January 13, 2014

What is Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)?

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in ADHD/Autism and with tags: ADHD, self improvement, self-esteem

adult attention deficit disorder

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.

ADHD 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.

ADHD 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.

ADHD 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.

ADHD 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 ADHD; 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 ADHD is a possible factor for you.


managing add brain

Managing Adult ADHD

Adult attention deficit disorder (ADD) can have a significant impact in productivity, work and family life.

The following strategies can help you manage ADD symptoms and improve these areas of life. Determine which ones might be most appropriate for you and give them a try!


  • Break down tasks into smaller tasks. Write them down and determine a deadline for each small task.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Know what needs to be done first and what is less of a priority. Check tasks off your list as you complete them.
  • Keep track of your tasks through a technology-based organizational system so you won’t end up with multiple sticky notes. Find an app that will sync online if you have a productivity phone or use your email to do task list.
  • Refocus yourself if you get off task. Catch yourself and get back to the task as soon as you realize you’ve gotten distracted.
  • Use a stopwatch or set a timer when you start working on a task so you’ll know how long it actually takes.
  • Keep a neat work area so you’ll be less likely to get distracted.


  • Get the next day’s items ready the night before. Set items out by the door so you won’t have to look for them in the morning.
  • Keep routine items in the same place so you’ll never have to look for them. Create a special location for keys, checks, etc.
  • Don’t let things pile up. Put away items once you are through with them. Open mail over your trash or recycle bin so you can toss unnecessary items immediately. Handle papers only once as much as possible. Take action on the task or toss it!

Establish Routines:

  • Make a consistent bedtime routine each night that is non-stimulating. Start winding down at the same time each night. Read, take a bath, listing to calming music.
  • Wake up at the same time each day.
  • Do not start a new task until you have completed the current one.
  • Complete undesirable tasks first vs. procrastinating. Tackle the most difficult task first and find a way to reward yourself for completing them.

Want to learn more about Adult Deficit Disorder (ADD)?

Read more about our Adult ADHD treatment. Contact one of our counselors in Houston about Managing ADHD at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

Our therapist are available for face to face sessions as online therapy sessions in limited areas.

Next Steps

Need help with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder?  Our therapists in Houston are available for in-person or online therapy sessions in limited areas

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

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