CHADD: How Does an ADHD Diagnosis Affect Self-Esteem?

For most adults and many older teens, learning that ADHD is the root of their struggles is a relief. That’s what psychologist and author Sharon Saline, PsyD, says, following her 30 years of working with children and adults who have ADHD. For children, their reaction is something else—they don’t want to be different in some way from their friends. The concept of an executive function disorder is often too big for them to understand.

“I think a lot of adults do feel a self of relief when they get an ADHD diagnosis,” Dr. Saline says. “It puts a category into these diverse experiences they’ve been having. It formulates it into a reason. They’re not actually crazy, lazy, stupid, or ineffectual. They have something that’s different about their neurobiology that contributes to the difficulties they’ve had in living effective and rewarding lives.”

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