ADHD / ADD

adhdSince I mentioned in my last post that I might have some form of ADHD, I have been going through Google sites, researching a bit more about it all. Some things I want to share here with you. I will always give out the link to the original site. And please do note that YES I am quoting it here so YES I do agree with it in a way but NO I did not write it myself and I am not taking credit in any way. Just to be on the safe side…

Here are some quotations from the Helpguide.org website. All upcoming quotes came from this site, till I state it otherwise.

Attention deficit disorder often goes unrecognized throughout childhood. This was especially common in the past, when very few people were aware of ADD/ADHD. Instead or recognizing your symptoms and identifying the real issue, your family, teachers, or other parents may have labeled you a dreamer, a goof-off, a slacker, a troublemaker, or just a bad student.Alternately, you may have been able to compensate for the symptoms of ADD/ADHD when you were young, only to run into problems as your responsibilities increase. The more balls you’re trying to keep in the air—pursuing a career, raising a family, running a household—the greater the demand on your abilities to organize, focus, and remain calm. This can be challenging for anyone, but if you have ADD/ADHD, it can feel downright impossible.
The good news is that, no matter how it feels, the challenges of attention deficit disorder are beatable. With education, support, and a little creativity, you can learn to manage the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD—even turning some of your weaknesses into strengths. It’s never too late to turn the difficulties of adult ADD/ADHD around and start succeeding on your own terms.

So well, yeah, I have never been diagnosed (haven’t been officially diagnosed now -yet- as well). Mum did suspect it, but never got a real diagnose on me. She suspected it back in the 80’s and then, ADHD wasn’t “born” yet. There was another form, MBD, which meant “minimal brain damage”. Since I was tested and showed no damage, they didn’t follow up. Later, in the early 90’s, specialist could not show that this “disorder” indeed had anything to do with damage of the brain, so they changed into “minimal brain dysfunction”. By the time they had more leads to what the illness really was about (and changed the name to ADHD and ADD), I was “out of the system”… But now I am back in so… Who knows…

Myths and Facts about ADD / ADHD in Adults

MYTH: ADD/ADHD is just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADD/ADHD focus well on things that interest them; they could focus on any other tasks if they really wanted to.
FACT: ADD/ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.
MYTH: Everybody has the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, and anyone with adequate intelligence can overcome these difficulties.
FACT: ADD/ADHD affects persons of all levels of intelligence. And although everyone sometimes has symptoms of ADD/ADHD, only those with chronic impairments from these symptoms warrant an ADD/ADHD diagnosis.
MYTH: Someone can’t have ADD/ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.
FACT: A person with ADD/ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD/ADHD usually overlaps with other disorders.
MYTH: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.
FACT: Many adults struggle all their lives with unrecognized ADD/ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other impairments that did not respond to usual treatment.

Source: Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults

I thought this was interesting to post here. Many people always refer to “facts” and well, this also shows that some things people consider to be facts are myths…

Signs and symptoms of adult ADD / ADHD
In adults, attention deficit disorder often looks quite different than it does in children—and its symptoms are unique for each individual. The following categories highlight common symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. Do your best to identify the areas where you experience difficulty. Once you pinpoint your most problematic symptoms, you can start to work on strategies for dealing with them.

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Trouble concentrating and staying focused

Adults with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily, mundane tasks. For example, you may be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bounce from one activity to another, or become bored quickly. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:

  • “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
  • extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
  • difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
  • struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
  • tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
  • poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions.

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Hyperfocus
While you’re probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them, you may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the chaos. It can be so strong that you become oblivious to everything going on around you. For example, you may be so engrossed in a book, a TV show, or your computer that you completely lose track of time and neglect the things you’re supposed to be doing. Hyperfocus can be an asset when channeled into productive activities, but it can also lead to work and relationship problems if left unchecked.

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Disorganization and forgetfulness
When you have adult ADD/ADHD, life often seems chaotic and out of control. Staying organized and on top of things can be extremely challenging—as is sorting out what information is relevant for the task at hand, prioritizing the things you need to do, keeping track of tasks and responsibilities, and managing your time. Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:

  • poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered)
  • tendency to procrastinate
  • trouble starting and finishing projects
  • chronic lateness
  • frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines
  • constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills)
  • underestimating the time it will take you to complete tasks

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Impulsivity
If you suffer from symptoms in this category, you may have trouble inhibiting your behaviors, comments, and responses. You might act before thinking, or react without considering consequences. You may find yourself interrupting others, blurting out comments, and rushing through tasks without reading instructions. If you have impulse problems, being patient is extremely difficult. For better or for worse, you may go headlong into situations and find yourself in potentially risky circumstances. You may struggle with controlling impulses if you:

  • frequently interrupt others or talk over them
  • have poor self-control
  • have addictive tendencies
  • have trouble behaving in socially appropriate ways (such as sitting still during a long meeting)

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Emotional difficulties
Many adults with ADD/ADHD have a hard time managing their feelings, especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. Common emotional symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD include:

  • sense of underachievement
  • doesn’t deal well with frustration
  • easily flustered and stressed out
  • irritability or mood swings
  • trouble staying motivated
  • short, often explosive, temper
  • low self-esteem and sense of insecurity

Common adult ADD / ADHD symptoms: Hyperactivity or restlessness
Hyperactivity in adults with ADD/ADHD can look the same as it does in kids. You may be highly energetic and perpetually “on the go” as if driven by a motor. For many people with ADD/ADHD, however, the symptoms of hyperactivity become more subtle and internal as they grow older. Common symptoms of hyperactivity in adults include:

  • feelings of inner restlessness, agitation
  • tendency to take risks
  • getting bored easily
  • racing thoughts
  • trouble sitting still; constant fidgeting
  • craving for excitement
  • talking excessively
  • doing a million things at once

Now, as I mentioned in my previous post: some things I REALLY qualify for. I recognize many things and think: ow yeah, that is me! And some other things I can easily discard. But I guess no one will quality for all the “items on the check-list”. Or maybe some people do, I haven’t done any research about that (yet). But often with “check-lists” it states that is you qualify for (example) “6 or more items”, then the chance of you having it is bigger and all…So that’s why I am also checking many different websites and why I am sharing some information that I found directly on this site.

Last quote from the Helpguide.org website:

Self-help for adult ADD / ADHD

Armed with an understanding of ADD/ADHD’s challenges and the help of structured strategies, you can make real changes in your life. Many adults with attention deficit disorder have found meaningful ways to manage their symptoms, take advantage of their gifts, and lead productive and satisfying lives. You don’t necessarily need outside intervention—at least not right away. There is a lot you can do to help yourself and get your symptoms under control.

  • Exercise and eat right. Exercise vigorously and regularly—it helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way and soothes and calms the body. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods and limit sugary foods in order to even out mood swings.
  • Get plenty of sleep. When you’re tired, it’s even more difficult to focus, manage stress, stay productive, and keep on top of your responsibilities. Support yourself by getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Practice better time management. Set deadlines for everything, even for seemingly small tasks. Use timers and alarms to stay on track. Take breaks at regular intervals. Avoid piles of paperwork or procrastination by dealing with each item as it comes in. Prioritize time-sensitive tasks and write down every assignment, message, or important thought.
  • Work on your relationships. Schedule activities with friends and keep your engagements. Be vigilant in conversation: listen when others are speaking and try not to speak too quickly yourself. Cultivate relationships with people who are sympathetic and understanding of your struggles with ADD/ADHD.
  • Create a supportive work environment. Make frequent use of lists, color-coding, reminders, notes-to-self, rituals, and files. If possible, choose work that motivates and interests you. Notice how and when you work best and apply these conditions to your working environment as best you can. It can help to team up with less creative, more organized people—a partnership that can be mutually beneficial.

How I love to try to work things out for myself. I always want to help myself before I have to seek any outside help. Maybe I am ashamed at times of needing help… Maybe I don’t want others to know I have “something” that I can’t fix by myself… I am not sure.
But this list isn’t really helpful to me, as I already tried so many things already (but then not knowing I might have ADHD)… And how I LOVE to be able to sleep well… I try and try… And I always make plans that include time-tables and all… Ah well, I hope that other people could use this list in a way, it seemed wrong not to post it…

On the Healtcentral.com site, I have found an article by Eileen Bailey about the positive sides of ADHD. I wanted to end this post by sharing her article with you all.

The three major symptoms of ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention can create many problems in people’s lives. They can interfere with relationships, school and work. But there are also many positive characteristics of adult ADD/ADHD.

Hyperactivity is most often described as “feeling as if driven by a motor.” It creates the inability to sit still for long periods. Children with hyperactivity are in constant motion, usually running or “bouncing” from one activity to another. Many times this will subside in adolescence and adulthood, but for most people, hyperactivity is still present. Maybe it has decreased to a feeling of restlessness or being fidgety. Or maybe adults have better learned to manage it in daily life. Hyperactivity, however, is also seen as a positive for adults. Some indicate they enjoy the endless energy and the ability to accomplish more and work longer hours. They prefer getting up and doing things rather than sitting in front of a television.

Impulsiveness is acting without thinking. It is rushing ahead without slowing down to think about the consequences of our actions. Children and teens often get into much trouble for their impulsive actions. Impulsiveness is also seen in blurting out answers or interrupting others while they are talking. Adding structure to our lives, and the daily lives of our children, help to reign in our carelessness. But spontaneity is also important. Allowing ourselves to be unpredictable adds variety to life. As adults, sometimes our lives become too structured. We often leave for work early in the morning and once we arrive home our evenings are filled with making dinner, helping with homework, household chores. We sometimes forget the pleasure of having the unexpected happen. Giving in to impulsiveness, at times, can create a more exciting and adventurous life. It can provide us with a different perspective on our problems and allow our minds to find creative solutions to what may have seemed impossible before. Impulsiveness can help to foster creativity.

Inattention, being easily distracted and not completing tasks are often some of the major complaints of both children and adults with ADD/ADHD. Many times these traits lead to uncompleted homework, lost items, and half finished projects. In life, we must learn to finish what we have started. We need to be able to focus on the task at hand to accomplish our goals. But having the ability to move from one task to another also has benefits. Allowing ourselves to experience many things adds to our perspective on life. It allows us to find what we do enjoy. It allows us to search for our interests and our passions. Although I do not condone teaching children to stop what they are doing as soon as their interest wanes, providing them with varied activities may help them determine what direction they want their lives to take. Allowing ourselves to experience many different things will increase our awareness of who we are and what we want to accomplish.

In addition to the main symptoms, some other positive traits of ADD/ADHD are included below. Several years ago, I took an informal survey of 50 adults, asking what their favorite ADD/ADHD characteristic was.

Their top ten answers are as follows (in no particular order):

  • Endless Energy
  • Hyperfocus
  • Energy and hyperfocus combined
  • Great imagination
  • Creativity
  • Humor
  • Ahead of “establishment” thinking
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Spontaneity
  • Great passion for interests

So go ahead, enjoy your life, enjoy your ADHD and live life to it’s fullest.

I am getting quite hungry now, so I will leave you with this information. If you are interested in learning more about ADHD, just Google it! the World Wide Web is full of information. Beware of sites that want to sell you many forms of medication though….

Thanks for your interest and remember, I’ll be back!

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~ by Lonely Wallflower on May 12, 2010.

One Response to “ADHD / ADD”

  1. […] ADHD/ADD – May 12th 2010 […]

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