Do You Have Un-Diagnosed ADHD?

I was in my late 50’s before I finally accepted the fact that I had ADD (inattentive type) even though I was not formally diagnosed by a medical professional. By that time I had enough experience on my own as a master’s level clinician to know the signs and symptoms. If there had been any doubt, confirmation came from social media posts written by total strangers who seemed to have found my personal diary. If you suspect that you may be a non-neurotypical, here are a list of symptoms that are clear indicators.

  • Easily Distracted: Everyone is familiar with the stereotypical ADHD “squirrel” distraction. What most cannot see is the non-stop, flood of thoughts and activity which goes on in the head of someone with ADHD. This is the reason behind the apparent distraction and “flightiness” of the individual. Forgetfulness, losing items, missing appointments, leaving doors open, and the abrupt changes of conversation are all evidence of distraction. This is beyond the scope of normal key misplacement. If you can be counted on to forget things, lose things and not follow through, you could have ADHD.
  • Seeks Stimulation: Another classic symptom of ADHD is chasing “the shiny object”. While this is similar to distraction it also includes the element of stimulation. Not all who have ADHD exhibit signs of hyperactivity; however, even inattentive types display fidgeting, bouncing and air-drumming as a type of self stimulation. For this reason, many with ADHD are prone to addictions obsessions and other compulsive behaviors. They are also prone to boredom and risk taking. They appear to seek out activities in which they can be engaged for long periods or for which they have passion or great interest. Those with ADHD can find it difficult to maintain a regular, 9-5 job which is routine or non-challenging. Many may either change jobs or self-sabotage their employment every so often.
  • Hyper-focused: While ADHD types can be easily distracted from activities that do not hold their interest, they can also become intensely focused on those in which they have passion or strong interest. In this case they can work tirelessly on projects long into the night and for days on end. People often remark, “they can’t be ADHD since they spend so much time working on…” It is because they are stimulated by the activity in which they are engaged and focus solely on that activity. Usually, when the ADHD type is hyper-focused, other areas requiring attention tend to suffer.
  • Hyper-Sensitive: Whether it is from nature or nurture, it is hard to tell, but this neuro-divergent tends to be highly sensitive to criticism, rejection and feelings of others. ADHD types are socially awkward and have difficulty picking up on social cues due to their lack of attention. This often results in inappropriate comments and behaviors which are blurted out or random. As a result, ADHD types face rejection and exclusion on a regular basis and eventually come to expect it. This may account for their sensitivity to criticism and low self esteem. Some ADHD types learn to use their emotions as a kind of “sixth sense” in order to gauge the environment and emotional “climate” around them. As a result, they often distort the feelings and intentions of others and develop a paranoia regarding possible future outcomes. In fact, this paranoia can become quite pervasive and lock them into a fear of venturing out of their comfort zone or familiar environment.
  • Co-Dependent: When you need a reminder to put on the same color socks, you tend to become dependent on whatever help you can get. Especially when you have to remember dates, times, assignments, names and, oh yeah, there’s eating. Moms are nurturers and most cannot allow their children to suffer so they have a tendency to foster dependency. Since ADHD types need stimulation, they often find people around them who will take on the task of handling the mundane and routine. While this doesn’t necessarily preclude co-dependency, more often than not, that’s how it goes. Chances are if you are responsible, independent and could live on your own without inadvertently growing a new species of mold, and causing financial catastrophe you are not ADHD. If, on the other hand, those things don’t happen because of your spouse, partner or guardian, you probably are.
  • Emotional Distress: ADHD types carry a tremendous amount of emotional angst. Because of their inability to focus and difficulty with social interaction, these neuro-atypicals are often laden with guilt, depression and self doubt. They carry the sense that there is “something wrong” with them, although they may not be able to identify the source. Due to these negative feelings, their thoughts tend to be negative as well with expectations that the worst is likely to happen. This causes the ADHD individual to become a negativity magnet, thus perpetuating the negative cycle even further. Depression is not uncommon with this population. In fact, ADHD is often misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder due to the mood swings caused by situations encountered by the individual.

Published by Rick George

Had someone noticed when I was younger, I may have been diagnosed with ADHD and been put on medication. Fortunately that never happened. No, it hasn't been fun and my life has been quite turbulent as a result but I have had a unique vantage point and I have a feeling that it is about to pay off.

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