What is adult ADHD? Why is this question asked? Is it because there is a difference between child and adult ADHD? There is, but for the most part it’s the same. But, probably, the biggest difference in how hyperactivity presents as you mature. You do not feel the need to get out of your seat and run around as an adult. Hyperactivity just presents itself in fidgeting, talking too fast and too much, etc.
One in three people outgrow ADHD. Either the symptoms fade away or they learn to handle them.
But the other two of the three generally get worse as responsibilities get more and more intense.
ADHD is in itself a slower development of parts of the brain and a lack of dopamine and norephedrine that cause the lack of executive functions. This causes the following symptoms:
First of all, the symptoms are categorized into 3 types of ADHD:
- Combined type
The term ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is what the disorder has evolved into being called, is a bit of a misnomer. This is because you don’t have a deficit of attention, you have too much of it. It is more of a deficit of executive function.
Here I list symptoms of each type. You might start to identify. Everyone has experienced most of these symptoms, but ADHDers experience them all the time. If you start to feel hopelessness after reading this, because you do identify, take heart. In the second part of this article, I will be listing how these symptoms can actually work for you. Or at least you can learn to properly cope with them. I’m hoping that I will be able to help you in subsequent articles to learn how you can learn to use your ADHD as a superpower!
If you have trouble reading this whole thing, just skim over each symptom. Having trouble being able to read through something without stopping because you are bored is a symptom.
Inattentive Type Symptoms
This comes from inattention to details, being forgetful, and a tendency to rush through things. As you will see, many symptoms will coexist, as well as be part of each other’s causes.
I’m pretty sure that this is king of my symptoms. I make so many mistakes in every aspect of my life, that I’m surprised my name isn’t King Screw it Up.
How many of you type slowly because of this?
Have you ever been so entranced in your thoughts that the world passes you by until someone gets in your face and snaps to get your attention? Sometimes your mind is bouncing from thought to thought or totally hyperfocused on one thing. You can even space out on something that was said to you that people think you didn’t hear you. I was tested for hearing loss in first grade. It wasn’t my hearing.
How many times have you forgotten a person’s first name right after you met them? How many times have you walked into a room and forgotten why you were there? What items have you forgotten when you are walking out the door to start your day? “What was it I was supposed to do today?” How often has your attention drawn you away from what you have intended to do? This is taking me forever to write, because I keep forgetting what I want to write and how I want to write it.
4. Poor Time Management
- Are you always late?
- Do you find yourself running out of time?
- Do you find yourself doing more than you intended to?
This is because people with ADHD have a poor sense of time. We think that we can do that one more thing, and before long that 15 minutes we intended to spend ends up becoming hours.
Also, we don’t have the ability to properly calculate how much time things take. When we drive somewhere, we forget to account for traffic, getting into and out of the vehicle, etc.
5. Being Disorganized
Is your desk a mess? How about your house? Your car? If you have ADHD, then most likely you have trouble organizing, and you whole life is a clutterd mess.
Do you say,”I’ll get to that, just not right now?” You think that you’ll get around to it sometime. If you’re ADHD, then you are constantly doing this. And this is especially so when the task is harder, longer, or both. The problem is that all of those tasks begin to pile up until it all seems way too daunting to even try. Many ADHDers in school really find themselves getting behind.
7. Auto Accidents
The reason that people with ADHD get into accidents more often than neurotypicals is three fold.
- They tend to drive faster and take more chances because the thrill gives them that dopamine rush they crave.
- They are inattentive to what’s around them (spacy).
- They tend to make more mistakes
ADHDers tend to be focused on more than one thing at a time. Generally our brains running too fast to remain focused on just one thing. And being easily distracted makes our focus jump to other things very easily. And on the flip side of being unfocused is:
9. Hyper Focused
ADHDers can become so focused on one thing, that everything else either barely exists, or doesn’t exist at all. While this can be great for getting things done, it can be all consuming to a point when nothing else that might be necessary is getting done. Do you forget to eat till your stomach demands it. Or do you start something, and the next thing you know it’s hours later. You’re just sitting there wondering how this happenned.
10. Easily Distracted
Has this happened to you? You’re in pursuit of something important and nothing can stop you. Then that book you’ve been meaning to read catches your eye. Then you begin to wonder why you haven’t read it yet. That leads to libraries and why they are so boring, and that they are not as quiet anymore, and the talkative blond that caught your eye, but that’s weird, because you like brunettes, and on, and on, and on… You then find yourself standing in the room not only forgetting what you came in there for, but why you’re in that room to begin with.
11. Avoids Lengthy and Difficult Tasks
You tend to screw up, lose your train of thought, get bored easily, and find yourself wanting to do something else to do. This is usually something that is easy to do and fills your dopamine levels. It requires very little thought. Wouldn’t you pick the pleasurable over the torturous?
12. Loses Things Easily
When you have memory issues (usually short term), you can’t organize how your things, you’re easily distracted, it’s no wonder you keep track of your things.
13. Slow on the Uptake
ADHDers have trouble following instructions, getting jokes, getting the gist of what is happening or being said.
14. Moves Slower
Not only does it take us longer to understand things, it also takes it longer to do things, because we moves slower.
15. Trouble Reading Social Cues
ADHDers have a hard time reading social cues. If a person starts to walk away from you because they’ve heard enough and have to go, you follow them while still prattling on. We, also, have trouble telling if we’re offending someone. This is a major reason we have trouble making and keeping friends.
16. Abnormal Sleep
Your brain is bouncing from thought to thought and unable to shut down, and it won’t let you sleep. So you only fall asleep after you’re exhausted, only to have to wake up a few short hours later. And when you wake up from such a deep sleep, it’s like you’re crawling out of the grave. After about 4 or 5 nights of only 2 to 4 hours of sleep, you either finally fall to sleep easily and early, or you sleep half your day off away. ADHDers are known night owls and insomniacs.
1. Act Impulsively
ADHDers tend to act without thinking. They overspend, drive too fast, are promiscuous, take drugs, and anything else that gets the dopamine flowing.
2. Can’t Hold Still
ADHDers tend to pace, tap their feet and fingers. They get bored easily and need to move on.
ADHDers are very emotional. We tend to overreact without forethought. Have you lashed out at someone without even realizing you’re doing it? Our quickness to anger is another major factor in why we have trouble with relationships. We, also, laugh and cry and become depressed and anxious and love, etc. much more easily than most. It makes us very passionate people.
4. Motor Mouth
ADHDers tend to talk and talk and talk. Once we get going, it’s hard for us to stop, especially on anything that interests us. And our inability to read social cues will keep us from noticing our audience has heard enough.
5. Trouble Keeping Quiet
My oldest son (yes, ADHD is genetic) seems to talk at the same volume whether he needs to be quiet or not. And when we get excited, we tend to get louder than what is appropriate. We get so lost in that excitement, that it is the only thing there is to us.And then we blurt out things too loudly, things that should have not been overheard by others around us. The fact that we don’t notice this is a inattentive symptom. Symptoms do intermix. That leads into the next symptom:
ADHDers tend to have not filter. So like mentioned in the previous symptom, we tend to blurt out inappropriate things before we have a chance to think about them.
Can’t wait. Have a need to say our do something out of turn. Well that might be because ADHDers tend to be a very impatient group.
Mostly this is TMI- too much information. We overshare because our social awkwardness and lack of filter keeps us from knowing better. We lack the filter that executive function gives others to give them that beat of time to think what they are saying beforehand. And it’s hard for us to think things through before we say them. I think that we sometimes do this on purpose, because we are bored and want to see others offended.
9. Easily and Quickly Frustrated
Just about everything so easily and quickly frustrates you at the slightest of confusion. You just can’t gather your thoughts and slow your thinking. Then frustration becomes anger and emotional outburst. And people around you look at you like WTF is your problem.
10. Butting Into Conversations
Do you interrupt others conversations in the middle?
11. Waiting Your Turn
Are you impatient waiting in line for something?
Combined type is just combined symptoms of both Inattentive and Impulsive/Hyperactive. In fact most ADHDers like myself are Combined Type. Sometime you can present as one and develop symptoms of the other as you mature. If you are not hyper or impulsive in youth, you might develop symptoms of both in adulthood. I became way more impatient, blurting, inappropriate, easily frustrated, emotional, impulsive as an adult than I was as a child. And this is the most common reason that ADHDers don’t get diagnosed until adulthood. In fact you might be getting suspicious that you might be from reading this article.
How Do You Know You Have ADHD?
You have a pretty good idea if you have ADHD if the symptoms in this article ring true to you. But you have to be properly diagnosed by a professional that is well versed in ADHD. This could be a medical doctor, or a therapist. But they need to be knowledgeable about ADHD.
CHADD is a great reference for this. Also, ask your doctor or therapist what their qualifications are.
If after reading this, you find that you or someone you know might have ADHD, get educated and get help. Just make sure that you get the right help. The problem with this is that this is a trial and error process. And ADHDers have the worst problem with this, since we are impatient, get bored easily, and procrastinate. And start reading all you can about it.
Some great podcasts and videos by some of the rockstars of the ADHD world (who all have ADHD) are:
And remember that ADHD isn’t all bad. In fact, you can make it work for you!