What Do Adult ADHD Symptoms Look Like?
Lack of focus is something many of us can relate to. We can have short-term lack of focus on our daily activities, or it can encompass something larger. As adults with ADHD, we may go from job to job or relationship to relationship, never really having a clear picture of the life we want. This is one of the areas that treatment can help.
On the other end of the spectrum is hyperfocus. When we love something, and it really stimulates us, we can focus on that alone to the point of not caring about anything else, including our relationships or personal hygiene. Being in hyperfocus mode can feel amazing, but coming out of it can leave us drained and exhausted. Balance is important.
While we can crave organization and routine, it is easy to become disorganized. Calendars, reminder apps, planners, and alarms can help us stay on top of things – if we can only remember where our things are.
Anyone else constantly loses track of time causing you to be consistently late? You aren’t alone. Forgetting important events like birthdays, forgetting doctor’s appointments, or forgetting what you went into a room to do, is common. My long-term memory is great, but sometimes I don’t think I even have a short-term memory. I couldn’t repeat a phone number back to someone if they threatened to set me on fire. This is why I write everything down, even if I don’t think I will need to.
Impulsiveness is something else those of us with ADHD can struggle with. Impulsive spending is an all too common problem, but acting without thinking of the consequences can be a trouble spot for many.
Emotional problems can also be a symptom of ADHD. Anxiety and depression can go with ADHD, but we can also have problems resulting from a lifetime of feeling inferior. I think we can also experience difficulties from the pressure we put on ourselves to be more like everyone else.
For those of us diagnosed as an adult with ADHD, we spent our childhoods wondering what was wrong with us and building our walls, as well as our habits. To be honest, sometimes changing our mindset can be hard or a challenge.
A poor self-image (and self-esteem) can come from years of not feeling like we can measure up. Years of judging ourselves harshly for symptoms we didn’t have the tools or know how to control takes time to undo. This can be especially true for those who grew up in households where they were punished for their ADHD behaviors.
Since I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, it is easy for me to see that my poor self-image and even lack of motivation were due to a lifetime of feeling inadequate and feeling like I failed at everything I have ever tried. This lack of motivation came from fear of failure of not knowing where to start, being overwhelmed, or not feeling good enough to try things.
Restlessness and anxiety can appear as the adult who never seems to be able to sit still. Constantly moving, they can make others tired just watching them. They don’t know how to turn their brains off and relax.
Anxiety often goes hand-in-hand with ADHD and can include fearing things that have not happened yet, or fearing what will happen. It can be anxiety over being in public, or of failing. I have social anxiety and most of my life I have found that to be the bigger hurdle for me. I freeze up when I’m in a social situation, especially with people I don’t know or don’t know well. No matter what my brain is screaming, my body will not cooperate with me.
Fatigue and health problems can be common for those with ADHD. We often don’t sleep very well, and we also often don’t take very good care of ourselves because it’s not a priority.
Having ADHD can almost guarantee that at some point you will experience problems in your relationship. We are a wonderfully creative, intelligent bunch, but sometimes our ADHD symptoms can cause us to act in less than desirable ways. It takes work not just on our part, but on the part of our loved ones too, to reduce misunderstanding, fix communication problems, and the friction that ADHD can bring to any relationship.
Unfortunately, substance abuse is all too common among those with ADHD. Some professionals say that the impulsive nature of ADHD could be one cause for substance abuse.
Taking Care of Yourself
If you believe you have ADHD, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider as they can assist you with getting a proper diagnosis and offer more information on testing and next steps.
If you have ADHD, taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is vital. When you take care of your mind and body, ADHD symptoms are much easier to control. Eating properly, exercising, using coping strategies, and getting enough rest is an excellent place to start.
While there are many ADHD treatment options available to you, including medication, therapy, and natural or alternative remedies, it’s important to know that there is no right or wrong type of ADHD treatment. We all find what works best for us, and often it is a combination of many things.
Having ADHD can be a positive experience. Some things may be a little more difficult to us, but our out of the box thinking can also serve us well. By understanding how our brain works, we can set ourselves up for success. It also helps to be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time too.
While it isn’t always easy to live with ADHD or to love someone with ADHD, no life is ever without its struggles.
Even if you just start at becoming knowledgeable about your condition and it’s symptoms, understanding your ADHD triggers, what type of treatment options you have, and put self-care at the top of your priority list, because with a little self-care and understanding in your life, living with ADHD can become a little easier.
Just do the best that you can!