Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has become a buzzword in society in recent years, especially as professionals like the Cady Wellness Institute in Newburgh, IN have learned more about how to diagnose and treat it. Not everyone experiences ADHD in the same way, but there are some common ADHD symptoms that many people share.
What Are the Most Common ADHD Symptoms?
Failure to Pay Close Attention to Details
This is one of the ADHD symptoms that manifests itself in careless mistakes on school work for children or on paperwork for adults. For example, a child may make spelling errors on easy words that they know how to spell, but they don’t pay close enough attention to catch the errors. Adults may make mistakes like leaving numbers off of expense reports or add them up incorrectly. You may not have the ability to attend to details to find mistakes.
Failure or Difficulty Sustaining Attention During Tasks
People with ADHD often find their minds wandering while they’re trying to complete tasks, which can result in incomplete or rushed tasks. For this reason, work may appear sloppy because you’re trying to hurry to get it done before it’s due. Children may be told to slow down their work. This symptom is especially noticeable when you’re doing something you don’t like to do. However, it can show itself even on jobs you enjoy because of the tendency to daydream.
Reluctance to Participate in Activities That Require Sustained Attention
Since it’s often difficult for people with ADHD to focus on tasks for a long period of time, they can become reluctant to participate in those activities. Children may avoid tasks like reading, homework, or research, whereas adults may avoid balancing the checkbook, packing for a move, or performing an in-depth chore. They realize it’s going to take them longer to do these tasks, so they avoid doing them altogether or have to break them up into smaller tasks.
Problems With Organization
ADHD frequently shows up in both children and adults as disorganization. This is the result of the mind trying to focus on too many things at one time and becoming overwhelmed with where to start with organizing them. Prioritization may be difficult because people with ADHD may believe that everything they’re trying to accomplish has equal importance. Messy desks, lockers, and rooms are often a sign of ADHD-induced disorganization, but this characteristic would be a part of an overall pattern.
Not only can disorganization result in cluttered desks, rooms, and lockers, but it can also cause people with ADHD to struggle with organizing tasks as well. For example, you may find planning a trip challenging or writing out a grocery list. Your children may have difficulty with planning a school project or deciding how to approach an activity so that it gets completed in the most efficient way possible. Steps may be completed out of order or skipped altogether.
Appears Not to Listen
If you’ve ever found yourself forgetting what someone told you just seconds before because your mind was wandering while they were talking, then you know what someone with ADHD may frequently go through. Their mind is often trying to deal with so much input that it can’t focus on everything someone is telling them. It looks like they’re not listening, and they really aren’t, but they’re not doing it on purpose. Their mind just may be a few steps behind.
Forgets and Loses Things
Children with ADHD frequently lose important things like their lunchbox, homework, glasses, and school supplies, and may forget things like getting a form signed or that they have a major project due in a week. Adults may lose their keys, airline tickets, or important work papers, and could forget to stop to get something from the store or that their car needs gas until it’s running on empty. Their brains are overloaded with information that some things just don’t stick.
Easily Distracted and Failure to Follow Through
Even small sounds that would normally not be a barrier to concentration can distract a person with ADHD, including pencil taps, low conversation, and even chewing. These distractions make it difficult for anyone with ADHD to follow through with tasks and get them done, especially if they’re tasks they already don’t enjoy doing. This can often look like they’re not motivated to accomplish things, but really, it’s just the multitude of distractions preventing them from focusing on finishing.
Inability to Sit Still
This symptom of ADHD is the main characteristic of the hyperactive component of the disorder. Many people who have ADHD find it difficult to stay seated for a long period of time, and may need to bounce their leg or fidget with an object or their hands when they’re expected to maintain focus for an extended time. They often feel like they have a motor inside them that won’t turn off and propels them to constantly move.
Children with ADHD are often “on the go” all the time, and turn everything into a jungle gym or running track. They struggle to sit quietly and engage in tasks that don’t require some sort of physical activity, such as reading, completing homework, or even watching television. Adults are more capable of complying with instructions to sit still, but they feel like they have to work at it, and may be exhausted after a “quiet” day.
One way that hyperactivity shows up in people with ADHD is through excessive talking. This is specifically observable in children and adults who are unable to physically move to satisfy their motor that’s always on. If they’re unable to move, they’ll talk, which can result in teachers and coworkers becoming frustrated with the excessive chatter. Sometimes, people with ADHD have to speak out loud in an attempt to organize their thoughts, as well, which can come across as excessive talking.
Failure to Control Impulses
While impulse control usually comes with age, people who have ADHD often don’t develop this skill well and may struggle to control their impulses well into adulthood. Children and adults both may blurt out answers to questions without raising their hands and waiting to be called on. They may struggle to take turns, which can cause arguments among children, but also may manifest as road rage in adults. Both children and adults may interrupt speakers and even cut in line.
There may be other impulse control issues as well, especially in children, who may not be able to keep their hands to themselves or seem to misbehave without thinking about the consequences. Again, this may just be a symptom of youth, but if it persists when other kids of the same age are no longer behaving this way, it could be a sign that ADHD is present, especially if several other ADHD symptoms are also present.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot symptoms of ADHD in adults because, over time, they learn to cope with their symptoms using a variety of mechanisms. Additionally, many of the symptoms mimic other conditions like depression and anxiety. However, in addition to the signs specifically mentioned above, you’ll typically see some or all of the following characteristics of adult ADHD:
- Difficulty with time management
- Difficulty with multitasking
- Low tolerance for frustration
- Frequent mood swings
- Quick temper
- Difficulty dealing with stress
While everyone probably has some signs of ADHD throughout their life, it doesn’t mean they automatically have the disorder. They must be pervasive and severe enough to cause issues with more than one part of your life. For example, if you’re experiencing these symptoms and having trouble with your personal relationships and at work, you may want to get an evaluation.
You will need to have multiple ADHD symptoms from the above list to be diagnosed with ADHD. There are some symptoms that indicate you have ADD, which is attention deficit disorder without the hyperactivity component. These are usually the symptoms that don’t involve excessive movement, talking, or impulse control. Those symptoms are reserved for ADHD, which includes the hyperactivity component. Essentially, if you or your child has that “always on” motor, ADHD is more likely than ADD.
Of course, ADHD should not be diagnosed on your own. You can take various screening questionnaires that can give you an idea if you might have ADHD, but it should be officially diagnosed by a qualified professional. At our clinic, we’re methodical about our evaluation for ADD and ADHD, taking into account the degree to which the inattention and hyperactivity are interfering with a person’s daily life and preventing them from experiencing success in school or work.
Our clinic makes use of the Quotient computerized diagnostic system, which allows us to measure hyperactivity and attention against what is considered appropriate for the person’s age. This allows us to make a precise diagnosis of either ADD or ADHD or if there are other issues that could be causing the symptoms that mimic those for ADHD. If we determine ADHD is not present, we can assist you with an alternative diagnosis and potential treatment.
ADHD is often treated with medication, but no longer are children (or adults) with ADD medicated to the point where their personality disappears. Many people with ADHD are successful even without medication, and we’re careful not to alter those successful attributes of a person during treatment. Instead, we focus on treating the less successful attributes that interfere with a person’s ability to perform up to expectations at school or work. We prescribe the lowest effective dosage of medication where indicated.
Our goal in treating people with ADHD is to give them absolute control for a reasonable amount of time during the day, when they’re at school or work so that they can be productive and successful. We are able to do this by making a precise diagnosis and carefully micro-adjusting medications until the optimal dose is found. We also firmly believe in the liberal use of natural substances and supplements to aid in treatment.
This customized approach means that you or your child won’t be getting the same treatment for their ADHD symptoms as everyone else. Just as your symptoms aren’t exactly like someone else’s symptoms of ADHD, your treatment should also be as unique. Through our careful ADHD diagnosis and treatment process, you’ll find relief from your symptoms while still maintaining who you are. This also goes for your child, who we don’t want to stifle as they grow into their personality.
Now that you’re aware of the many symptoms of ADD and ADHD, the next step is to schedule an evaluation to get a diagnosis. Even if it turns out that ADHD is not the cause of your symptoms, it’s helpful to rule out the disorder. Contact the Cady Wellness Institute in Newburgh, IN today and book your consultation now.