Signs of Adult ADD
Living as an adult with undiagnosed ADD can make you feel crazy. Missed appointments, late night work sessions, and uncompleted projects can all make you appear incompetent. Yet, it may be a relief to discover that all of these experiences are completely normal if you have adult ADD. Attention deficit disorder in adults is surprisingly common, with the U.S. Centers for Disease control reporting that approximately 4 to 5 percent of people over the age of 18 have ADD. So how do you know if you have adult ADD?
While this condition would have existed in your childhood, it is possible that it was overlooked by parents and educators who just claimed it was a lack of motivation or even intelligence that was holding you back. Fortunately, there is no reason to feel stupid or lazy about your unique approach to life. If you can identify with more than a couple of these statements, then it just might be that adult ADD is the culprit behind your distractions. Read on for some tips on how to tell if you have adult add.
How to Know If You Have Adult ADD
(18 Signs You Have Adult ADD)
Most people don’t notice the little things like shirt tags and sock seams, but those types of things feel like a constant screech to adults with ADD. Bright lights, noisy offices and physical discomfort can overload your brain when it’s already struggling to process normal input.
2. You Constantly Talk to Yourself
Although it may be the source of jokes, self-talk is your lifeline. Since you know you will forget what you were looking for before you enter the room, you keep repeating your purpose to yourself. It’s not uncommon to hear an adult with ADD saying something like, “I know I will find my keys somewhere” over and over again as they wander about the house.
3. You Have a Different Organizational Style
You might have been chastised for others due to your workspace full of piles and clutter. Yet, how many times have you proved them wrong when you could quickly locate an item? Organized mess might be the best way to describe your office decor.
4. You Are Awesome in a Crisis
When many people freeze, those with ADD take action. Blame it on the adrenaline, but you are likely to do well in a high-energy career. Firefighting, sales, military and medical fields are all filled with adults who have ADD.
5. You Rarely Hit a Deadline
Losing track of time is a major hallmark of ADD. Whether a new project distracts you, or you just completely forget about a deadline, it is next to impossible to complete anything on time.
6. You Are Familiar with Rejection
Living with ADD can be hard, and you have likely come across more than a few social situations where your little quirks did not go over well. Being late for dates, forgetting names, and blurting out your thoughts can all add up to social rejection at times.
7. Fascinating Subjects Can Trigger Hyperfocus
Distraction might be the hallmark symptom of ADD, but there is also another side. When you are presented with a topic of interest, you may find that you can sit, read and problem solve for hours. Often, with absolutely zero breaks in your attention span, leading some to falsely assume that it’s not possible for you to have ADD.
8. Structure Provides a Sense of Calm
Another misconception about people with ADD is that they cannot comply with a routine. However, to-do lists, schedules and timers can all provide the structure you need to thrive in society.
9. Multitasking is Your Specialty
Your brain’s ability to jump from one subject to another is an asset when you have to multitask. Most people need time to readjust when moving from one activity to another, but you have a knack for drinking coffee, checking your email and handling a phone call simultaneously.
10. You Take Your Phone Calls in Private
Most people think nothing of answering their phone in a crowded space like a shopping center, but you know that too much noise can make it hard to filter out all of the distractions. If you find yourself sending incoming calls to voicemail so that you can call back at a time when you can focus, then this is another coping strategy you have developed as an adult with ADD.
11. It is Hard to Convey Your Thoughts
Have you ever found yourself struggling with how to answer a partner who asked, “what are you thinking”? While that question seems innocuous enough, it can be downright impossible to discuss a multitude of unconnected thoughts that might be occurring at the same time.
12. It’s a Family Thing
Current research points to ADD being partly due to genetics, and it’s hard to deny that possibility when many families all exhibit similar symptoms. Maybe you noticed that your parent has a constant rotation of projects and hobbies, or you all just accept that everyone will be late. Many adults discover that they also have ADD when they begin the process of trying to help their child succeed at school.
13. You Might Have Overreacted
The same areas of your brain that control executive functioning such as organizing and planning also play a role in helping you to control your emotions. When that area is on overload, then you may find yourself overreacting to situations other people do not. Besides that, constantly losing your keys and running late can easily lead to drama.
14. You Career Hop
Adults with ADD get bored in the same environment for months, or they get stuck with a boss who doesn’t understand their working style. Whatever the cause, you may find it hard to stick with a job for longer than several months. Adults with ADD often pursue entrepreneurship as a way to get around this incongruence between traditional work structures and their energetic personalities.
15. Your Storage Space is Full of Discarded Equipment
People with ADD approach life with enthusiasm and often find it hard to restrain their excitement enough to say no. They discard new hobbies and interests as quickly as they find a new one. Exercise equipment, puzzles, tools, and electronics may all be taking up space in your storage areas just waiting for you to have a sudden renewed spike in your interest or inspiration for a new purpose.
16. Coffee Generates Calm
Most of the world’s population drinks coffee in the morning as a pick-me-up, but not you. Instead, you find that drinking coffee in the evening helps you to slow down and focus your thoughts. It might even be necessary to get to sleep. Oddly, stimulants, which caffeine and ADD medications are, produce the opposite effect for those who have ADD.
17. It’s All Normal to You
We’ve all heard someone who claimed that they must have ADD because they have suddenly become scatterbrained, but this is usually just due to stress. Those with true ADD hardly give their actions a second thought until it causes a problem in their social life or career. Since it’s been there from childhood on, you likely go about your day with nary a thought about how you function differently.
18. You Skipped Around This List
Skimming, scanning and flat out never finishing an article or novel is completely normal when you struggle with attention and focus. Yet, you always make it to the end where the summary exists. This technique is common among adults with ADD, and it has probably helped you countless times at work or school to demonstrate your intelligence by streamlining your ability to recall information.