How to Know If You Have ADHD
If you or a loved one is having problems with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, talk to your doctor. There are solutions available, including medication, to help you overcome symptoms that can cause trouble at work and home.
Your doctor will examine your symptoms and determine if they meet the criteria for ADHD as defined by the American Psychiatric Association. They will also ask for your family and school history.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD usually show up in childhood. A pediatrician or child psychiatrist diagnoses the condition by taking a detailed history, which includes observations from parents and teachers, a psychiatric evaluation, and a medical examination.
Children with ADHD often fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork and at work. They also have trouble staying focused during lectures and conversations, and they are easily distracted by things like television, video games, or social interactions.
Often, they have problems controlling their impulses, like running into rooms without knocking, interrupting others, or barging in on someone else’s conversation, according to 2019 research. These impulsive behaviors can cause people to get into fights with friends and family members. They can also interfere with school or work performance and lead to problems in romantic relationships.
Causes Of ADHD
In adults, ADHD symptoms often look different than in children. For example, people with ADHD may have trouble keeping up with their work responsibilities or managing their finances. They may also have a hard time sitting still and focusing in meetings or classrooms. They may doodle or fidget, bite their nails or fumble with their phones. They might forget appointments and deadlines.
People with hyperactivity and impulsivity may blurt out answers before they have finished being asked or barge into rooms without knocking. They may do risky things like climb and put themselves in danger. They might be prone to accidents or get into trouble with their finances due to impulsive spending. In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must have been present since before age 12. A health care provider will examine the person’s history and may ask for input from parents, teachers or other acquaintances.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD are often difficult to identify, especially as an adult. People may have been able to hide their inattentiveness or impulsivity as children, but with increasing work and family responsibilities, their problems become more evident. They may feel disorganized and easily overwhelmed by daily tasks such as paying bills or shopping at the grocery store. They may have trouble keeping a job, following corporate policies and meeting deadlines.
If you are an adult who suspects that you have ADHD, your best bet is to talk with your primary care provider. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to a mental health professional. Alternatively, you can also use an online therapy service to get matched with a therapist who has experience treating adults with ADHD.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
Although the exact causes of ADHD are not known, some factors seem to play a role. For example, it appears that the disorder runs in families; research shows that children with one or more parents who have ADHD are more likely to have it than children whose parents don’t have the condition.
It also seems to be linked to a variety of health problems, such as head injuries, thyroid conditions and substance use. It’s more common in boys than in girls and can affect schoolwork, relationships with friends and family, and work performance.
Some risk factors for ADHD appear to be non-inherited, such as chromosomal microdeletions and large rare CNVs. Other risk factors include extreme low birth weight and prematurity, as well as exposure to exceptional early adversity.
Complications Of ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD can be very frustrating for adults. Untreated, they can lead to problems in work, school and personal relationships. They can cause stress due to procrastination, disorganization and difficulty handling multiple tasks at once. They can also lead to misunderstandings with others.
Many adults are diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, even though they were misdiagnosed or never had a diagnosis as children. Women may be better at hiding their symptoms, especially inattentive symptoms, and are more likely to have them misdiagnosed.
If you suspect you have ADHD, ask your health care provider for a referral to a mental health professional who can do an evaluation. Your doctor will use the guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to evaluate your symptoms and determine whether you have ADHD.