ADHD: Not Just a Child's Disorder
Many adults go for years not knowing they have ADHD. They assume, as many people do, that ADHD is a "kid's" disorder. When they finally learn that they do have ADHD—a medically recognized disorder in adults—they often experience an "a-ha!" moment, feeling relieved to understand the source of their concerns. Sometimes it's not until a child is diagnosed with ADHD that the parent realizes personal symptoms of ADHD as well.
ADHD tends to run in families. So, when one family member is diagnosed, you may want to look for symptoms of ADHD in other immediate family members.
If you suspect that you might have ADHD, you may find it helpful to review the symptom descriptions below. These statements are related to the three core symptoms of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. For an individual to be diagnosed as having ADHD, they need to exhibit at least 6 of 9 symptoms of inattention and/or at least 6 of 9 symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity. Either set of criteria must have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is more frequent and severe than in one's peers. Of course, only a qualified health care professional can make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD.
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school, schoolwork, work, or other activities
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention during tasks or play activities
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
- Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (eg, toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
- Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Is often forgetful in daily activities
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
- Often talks excessively
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Often has difficulty awaiting turn
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (eg, butts into conversations or games)