If you are struggling with inattention or hyperactivity but wonder if you are too old to be diagnosed with ADHD, you are not alone.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presents as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. Sometimes inattention is dominant, sometimes hyperactivity is dominant, and sometimes there is a combination of the two.
Undiagnosed ADHD is one of the most common developmental disorders, affecting millions of adults each year, along with their relationships. A common misunderstanding about ADHD is that it is a diagnosis that only applies to kids. But the reality is that many bright, high-achieving, and successful professionals struggle with distractibility and hyperactivity.
Children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. Adults who made it through childhood without a diagnosis might only start to notice that their inattention in getting in the way of their goals or relationships as life becomes increasingly more complex and challenging.
3 signs that you may have symptoms of ADHD:
ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsivity and/or inattention that interferes with your ability to function in nearly all spheres of life including work and school, managing finances, relationships, and parenting.
Here are 3 common symptoms that may indicate that you are struggling with symptoms of ADHD:
Impulsivity. Decisions are made quickly and it is easy for you to get derailed. Instant gratification often wins over long-term rewards. Impulsivity might sometimes look like being abrupt in social settings.
Inattention. You lose focus easily, and find difficulty getting started with or staying focused on tasks. You might also notice that you especially struggle with activities that require sustained mental effort, and have difficulty getting organized.
Hyperactivity. In your adult self, you might notice that hyperactivity manifests as extreme restlessness, talking, or wearing others out with constant activity. If you think back to your behavior as a kid, you might have memories of excessive fidgeting and restlessness when you were supposed to be sitting still and focusing.
But I can get by (most of the time)...
If you a high achieving adult who live with undiagnosed ADHD, you have likely adjusted your life to accommodate your inattention.
Maybe you are a perennial entrepreneur, or someone who likes to have a lot of tasks and projects going on at the same time. Perhaps you have even scheduled your work day to meet your hyperactivity needs, creating a flexible schedule for yourself and working in a variety of settings. For the most part, it seems like your ADHD symptoms aren’t getting in your way. Maybe they even drive you and work in your favor most of the time.
Except for when they don’t.
The first step in tackling the problem is getting the proper diagnosis.
We want to empower you to keep up with what's working, and find alternatives for what is not. We only want to help you change what you want to change.
We are here to help you recognize your strengths, and overcome the embarrassment and insecurities that may have accumulated as a result of your undiagnosed symptoms. We will work with you to develop behavioral techniques to minimize the disruption and emotional toll ADHD can cause in your life. Our goal for you is that you feel more at peace and empowered in your life and relationships.
— Colin Boylan, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Berkeley, CA