Time is ticking, but you can’t focus on work, and you’re afraid that missing yet another deadline may cost you your job. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten a significant birthday, making yourself look insensitive when in fact, you do care a lot, but your brain tends to get disorganized and forgetful.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) makes it harder to focus, organize your time, and remember important events. But since we’ve all had moments when we experienced at least some of the symptoms, how can you tell the difference between a typical lousy day and ADHD?
To help you find out, we asked our expert, Dr. Gail Zimmerman, about the signs that may indicate you have ADHD.
ADHD doesn’t develop when you’re an adult. To meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis, you need to experience persistent symptoms, some of which occurred before 12.
Symptoms range in severity, and some people may learn to mask their symptoms. For example, coffee may improve your symptoms because it’s a stimulant.
ADHD symptoms include the following:
- Low tolerance to stress
- Trouble switching from one task to another
- Trouble finishing tasks
- Frequent loss of personal belongings
- Short attention span
- Poor planning
- Short temper
- Mood swings
As you grow older, you may learn to adapt and mask some of your symptoms. For example, you may be able to fight the tendency to be in motion at all times. Still, your hyperactivity may manifest itself in other ways, such as frequently interrupting others when talking and monopolizing conversations.
The ADHD brain
There’s still a stigma attached to ADHD. Many believe that people with ADHD would do better if they’d learn to be more organized and try harder.
However, brain scans tell a different story. ADHD is very much real — so much so that there are structural differences between the ADHD brain and the neurotypical brain.
For example, studies show that patients diagnosed with ADHD have a smaller amygdala and hippocampus. Coincidentally, these areas are linked to processing emotions and mood regulation.
Brain scans that look at the blood flow and the brain’s activity also show that patients with ADHD have lower activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal area is responsible for regulating attention, planning, and organizing, and it plays a vital role in personality development.
Find out if you have ADHD
Do you or a loved one experience symptoms that make it hard to stay organized, maintain relationships, cope with stress, or pay attention to conversations and tasks?
If so, contact us to schedule an appointment. We can help you understand what your symptoms mean and determine whether or not ADHD could be what’s causing them.