Do you think you might have ADHD? Does your child, sibling, or parent have it? Maybe some of the information here has you wondering, “Could it be…?” Maybe it’s time to find out.
You don’t have to display all the symptoms of ADHD to be diagnosed with it. For example, some people may present with only inattentive symptoms of ADHD and may not show any signs of hyperactivity or impulsivity. Only a trained doctor or mental health professional can determine whether or not you have ADHD.
It is a common public misconception that ADHD is over-diagnosed,
often reinforced by the media. In fact, the prevalence of ADHD (the percentage
of people that have it) has remained the same over the past 30 years. Furthermore, less than 20% of adults who have ADHD are currently diagnosed and/or receiving treatment from
Diagnosis is a complex process that is made carefully by a trained doctor or mental health professional. Although many people exhibit some of the symptoms some of the time, people with ADHD experience many more of the symptoms, more often, and to a greater extent. The symptoms must be considered an impairment to daily functioning, be recognized in more than one setting, and persist for at least 6 months for a diagnosis to occur.
The disorder occurs in both boys and girls,, although boys are four to nine times more likely to be diagnosed. Girls are more prone to inattentive type ADHD (demonstrating disorganized and unfocused behaviour), which more often goes unnoticed compared to the disruptive, impulsive conduct typically seen in boys with ADHD. Girls with ADHD also tend to have higher rates of overall distress, anxiety, and depression compared to boys with ADHD.
While it’s true that some ADHD symptoms subside or change over time, the majority of children with ADHD will continue to experience the symptom challenges as adults. If you’ve only just realized that you might have ADHD, it’s not too late to get treatment for it!
Statements like this can be hurtful to people with ADHD. It may help to know that ADHD is not something that can be turned on or off at will. There are actual differences in the way the brains of people with ADHD work, and this is what leads to inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
People with ADHD find it difficult to regulate their attention. They are not just distracted or absentminded. Others may misconstrue the ability of someone with ADHD to “hyper focus” on stimulating activities (like video games) or creative activities (such as Lego or drawing) for hours as an example that the person can focus but lacks willpower. Being unable to break or prioritize focus is a core symptom of ADHD.