Symptoms of ADHD

Remember that feeling? When a rumor caught on that you knew wasn’t true, but despite what you said or did, no one believed otherwise?

The ADHD stereotype makes me feel that way. My goal for this blog is to spread understanding about this learning difference and demonstrate that, when properly honed, the strengths that accompany ADHD (heightened creativity, athleticism, energy, positive thinking) actually benefit this strange world we live in.

To address the rumors…

When I first started this blog in August of 2011, many people were surprised that I had ADHD. “You’re one of the most disciplined people I know,” one friend remarked, recalling how I wake up hours before the start of the workday to write.

In general, people have a cartoon image of ADHD that involves a young boy running around a formal family dinner, banging pots and pans, and screaming at the top of his lungs. While we’ve all had our moments…in general, if we were to sit down to dinner this is not the person you would meet.

By juxtaposing these two characters—the disciplined woman versus the manic child—I hope to demonstrate that, like all people, no one with ADHD is the same. Our habits, interests, manias, behaviors, and distractions differ in degree and expression. We are introverts and extroverts, glass half-fulls and glass half-empties, somber-tempered and good humored.

Pre-diagnosis and treatment, what symptoms fall under the umbrella of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

  • “zoning out” mid-conversation
  • emotional over-reactivity 
  • extreme distractibility 
  • mood swings 
  • disorganization 
  • habitually forgets and loses things 
  • tendency to overlook details 
  • poor listening skills 
  • fidgeting 
  • pervasive feelings of restlessness 
  • inability to complete tasks 
  • interrupts or intrudes on others 
  • inability to engage in quiet activities
  • hot temper with short-lived outbursts
  • impulsivity 
  • associated problems, e.g. marital instability, underachievement at work, drug misuse, a family history of ADHD.
Of course, not everyone with ADHD exhibits every one of these symptoms. Some symptoms are also more prevalent than others. To understand ADHD and determine if you are part of the tribe, see a medical professional. For two psychotherapists in the New York area (who also happen to be my mother, Mary Jo Wilson PhD, and father, James Wilson LCSW) see the page: ADHD Therapists.

Health.com also offers a quiz that was developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD. The questionnaire helps to determine if you have symptoms of ADHD. Take it here: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20343014,00.html

For insight into ADHD in children, see this page by HelpGuide.org:



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