Could you have ADHD? (And not know it)

When you have ADHD, you might find yourself multiple things at a time. (photo credits from voxii.com)

ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders in children, and it is a chronic, often lifelong condition. It affects an estimated 3% to 9% of school age kids in the US. Boys are thrice more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it, though it’s not yet understood why.

Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. It is natural for kids to act this way, especially the younger ones. But with ADHD, the symptoms manifest over a longer period of time and can occur in different situations. They may understand instructions but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention, or attend to details. This can impair a child’s ability to function socially, academically, and at home.

ADHD cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Sixty percent of those diagnosed with ADHD in their  school years have maintained the disorder into adulthood.  How does ADHD manifest in adults? The symptoms are unique for each:
When you have ADHD, you might find yourself multiple things at a time. (photo credits from voxii.com)
Trouble concentrating and staying focused 
Adults with ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily, trivial tasks. They can get easily distracted, quickly bounce from one activity to another, or get easily bored. Inattention and problems with concentration can include:
  • “spacing out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
  • extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
  • difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
  • struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
  • tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
  • poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions.

Hyperfocus

It can work the opposite way.  Some may have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them but there’s another side to it: the tendency to become so absorbed in tasks that are stimulating to them. Hyperfocusing can be so strong that you become oblivious to everything going on around you. For example, you may so hooked up to a TV series that you completely lose track of time and neglect the things you’re supposed to be doing. Hyperfocus can be an asset when channeled into productive activities, but it can work against you if left unchecked.

Disorganized and Forgetful

For an adult with ADHD, life can be chaotic and out of control. Prioritizing tasks, keeping tracks of tasks and responsibilities and managing time can be difficult . It can also include:

  • chronic lateness
  • frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines
  • constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills)
  • underestimating the time it will take you to complete tasks
  • poor organizational skills (home, office, disk or car is extremely messy or cluttered)
  • tendency to procrastinate

Impulsivity

Do you frequently interrupt others or talk over them,  blurt out thoughts that are rude or inappropriate without thinking or act recklessly or spontaneously without regard for consequences? Or do you have poor self control, addictive tendencies or have trouble behaving in socially appropriate ways (such as sitting still in a long meeting)? If you answer yes to any of the questions, then you might be suffering from impulse problems.

 

Emotional difficulties

Adults with ADHD have a hard time managing their feelings, especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. Common emotional symptoms of adult ADHD can include: sense of underachievement, irritability or mood swings, trouble in staying motivated, short, often explosive, temper, low self esteem and insecure, sensitive to criticism and easily gets flustered or stressed out.

Hyperactivity or restlessness

Hyperactivity in adults ADHD is the same as it does on kids. You may be highly energetic and perpetually “on the go”, restless, agitated, have trouble sitting still and is constantly fidgeting. And because you’re hyper, you easily get bored, can talk excessively, constantly craving for excitement and thrill-seeking activities, wants to do a million things at once, have racing thoughts and have the tendency to take risks.

The exact cause of ADHD is  still unknown. What researchers know, though, is that it tends to run in families. If one or both parents have ADHD,  their kids are more like to have this condition.

I have read about people being labeled as stupid, lazy and being difficult because they exhibit some of the symptoms listed, thinking that there is something wrong with them. Having ADHD doesn’t mean you have limited capabilities, that your character is flawed or that your personality is weak.  If it’s anything, this condition is a collection of positive and negative traits and if you’re able to identify them, it’s time to work on the negative ones and optimize the positive ones. Exploit the creativity and channel the energy into productive ventures and you’ll see that you’ll never have to live with misery with ADHD.

 

Web References:

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-causes

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/ast_oneadhd-children

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-adults

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm

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