What is ADHD?

Holding head in confusion and frustratio
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) , There are 3 types of ADHD - Inattentive, Hyperactivity, and combined.  For Inattentive & Hyperactive there are 9 symptoms each. An adult must have at least 5 of either or both to be officially diagnosed as having ADHD.  Those symptoms must be present in more than 1 environment (work, school, home, social atmosphere) for 6 months and affect every day life. The listed symptoms are:
Inattentive
  • Often overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention (ex. in tasks, during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading).
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly, mind seems elsewhere
  • Often starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked, does not follow through and fails to finish 
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities, messy, poor time management, fails to meet deadlines
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort 
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli or unrelated thoughts
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities 
Hyperactive
  • Often fidgety with hands, feet or other body parts
  • Often unable to sit for long periods, like a movie or meeting 
  • Often feels restless
  • Often unable to engage in activities quietly.
  • Is often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor” 
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often blurts out answers or finishes other peoples sentences
  • Often is impatient when waiting in line or driving
  • Often butts into conversations, may intrude into or take over what others are doing
There are newly defined symptoms that are associated but not  exclusive to ADHD. Some are:
  • Executive Function disorders
  • Rejection sensitivity
  • Emotional dysregulation (highly reactive to happy or sad situations)
There is no standardized test to diagnose ADHD but there is a self-assessment tool that identifies if you should seek an official diagnosis.  
It is not safe to self-diagnose.  Sometimes what appears to be an ADHD symptom can be attributed to another or more than one condition.  Always seek a mental health professional for an official diagnosis.
 
 

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