SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — After four of Raquel Lubbers’ children were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder during the pandemic, she started to wonder if she had it, too.
At age 43, she learned that indeed she did.
“It was a huge sense of relief,” said Lubbers, of South Jordan. “I left like all of a sudden all of my struggles were validated.”
She now works as an ADHD coach, helping others understand the condition and get help.
However, she said that part of the reason her diagnosis took so long was because she didn’t fit the stereotype of a child with ADHD.
“My journey through school, because of my curiosity and my persistence, I was able to do really well in school,” Lubbers said. “I graduated 4.0, valedictorian. So, on the surface, everything looked really good, but inside things were chaotic for me all the time.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Experts say this could be because people tend to notice externalized symptoms, such as impulsiveness and restlessness, more in boys.
Girls, on the hand, tend to show more subtle, internalized symptoms, such as forgetfulness or difficulty focusing.
Dr. Elle Brownstein, a pediatrician with the University of Utah, said it’s important to recognize that ADHD looks different in each individual.
“It’s really easy to find the hyperactive kids, the kids who really can’t sit still, the ones who are always on the go,” she said. “But what do we do with our inattentive folks, who really just can’t focus — that can be really hard to spot.”
For Lubbers, being aware of the variety of symptoms is important to creating more conversations around ADHD, and, on a personal level, understanding how to live with it.
“You’re going to have ADHD with you your whole life,” she said. “What it’s about is learning how to move forward with it.”
Brownstein says those who think they might have ADHD, or their child might have it, should visit their health care provider.