Could I Have ADHD?

Has anyone ever asked you if you have ADHD? Maybe you've even wondered yourself.

The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. That's because the disorder has a number of possible symptoms, and they can easily be confused with those of other conditions, like depression or anxiety.

Not sure whether you should get checked by a doc? Ask yourself these questions to help you decide if you need to take that step.

Do people say you're forgetful?

Everyone misplaces car keys or jackets once in a while. But this kind of thing happens often when you have ADHD. You might spend time looking for glasses, wallets, phones, and other items every day. You may also forget to return phone calls, space out on paying bills, or miss important work deadlines and medical appointments. Does this sound familiar?

Do people complain that you don't listen?

Most of us lose focus on a conversation once in a while, especially if there's a TV nearby or something else grabs our attention. This happens often and to a greater degree with ADHD, even when there are no distractions around.

Are you often late?

Most of us will admit to being tardy once in a while -- we got caught in traffic or just got lost in a conversation. But time management is an ongoing challenge when you have ADHD. It often leads to missed deadlines or appointments.

Do you have trouble concentrating?

Problems with attention, especially focusing for long periods of time or paying attention to details, is one of the hallmarks of the condition. Depression, anxiety, and addiction disorders can also take a toll on your focus, and many people with ADHD have one or more of these issues, too. Your doctor can ask you questions to get to the bottom of what's causing your attention problems.

Do you leave things undone?

Problems with attention and memory can make it tough to start or finish projects, especially ones that you know will take a lot of focus to complete. This symptom can point to depression, too.

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Did you have behavior issues as a child?

You need to have had attention and concentration problems as a child in order to be diagnosed with ADHD as an adult -- even if those early symptoms didn't come with a formal diagnosis.

People may have accused you of being lazy back in childhood. Or they may have thought you had another condition like depression or anxiety.

If you actually were diagnosed with the disorder as a child, you may still have it. The symptoms change as you age, and not everyone outgrows it.

Getting Diagnosed

There’s no one test. Instead, doctors and psychologists get information about what and how many symptoms you have, when they started, how long they've lasted, and how severe they are.

In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, you need to have several symptoms, not just one or two. And they have to have impacted your jobs, relationships, or other important areas of your life. Your doctor will also want to rule out other conditions or find out if you have more than one disorder.

Several treatments can help you manage the condition. So, if you answered yes to a lot of these questions, consider making an appointment with your doctor. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on June 11, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

UpToDate: "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, course, assessment, and diagnosis."

HelpGuide: "Adult ADD/ADHD - Signs, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment."

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: "Getting Evaluated."

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine: "Adult Developmental Disorders."

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: "Adult ADHD."

National Alliance on Mental Illness: "ADHD."

UC Davis Mind Institute. ADHDnews, Winter 2013/2014.

University of California San Diego Neuropyschiatry & Behavioral Medicine: "What is ADD?"

National Institute of Mental Health: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

Silver, Larry. ADDitude Magazine

Koretsky, Jennifer. ADDitude Magazine.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder."

Attention Deficit Disorder Association: "Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) Symptom Checklist Instructions."

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