Visualize and assess 25 ADHD traits and understand how they affect your life.
Common ADHD Symptoms You Can Experience
Before I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, there were things that I didn't quite understand - certain things I struggled with. But to balance it out, I did outstandingly well on some tasks, particularly those that interested me. These “extremes” had been a part of my daily life and seemed to be getting more intense as the years went on🤔.
Back then, there were limited resources and interview topics that tackle the different ADHD traits a person could experience. And while resources are more available now, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. That’s why there are still so many on-going studies.
The good news is that self-help guides, support groups, and treatments are now more accessible online to help people with this neurodivergent disorder. These materials are helpful as ADHD symptoms can be unique to each person. You can experience different adult ADHD symptoms, be familiar with a couple on this list, or not even imagine some traits to be possible.
These are just a few of the ADHD symptoms a person can experience along with the explanation on how they affect the person.
ADHD Diagnosis and Types
A lot of factors contribute to having different ADHD traits. If you look at reports tackling Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you’ll notice that risks can be related to heredity or environmental factors. But, regardless of the cause of your ADHD, knowing the different traits and symptoms you might encounter will always be helpful.
Before a mental health professional 👩⚕️ gives you an official diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you need to satisfy certain criteria first. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, better known as DSM-V, provides a list of ADHD symptoms and categorizes them into types.
Along with an ADHD diagnosis, the doctor will also inform you of the category befitting of your traits and symptoms:
- Predominantly Inattentive ADHD
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
- Combined Type ADHD
These three ADHD types can have different symptoms, and every person may experience each of those symptoms differently. Let's take a look.
The Most Common ADHD Traits
Before anything else, please be reminded that this is not the complete list of ADHD traits that you can experience👌. As per my observation and personal experience, these are just the most common ADHD traits that can affect you regardless of your ADHD category:
Being Easily Distracted
While I was browsing my TikTok app 📱, I came across a short-format video showing a great representation of how it is like to be easily distracted due to ADHD.
In the video, a wife saw the mess in their living room and wondered why her husband, who said he’d take care of it, hadn’t cleaned it up yet. The man replied that he was about to tidy up, but then noticed the unfinished dishes on their sink. As he was about to do the dishes, he remembered the rubbish from the night before and threw it first. His wife was confused with the man's action, but understood that this was one of his ADHD traits: being easily distracted.
Sometimes, an adult ADHD person can lose track of their tasks 😵 because of the things they see and remember. Take me, for instance: when I was about to finish writing this section of the blog, but I got distracted by my social media account. So, it took me another half an hour to finish what could have been completed in just about 5 minutes.
Some of the other symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may affect how we deal with the people around us. There can be instances when we cut off people from what they are doing or saying to grab their attention and share our ideas with them. Blurting out words during inappropriate times and answering questions before they are even asked can also signify this ADHD trait.
When we tend to interrupt conversations, the other party might get the wrong idea and misunderstand us🥺. Still, many adults with ADHD cannot help it. They are prone to having racing thoughts and the need to express them might be overwhelming.
The best thing that we can do when having lengthy conversations? Inform them beforehand that we tend to interrupt and express our minds abruptly, and that we try our best to manage our symptoms and be mindful of our actions.
Struggling with Organization
Our difficulties in organization aren't just limited to our things and stuff. After all, organization in our workspace is not just the witness to this ADHD trait. Sometimes, other adults have difficulty organizing thoughts, emotions, and ideas😔. It can be challenging for us to put our feelings into words, which might frustrate the people we talk to. An ADHD person's brain can have a hundred things inside, and it can be challenging to keep up.
The part of the brain affected by ADHD handles our Executive Functions, which are basically responsible for our ability to get things done. Executive Functions include planning, organization, and prioritization. Accomplishing paperwork, homework, and home organization can be quite a challenge because we often have difficulty organizing tasks. Due to this we tend to feel guilty, ashamed, or restless because we cannot get things done.
Do you often misplace your things? I do, too! Hehe 😅. There are times I spend more hours looking for something than actually using it. This can be frustrating as it wastes time, effort, and sometimes money. When I lose things, I tend to buy a replacement immediately, partly because I don’t want to waste time searching for it and partly due to my impulsive behaviors.
There are some reports saying that this trait can be linked to problems with Object Permanence, which is the ability to understand that even though some things are out of sight, they still exist. Hence, when we misplace something (the item becomes out of sight), our brains 🧠 might tell us that it's gone forever and we need to replace it. So if you're an adult and tend to lose things often, don't worry. You're not alone.
Avoiding Difficult Tasks
Since we are prone to experience struggles in our daily lives, we tend to avoid tasks that can cause us distress and unnecessary risks. This can be due to the feedback given to us by some people who have difficulty understanding that our symptoms can make us do things differently.
Many children with ADHD develop defensive mechanisms that enable them to prevent conflicts from happening. For instance, they might mask their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity symptoms so they can be accepted by their peers.
Are you always on the go? Do you feel like you can think freely and have more confidence deciding your next moves? Restlessness is one of the hyperactive-impulsive symptoms that you can experience. Feeling restless may present as being fidgety, having difficulty sitting still, or talking excessively. Taking too much sugar can also cause restlessness because of the surge of energy it gives.
When we feel restless, it is our brain's way of telling us that we need to move. However, our restlessness sometimes does not just present physically. It can also manifest in our thoughts, emotions, and decision-making 😵, which can even cause sleep disorders since racing thoughts often occur at night.
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Managing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
How do we treat ADHD? There are specific approaches you can try to manage the symptoms of ADHD. Your healthcare provider may suggest treatment options, such as stimulant medications💊, behavioral therapy, or both. But before any of these, it is essential to first get a proper diagnosis from a qualified professional to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
You see, several conditions can also cause similar symptoms and can be mistaken for ADHD. Neurodivergent disorders, such as anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or Tourette syndrome can have overlapping symptoms with ADHD. Moreover, these mental health conditions can also coexist with ADHD. So, it is essential to get a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that you are getting the proper diagnosis and treatment. When you are with the right, understanding people, you can try many things to manage your ADHD symptoms💪.
But for me, the most crucial support that adults with ADHD can receive is kindness ❤️. It is essential to understand your diagnosis and learn to accept yourself for who you are. We should learn how to work with our ADHD symptoms, not against them, to prevent an increased risk of developing other mental health disorders.
Having Sound Mental Health Matters
According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental health is the foundation of thinking, learning, communication, emotions, self-esteem, and resilience. Hence, a sound mental health can help us cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their community😘.
Sometimes, the importance of mental health is overlooked because it is not as visible as our physical health. But, just like our physical health, having sound mental health is also essential in achieving overall wellness. ADHD is only one of the many mental health conditions that can impact our daily lives.
If these common symptoms of ADHD are not managed well, they can lead to more serious mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. These are also the same conditions that can develop if we don't have sound mental health.
It is vital to seek professional help 👩⚕️ if you feel like your symptoms are already affecting your daily life. Seek out community support groups and social environments to help you better understand and manage your ADHD symptoms.
You are not alone in this journey. There are many people with ADHD who are living happy and successful lives. Take inspiration from them and learn from their stories. With the proper knowledge and support, you can also achieve the same level of success in managing your ADHD symptoms🙌.
Common ADHD Symptoms FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder overwhelm a person?
Yes, it can, particularly if the person has not received a diagnosis yet. They might get confused as to why they do things differently and become extremely worried about “keeping up” with their friends.
How do you diagnose ADHD?
The diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DIsorder can only be received from a board-certified physician or mental health expert. They will carefully assess your symptoms and compare it with the list from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. They will then categorize you into Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, Predominantly Inattentive, and Combined.
What are the common symptoms of ADHD?
Regardless of the type of ADHD you have, you may experience being easily distracted, losing or misplacing things, restlessness, avoiding difficult tasks, interrupting conversations, and challenges in organization.