Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD, is a brain type that affects between 15-20 million American adults, adolescents, and children. It is hard to know exactly how many have this rapid fire thinking pattern called ADHD because many go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed.
Primary Symptoms of ADHD
The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, emotionality and sometimes hyperactivity. However, the diagnosis of ADHD is not based on the presence of these symptoms alone. Most people find themselves being distracted and impulsive, even hyperactive, at some points in their lives. But what distinguishes ADHD from “everyday” inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity is the severity, duration and scope of these symptoms, as well as how they affect a person’s daily life. They may have difficulty with memory and forgetfulness, distraction, excessive talking, and experience feelings of being overwhelmed or frustrated. Many also have challenges with procrastination, over-stimulation, and negativity.
People with these primary symptoms often find it challenging to:
- Manage time
- Meet Deadlines
- Finish Projects
- Understand themselves
- Share and manage their feelings
- Relate successfully to others
- Realize their potential
- Remember where they put things
- Arrive punctually
- Listen carefully in group conversation
Secondary Symptoms of ADHD
Secondary symptoms of ADHD may include depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, boredom, addictions and poor self image. These symptoms are often a result of the stresses and challenges of living with the primary symptoms. Sometimes the secondary symptoms can be so acute that they are inaccurately diagnosed as the primary symptoms. It is not unusual, especially for adults, to receive the ADHD diagnosis after getting a second or third opinion.
People with these secondary symptoms often feel:
- Deeply sad or numb
- Easily overwhelmed
- Alienated or isolated
- Incapable of planning ahead
- Intensely negative about self
- Unable to relax
Since ADHD is a neurological brain type, not a temporary condition, it necessitates a whole-person treatment plan. Most people with ADHD find the best improvement from some combination of coaching, healthy diet, exercise, good sleep habits, meditation/self-reflection time, a strong support system that is well informed about ADHD, and in some cases medication and/or therapy.
Most people with ADHD are brilliant innovators and top class problem solvers. With the right assistance from others, professional and nonprofessional, they can lead highly productive, resourceful and meaningful lives. They can draw on self-awareness, educational resources, and the love and understanding of those around them to enrich their lives and celebrate their innate potential.