Diane Macedo Opens Up About Being Diagnosed with ADHD as an Adult: 'It Changes How You View Yourself'

“You realize, ‘Oh these aren't character flaws. This isn’t that I need to try harder, it's that my brain works differently,’ ” Macedo tells PEOPLE

<p>Diane Macedo/Instagram</p> Diane Macedo

Diane Macedo/Instagram

Diane Macedo

Diane Macedo is getting candid about being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

The ABC News Live anchor, 42, tells PEOPLE how it felt to finally put a name to what she’s been experiencing mentally for years.

“I’m grateful to finally be diagnosed, even if [it is] this late in life, and it’s amazing to be able to troubleshoot obstacles that I always thought were character flaws,” Macedo says. “It not only changes how you do things, it changes how you view yourself.”

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (more commonly known as ADHD) is defined as “having symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity, functional impairment in multiple settings, and symptom onset by the age of 12 years,” according to the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

Related: Rise in ADHD Diagnoses May Be Due to 'Poor Mental Health', New Study Finds

Macedo also opened up about her diagnosis on the July 10 episode of Good Morning America. At the time, she was “surprised” because doctors had described a person having ADHD as someone who was “rambunctious,” couldn’t “sit still” or “ can’t study,” while she was an “honor student” who “always excelled at work.”

However, she noted that she always did have some trouble with things like “organization” and “forgetting” and “misplacing” things. She explained, “Some of it was mistaken for laziness. Some of it is just mistaken for just, ‘Oh you're just a bit scared.’ "

The news anchor said all of these perceptions often make people with ADHD think of themselves in a certain way, despite the symptoms being due to their brain chemistry.

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“You paint a different picture of yourself and you realize, ‘Oh these aren't character flaws. This isn’t that I need to try harder, it's that my brain works differently,’ ” Macedo continued.

“And knowing that helps you start to troubleshoot,” she added. “ ‘Okay, why is this hard for me? Because I have a short term memory problem. What can I remember?’ And so it’s helped me change so many things.”

Related: Penn and Kim Holderness Say His ADHD Energy Is the Magic Behind Their Viral Success (Exclusive)

Macedo’s revelation comes as ADHD diagnoses in the U.S. have been increasing. The Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology study in May found that 1 in 9 children between the ages of 3 and 17 years old in the United States were diagnosed with ADHD in 2022.

Researchers concluded through the study that the main reasons for the uptick in diagnoses could be due to a “generally increasing awareness of and pursuit of care for ADHD, and/or could be a reflection of poor mental health among children during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Macedo’s story will be featured in a new ABC News Live series, “Inside ADHD”, which kicks off on Thursday, July 11 on ABC News Live "Prime" at 7 p.m. ET.

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