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Will ADHD diagnosis effect future job prospects?

  1. Feb 27, 2010 #1
    Okay, so I was diagnosed at a young age with ADD and ADHD and took medicine from elementary until I graduated H.S. I usually don't take the medicine unless I really need to concentrate on something for long periods of time. I started back in college after a 5 year break and found that it was just as hard for me to concentrate as it was back in secondary school. I went to a doctor, who diagnosed me with adult ADHD and, with medicine, I'm doing great in school.

    My concern, especially with the possibility of health care reform and how our medical records will be available to anyone, is that this diagnosis will effect me getting a particular job in the future. I know the military asks about this sort of thing, but what about private companies? I'm not really interested in the military, so that's not a real concern (and I will be too old to join as an officer anyways by the time I get my degree), but what about government agencies/jobs? (I am an engineering major btw, so that is what field I will be looking to get into.) Obviously, if it is a "don't ask, don't tell" situation I know to keep my mouth shut, but I have heard of some people losing their promotions/ availability for promotions if the company finds out they are ADD/ADHD. And also, what about drug tests? If I don't disclose this information and the medicine shows up on a drug screen, what could I even do? Can work performance override this stigma? Any help would be great. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2010 #2


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    I think this kind of a diagnosis is the kind of thing that will affect you as much as you allow it to. If you're able to deal with the condition effectively enough to complete a degree, then you have effectively overcome it. I don't see why an employer would count it against you.

    The other issue is to learn as much as you can about the laws in your state/country with regard to disclosure of medical records - so that you're informed about what is manditory to disclose and what is not.
  4. Feb 27, 2010 #3
    There's some free legal aid out there so run your concerns by a lawyer specializing in employment law. As far as I know combing the Bureau of Labor site, it's illegal for an interviewer to ask you about your health history (mental or otherwise) unless it's directly related to the task at hand. So, technically so long as your ADD/ADHD doesn't interfere with your work, they can't legally discriminate against you or fire you for having it.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  5. Feb 28, 2010 #4
    Sorry for the blunt language, but this is total nonsense. One of my relatives with ADHD recently graduated from college, and he clearly still struggles with his condition. In fact, he's having trouble with his employer because he got into a major car accident on the job. Pretending that the problem doesn't exist won't help anyone. In fact, it will almost certainly make things worse.
  6. Feb 28, 2010 #5


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    Brian, I think you've misinterpreted what I meant to say.

    I didn't mean to imply the problem no longer exists. From an employer's point of view, if a potential candidate has a learning disability, but has completed a university degree, then he or she has demonstrated the ability to effectively manage the condition enough to accomplish a desired goal. Obviously, the condition is still there and the management program needs to remain in place.
  7. Feb 28, 2010 #6
    Okay, thanks for all the help guys . . . My question to what story645 said is that I understand that it is illegal for the employer to ask, but the military still asks . . . I know that the military kind of plays with its own tune regarding rules and stuff like that . . . do government agencies as well? It's obvious that they do this because, what are you gonna do? Sue the government? And from my understanding, there are a lot of jobs available (or at least more percentage wise) for engineers in government agencies. Just from anyone's experience, is this a question anyone has been confronted with, i.e. Have you ever been asked if you had a history of mental illness while applying for a government job?
  8. Feb 28, 2010 #7
    Probably 'cause the military can make the case that ADHD/ADD will harm your job performance 'cause you need really fast response times/reflexes in combat, but I'm not a lawyer so I don't know the nitty gritty of how illegal this is. Talk to a lawyer.
  9. Feb 28, 2010 #8
    I guess while we are sort of on the subject as well . . . Do any of you have to undergo frequent or randomized drug screenings? This would be interesting to know.
  10. Feb 28, 2010 #9
    For secret/top secret clearances in the U.S. government, having a mental illness will have a huge effect on your ability to obtain get a job that requires those clearances. It took me 8 months to get my top secret clearance, and everything about me was examined, down to a psych evaluation, past health issues, etc. Otherwise, I don't think any normal Federal agencies will ask about your past health.

    But I think something like ADHD will have more of an effect on your work performance than other health issues like allergies, asthma, etc. I'm not sure if ADHD is considered a mental illness or psychological problem.
  11. Feb 28, 2010 #10
    No, I don't think you should worry unless you are doing hardcore drugs like crack or heroine. If your prescribed drugs show up as a negative, you have your reasons for taking them and they shouldn't fire you on those grounds
  12. Feb 28, 2010 #11
    It should actually be considered nothing more than a greedy money-making scam by the american psychiatric association
  13. Feb 28, 2010 #12
    except that their solution to adhd helps allot of people....if you wanna call it a scam then ok its a scam and they just want to make money, but its a mutually benificial scam so lay off. this is offensive to people with adhd. you are bassically calling them stupid even though they may just have a condition.
  14. Mar 2, 2010 #13
    Slightly off the main topic, but have you confirmed that your particular medication is effective when taken sporadically? Maybe you have been going more or less off medication for some time.
  15. Mar 2, 2010 #14
    Trust me, the best thing this guy could do is to stop taking the "medicine" those greedy quack drug peddlers gave him.
  16. Mar 2, 2010 #15
    Saying things like this is both unhelpful and dangerous. No-one on a forum such as this is in a position to be giving out medical advice.

    If you disagree with the existence of ADHD, that is a different issue, feel free to start a separate thread on it in the appropriate forum.
  17. Mar 3, 2010 #16
    I only take the medicine when I need it, i.e. lectures and studying. I take it for tests as well to help me keep focused on the task at hand. Other than that, I stay off of it. I have been out of school for 5 years and didn't take it at any point in time between now and then. I don't need it to live a normal life, just to concentrate. My mind flies and then wanders . . . it's pretty irritating. The medicine helps me focus my "speeding mind" on a task at hand. Actually, I have to make it a point to start on homework or something after I take it, cause if I get caught up in say, making something, I will just end up focusing on that for long periods of time. But at any rate, it certainly helps. I have the grades to prove it so far.

    To the ignorant fool throwing out advice like laced candy, obviously you have never lived with something like this. I spend $5 on a months worth of "medicine" as you call it, so if they are greedy, it's still cheaper than your lunch . . . Those greedy food peddlers!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  18. Mar 4, 2010 #17

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    Same here... I was diagnosed with ADHD, got a pill for 15$ a month (my parents at least) and my grades went up a full grade. I spend that much on school lunch in a week, and school food doesn't help my grades.

    These guys aren't quacks. They are trained professionals, and you obviously aren't. Who do you think I am listening to?
  19. Mar 4, 2010 #18
    dont waste your time defending yourself. this is the internet-full of fools.

    But to get back on topic, no i dont think that your diagnosis would affect employment. results are all anyone cares about. Besides, Paul Erdos took the same stimulants doctors proscribe for ADD every day of his later life. He also holds the record for number of mathmatic publications and remained productive even in old age.
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