Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on
September 23, 2021
Written by Dr. Inez Van Roy on:

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

How to know if you have ADD? This is one of the most frequent questions that people ask mental health professionals, especially psychiatrists. We’ll answer that question and more. 

Attention deficit disorder is a mental illness characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity. There are several facts about how it affects the brain. It is not always easy to know if an individual has ADD, but there are definite signs of how ADD can be seen in adults.

In this article, we will discuss how to tell if an adult has ADD. We will also discuss how they should go about getting treatment for their condition.

What is ADD exactly?

Inattentiveness, distractibility, and poor working memory are known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADD is now considered a form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Adults with ADD have trouble in school. They often forget about appointments and can’t do well on jobs where they need to pay attention. But there are ways to help them.

A form of ADHD that is now known as predominantly inattentive type causes these symptoms. ADD is no longer a medical term. ADD is occasionally applied to a certain set of ADHD symptoms associated with the bigger category.

How do you confirm if you have ADD?

Usually, how to tell if someone has ADD is that their symptoms interfere with how they function on a daily basis. The person may have difficulty in school or at work. They are preoccupied with seemingly easy activities.

This might be attempting to finish an assignment for hours without being able to do so. Other symptoms may include how forgetful an adult with ADD can be. ADD is a disorder that interferes with how an adult can function.

Can you self-diagnose ADD?

You should not self-diagnose yourself with ADD. ADD is a serious and complicated condition. It’s difficult to determine whether someone has ADD. The best thing for you to do is talk with a mental health professional who knows how to diagnose this disorder properly.

They will have the training needed in order to know if an adult has ADD. Medical professionals are able to differentiate how ADHD affects different people.

This ensures that you do have a mental disorder that gets misdiagnosed as something else. You will only be diagnosed following an in-depth interview with a psychiatrist or psychologist. During this interview, they may inquire about your school, job, and personal life.

You might have ADD symptoms. It is far better to have it identified by a professional. A medical expert will be able to determine how an individual’s symptoms are affecting their ability to function in their daily lives.

Individuals who suspect they may have ADHD should not self-diagnose. This might lead to inappropriate treatment of this mental health condition.

ADD Symptoms

ADD is now categorized as predominantly inattentive type ADHD. Inattentive type ADHD has different symptoms than hyperactive-impulsive or combined ADHD.

ADD is characterized by an ongoing pattern of inattention that interferes with how a person functions in everyday life. Symptoms must have been present for at least six months.

They must to some extent interfere with the individual’s job, interactions with others, or any other aspect of his or her life.

There are several different types of ADHD that can be diagnosed:

  • Predominantly inattentive type attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD-PI),
  • Predominantly Hyperactive impulsive type attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD-PH)
  • Combined type Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A person will have symptoms of both inattentive ADHD and hyperactive ADHD.

The main symptoms for ADD or predominantly inattentive type ADHD are:

  • Poor working memory
  • Inattention
  • Distractibility
  • Poor executive function

How do you know if a girl has ADD?

The form of ADD that a girl has will determine how to identify her condition. Females often have undiagnosed ADHD. This is because they usually suffer from inattentive ADHD.

The ADHD symptoms of the inattentive type are not as visible as the symptoms of the hyperactive type. Females can also have ADD that is a combined type of ADHD.

The symptoms of inattentive ADD are the same for females as they are for males, with one exception. Girls with ADHD may act passively or dependently rather than hyperactively. This may be why more girls go undiagnosed with this disorder until their teen years or early adulthood.

The symptoms for girls with ADHD are usually not as recognized as they are for boys. This has to do with girls having inattentive type ADHD. They do not outwardly act hyperactive or have disruptive behavior. Their ADHD then goes unnoticed until adulthood.

ADD Test for Adults

There are different tests that a doctor can give you to see if you have ADD. The different tests will tell if it affects how you do things on a daily basis.

It is never too late to take advantage of ADHD therapy. After taking this ADHD test, you may discover that you or loved ones have signs of ADHD.

If symptoms persistently disrupt your life for at least 6 months, you could have adult ADHD. If you think you have adult ADHD, see a medical healthcare professional for an evaluation.

If any of the following statements are true for you, please checkmark them:

  1. You have a difficult time keeping things organized.
  2. You usually procrastinate on tasks.
  3. You can’t seem to complete most of your projects. You have bad time management skills.
  4. You tend to make quick decisions and act on them impulsively.
  5. You get bored with mundane tasks easily.
  6. You have the feeling that no matter how hard you try you just cannot get ahead in life.
  7. You have difficulty concentrating when others are talking. You cannot focus on what they are saying and zone out.
  8. You tend to extensively focus on one task so much that it is hard to take a break.
  9. You get easily frustrated or impatient.
  10. You have low self-esteem.
  11. You tend to need a lot of stimulation. This can be fast driving or parties.
  12. You blurt things out without thinking first.
  13. You tend to not follow rules.
  14. You tend to be easily distracted by outside stimuli.
  15. You make careless mistakes.
  16. You overdo things, even if they are bad for you. An example of this is substance abuse.
  17. You have relatives who have a medical history of ADHD. They may also have a neurological condition or partake in substance abuse.
  18. You worry a lot about things that could go wrong, yet you are careless and prone to accidents.
  19. When you are separated from people or things you enjoy being involved with, you often feel down and melancholy.
  20. You have nervous energy and find yourself doing repetitive tasks.

This test is a general guide to adult ADHD symptoms. You may or may not have adult ADHD if any of these statements are true for you.

Do I have ADD?

You may not always be able to tell if someone has ADD. This is because most people with ADD are highly intelligent. Many adults with this condition have high IQs and advanced degrees, but they often struggle in social situations.

Adults with ADHD often go undiagnosed. Adult ADHD is overlooked because oftentimes adults think that ADHD is only something children have.

Sometimes ADHD is mistaken for other mental disorders. Other mental illnesses that are mistaken for ADHD are depressions and bipolar disorder. These mental disorders have symptoms that resemble ADHD.

What is ADD?

ADD is no longer a medical term used by mental health professionals. It is outdated and no longer a medical diagnosis. The term ADD is still often used to refer to a subset of ADHD symptoms. ADD is now classified as inattentive type attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The term “ADD” is now used to describe ADHD symptoms of inattention, distractibility, and poor working memory. Predominantly inattentive type ADHD presents itself differently than other forms of ADHD.

People that have ADD usually lack the hyperactivity that ADHD is known for. Inattentive type ADHD sufferers might daydream or appear to not be interested in the world around them.

They can be unorganized at school and work. They are also prone to be very forgetful. They lose things and have a hard time following instructions.

Signs of ADD in Adults

If you are an adult without an ADHD diagnosis, there are some signs you can look for. These signs include:

Untreated ADHD in Adults

Adult ADHD frequently goes untreated. Many adults do not realize that ADHD is not just a childhood mental health disorder. Adults with ADHD that go untreated can have issues at work, with relationships, and in their daily life.

Leaving adults without a proper ADHD diagnosis can leave them at risk for major symptoms. Adults with ADHD can suffer from low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

Women, in general, are more likely to experience these symptoms. Women are also more likely to have major psychological distress like anxiety disorders and depression. This chronic stress can lead to other health issues.

Adults with ADHD often have relationships that suffer from the stress of their mental health condition. Spouses of adults with ADHD sometimes feel more neglected than those living with people who do not have ADHD.

Husbands of women with ADHD tend to be less tolerant of their spouses’ behavior than wives of men with ADHD.

Research also indicates that untreated ADHD in adults can lead to job instability. Adults with ADHD may be less likely to graduate from high school or college. This leads to a less stable income. Adults with ADHD may also have a harder time focusing at work. This may get them fired and keep them from holding down a long-term job.

Parents who have ADHD may cause more conflicts with their children. ADHD parents have a harder time controlling their emotions and impulses. This can lead to frustration and conflict with their children.

How to know if you have ADD?

The following are some of the symptoms of inattentive ADHD. This is according to the American Psychiatric Association:

  • Doesn’t pay attention to details or makes basic blunders while doing school or job activities.
  • Has a hard time staying focused on tasks or activities.
  • He or she does not appear to pay attention when spoken to (i.e., appears to be elsewhere).
  • Does not follow instructions and does not finish schoolwork, chores, or job duties (may start tasks but soon lose interest).
  • Has trouble organizing activities and work. For example, does not manage time effectively. Also has unorganized, disorganized work and misses deadlines.
  • Avoiding or disliking activities that need constant mental effort. Examples are creating reports and filling out forms.
  • Loses or leaves behind necessary materials for daily activities or hobbies. School papers, books, keys, wallets, phones, and glasses are all possible casualties
  • Is easily distracted.
  • Forget routine activities such as chores and shopping. Phone calls may go unanswered, bills may not be paid, and appointments may be forgotten.

ADD Treatment 

The symptoms of ADHD can be reduced using psychotherapy and medicines. Behavioral therapy and medicine have been shown to help most people, particularly those with moderate to severe ADHD, the most.

Behavioral therapy for ADHD focuses on alleviating the signs and symptoms. Learning how to praise excellent behavior and penalize terrible behavior.

This type of therapy teaches parents and teachers how to do this. Behavior therapy requires lots of planning, but it can help kids learn how to behave. It might also help adults with ADHD who have trouble organizing themselves.

There are two types of ADHD medicines: stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulant medications are highly effective treatments. They have been used for decades with no significant problems. Ritalin and other types of stimulants are included.

Children who take these drugs must be closely watched by their parents and doctors, just like all other medicines. Atomoxetine and guanfacine are two non-stimulant medications.

They have been found to help with ADHD symptoms. These medications are alternatives for people who don’t respond well to stimulants or who want a non-stimulant.

Concluding Thoughts

It can be difficult to know if you have ADD. For many people, it may take years and visits to multiple doctors before they receive a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD.

However, there are ways that you can help yourself find out whether your symptoms point towards the condition. If you’re feeling like something has been off for some time now, we encourage you to start by taking our free online assessment test today!

Our medical professionals will review your results with care. They will make recommendations on what to do, based on their accurate understanding of what is going on in your life right now. Why wait? Start here!

 

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