Jerry is 40 years old and has a history of changing jobs often. He is easily bored. Jerry’s wife is frustrated with all the home projects Jerry starts and never finishes. He seems easily distracted.
A trip to the doctor landed Jerry a referral to a psychologist for an ADHD evaluation. When Jerry received the diagnosis, it all made sense. As a child, he struggled in school despite being very bright. He lost things, forgot to turn in homework and excelled in subjects that were his passion. Because he wasn’t hyperactive and few people talked about ADHD, Jerry’s struggles were chalked up to a lack of self-control.
But Jerry’s diagnosis is not a matter of poor self-discipline, bad parenting or distractibility. He has a heritable condition that affects 4.1 percent of adults in any given year (The National Institute of Mental Health). Adults with ADHD had the condition when they were children, but may have gone undiagnosed. Now, celebrities such as Ty Pennington, Karina Smirnoff, Shane Victorino and baseball player Andres Torres bring awareness to the diagnosis and are good examples of people who thrive with treatment.
When the new DSM-5 comes out May 2013, a person must have three inattentive and four hyperactivity symptoms present for a minimum of six months. Those symptoms usually interfere with social, academic or work activities.
Check the list below to see if you or someone you know might need an evaluation. Treatment can make life much easier. Find a therapist and learn how to be one of the people who thrive despite the diagnosis of ADHD.
__ Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes.
__ Often have trouble remaining focused during lectures, conversations or while reading.
__When spoken to directly, your mind seems elsewhere even in the absence of any apparent distraction.
__ Often do not follow through on instructions and fail to finish work or chores.
__Often have difficulty organizing tasks and activities, so you fail to meet deadlines.
__Often avoid, dislike or are reluctant to undertake tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports or completing forms.
__Often lose things you need for tasks, such as books, wallet, paperwork or cell phone.
__Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
__Forgetful in daily activities such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills and keeping appointments.
__ Fidget with or tap your hands or feet, or squirm while seated.
__Gets up when remaining seated is expected, such as at work.
__Often run around where it is inappropriate.
__Unable to quietly engage in leisure activities, such as reading or gardening.
__ Often unable or uncomfortable sitting still for an extended time, as in restaurants or meetings.
__Often talk excessively.
__ Often blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences or cannot wait your turn in conversation.
__ Have trouble waiting your turn, such as in line at a bank or store.
__ Often interrupt others by butting into conversations or activities.