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Table 2 Diagnosis Experience (as adults or as children)

From: Comparison of the burden of illness for adults with ADHD across seven countries: a qualitative study

  Diagnosis Experience (as adults)
  Approximately 62 participants reporting (57%)1
Canada I was diagnosed with ADHD in the middle of March. I guess I had a bit of a nervous breakdown and I committed myself to [a hospital] for a month, and that’s when I got diagnosed.
France Well it was their forum [the association Hyper Super] that helped me. I was looking for someone to help me with my daughter, and I recognized myself in a profile that was created on the forum. And they had a meeting for adult attention deficit disorder. When I saw the other attention deficit participants, I thought, that’s it, that’s me.
Germany I started ADHD treatment 2 years ago and I’m very satisfied. I discovered that I had ADHD because of my child. I read about his condition and thought that I had the same symptoms.
Italy I am 50, I am married, I have 4 sons, the first of them was diagnosed with ADHD 8 years ago. […] Finally I realized that, being a genetic disease, I had it too. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD by a child psychiatrist because I didn’t find anyone else in my area. […] I re-lived all my life and I realized what lacked, what I lost with this disease and what I coped with. I’ve been taking Ritalin for 2 years. I didn’t find it in Italy because it cannot be taken if you are an adult, but since my son took it, I started to use it.
The Netherlands I was 48 years old, and had been thinking I had it since I was 42 because I had two images walking around the house and I had seen a program on ADHD in adults on television, recognized it and thought: “I’m not the only one”.
United Kingdom I’ve only recently been diagnosed with ADHD in the last year […] I suppose I’ve always been different from other people, I’ve always been in a lot of trouble throughout my life, I suppose it kind of explains some of it now.
United States I had a doctor try to tell me I was bipolar and put me on a bunch of medication for bipolar and I ended up crazy, like shaking, crazy. […] Every time I went in I had a new side effect so they would put me on another medication. They had me up to eight […] The psychiatrist basically said, “Let’s take the medication all away.” Every dose I went down I felt amazingly better.
  Diagnosis Experience (as children)
  Approximately 29 participants reporting (27%)
Canada I’m 41 and it was first noticed when I was in Grade 2. I was just always getting into trouble and alienated from my class. My mom was a nurse and she took me to the doctor and they did a bunch of tests and it came out that I was ADHD. All I remember is the term hyperactive disorder. But my mom didn’t want me to go on the pills. She thought that she could just kind of parent it out of me, which didn’t have the greatest effect on my life.
France I discovered my ADHD when I was 3 years old. I took Ritalin, Concerta. I took them for a year and a half, and stopped because I had too many side effects. I had the impression that I got nothing out of the treatments. That’s it.
Germany ADHD is something that I’ve known of many, many years ago. It was actually in first grade because I had difficulties with writing and learning how to write with fine motorics and there was also psychological treatment. I’m from Chemnitz in East Germany and at the time they had just a pilot project at the technical university in Chemnitz. I was there as a patient for 2 years, then I took Ritalin but after 9 years it wasn’t paid for anymore and that’s how I got hooked up on methylphenidate and I’ve been taking it for the last 3 years.
Italy I was diagnosed with ADHD at 16. I started to take drugs at 16, I’ve not been taking drugs for 1 year now. Besides Ritalin, I also took Concerta. I started with Ritalin and I took it for 3 years but I stopped it because I didn’t need it any longer. I took Concerta especially when I went school. I alternated Ritalin with Concerta during the school years and also the 2 years after school. I stopped to take it for the same reason as Ritalin’s.
The Netherlands For me it has been clear ever since I was little. But back then the doctors had just discovered ADHD so everybody had it. They thought everybody who had difficulties concentrating or was unmanageable had ADHD. [LEADER: But for you it was because you had problems concentrating?] Yes, concentrating, being super active, the whole package. It was a bit of a tug-of-war with the GP about what had to happen. Ritalin was brand new back then and came from America. So it never came to that.
United Kingdom I’m 22 and I got diagnosed when I was, I think I was about 16, 17 at the end of school. I always sort of had trouble at school, I got in trouble a lot. I sort of knew that there was something wrong myself and one my teachers suggested it because my mum didn’t, still to this day doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with me. So, I went to the, because I was old enough to go to like the adult psychologist at that time, so I went myself and then they diagnosed me and I took Ritalin but it made me sick, so I couldn’t have that. I took Concerta and it did work for the first few weeks but it sort of makes me like a zombie so I sort of stopped taking it. So, I haven’t taken anything for about a year now.
United States Actually, I was diagnosed with this when I was 10 years old and a psychiatrist prescribed Dexedrine. But I have a mother, and she didn’t like it. This was a long time ago when people went home for lunch from school. She didn’t like that I wasn’t eating the lunch so she decided it would be better if I didn’t take the Dexedrine. It kind of crippled my relationship with her for a while.
  1. 1All participant numbers in all the tables presented here are approximations only due to variations in transcription styles and the inability to consistently discern individual speakers.