According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects roughly 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults. With such a large number of individuals affected, you would imagine symptoms of ADHD would be more recognizable. However, this is not always the case. In fact, it is likely that the estimates of those affected by ADHD are much higher. Many children, teens, and adults with this condition tend to go undiagnosed.
Individuals who live with untreated ADHD may experience many biological and environmental factors that influence their daily life as well as relationships. It is crucial to recognize symptoms of childhood and adult ADHD, so you can receive proper treatment. For more information regarding ADHD testing, please read our March 2021 blog titled “Does my child need an ADHD test?”
ADHD in Children
This condition can take many forms in presentation, especially in children. For example, if you were asked to determine which child described below has ADHD, who would you choose?
a. The hyperactive boy who talks nonstop and has trouble sitting still
b. The quiet day dreamer who sits at her desk and stares into space
The correct answer to this question is “C,” both of these children may have ADHD. It is important to remember that children with ADHD may be:
• Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive
• Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention
• Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive
Children who only display inattentive symptoms of ADHD are often overlooked, since they do not fit the typical stereotype of a child with ADHD. Symptoms of inattention can also have serious consequences such as underperforming in school, clashing with peers over not following the rules, and an inability to follow directions.
Inattentiveness Signs and Symptoms in Children
Many of times, it is thought that children with ADHD cannot pay attention, this is not true. Children can pay attention when they are doing something they enjoy or hear about topics they are interested in. In this scenario, they have no trouble focusing. However, when the task becomes repetitive or boring, they tune out rather quickly.
Staying on track is another challenge children with ADHD face. Typically, they have difficulty sticking with the task at hand and tend to bounce around and skip important steps involved. Organization is harder for these children when compared to their peers. Children with ADHD usually need a calm, quiet area in order to stay focused.
When pondering the possibility of ADHD in children, with a focus on an inattentive child, 5 important signs to pay attention to may include:
1. Have trouble staying focused as he or she can become easily distracted or bored with the task before it is completed
2. Appear to not listen when spoken to
3. Experience difficulty remembering things and following instructions; he or she may also make careless mistakes
4. Have trouble staying organized, planning ahead, or finishing work
5. Frequently lose or misplace homework, toys, or other items.
Keep in mind, it is stereotypically much easier to identify a child who is physically active and defiant as someone who may have ADHD and benefit from an evaluation rather than someone who seems distant tor distracted.
While this is not a complete list of symptoms, it is important to know what to look for in your child in order to make sure they are being provided with the best care in order to succeed. *For more symptoms discussing hyperactivity and impulsivity in children refer to our March 2021 blog titled “Does my child need an ADHD test?”
ADHD in Adults
ADHD is not just a problem experienced in childhood; many adults can struggle with it as well. Countless times, ADHD goes unnoticed throughout childhood; this was especially common in the past. Instead of having your struggles validated and recognized, you were likely labeled by teachers or parents as the class clown, dreamer, slacker, trouble maker, or bad student. It is possible you found ways to manage your ADHD as a child, but as you have matured into an adult, juggling more responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed and suffocated.
In adults, ADHD can look different than it does in children. It is important to remember, symptoms of this condition are unique for each individual. Five overlooked signs of ADHD in adults include:
1. Trouble concentrating and staying focused
2. Disorganization and forgetfulness
4. Emotional difficulties
5. Hyperactivity and restlessness
Trouble Concentrating and Staying Focused
Similar to children, adults with ADHD are often able to focus on tasks they find stimulating and interesting but have difficulty remaining focused to mundane tasks. These symptoms are often times overlooked as they are not as outwardly disruptive.
• Frequent daydreaming or zoning out
• Struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple
• A tendency to overlook details, leaving errors or incomplete work
• Becoming easily distracted by low-priority activities
• Quickly becoming bored and seeking out new exciting experiences
Disorganization and Forgetfulness
As an adult with undiagnosed ADHD, life can seem out of control and overwhelming. Remaining organized and on task can feel very demanding and challenging.
• Poor organizational skills (across many areas of life; e.g., home, office, desk, messy or cluttered car)
• Trouble starting or finishing projects
• A tendency to be late
• Forgetting scheduled appointments, deadlines, or commitments
• Constantly losing or misplacing things
Adults who struggle within the category may have trouble withholding certain comments, responses, or behaviors. You may act before thinking or considering the consequences. It can be incredibly challenging to be patient if you have impulse problems.
• Frequently interrupting others or talking over them
• Poor self-control
• Blurting out thoughts that may be rude or inappropriate without thinking
• Acting recklessly or spontaneously without thinking about the consequences
• Trouble with socially appropriate behaviors
Managing feelings such as anger and frustration can be difficult for adults with ADHD.
• Being easily stressed out
• Irritability or explosive temper
• Low self-esteem and sense of underachievement or insecurity
• Trouble staying motivated
• Hypersensitivity to criticism
Trouble Concentrating and Staying Focused
Challenges with hyperactivity and restlessness in adults with ADHD may present similarly to their counterparts. Typically, you may feel everlastingly energized. Keep in mind, adults are much less likely to show signs of hyperactivity as opposed to children. Only a small number of adults with ADHD reflet symptoms of hyperactivity.
• Feelings of inner restlessness, agitation, racing thoughts
• Getting more easily and craving excitement
• Talking excessively
• Constant fidgeting and difficulty remaining still
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Other Mental Health Services at Sheltering Oaks Counseling
Your family may need help in more than one way. At Sheltering Oaks Counseling, we want to meet the mental health needs of every member of your family. Therefore, we offer a number of mental health services at our Wesley Chapel, FL based therapy clinic. For example, our therapists offer Christian counseling, counseling for young adults, therapy for cancer survivors and trauma therapy. We also have marriage counseling, family therapy, play therapy, and counseling for ministers. Not only can we help you in our Tampa area counseling offices, but we can also work with you anywhere in the state with online therapy in Florida.
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