What is Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Are you Struggling to Stay Focused?
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasingly a cause of problems with school, work, and relationships and easily unrecognized in adults.
Often ADD/ADHD symptoms go unrecognized because they have variations or might be combined with other conditions.
ADD and Depression:
Depression can accompany ADD due to a sense of chronic failure and underachievement. Depressed people can have difficulty pulling thoughts together and focusing, symptoms resembling ADD. However, the exhaustion and low energy found in depression is usually absent in ADD.
ADD and Worry:
Worries can result from anxiety about ADD symptoms of forgetting obligations or making intrusive comments. At other times, ADD anxiety is a way of energizing an underactive brain cortex and keeping thoughts focused.
ADD and Substance Abuse:
People may use drugs due to poor impulse control or to escape feelings of low self-esteem that can accompany ADD. Alcohol can quiet the “internal noise” of ADD; however, daily withdrawals and hangovers increase anxiety. Marijuana stills constant activity, but, in the long run, adds to ADD problems with concentration and motivation.
ADD and Culture:
Society bombards us with stimuli and overwhelms us with obligations. Difficulties slowing down and relaxing can resemble ADD. However, people with ADD have symptoms that began in childhood, that are consistent over time and in a variety of settings, and that interfere with life skills.
Take this Brief Assessment to See How You Rank.
ADD/ADHD Rating Scale – Check each item that applies to you often.
__ Difficulty sustaining attention, completing tasks, without monitoring.
__ Skips from one activity (or topic) to another.
__ Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
__ Does not appear to be listening or following a conversation; daydreams.
__ Poor attention to instructions or directions.
__ Fails to pay attention to details, makes careless mistakes, rushes.
__ Avoids tasks that require sustained (mental) effort, easily bored, needs reminders.
__ Difficulty organizing tasks and belongings.
__ Forgetful, loses things, easily frustrated.
__ Fidgets with hands and feet, squirms in seat, grabs or touches excessively.
__ Difficulty sitting still or remaining seated.
__ Feels restless.
__ Louder than others; makes noises.
__ Always active, “on the go”, or seems to be “driven by a motor.”
__ Talks excessively, excitable, easily upset.
__ Blurts out answer; ignores consequences.
__ Difficulty waiting or following a routine.
__ Interrupts or intrudes on others.
Six or more items checked under inattention suggest ADD; six or more items under hyperactivity or impulsivity suggest ADHD.
Of course, this mini-assessment is not meant to be a diagnosis. It’s also important to look at your history and feedback from family and friends. A counselor can help you do a thorough assessment to see if ADD/ADHD is a possible factor for you.
Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit DisorderThrough vivid stories and case histories of patients—both adults and children—Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.
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