Is It Possible to Have ADHD and Not Even Know It?

Symptoms of ADHD

Could you be going through life with attention deficit disorder (ADD)—more commonly referred to as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—without being aware of it? Or do you think you might have ADHD but aren’t sure? You’re not the only one who’s ever wondered if they might have this condition, which has been diagnosed in approximately 4.4% of adults in the U.S. Experts believe that millions more American adults are likely living with undiagnosed ADHD. Could you be one of them?

 

Experts believe that millions of American adults are likely living with undiagnosed ADHD. Could you be one of them? Click To Tweet

How can you know if you might have ADHD? Here are 7 subtle signs and symptoms of ADHD.

1. Time blindness.

So many health and wellness experts talk about the importance of being present and living in the now. Some people with ADHD naturally do this, but to a fault. They can be so caught up in whatever they are doing in the moment that they forget about the passing time and consequently end up late or missing other appointments. This can look like procrastination but is more likely what experts call time blindness.

2. Your computer is a jumbled mess.

Is your computer desktop randomly scattered with dozens of files? Do you have trouble creating a system of folders where you organize your important files? Does it seem like it takes forever to find the documents or emails you need? These signs may be related to disorganization, which is a classic symptom of ADHD.

3. Hyperfocus.

One of the hallmarks of ADHD is distractibility, but the flip side of that is an ability to hyperfocus on specific activities you enjoy. You may become completely engrossed in something you’re passionate about, whether it’s songwriting, inventing a new product, or playing a sport. On a positive note, this can unleash creative, out-of-the-box thinking. On the negative side, it may keep you from other things you need to do.

4. Frequently changing jobs or career paths.

People with ADHD have a tendency to get bored when a job starts to feel routine. These individuals feel restless after being in the same job for a few years or after just a few months and feel the need to try something new. Do you routinely walk away from good jobs in search of something new and different? ADHD types may also swap career paths frequently. For example, they may enroll in nursing school and before graduating decide they want to go into a completely different field. Although this can happen in neurotypical people as well, it is more likely to be a recurring pattern for those with ADHD—changing career paths multiple times.

5. Being a chronic multi-tasker.

Feeling the need to be doing something—or doing multiple things—at all times is a trait seen in ADHD types. Activity stimulates the ADHD brain, which brain SPECT imaging has shown is typically low in activity in an area called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This helps explain why some children with the ADHD are hyperactive. In adults, however, this trait looks more like a constant need to be productive or busy.

6. Trouble in relationships.

There are many reasons why people with ADHD have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. For some ADHD people, impulsivity can lead to blurting out something unkind that is hurtful to a friend or romantic partner. That same spontaneity can give rise to unhelpful behaviors like flirting with the CEO’s wife at the company holiday party. Heightened sensitivity to criticism, or rejection sensitivity dysphoria, which is seen in many people with ADHD, may be another source of discord in relationships.

7. Having financial issues.

Being late paying the bills because they got lost in a pile of papers is a common problem among people with ADHD. Reflexively hitting the “Buy” button on items beyond your budget is another trademark issue. Combine these habits with a lack of interest in monitoring financial accounts, and it can add up to increasing debt. Financial problems are often related to the disorganization and impulsivity that is commonly seen in people with ADHD.

GETTING AN ADHD DIAGNOSIS

Do these issues sound like you, or someone you love? If so, it’s a good idea to seek professional help to get a diagnosis. Some people may be concerned about getting diagnosed with ADHD. For example, you may be worried that it will diminish your self-esteem or increase feelings of shame. Getting a diagnosis can spark a variety of emotions. You may be irritated that you didn’t get diagnosed sooner, or you may feel a sense of loss over the relationships or opportunities that didn’t work out due to ADHD symptoms. Many people, however, feel relieved to understand why certain aspects of life have been such a struggle.

Learning about the connection between ADHD and the brain can be especially helpful. The brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics clearly shows that ADHD is a brain-based condition, not a character flaw or a lack of effort. The ADHD brain works differently and that there are 7 types of ADHD, each associated with specific brain activity patterns. Understanding that ADHD is a brain health issue empowers people to enhance the brain to build on ADHD strengths and to learn strategies to minimize ADHD symptoms.

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

9 Comments »

  1. Thanks for a great article.

    Comment by Timothy Lee — May 2, 2022 @ 5:48 AM

  2. I’d love for you to address how sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea are tied into this.

    Comment by Robin — May 2, 2022 @ 6:07 AM

  3. Very helpful and informative!

    Comment by Keith Crews — May 2, 2022 @ 6:57 AM

  4. I suspect I do have adult ADHD, and probably have my whole life. I’m 63 now, and am concerned about starting a med that could put stress on my heart and other organs. What is the answer?

    Comment by Dawn Capewell — May 2, 2022 @ 7:15 AM

  5. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and really couldn’t describe what the symptom were but apparently a Dr. Thought that I had it . As an adult I can see what some of the symptoms are now . The biggest and probably most frustrating symptom is when I’m trying to research something and when reading I notice my attention fades from what I’m reading and I have to constantly reread something to get he information in . Another is trying to explain the information that I’ve just learned even though I understand the information I have a very difficult reciting the information .

    Comment by Jeremy — May 2, 2022 @ 2:05 PM

  6. I’ve always thought I was ADD but recently my adult son researched aDHD. P asked hisDrto let hi try Ritalin. It has helped him so much- with confidence and to stop procrastinating. I’m 65 can it also help me be less overwhelmed and disorganized?

    Comment by Jackie J — May 2, 2022 @ 8:24 PM

  7. I have found to share some ADD type behaviors but my real find was NON Verbal Disorder which I have I identify with symptoms which I had always attributed to brain trauma, moving location’s while in school and perhaps trauma due to losing loved ones. Do you have any other information to share about this disorder and how it would present in an adult over sixty. I am presently on sabbatical from work because of ongoing issues. I cannot afford a scan at this time but I have considered it. Thank you Shelly Wilson

    Comment by Patricia Wilson — May 3, 2022 @ 11:34 AM

  8. interesting article!

    Comment by Douglas — May 5, 2022 @ 8:30 AM

  9. Woah! After reading this article, I think I should share this with my cousin so he’ll bring her daughter for further evaluation as urgently as possible. No one has ever told me that ADHD can cause severe disruption in someone’s interpersonal relationship if not addressed properly. He thinks she has a similar medical condition because she always forgets what time it is and be way too preoccupied with one task.

    Comment by Amy Saunders — June 1, 2022 @ 7:11 PM

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