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Is Adult ADHD Real?

written by: jamesj • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 9/24/2010

Adult ADHD has three major symptoms, and when a person consistently has them -- impulsivity, hyperactivity, and distractibility -- they likely have ADHD. These symptoms shown consistently and over a period of time, are an indication that the person has the condition, and that ADHD is real.

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    Attitudes

    Some people wonder if adult adhd is real. ADD and ADHD, especially in adults, is often joked about when people forget something, or when they get distracted, or make some sort of silly mistake. Some people feel ADHD is not real, but rather is something people could control. But people who have the condition believe it is real. The only question is, at what level do the symptoms become an actual problem? Several tests and score sheets are available, which can give you an idea of whether you might have ADHD.

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    Symptoms

    Everyone forgets something at times, or misses a key detail, or forgets an appointment now and then. What doctors look for is a consistent pattern. These symptoms must also rise to the level of disrupting your life or otherwise preventing you from functioning as well as you would like.

    There are three major symptoms to ADHD, which are Innatention, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity. About 30 percent of children who have ADHD continue to have it as adults, and about five percent of children have the condition. Many adults find out they have it when their children are diagnosed. Often it is at that time that adults see the symptoms in themselves.

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    Inattention

    Inattention is more than just forgetting or getting distracted, it is an inability to stay on the subject at hand. In some jobs where you must pay attention or keep up with several things at the same time, this would be an advantage. But in many jobs staying on task is important. It can also be disruptive in a work situation when you are suddenly talking about something unrelated to what is going on.

    Being distracted by irrelevant things, or losing and forgetting things, are key symptims of ADHD.

    Other affects of this innatention can be making careless mistakes or missing details. Difficulty following instructions, or remembering instructions, is another aspect of being easily distracted.

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    Hyperactivity

    Hyperactivity is often thought of as constant motion, but it can be a feeling or just the desire to always be moving.

    A person could be sitting still but continue fidgeting and displaying hyperactive tendencies without moving all that much, for instance. Hyperactivity can also take the form of always moving in some way, tapping a pencil or your feet, playing with your hair or clothing, or otherwise fidgeting with things.

    People who are hyperactive are always on the go, or wish they were. The symtoms are more subdued in adults, but it can still be there.

    The positve of this condition is that hyperactive people tend to keep going and do not get tired as quickly as other people. Once they do get focused, the hyperactive nature can help them accomplish more than the average person.

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    Impuslivity

    Making quick decisions is generally thought of as a positive trait, but when done recklessly, it is called being impuslive. An ADHD person might make a quick decision without much thought even on a life-changing event.

    ADHD people often take action without thinking about the consequences.

    In the same vein of impulsivity, an ADHD person may often interrupt others or make inappropriate comments at strange times. The person may have trouble waiting for his or her turn. It is a natural extension of the hyperactive nature of the ADHD person.