Many adults and children go undiagnosed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), despite the fact that 3 to 5 percent of children and 2 to 4 percent of adults are affected by it. Often, people who have ADHD are seen as lazy, bright but unmotivated, or even over-emotional and unwilling to focus.
However, the truth is that this disorder has a major impact on the lives of people who have it, whether they are diagnosed as adults or children. This article will explore diagnosis and treatment options and also the complexities of ADHD and life insurance.
Facts About the Disorder
The symptoms of ADHD can differ between adults and children, and the diagnosis is a bit more stigmatized in adults than it is in children. This is because hyperactivity and inattentiveness are seen as immature, and the disorder, by extension, a childhood ailment to be grown out of.
While ADHD is a fairly common diagnosis, people with ADHD are often not diagnosed until later in life, as their symptoms are attributed to personal failings or other disorders. Understanding and treating ADHD will make a significant and positive difference in your life.
So whom do you seek out for a diagnosis? And does insurance even cover treatment? Here are a few things you should know about living with ADHD.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
There is not a single medical, genetic, or physical test that diagnoses ADHD, but a qualified and experienced mental health professional can provide a diagnostic evaluation. Some testers will test cognitive ability, as well as consult ADHD symptoms lists and your past and current functioning history.
Adults can get an ADHD diagnosis by making an appointment with a psychiatrist, neurologist, primary care physician, clinical psychologist, or clinical social worker. Whoever the medical specialist is, they must have experience with helping those who are older than 17. You can usually ask for a referral from your primary care doctor.
You will most likely be asked personal questions about your life that may be difficult to answer. Remember that a quality mental health professional will not judge you, so be as honest as you can. A qualified mental health specialist will be more focused on helping you move forward than on judging your past actions.
In most cases, if you were ever diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you likely still have it as an adult. In fact, those who were diagnosed as children are often 60 percent more prone to developing ADHD as adults. This is something else that may assist your mental health provider in diagnosing you.
Types of Diagnoses
There are a few different types of ADHD you could be diagnosed with. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive, and combined.
Predominantly inattentive types often struggle with focusing on tasks and make mistakes in school and work tasks and may have difficulty paying attention to details. They may not listen when spoken to or struggle with finishing chores, organizing activities, or remembering important tasks.
Those with hyperactivity may be prone to fidgeting, squirming, or excessive talking. They may get up from their seat, run, or climb when not appropriate or feel restless when involved in leisure activities. They may also have trouble waiting for their turn in conversation and be constantly on the go.
The combined type is for those who have a mixture of both sets of symptoms. In the end, the differences and distinctions between ADHD types may be a bit arbitrary, as most people have a bit of a blend. Gender and socialization also play a key part in what symptoms or coping habits a person develops, which can further affect your diagnosis.
What treatment options are available?
There are a few different types of treatments available for those with ADHD, including therapy and medication. Treatments may vary depending on if the person also has another disorder alongside ADHD.
For example, ADHD is often paired with depression, anxiety, and even dyslexia. Because of this, it can be partially treated with cognitive therapy that focuses on the comorbid disorder or disorders. However, treatment plans that ignore the ADHD itself may be attacking symptoms rather than the root cause.
Treating depression can help with depressive episodes caused by ADHD, but the ADHD itself still needs to be looked into.
Stimulant medicine can be a good treatment for ADHD, but it can be addictive for those prone to abusing medication. Generally, stimulant medication can be good for those who mostly need a way to jump-start their motivation and ability to focus. Antidepressant drugs are also an option.
Some treatments for ADHD include behavioral and vocational interventions and cognitive therapy.
Life Insurance and ADHD
One of the biggest issues with ADHD is the financial aspect. It’s five times more expensive to raise a child who has ADHD than a child who does not. Because of this, finding life and car insurance that is cheap and affordable is important for families with a history of ADHD and other disorders.
First, there are a few things you should know about ADHD and life insurance. An ADHD diagnosis does not directly affect insurance rates because ADHD does not have a direct relationship with a higher mortality rate. ADHD is considered a mental disability, as it is a neurodevelopmental disorder.
While the presence of an ADHD diagnosis will not automatically raise rates, there are some factors surrounding the diagnosis that might, such as:
- When you were diagnosed
- The severity of the diagnosis
- Your main symptoms
- Your school or job performance
- Your treatment or medications
- Other comorbid mental disorders
- Your motor vehicle record and arrest history
Is ADHD considered a disability for insurance purposes?
Life insurance companies do treat ADHD as a mental disorder, and while the diagnosis itself won’t boost your insurance rates, the severity of your symptoms and any comorbid disorders might.
For instance, if you have severe ADHD and a history of risky behavior, which may boost your rates. Also, if you have both ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you may end up having to pay more.
While it is possible to find no-exam term life insurance, most likely you will need a medical exam to get life insurance, so if you have other health problems on top of ADHD you may be denied. This can be difficult, as often people with ADHD struggle with healthy behaviors and are risk-prone.
You may be denied if you have anxiety as well.
What are your chances of qualifying for life insurance in the first place?
As a general rule, you have a good chance of qualifying for life insurance if:
- Your diagnosis is mild
- You are over the age of 30
- There are no other diagnoses or personality disorders
- You don’t have a history of substance abuse or hospitalization for ADHD or mood swings
- You have had no treatment or medication for ADHD or mood symptoms in the last five years
However, not all life insurance companies underwrite for ADHD the same way, and some will be more lenient than others. It’s a good idea to compare rates to see which carriers will be more likely to approve you. Don’t feel that any past symptoms or a more severe diagnosis will prevent you from getting life insurance.
Author Bio: Deborah Goldberg writes and researches about life insurance for the life insurance comparison site, QuickQuote.com.