Approximately 4% of adults in the United States – that’s 8 million people – receive an official diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, aka ADHD, in any given year.
“There is a common belief that ADHD only affects children, but ongoing research has proven otherwise,” Sussan Nwogwugwu, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Board Certified by the Digital Health Society Do, told HuffPost. “As such, a large percentage of adults have had undiagnosed ADHD in recent years.”
However, ADHD remains significantly underdiagnosed in adultsespecially among women. Common Symptoms of ADHD in Adults include disorganization, forgetfulness, emotional regulation disorders, poor time management skills, restlessness, and difficulty multitasking. When left untreated, symptoms associated with ADHD can be harmful to a person’s physical and mental well-being.
Experts spoke to HuffPost about a few habits that may be secretly due to ADHD.
You repeatedly lose things.
If you find yourself regularly searching for important stuff for no reason why it’s still happening, it could be a red flag something else is going on.
“A person with ADHD may have constant difficulty remembering important details, like the location of their keys, while more neurotypical people may only forget where their keys are from time to time,” explained Krista Carvin, a registered social worker based in Ontario, Canada.
You neglect other activities or your needs when you are focused on a task.
According to Catherine del Toro, supplier partner for growth therapy“a common symptom of hyperactivity is being easily distracted at one extreme or hyper-focused at the other. For this reason, it can be a habit to be so fully involved in a task that we may neglect d other equally important things.
As a general example, del Toro noted that it might sound like someone writing to the point of forgetting to eat and sitting still for hours.
You can also struggle with forgetting and leaving unfinished tasks.
While people with ADHD tend to focus on one task, they can also regularly forget to complete tasks before moving on to the next.
“You might start washing the dishes, notice something spilled on the floor, and start mopping the floor. Then, while sweeping, notice there are fingerprints on the glass door and start cleaning. clean it instead,” del Toro said.
Hannah Rae, a graduate student and case manager for Homeless Services, told HuffPost that she usually forgets about events and tasks long before she was officially diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. “I forget most things in my life. I have to write everything down,” she said.
You tend to avoid doing certain activities on some days, while actively seeking consistent activity on other days.
fluctuating regularly between feeling overstimulated or understimulated by your environment may be a sign that you have ADHD.
“For example, some days you might feel like it’s just fine to go to the grocery store and it’s not a problem for you,” Carvin said. “Other days, especially when you’re overstimulated, you might notice that the sights, smells, or sounds of grocery shopping are really bothering you, which can mean going through your grocery list or waiting in line. seems too much to handle.”
According to Carvin, being under-stimulated can leave someone with ADHD feeling both listless and restless, but unsure of what they need to do to feel better.
You used to struggle to connect with partners in your relationship.
A a person with ADHD may notice that certain habits – which are actually symptoms – impact their love life or interpersonal relationships. For example, Carvin explained that people with ADHD may find it difficult to pay attention to their partner or help them with household chores, which can lead to conflict and hurt their feelings.
“’ADHD’ can be sensitive to rejection. If they are faced with harsh comments from their partners, they may react in a way that seems disproportionate to the current situation,” she said.
You are being treated for a mood disorder, but still have symptoms and habits associated with ADHD.
Approximately 57% to 92% of adults with ADHD also have at least one co-occurring mental health disorder or other neurodivergent experience, with some studies indicating that this number can be as high as 80%.
“Undiagnosed adults may have tried psychotherapy or medication, but treatment that isn’t targeted at ADHD may not have led to the gains needed to live a better life,” Carvin said.
Hannah explained that even though she was receiving treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, symptoms such as trouble concentrating and forgetfulness persisted.
“I knew all of these symptoms couldn’t be related to this anxiety disorder,” she said. “I was already being treated for a neurological disorder, and by chance they screened for ADHD. I have met the criteria. »
Note: Experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily guarantee that you have ADHD.
Not everyone who forgets or has trouble multitasking has ADHD. Neurotypical people may develop habits such as forgetting things or focusing on tasks. However, experiencing emotional distress can be clinically significant and essential in determining whether you should seek medical assistance.
“With an influx of this kind of information on social media, it’s really helpful to listen to the perspectives of people with lived experience, while balancing that with evidence-based information,” Carvin explained.
Seek health care and resources.
Nwogwugwu explained that “assessment is key” when dealing with undiagnosed ADHD in adults, adding that “it is never too late to receive ADHD treatment when diagnosed.
Seeing a health care provider can help someone receive an official diagnosis and treatment, as well as accommodations at work or school. For Hannah, finding the right combination of medication and therapy has been key to managing ADHD.
However, it is important to note that factors such as stigma, lack of health insurance, medical care costs, and general misinformation can prevent a person from receiving treatment for ADHD. If you cannot access health care, free resources such as support groups, workbooks, and expert-led podcasts can be informative, validating, and beneficial.
Ultimately, experts say it’s important to recognize and take action if you feel your habits are impacting your health or daily life.
As Nwogwugwu noted, “Being diagnosed with ADHD can be a relief and a life-changing moment for adults, as it explains the struggles and issues a person may have faced their entire life.”