How to Get an ADHD Assessment in Vancouver

Reasons to Seek, and Not Seek, a Diagnosis

You probably ended up here because you learned some things about ADHD and relate to it a bit. I view ADHD, and any DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) diagnosis for that matter, as a lens one can use to view themselves. If this lens is helpful to you, sweet! If not, trash it and find another. Sometimes, inner validation and support from our community is all we need to feel at peace. Sometimes, we need more.

While DSM diagnoses can be used as a lens or identity, they are also organizational labels within the medical system. There are three main reasons people seek an ADHD Assessment: external validation, access to medication, and school/work accommodations. Most drugs prescribed for ADHD are considered a controlled substance. Many insurance plans do not cover them without request and a fair amount of society dismisses them, as well as ADHD in general. I’ve been hearing the phrase “over diagnosis” since the 90s and not once have I heard people who use it consider the history of the diagnosis: how the criteria has changed over the years as the field researches it, how the public’s perspective of it has evolved over time.

You don’t even need to leave the medical system to feel dismissed. I have had doctors try to convince me to treat “my problem” in non-pharmaceutical ways at general health assessments where I didn’t even mention an interest in a prescription. The system has not historically made itself approachable. It isn’t a wonder to me that so many of us are seeking an assessment in order to be believed.

Making the decisions to get an ADHD assessment is a big deal. Sometimes it can be helpful to process how we feel about the label, the DSM, and the medical system before or after reaching out for one. ADHD therapy is a service I passionately provide my community due to my ever-evolving relationship with this lens. And I am happy to share the assessment centres I trust to provide a validating assessment experience.

If you decide to pursue an ADHD diagnosis, the first step is to talk to your doctor

If you have deduced that an ADHD assessment is something that would benefit you, without a doubt step one is to talk to your regular doctor/psychiatrist/nurse practitioner about it. I cannot stress this enough because your medical professional might be able to support you in the ways you seek without the need of an official diagnosis. Accessing an ADHD assessment via MSP often comes with long waitlists and approaching private clinics can be expensive. It is usually worth discussing with the professional you know first.

ADHD Assessment Centres in Vancouver

The Adult ADHD Centre

This Centre came to be after Dr. Parhar saw a gap in care: many people were not able to access an ADHD assessment because physicians were overworked and overwhelmed by the process. So he filled it. I love that this clinic caters to their audience by providing step-by-step outlines to support people across Canada (12,000+!) through their assessment process with either a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre
Non-Profit Services
This centre provides low-barrier wellness options to gender diverse people. You can access this place without fear, as they offer services regardless of citizenship status or health insurance. They are community-directed and embrace harm reduction practices.

Compass Clinic
This clinic provides assessments and services with a neurodiversity approach to children, families, and adults. Their goal is to spread clarity, which is why they offer not only ADHD assessments but also assessments in autism, learning disabilities, and psychoeducation. I love that this clinic considers each person as a variable profile, coming in with their own strengths, ready to guide them toward a neuro lens that might be a good fit for them.

West Coast Adult ADHD
This clinic was created in order to provide evidence-based trained professional support to those who live with ADHD-related issues. While the free ADHD test on their website can help someone gain awareness of not only the diagnostic criteria but also themselves, an ADHD assessment is the only way to receive an official diagnosis.  

In Review
Do you need a diagnosis to be neurodivergent and/or to get use out of the ADHD lens?
Absolutely not. For support, contact me.

Why seek an ADHD Assessment?
1. External validation
2. Access to medication
3. Access to school/work accommodations

Is a diagnosis required in order to access medication and accommodations?
Not always! (talk to your GP)

Does a diagnosis make it easier to access medication and accommodations?
In most cases, yes.

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About August Wambold

Your standard neurodiverent, queer counsellor with an enthusiasm for easy bake cookies and a constant readiness to dance.