Do I Have ADHD?
“Do I have ADHD?”
Let’s be honest; you have thought about this every now and then. Now, with so much information available online, especially the reels and TikTok on signs of ADHD, you have found yourself having the same behaviour as the one with ADHD, which has done nothing but leave you confused.
Some sources say it is just typical human tendencies, while others associate them with ADHD and recommend seeking counselling. This can leave you uncertain about your behaviour and confused about what it means. Therefore, we have brought this blog to identify the actual ADHD behaviours and if you need mental counselling.
Understanding ADHD and How ADHD Feels Like?
There’s a very blurred line that divides human behaviour and symptoms of ADHD. ADHD is a condition that impacts a person’s behaviour and development and is characterized by three types of symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It’s possible for someone with ADHD to experience any combination of these symptoms, whether it’s just one, two, or all three.
ADHD manifests differently from person to person, and what it “feels like” can vary widely based on individual experiences and the severity of the condition. However, you have to understand that individuals with ADHD describe common feelings and experiences associated with it, but these experiences are not universal.
5 Signs that You May Have ADHD
As said before, there are several signs and symptoms that may suggest you could have ADHD. However, we have listed the 5 noticeable signs that may indicate if you have ADHD for you to evaluate yourself. However, note that having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have ADHD. If you notice that you have been showing these signs consistently, which may have affected your daily life, we recommend seeking a thorough evaluation from a mental health counsellor who can conduct a thorough assessment and make a proper diagnosis.
1. You forget things
Forgetting things is a prevalent symptom of ADHD, especially when it comes to daily tasks and belongings. Those with ADHD often have difficulties retaining and recalling information or completing tasks that require attention to detail. If you find yourself constantly forgetting scheduled appointments, meetings, and deadlines, misplacing/losing personal items like keys, wallets, and phones, and struggling to remember vital details in conversations or instructions, it could be a sign of ADHD. Reflect on the times when these issues have caused stress and frustration in your life and that of those around you. You may have been reminded repeatedly, or it may have led to misunderstandings, particularly in your work.
2. You are impulsive
Impulsivity is a key characteristic of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD tend to act impulsively without fully evaluating the situation, often taking risks and acting on immediate desires. Some of the common impulsive behaviours include making spontaneous purchases, speaking without a filter, interrupting others, and struggling to wait for their turn to speak. If you find these behaviours more prevalent in your life, seeking guidance from a counsellor will be helpful. Having said that, the primary signs of ADHD may be related to inattention alone or a combination of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
3. You have difficulty with follow-through
Think about this for a minute. Do you often start tasks with great enthusiasm, but eventually, you struggle to complete them? Or do you often get into a new hobby, only for it to become a short-lived obsession?
This could indicate that you might have an ADHD brain. The science behind this is that ADHD causes lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, making it extremely difficult to focus on and complete tasks, especially those of your least interest and boring to you.
4. You are restless and hyperactive
Restlessness and hyperactivity are common characteristics of ADHD, and it’s important to consider whether you can relate to them. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you struggle to sit still for long periods and feel an almost constant need to move your body, such as tapping your feet, shaking your legs, or fidgeting with your hands. Beyond the physical restlessness, do you also feel a sense of inner restlessness? It’s as if your thoughts are constantly racing, making it challenging to concentrate on one task or stay engaged in a particular activity for an extended period of time. If any of these descriptions resonate with you, it may be worth seeking a professional evaluation to explore the possibility of ADHD.
5. You daydream, but it’s an ADHD daydream
Certainly, daydreaming is something we all do, and it can serve as a healthy mental escape occasionally. However, just because you daydream frequently, it does not necessarily mean that you have ADHD. Sometimes, “Maladaptive Daydreaming” can be mistakenly associated with ADHD daydreaming. “Maladaptive Daydreaming” is an intentional, vivid, and all-consuming daydream that significantly interferes with daily functioning. On the other hand, ADHD-related daydreaming is more spontaneous. If you experience daydreams, consider how they happen. Do you often spontaneously zone out? Does your mind wander unintentionally, jumping from one idea or scenario to another? Identifying these patterns can help you determine if you need an ADHD evaluation.
But It Can Be Something Else!
While the signs mentioned are a few of many ADHD indications, keep in mind that there are other conditions that mimic the ADHD symptoms and lead to misdiagnosis and confusion. The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. That’s because the disorder has several possible symptoms, and they can easily be confused with those of other conditions, like depression or anxiety.
Conditions that Mimic ADHD Symptoms
Stress and Anxiety:
When you’re stressed or anxious, you feel restless or on edge, struggling to concentrate and act impulsively. And these symptoms can easily get confused with ADHD. The key difference is that these symptoms are often temporary and situational when dealing with stress and anxiety and improve when managed.
Sleep-related disorders, especially chronic insomnia or apnea, your mind and body don’t get the rest you need. Thus, this results in fatigue, trouble concentrating, impatience and getting annoyed, which are all the signs of ADHD. But unlike ADHD, sleeping disorders are situational and can improve when addressed.
Depression brings along fatigue, apathy, and loss of interest. These symptoms may feel like inattention associated with ADHD, but it is not. ADHD and depression are two distinct conditions with their own diagnostic criteria and treatment. While they can overlap each other, don’t jump to conclusions. Seek a mental health counsellor who can assess your situation and make an accurate diagnosis.
When you’re struggling with substance abuse, especially drugs or alcohol, it can lead to problems that are related to attention and impulsivity. These issues can sometimes resemble ADHD, particularly if you’re actively using the substance or going through withdrawal. If you’re experiencing symptoms of inattention and impulsivity linked to substance abuse, seek help promptly.
As discussed earlier, maladaptive daydreaming can be misinterpreted as ADHD. But, unlike ADHD, which is spontaneous, maladaptive daydreaming is often intentional. You deliberately initiate and engage in these intense daydreams, sometimes to escape or cope with stress.
How Can I Tell if I Have ADHD or Not?
Whether you have ADHD or not is ultimately determined by a thorough evaluation and diagnosis by a mental healthcare professional. Self-diagnosis is not recommended, as ADHD shares symptoms with others. However, you can take some initial steps such as self-assessment, journaling your symptoms, seeking input and preparing for a discussion with a healthcare provider.
Self-assessment and reflection
If you suspect you might have ADHD, a good starting point is to conduct a self-assessment. Take some time to reflect on your behaviour and experiences and see if any of the symptoms associated with ADHD apply to you. It’s important to consider whether these symptoms have been persistent and impacted your daily life. If you find they have, consult a professional for further evaluation and guidance.
Keeping a symptom journal
Document your symptoms related to ADHD. Note when these signs and symptoms occur, what triggers them, and how they interfere with your daily functioning. Maintaining a symptom journal can provide patterns you can discuss with a counsellor during an evaluation. Maintain a journal where you document instances of symptoms related to ADHD.
Seeking input from trusted individuals
Talk to trusted friends, family members, or colleagues who are familiar with your behaviour. Ask for their observations and inquire whether they’ve noticed any consistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity in you. Their input can provide an external perspective on your symptoms.
ADHD is manageable, but it’s important to remember that experiencing one or more symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have it. The process of diagnosing ADHD is complex and requires careful evaluation by a professional. To start, you can take a self-assessment to reflect on your behaviours. However, seeking guidance from a professional is crucial to receiving proper support for managing ADHD.
Taking the “Do I have ADHD” Quiz
Taking online ADHD quizzes can be a useful starting point for self-reflection and gaining initial insights into whether you might have ADHD symptoms. These quizzes can prompt you to consider your behaviour and experiences in a structured way. However, they should not be used as a definitive diagnostic tool and do not rely solely on it.
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
The most reliable way to determine if you have ADHD is to seek a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or ADHD specialist. They can conduct thorough assessments, including interviews, questionnaires, and behavioural observations, to provide an accurate diagnosis.
Strategies for ADHD Management
If you strongly feel that you have ADHD, implementing strategies can help you manage symptoms of ADHD. Note that, usually, the strategies are highly individualized, and what works best for one person may not work for you. However, here are some general strategies that can help to manage ADHD:
- Engaging in behavioural therapy, such as (CBT) or psychoeducation, can help you develop strategies to improve focus, organization, and time management to manage your ADHD symptoms effectively.
- Establish a structured daily routine to help you stay organized and on track. Include specific times for tasks, meals, exercise, and relaxation.
- Learn and practice mindfulness or meditation, which can help reduce your stress levels and improve your ability to focus and manage symptoms.
- Reward yourself for accomplishing tasks and meeting goals. Positive reinforcement can help motivate you to stay on track and complete tasks.