life. This documentation can help healthcare providers understand the individual's experiences, making it easier to discuss symptoms and treatment options effectively.

Why is it essential to research ADHD before seeing a GP?

Researching ADHD is crucial as it arms individuals with knowledge about their condition, potential treatments, and misconceptions. This preparation ensures they can have informed discussions with their GP and advocate for their health more effectively.

How can misunderstandings lead to miscommunication with healthcare providers?

Misunderstandings about ADHD can lead to miscommunication because if a patient and healthcare provider have different views on ADHD or its impact, it can result in incorrect assumptions or overlooked symptoms. Clear communication and informed discussions are key to preventing this.

What role do support groups play in the journey of an adult with ADHD?

Support groups play a significant role by providing a platform for sharing experiences, advice, and emotional support. They can offer practical tips for managing symptoms and navigating healthcare systems, which can be invaluable for individuals feeling isolated or misunderstood in their ADHD journey.