The effectiveness of self-screening

Hi All,

Just wanted to ask you what you thought about the self-screening as the main (or only) diagnostic tool for ADHD. Many therapists do this - base the whole diagnosis on that piece of paper, filled by the patient. And that's it. Voila. You immediately know if you have ADHD.

But I think it's been acknowledged quite widely that people with ADHD may not have enough insight to actually catch those moments and assess their frequency correctly. They have trouble noticing things that impact their environment, remembering those things, and truly understanding them (quite understandably, just like the non might have trouble understanding their point of view), and then there's the whole denial/rationalization system in place.

My SO denies practically everything ADHD-related that happens. There's always an explanation. And if I asked directly: do you do this often? Like, "do you lose your keys on a daily basis?" She confidently replies, "no, I don't". Or "well, very rarely, but that happens to everyone". And she does the same in therapy. When I know for a fact that it happens a few times a week. And it's ONLY talking keys. Add to that mobile, wallet, documents, documents and personal items. Still, the answer is "no".

So, what's the actual value of self-screening with people who still live in total denial? Isn't it like asking someone "are you a liar"? (don't get me wrong, not trying to suggest ADHD-ers are liars) Or "do you forget things"? Or "do you often miss clues"? Even if they do, they wouldn't know, would they?

I'm not blaming her she's totally oblivious, I think I know quite well by now how her brain works. What puzzles me, is how come the therapists never take those factors into account? Nobody asks me if I corrobrate. What she says obviously is truth. "Because if that really happens like you say, it would imply there's some serious issue". Yeah, so? How does that invalidate my experience? And you can't really fight the non-debatable argument "you're obviously noticing those things a lot, try noticing them less; you're obviously over-reacting". Yeah, I notice them a lot because they happen a lot. Yeah, I'm over-reacting because they happen a lot. I told you so at the very beginning: that's the reason I'm here. Not to hear those things don't happen "as often as I think they do". Trust me, I know exactly how often they happen. That's the problem.

That's just another wall in therapy. I've seen it throw back my ADHD partner down into the depths of denial too many times, even when she was actually quite ready to accept the issue and start dealing with it. And you can't just keep finding new therapists, hoping one of them will finally get it. At some point, it starts looking irrational as if you try to desperately stick to your "preconceived theory", no matter how many times they tell you you're wrong, so your chances of convincing your partner and actually helping them fade everytime you switch therapists.

Which is bad, because if you're looking for therapy, it probably means you already feel like you're only half-sane, doubt many of your observations and feel like you don't cope well. The relationship itself is enough to make you feel irrational, you don't need to pay for it.

And I think this must happen when you only do the self-screening. I can see no other way this could go.

So, my question is: has anyone here ever heard of an ADHD candidate in denial being successfully diagnosed this way?