Veterinary Chris Hong
Registered Psychologist
Veterinary Chris HongVeterinary Chris Hong
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“My journey with ADHD has given me valuable insights into the experiences of my clients…”

Navigating the world with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), though challenging, has offered me a unique perspective that has enriched my interactions with patients facing similar struggles. Diagnosed later in life, I understand firsthand the hurdles that come with ADHD, particularly in interpersonal relationships.

Before my diagnosis, I often felt like an outsider, struggling with social cues and norms that seemed to elude me. Simple conversations became battlegrounds of misunderstanding, leaving me feeling isolated and disconnected. My journey with ADHD has given me valuable insights into the experiences of my patients, allowing me to empathise with their frustrations and experiences.

As a psychologist, I've had the privilege of supporting individuals with ADHD on their own paths to understanding and acceptance. Drawing from my own experiences, I've been able to offer a unique perspective that resonates with my patients. By sharing my journey openly and honestly, I've fostered a sense of trust and understanding that forms the foundation of our therapeutic relationship.

Through therapy, I've witnessed the transformative power of validation and acceptance in helping individuals with ADHD navigate their challenges. By acknowledging their struggles and celebrating their strengths, I've helped my patients cultivate a sense of self-worth and resilience that empowers them to face life's obstacles head-on.

Medication has been a valuable tool in managing my own ADHD symptoms and has allowed me to function more effectively in both personal and professional settings. By sharing my positive experiences with ADHD, I've been able to alleviate some of the fears and misconceptions that my patients may have about medicated treatment. Together, we've explored the benefits and drawbacks of medication, empowering them to make informed decisions about their own care.

In therapy, I've adopted a strengths-based approach that focuses on building on my patients' unique talents and abilities. By reframing their challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, I've helped them develop coping strategies and resilience that extend far beyond the therapy room.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has recently published guidelines that emphasise the need for individualised, multi-disciplinary approaches to assessment and treatment, with a focus on supporting social and emotional well-being. These guidelines, and the body of evidence that supports them, reinforce that ADHD is not over-diagnosed (if anything it is under-diagnosed), medication treatments are very effective with minimal risks, and the life-time risks associated with no treatment are significant (e.g, under-education, increased school drop out rates, earlier use of drugs and alcohol, underemployment, behavioural problems increased incarceration, increased likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse, social isolation, and mental health problems later in life). I call it the “ADHD tax”.

Current Australian standards emphasise the importance of a thorough assessment process, which may involve input from multiple healthcare professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, paediatricians, and educators. Treatment decisions are individualised based on the specific needs and circumstances of each person with ADHD, taking into account factors such as symptom severity, co-occurring conditions, and personal preferences.

For those who choose medication treatment, regular monitoring and review are essential to ensure optimal outcomes and minimise potential risks. Close collaboration between healthcare providers, patients, and their families is crucial to ensuring that treatment is effective, well-tolerated, and aligned with the individual's goals and values.

My personal journey with ADHD medication has been one of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. While initially skeptical, I have come to appreciate the profound benefits that medication can offer to individuals with ADHD, including myself. By embracing evidence-based practices and adopting a balanced, holistic approach to treatment, we can support individuals with ADHD in realising their full potential and leading fulfilling lives.

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