Is Diagnosis Right for You?

Is Diagnosis Right for You?

There are lots of reasons a person may decide to seek a formal diagnosis. Some people decided that they are happy with a self-diagnosis and decide not to seek a formal diagnosis.

It is important to think about what getting or not getting a diagnosis will mean for you. It can be helpful for some people to talk to a friend or family member, for other people, talking to a professional may be helpful.

For those that want a formal diagnosis, there are a variety of reported benefits:

  • Understanding yourself: Many adults we have spoken to have suffered from mental health problems and/or have been misdiagnosed as having mental health problems such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. A formal diagnosis can be a relief because it allows them to gain a personal understanding of the reasons why they may struggle with certain aspects of life.
  • Gaining the understanding of others: Due to autistic adults’ different ways of communication, many people experience being constantly misunderstood – sometimes leading to social isolation. People who decide to disclose their diagnosis with friends, family and partners, including their strengths and difficulties, report higher levels of understanding from others.
  • Receiving services appropriate to their needs: Adults with autism may need support in various aspects of their lives. With a diagnosis, you can communicate with and accessing the right services to meet your needs e.g. mental health services, medical services, autism-specific services etc.
  • Asserting your rights: Autistic adults who decide to disclose their diagnosis with employers might obtain assistance to support their employment.
  • Accessing financial supports: You might be entitled to financial supports (e.g., Job-seekers allowance).
  • Joining the Autistic Community: It can be helpful to meet other autistic adults in order to learn about their experiences and share your own. There are various online support groups and meet-ups across Ireland. You do not need to have a formal diagnosis in order to access this community.

Gaining a formal diagnosis can be a difficult decision. You are the only person who can decide if this is the best choice for you. It may be helpful to talk through your decision with a trusted relative or friend.