How to Determine When One Has ADHD - Yvonne Landau Skip to main content

How to Determine When One Has ADHD

Countless people move through life unaware that they have ADHD. What they do know is that “being normal” seems to be more of a struggle for them than most.

Some have a hard time maintaining relationships. Others can’t seem to stay on top of their responsibilities. Some struggle to hold down jobs. Others find housework or childcare demands hopelessly overwhelming. They’re constantly slipping up and letting other people down – which routinely triggers criticism, disappointment, and frustration. As a result, these individuals often harbor tremendous self-loathing.

They have no idea, however, that they alone can’t be blamed for their struggles. They’re dealing with a neurological difference that makes “normal living” harder to achieve without proper support and professional ADHD coaching.

How do these individuals discover their ADHD?

Often, when parents bring their children to get assessed for ADHD, learning about the true nature of the disorder makes them think, “This sounds a bit too familiar.” They consequently get assessed themselves – and, often, diagnosed. Other times, after years of struggling in their careers, marriage, or simple everyday functioning, individuals experience a breaking point which leads them to a mental health professional – and an ADHD diagnosis.

How can an adult determine if they should get assessed for ADHD?

At its core, ADHD is an executive functioning disorder. If you think you might have ADHD, look first toward your everyday functioning skills. How proficient are you at:

  • Managing time
  • Maintaining organization and cleanliness
  • Completing tasks
  • Transitioning from one task to another
  • Concentrating on a task
  • Making decisions
  • Regulating your emotions
  • Motivating yourself to fulfill your obligations
  • Managing your responsibilities

If you struggle in several of these areas, an ADHD assessment may indeed make sense for you. It doesn’t mean, however, that you definitely have ADHD. Every person is different. We all have different natures, personalities, childhood experiences, and life circumstances. Some people with ADHD receive such excellent skills-training in their childhood homes that their condition hardly affects them. Other people don’t actually have ADHD, but struggle with executive functioning because of unhealthy or traumatic life experiences, unrelated mental health conditions, or even simple lack of education.

Additionally, not every adult with ADHD presents with the same symptoms. Some might be highly organized and disciplined, successful in many areas of life, but struggling in others. In those cases, ADHD can be difficult to spot and diagnose.

Ultimately, a person seeking an ADHD diagnosis should visit a qualified ADHD professional for an assessment. Nobody other than a doctor, psychiatrist, or qualified mental health professional can truly diagnose ADHD.

Why should an adult seek a diagnosis?

Many adults who receive an ADHD diagnosis report that their lives improve significantly. Often, it starts with the validation that comes when they realize they’ve been blaming themselves for a biological issue they didn’t create. “A stone fell off my heart,” many relate, realizing “I’m not stupider, lazier, more callous, or more of a loser than everyone else. I have an actual condition which makes successful functioning more challenging.”

Aside from the validation, many newly-diagnosed adults report strong feelings of empowerment. Suddenly, they’ve discovered that their struggles are treatable. There are ADHD professionals who can teach them missing skills, help them navigate their struggles effectively, coach them toward healthy, successful lifestyles, and even ease their challenges through medication.

With this new world of help and treatment at their fingertips, many ADHD adults find themselves achieving levels of success, harmony, and quality of life they previously had only dreamed of.

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