“Dang! The boss called me into her office again. She said if the next project is late it could cost me my job. I’m so disorganized! What’s going on?”
A diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has traditionally been reserved for children and adolescents. But more and more adults are being diagnosed and seeking treatment.
Let’s see if we can wrap our arms around adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in two parts. We’ll kick things off today by describing it and reviewing an assessment “quiz.”
What Does Adult ADHD Look Like?
Keep in mind that childhood/adolescent and Adult ADHD aren’t identical twins. It’s also important to remember that adult symptoms will vary according to lifestyle.
Okay, let’s take a look at six major areas of executive functioning often impacted by adult ADHD…
- Activation: May lead to procrastination, issues with getting started on projects, messiness, disorganization, and problems with prioritizing tasks – which can cause problems with estimating the amount of time a task may take.
- Focus: The inability to screen-out distractions is huge. Presenting may be zoning-out when others are talking, and random topic-hopping during conversation. Reading words over and over in an effort to grasp meaning is another potential issue.
- Effort and Persistence: Symptoms may include difficulty in sustaining effort over long periods of time, issues with beginning multiple tasks, missing deadlines, difficulty going to sleep at night, and problems with staying focused during the day.
- Emotion: Problems with regulating emotions are common. Also presenting may be becoming bored easily, low tolerance for frustration, chronic worrying, a quick temper, and unstable and unpredictable moods.
- Memory: Common are problems with remembering things, inability to recall conversations, forgetting appointments, and misplacing things.
- Action: Often seen are issues with self-regulation and self-control. Typical are speaking without thinking, acting impulsively without regard for consequences, problems with delaying gratification, and rash and thoughtless decisions.
No doubt, those are some tough symptoms. And it’s easy to understand how and why they can kick a severe dent into one’s life, and the lives of those around them.
So what’s a good first-step in coming to a diagnosis and treatment?
The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) Symptom Checklist was developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD.
It’s typically used by emotional/mental health and medical professionals to spark conversation with clients and patients. The mission is to determine if they’re experiencing symptoms in sufficient quantity and quality to merit further assessment and treatment.
I’m going to provide the 18 questions asked in the assessment, and I’ll give you a link to the full document, with instructions and scoring, at the end…
- How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
- How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
- How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
- When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?
- How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
- How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?
- How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?
- How often do you have difficulty keeping your attention when you are doing boring or repetitive work?
- How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
- How often do you misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
- How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?
- How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
- How often do you feel restless or fidgety?
- How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
- How often do you find yourself talking too much when you are in social situations?
- When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to, before they can finish them themselves?
- How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required?
- How often do you interrupt others when they are busy?
Click here to go to the actual Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1) Symptom Checklist.
Come Back Tomorrow
Well, that gets us off to a great start in our Adult ADHD discussion. Be sure to come tomorrow for a chat about treatment. I’ll also provide more resources.
image credit nydailynews.com