Reviewed by Lauren Guilbeault
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is one of the most common childhood disorders and affects over 6 million children every year. Not only that, but almost 4% of all adults struggle with ADHD on a daily basis.
Since ADHD can have a wide range of negative effects on the quality of your life, it’s extremely important you understand the many signs and symptoms of ADHD -- whether in your loved ones or yourself. The earlier it’s detected, the easier it is to treat, though there isn’t a known cure for it yet.
Don’t worry, we’re going to break down what ADHD is and how you can properly detect ADHD, that way you can avoid it from going unnoticed and potentially worsening.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects and impairs our brain’s ability to perform executive functions, which are the mental skills needed to focus, follow directions, deal with everyday emotions, and much more.
While many people believe ADHD to be a behavior disorder, mental illness, or learning disability, it is actually none of the above. ADHD is better known as a developmental impairment of the brain.
Scientists and researchers have learned a lot about how to manage the signs and symptoms of ADHD, but they still have yet to learn how it works, why it develops, how to prevent it, and how to cure it.
Signs You Have ADHD
ADHD can have a wide range of effects on the human body and it won’t limit itself to just affecting the brain. When you think about it, the brain controls everything we do and say, so any impairment or development issue with the brain can be damaging to a person’s quality of life.
Detecting ADHD as early as possible is the best case scenario for anyone living with this impairment. This is much easier in children, especially since the signs and symptoms of ADHD aren’t as intense as in children. In fact, many adults are living with ADHD symptoms, but have absolutely no idea.
According to the CDC, people living with ADHD are also living with other disorders, illnesses, and impairments that affect the quality of life as well. It’s often combined with learning disorders, behavior issues, anxiety, depression, social problems, and increased injuries.
To ensure you know the right signs and symptoms to look out for -- both in yourself and in your loved ones -- we’re going to list the five most common ones when it comes to ADHD.
- Easily Distracted & Can’t Focus
One of the most common signs and symptoms of ADHD is lack of focus and frequently giving-in to distractions from the outside world. It might seem like your mind is moving too fast to make sense of anything and might feel stuck in the moment -- and not in a good way.
When we constantly give our time to distractions, opposed to giving our time to the tasks that matter every day, we start to lose our sense of direction in life. We lose our purpose and we start to feel useless to society, useless to ourselves.
It’s something that haunts you before you start a task, while you’re in the middle of completing a task, and after you complete a task. Sometimes, it causes you to never even start the task in the first place, while other times it causes you to leave tasks half-finished with no end in sight.
There are many things that people living with ADHD can do to help prevent the distractions and better focus, but a majority of them won’t get to the root of the problem -- which is ADHD. Since there’s no cure for that, seeing a doctor or therapist to help cope with your symptoms is always recommended.
- Frequent Impatience & Sudden Outbursts
People living with ADHD are likely to experience frequent impatience and sudden outbursts they have no control over. As you can likely imagine, this can suck the life out of any moment, no matter how special that moment is.
The frequent impatience results from the loss of control over your impulses. You could be in line at the grocery store and have two people in front of you. It won’t matter how many items they have, you’ll start to feel uneasy, uncomfortable, and anxious.
A lack of control over impulses also leads to sudden outbursts over the simplest things. Sometimes you won’t even know why you’re having an outburst -- it’ll just begin. These sudden outbursts can also last anywhere from a few seconds to a few days in more serious cases.
When dealing with impatience and outbursts, it’s important to understand what calms you down. Taking a moment to breathe and find your happy place can go a long way in preventing the outburst or impatience from getting worse -- or over-welcoming its stay.
- Lateness & Unorganized Behavior
Another major sign and symptom of ADHD is difficulty managing time. Whether you’re having difficulty estimating how long certain tasks take you to complete or having difficulty staying focused on the task at hand, people with ADHD often find themselves late to meetings, events, and get-togethers.
The difficulty managing time can also be credited to their inability or reduced ability to prioritize certain tasks. This means frequently saying Yes to the things you should be saying No to. Eventually, you’ll say Yes to the wrong things and it’ll lead you in the wrong direction when stepping through life.
Of course, this all leads to an unorganized life. You start to forget about the rent that was due two days ago, you forget to eat and end up skipping meals every day, you start missing time with your family, and you start to miss out on all the things that used to bring you happiness.
- Poor Driving Skills & Frequent Accidents
Believe it or not, people living with ADHD can have difficulty driving safely, properly, or comfortably. Whether it’s your impatience kicking in, someone in another car causes you to have a sudden outburst, or you receive a text message and give in to the distraction, there are a wide range of things that can go wrong when driving.
Driving is also a major concern with ADHD patients because it’s difficult to calm yourself down while also trying to drive. Since you’re already having trouble focusing and paying attention, trying to do two things at once isn’t going to make the situation any better.
At the least, someone with ADHD might get a ticket for speeding because they weren’t paying attention to how fast they were going or have an uneasy ride packed with anxiety, stress, excessive sweating, and a fast heartbeat.
At the worst, ADHD could lead to an accident and even prove fatal to you, anyone else in your car with you, and anyone in the other cars affected by the crash. Since you’re almost never the only one driving on the road at any one time, you’re not just putting your life in danger, but everyone else’s as well.
- Difficulty Relaxing & Calming the Nerves
We all have busy schedules and we all give forth a lot of effort every day. It’s what makes coming home, sitting back in our recliner, turning on the television, and relaxing for the rest of the night so satisfying. Unfortunately, most people living with ADHD don’t get to enjoy these simple moments.
Can you imagine sitting down to relax, just to stand back up a few minutes later because you feel you have to be doing something? What about finally getting a chance to sit down and relax, just to sit there for the next two hours masking in your own discomfort -- never truly getting the chance to relax?
Living with ADHD can be frustrating and it can be draining, but there’s also rarely a light at the end of the tunnel. Since ADHD can also affect our ability to get a good night’s rest (due to the difficulty relaxing), people living with ADHD often don’t feel refreshed in the morning.
In children, this difficulty relaxing is often met with hyperactive behavior -- such as ‘bouncing off the walls.’ In adults, this is usually met with more uneasy behavior, but not so much hyperactive. That’s why so many adults are living with ADHD without knowing it.
Do You Think You Have ADHD?
Many people, young and old, either come across signs or symptoms in themselves or their loved ones that might be reason for concern when living with ADHD. Like we mentioned previously, the earlier you detect ADHD the better chance you have at finding a way to manage it.
If you think you have ADHD, Mind Diagnostics is here to help. We offer a comprehensive and robust test that’ll help determine whether or not you have ADHD. In the event you need additional help and want to speak with someone directly, we’ll help match you with a therapist in your area.
Contact us today if you have any questions or find the test that best matches your concern to get started. We can’t wait to help you find that light at the end of the tunnel.