Could a Late ADHD Diagnosis Change your Life?

Receiving an ADHD diagnosis as an adult may not seem like winning the lottery, but for many – including Health in Mind Registered Psychologist, May Webster – it is the key to understanding yourself and making informed adjustments to transform your relationships, career and life.

May adapted to the challenges of ADHD growing up without knowing the underlying cause, but the insight gained from a late diagnosis in her thirties was life changing.

“It makes sense now, in retrospect. My whole life has been flavoured with ADHD, from the way I approach my work and hobbies, to struggling with chores, to the way I interact in relationships,” said May.

“What has been most helpful is learning the language to put to my internal experience. It has been really empowering, as it means I can understand my own behaviours more and communicate this to other people, so they can also understand what’s going on.”

– May Webster, Health in Mind Registered Psychologist

Why the underdiagnosis?

May says some may have missed out on a pivotal ADHD diagnosis in their childhoods due to a lack of understanding of the condition and how it presents.


“ADHD was and continues to be associated with the stereotype of a naughty boy who can’t sit still in class, but there are many forms and presentations of ADHD that don’t fit this description.”


Gender also plays a role. May explains, “Girls are socialised differently, and we present differently, so it’s easy to miss early on.”


According to May, preliminary ADHD assessment tools tend to focus on external behaviours and signals that affect others (such as disruptiveness), rather than the individual’s internal experience (such as a differing perception of time). Without considering these coping mechanisms and adjustments that individuals make to manage their own behaviour and adjust to their environment, tell-tale signs of ADHD may be missed.

Signs of ADHD

There are three types of ADHD, which each present differently:

  1. Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD can present as restlessness, excessive talking or fidgeting, difficulty staying on task, impulse control issues and risky behaviour.

  2. Inattentive ADHD is often associated with a lack of concentration, being easily distracted and being disorganised.

  3. Combined ADHD, as the name suggests, presents with a combination of symptoms from both Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD.

In your day-to-day life, ADHD can look like:

  • Having many projects or books on-the-go at the same time, which are often left unfinished.
  • Difficulty with completing particular chores or administrative tasks without prompting.
  • Impulsive behaviours like extravagant spending, binge eating, gambling, substance abuse and promiscuity.
  • Feeling unmotivated or averse to tackling new or difficult tasks, despite intending to complete them.
  • Forgetting about obligations and forgetting or losing things often.

It is normal to experience these moments from time-to-time, but if a number of these indicators occur frequently and in multiple environments (such as work, study, relationships, or home life), it could be time to investigate further with a mental health professional.

Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD

If this sounds all too familiar for you or a loved one, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A range of medications, psychoeducation and talk therapy can improve focus, impulse control and other challenges that arise from living with ADHD.

“Medication has been lifechanging. It doesn’t cure you, but it can give you the stability to make healthier decisions.”

– May Webster, Health in Mind Registered Psychologist

As a Registered Psychologist, May helps her clients with ADHD to identify and adopt behaviours that help them get the dopamine hit they are predisposed to crave, in a healthy way. These are often unique to the individual, ranging from early morning walks and practicing mindfulness to cold showers and personalised playlists for specific activities.


While there are many forms of treatment for ADHD, only a psychiatrist can provide an ADHD diagnosis, which means individuals can spend many months on a waitlist for a psychiatric evaluation.


To expedite the diagnosis process, Health in Mind’s Advanced Psychiatry Registrar and Psychologists like May Webster provide initial ADHD assessments, so you can receive a diagnosis from one of our Psychiatrists in a shorter and more timely appointment. This service is offered through our Adult ADHD Clinic.

Health in Mind’s Adult ADHD Clinic offers streamlined psychological and psychiatric mental health services, so you can receive an ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment sooner.