20 Signs You Have ADHD

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Have you found yourself having trouble paying attention at school? Do people often point out you’re not paying attention? Do you feel as though you’re developing (or have had) symptoms of ADHD?

If so, you’re not alone. About 4.4% of the United State’s adult population suffers from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Yet, less than 20% of those individuals actually seek out help [1].

This article looks into 20 signs of ADHD. If you find you or a loved one suffers from one or more of these signs, it’s important to consult your doctor, therapist, or counselor. A medical or mental health professional will be able to guide you through a treatment program that best supports YOUR needs.

At the end of the article, we invite you to ask further questions.

Different Kinds of Symptoms

People with ADHD will experience one of the following three sets of symptoms [2]:

  • Hyperactive/impulsive
  • Inattentive
  • The combination of both

Symptoms vary from person to person depending on a number of factors, including [3]:

  • Brain injury
  • Complications with the infant during pregnancy
  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Personality
  • Premature birth

While scientists continue to study what causes ADHD, they’re also looking into why people develop a specific set of symptoms.

The following 20 signs are specific symptoms related to the disorder. Many of these signs generally appear at an early age (between 4 and 6 years old), but some people don’t develop these symptoms until their late teenage to young adult years.

1. Avoidance of Activities that Require Focus

Hate reading? Can’t get through an entire movie? Have trouble playing board games with your friends? People with ADHD are prone to avoid these kinds of activities.

Parents may notice their children showing off this behavior during school activities or when their child has a friend over. If you’re a parent noticing this or any of the following signs, it’s important to act quickly.

The sooner you address ADHD, the better chance you have at either curing or treating it.

2. Constantly Losing Things

Can’t remember where you put the television remote? Always calling yourself just to find your cell phone?

It’s common for people struggling with ADHD to lose everyday necessities. As we’ll discuss later on, you might be likely to pick up multiple tasks at once [4]. Or you become easily distracted at the slightest of diversions.

For both situations, you’re liable to lose things without thinking twice about it.

3. Easily Distracted

This is without a doubt the most common symptoms of ADHD and one often associated with the disorder.

In the modern world, distractions are everywhere and it’s common for most adults to fall victim to them from time to time. However, if you notice yourself becoming distracted even in situations you know you shouldn’t be, that’s when you should be cautious.

For example, let’s say your significant other is trying to have a serious conversation. Within this conversation, you often lose track of what’s she’s attempting to get across. Noticing something as small as a fly roaming around the room. And offering that fly more attention than your loved one.

If you feel as though you’re distracted to the extent of the above example, you might suffer from ADHD. If you procrastinate here and there when trying to complete certain tasks AND don’t have any of other signs mentioned on this list, you most likely don’t have ADHD.

Rather, just like everyone else, you’re adapting to the every-growing distraction source known as technology.

4. Failure to Complete Responsibilities

We all fail to complete responsibilities from time to time. As mentioned in the above sign, sometimes the internet just offers too much awe for us to focus on a mundane task.

People with ADHD don’t just get distracted from time to time. Rather, they become distracted on a very frequent basis. To the point where it’s negatively affected their responsibilities.

For example, if you have so much trouble focusing on a task at work that your boss has had to fire you, this may be a sign you’re struggling with the mental disorder.

5. Difficulty Paying Attention at School or Work

Again, sometimes school and work can feel mundane and we’re all likely to experience difficulty paying attention from time to time.

Just as the above sign, if you fall into consequences due to your inability to pay attention – such as, failing a class or being fired from a job – then you may have ADHD.

For people with ADHD, responsibilities such as school and work become a day-to-day struggle. While most of us experience our good and bad days, people suffering from the disorder wake up each morning hoping today will be easier than yesterday.

6. You Appear Not to Listen

When you’re having a conversation, do people often criticize you for not listening? Or do you feel as though you’re not listening well enough?

As mentioned in the example above, if a fly in the room becomes more interesting than a serious conversation, then you most likely suffer from ADHD. If you have trouble concentrating on occasions or don’t always reply in a manner the other person expects, these aren’t necessarily signs of ADHD.

When distractions from a conversation have become so severe to the point where you’re ruining personal relationships, it’s vital you seek out professional help.

Luckily, psychologists and counselors have developed ways to teach people struggling with ADHD how to pay attention, including children [5].

7. You Find Yourself Interrupting People

Within distracted conversations, do you find yourself consistently interrupting the person you’re talking to? Have you noticed you always have something to say and feel the urge to say it immediately?

If you’ve noticed this within yourself and have had difficulty controlling it, you may really be having difficulty controlling your ADHD.

8. You Can’t Help But Always Talk

Similar to the above sign, you might find yourself always impulsively interrupting conversations to get your point of view across. However, you may also find it difficult to keep quiet during moments where quietness is necessary [6].

For example, let’s say you’re watching a movie in the theatres and facing difficulty holding back your commentary. You know well you’re not supposed to talk in the middle of a movie – especially in a theatre – yet, you can’t help from doing so anyway.

This is a prime example of ADHD taking over the brain and can play out in numerous other ways. Whether it be during an important meeting or while the priest is giving a sermon during mass.

9. You Can’t Control Your Fidgeting

Many teenagers today suffer from constantly fidgetting their bodies. Usually, this is a result of nervousness or impatience or other illnesses [7].

However, for some people, they can’t help but fidget as their brain is always hyperactive. Fidgetting is simply their way of getting rid of excess energy.

In the latter cases, the excess energy might be a result of ADHD.

10. You Feel Restless

Not only are you always fidgetting but you also always need to be on the move.

This is often seen in children who can’t stop running around, yelling at the top of their lungs, or need constant playtime. Still, adults can feel this symptom. In some cases, they need to always be working or, in other cases, need to always stimulate their brain.

11. You Need to Multitask

When it comes to adults with ADHD, one of the most common signs is the need to always have a task on hand. And not just one task, but multiple.

Do you find yourself taking up numerous projects at once? Do you find you’re able to think of multiple things within a single moment and apply them to the real world?

This is one sign of ADHD which can be made to your benefit. Multitaskers often make much more progress in their schooling and careers in comparison to people who have trouble with the trait.

However, this also means you need to have the ability to focus. And as mentioned above, the most common symptom of ADHD is a lack of focus.

12. You Forget Things Easily

Speaking of lacking focus, do you find it also affects your memory?

People who have trouble forgetting even the simplest of tasks – such as remembering to take the dog for a walk – often suffer from ADHD. This is primarily due to the extra stimuli the brain produces.

When you’re asked to do something within, let’s say, an hour’s time, you’ll most likely experience hundreds – if not thousands – of different thoughts before that task. Within these thoughts, it can be inevitable you forget about the initial task you were asked to do.

Luckily, mental health professionals have developed ways of treating people in this situation. It’s in your best interest to seek out this help because difficulty with memorization can lead to consequences in a professional workplace and through personal relationships.

13. You’ve Developed a Poor Self-Image of Yourself

Many people struggle with their self-image and, due to this, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint is this is a product of ADHD. However, if you struggle with any of the other signs on this list and, as a result, have a poor self-image, then your perspective of yourself is due to ADHD.

Throughout the many examples given throughout this article, it becomes apparent as to WHY someone has a poor self-image. The inability to hold a normal and constructive conversation, the lack of mental capacity to complete tasks, the result of consistent failures in responsibilities – when added all up, this can have highly detrimental effects on a person.

If you’re seeking ADHD treatment and have noticed you look down upon your self-image, it’s important to discuss this factor of your illness with a mental health counselor.

14. You Experience Mood Swings

Mood swings in and of themselves aren’t always a result of ADHD. People with bipolar disorder [8] are much more likely to experience this symptom. Therefore, if this is the only sign you feel on this list, you may be suffering from another mental health condition.

However, if you do experience other signs mentioned on this list along with mood swings, you may be struggling with ADHD. To further this, if your mood swings are a result of a lack of focus, a perpetuating restlessness, and confusion, then you most likely are facing symptoms of hyperactivity.

15. You’re Disorganized

With a lack of focus naturally comes a lack of organization. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to certain aspects of life – especially, responsibilities related to work and school.

However, the consequences of disorganization go beyond that. If your thoughts are disorganized to a point where it’s difficult for you to recognize where you’re going, this can lead to a number of personal issues most people don’t face – such as difficulty socializing and keeping relationships.

16. Have Difficulty Sleeping at Night

As mentioned, people with ADHD are restless and, as a result, have a tendency to struggle with insomnia as well.

Considering the amount of sleep medication available on the market, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue. However, ADHD medication is a stimulant and, in effect, can counteract with sleep medication [9]. This interaction holds the potential to do serious harm both to your body and brain.

If you’re receiving medication and are in need of sleeping aids, it’s important to consult your doctor.

17. You’re Easily Frustrated

When considering the other signs mentioned on this list, it comes as no surprise some people with ADHD may feel frustration.

Whether you’ve missed out on a work opportunity or failed an exam, day-to-day life isn’t easy. Topping this failure off with the fact that you feel full of energy can be difficult to control. And as a result, you may develop frustration.

Of course, just like any sign on this list, anger is something that can be combatted during the treatment process.

18. You’re Often Confused

Lacking focus makes it difficult for people struggling with ADHD to easily pick things up. Whether it’s a conversation or something your learning in class, you may feel as though you can’t keep up with everyone around you.

Don’t think about this too much, it’s only natural for people with ADHD to be confused.

In order to counteract confusion, a doctor will prescribe you stimulant medication which helps hyperactive minds focus [10]. In turn, your ability to focus will allow you to better comprehend all that you feel confused about.

19. Frequently Bored

For parents of children with ADHD, it may seem absurd that anyone with so much hyperactivity can feel bored. But when you consider some of the other signs, such as confusion and inability to participate in focus-driven activities, it’s understandable people of the disorder may have trouble figuring out just what to do with themselves.

When your mental health builds barriers between you and commonplace activities, you’ll not only find yourself struggling but naturally feeling uncertain as to where there aren’t barriers.

One moment, you think you can have a normal conversation. The next, you’re too focused on the fly buzzing around the room.

These barriers tend to appear at random and, often, people with ADHD don’t see them coming. In turn, many develop introverted tendencies and, as a result, grow bored with all that life has to offer.

20. Spend A Lot of Time Daydreaming

Going off the discussions in boredom, many people with ADHD would do a great deal just to get rid of the illness. In turn, they may even daydream of a life outside their own – a life without ADHD.

Of course, we’re all prone to daydream from time to time. But if you find yourself daydreaming on a regular basis and if you feel more comfortable in those daydreams rather than reality, you might suffer from ADHD.

Your Questions

Still concerned as to whether or not you have ADHD? Have you noticed a potential sign of the disorder that wasn’t mentioned in this article? Or do you have personal experience with any of these signs you’d like to share?

We invite you to leave comments or personal experiences in the comments section below. We try to reply to each comment in a prompt and personal manner.

Reference Sources

[1] CDC: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Data and Statistics

[2] CDC: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Symptoms and Diagnosis

[3] NIH Medline Plus: Causes of ADHD

[4] PubMed: Multitasking in adults with ADHD.

[5] U.S. Department of Education: Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instructional Strategies and Practices

[6] CDC: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Other Concerns and Conditions

[7] NIH: Restless Leg Syndrome Fact Sheet

[8] NIMH: Bipolar Disorder

[9] PubMed: THE INTERACTION OF SOME STIMULANT AND DEPRESSANT DRUGS ON THE FROG HEART.

[10] CDC: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Treatment of ADHD

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