Symptoms of ADHD in adults
While not all symptoms of adult ADHD are experienced in one individual person, several symptoms combined could indicate a possibility of ADHD. Please remember that only a qualified medical professional can make the diagnosis and this article is only a reference guide. Take a moment to do a personal inventory of these symptoms so that you can inform your doctor:
- Difficulty staying focused
- Difficulty staying on task
- Racing thoughts, skipping from one idea to the next
- Interrupting others and blurting out
- Trouble staying on topic
- Trouble finishing one task before starting another
- Easily distracted
- Forgets things often
- Doesn't seem to be listening
- Difficulty "winding down"
- Difficulty following instructions
- Difficulty with organization and time management
- Problems waiting on turn or waiting in lines
Those are some of the key symptoms in adults with ADHD. Now let's take a look at how those symptoms can potentially disrupt someone's entire day. Imagine getting up at the last minute, being in a huge hurry, trying to remember everything all at once but your brain gets overloaded and somehow you wind up at your car door with no car keys, no wallet, and no cell phone. All three of these things you must have everyday when going to work and everyday you forget at least two of of the three items (usually your keys) and end up having to run back up two flights of stairs to your apartment and frantically search for each item. The keys weren't where you thought you had left them the night before. The cellphone was last seen...you can't even remember when. And the wallet you remember was in the last pair of pants you had on but you can't seem to find that pair of pants anywhere. Finally, after the third trip up and down the stairs, you have all the necessary items for work and you drive as fast as you can to the office. Everyone else is moving at turtle speed and are impeding you from your destination of getting to work before you are thirty minutes late. After arriving at the office, you are trying to get to your desk when you are distracted by a bright new poster in someone else's cubicle. You stop to look at the poster and end up in a 20 minute conversation about who knows what, and finally the person you are talking to starts to ignore you and continues working while you are still talking. Before reaching your office, you decide to swing through the breakroom for a soda from the vending machine and realize that you left your wallet in the car and start heading back to get it. Just then you remember that you had a deadline to meet 2 hours ago and haven't even started.
Structure is your only option. You have to develop structure for yourself and rigidly stick to it. Whatever the structure you create, it must make sense to you. People with ADHD have a hard time following the structure designed by everyone else who doesn't think the same way. Get into a routine and make it second nature. Have a "place" where you keep the things you seem to always forget and you will always know where to look. Make a conscious effort to remember where you are putting something valuable instead of tossing it aside. Prioritize your tasks and then check off the list. Make lots and lots of checklists. Set more than one alarm. Take small breaks during monotnous tasks.
These are but a few suggestions of how to help manage symptoms of your ADHD.