If you’ve ever wondered whether you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you’re not alone. When many people hear the term “ADHD,” they often think of how it presents in children. They may not even know that ADHD also impacts adults.

In fact, the misconception that it doesn’t affect adults is part of the reason why ADHD is not effectively diagnosed after childhood. People with ADHD might not realize that the symptoms can be present into adulthood. It was a common belief that ADHD disappeared in adulthood, and this was probably because ADHD looks different in adults than it does in children, and its symptoms were overlooked. The truth is,researchers believe that at least 75% of adults who have ADHD don’t even know that they have it.

So, what does it look like? Here are some of the subtle signs you may have ADHD.

1) You're Restless

2) You Have Relationship Trouble

3) You Shop a Lot

4) You Smoke or Drink Too Much

5) You had (or Have) Academic Problems

6) You're a Champion Procrastinator

7) You're a Thrill Seeker

8) You Lose Things or Feel Disorganized

9) You Have Trouble on the Job

10) You Have a Quick Temper

11) You Have Problems Completing Tasks

12) You're Impulsive

13) You Can't Relax

14) You're Easily Distracted

15) You're Late or Have Trouble Managing Time

When to see a doctor

If you’re experiencing some or all of these signs, you may have ADHD. The best way to determine if you have ADHD is to be evaluated by a mental health professional.

Receiving a diagnosis as an adult requires a different process than ADHD diagnosis in children. Your doctor or psychologist will have you complete an ADHD rating scale and ask you a number of questions. They’ll assess the history of your symptoms and whether these symptoms have had a significant negative impact on your work and relationships.

They may ask your permission to interview someone who knows you and your history well, such as your parent, partner, or someone who works with you, to get another perspective on your behaviors.

When diagnosing ADHD, your doctor will also rule out 16 conditions or groups of conditions that have symptoms similar to ADHD so that you’re not misdiagnosed. However, these can be diagnosed as co-occurring conditions. They include:

Anxiety disorder

Autism spectrum disorder

Conduct disorder

 Developmental coordination disorder

Intellectual disability

Language disorder

Learning disorder

Mood disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder

Sleep disorder

Tic disorder

References

1) Adamou M, et al. (2013). Occupational issues of adults with ADHD.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599848/

2) ADHD and long-term outcomes. (n.d.).chadd.org/about-adhd/long-term-outcomes/Arnsten A. (2009).

3) The emerging neurobiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: The key role of the prefrontal association cortex.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894421/Barkley R. (2021).

4) ADHD in adults looks different. Most diagnostic criteria ignores this fact.additudemag.com/adhd-in-adults-new-diagnostic-criteria

5) Executive function skills. (n.d.).chadd.org/about-adhd/executive-function-skills/Fuermaier ABM, et al. (2021).

6) ADHD at the workplace: ADHD symptoms, diagnostic status, and work-related functioning. link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00702-021-02309-zGeffen J, et al. (2017).

7) Treatment of adult ADHD: A clinical perspective.journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2045125317734977

8) Ginsberg Y, et al. (2014). Underdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adult patients: A review of the literature.psychiatrist.com/pcc/neurodevelopmental/adhd/underdiagnosis-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/

9) Impact of ADHD at work. (n.d.).adhdatwork.add.org/impact-of-adhd-at-work/KoertsJ, et al. (2021).

10) Financial judgment determination in adults with ADHD. link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00702-021-02323-1

11) Sedgwick JA, et al. (2018). The positive aspects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A qualitative investigation of successful adults with ADHD. link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12402-018-0277-6

Abdulhakim Bashir Tijjani is a graduate of Human Anatomy from ABU Zaria and currently a fifth year medical student of Bayero University Kano. A business planner, Transcriber, Mental Health Advocate, and mental health content creator. Values include honesty, respect, love and trust. Passionate about mental health and general wellbeing of humans with particular interest in Neuropsychiatry, entrepreneurship and search for knowledge. Love reading, research and travelling to new places.

Can be reach through:

Email: abtddm92@gmail.com

Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @abtddm

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