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Professional and Living With ADHD: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: At 31, I've just been officially diagnosed with adult ADHD, which is not surprising at all. My doctor thinks I've gone undiagnosed my whole life. I believe having my temperament and sensitivity, although not easy in my business, has made me successful. These lifelong "struggles" make me who I am. My fear is taking meds and or going to see a therapist will change or neuter my capabilities. Please advise, Noah.

A: Mental health or physical diagnosis should never define a person. Your doctor is only "today" pinpointing and categorizing issues you've long since struggled with.

Rather than rethinking your whole existence, instead ask yourself a few simple questions. Have problems concentrating, completing work assignments within a time frame, or remembering dates and times, significantly impacted your professional and personal life?

All right, you are successful! Perhaps you can be even more successful if these skills were improved through self-care . . .

No doubt your "temperament and sensitivity" have been the driving force behind professional advancement; what does that have to do with having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms?

Interestingly, varying degrees of hyperactivity and impulsivity (so often associated with adult ADHD) are active characteristics associated with many high-powered leaders in business. However, these are hardly the great directives or single catalysts which lead successful people to great accomplishments. That imagined line of thinking is popular Hollywood mythology.

Actually, at only 31 years of age, these negative symptoms have time to worsen if left untreated. Professional issues can develop as your career responsibilities increase and more is being asked of you.

Even more importantly; ADHD can have a serious impact on your social life. Getting the proper treatment is incredibly important if you're planning to get or stay married and have a family. Depending on the severity, your condition can dominate an individual's emotional state, leading to severe mood swings and a low tolerance for frustration.

These elements of your diagnosis demand treatment in order to have healthy intimate relationships. However, this is highly treatable -- do not be discouraged!

I understand your concerns over taking regular medication. If your doctor hasn't mentioned medication, do not be overly concerned at this time. If medication is eventually suggested, talk with your doctor at length about your fears and ask about all available treatments.

There's no problem in seeing a psychotherapist, talk therapy is a win-win situation. I'd advise you to go into therapeutic treatment much like you go into life: eyes wide open and feeling in control.

Be honest, upfront and state that you believe your "symptoms" are part of who you are and what you feel makes you successful. Find a therapist who offers behavioral coaching from a psycho-educational perspective.