According to an ADAA study over 4% of the adult population suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is considered that over 60% of the children who suffer from this condition carry it with them into their adulthood. If you never get a proper diagnosis, you might live your entire life without knowing if you have ADHD or not.
Adult test for adults and kids can easily reveal the extent of this disorder on you or your family members. If you struggle with anxiety, procrastination, difficulties in maintaining focus and impulsiveness, you might be suffering from chronic ADHD. This article will teach you everything you need to know about this condition and how you can evaluate its symptoms for yourself.
Table of contents
- Introduction to the main signs of ADHD
- Main signs explained
- Weird / bizarre symptoms
- Why and how ADHD is tested
- Adult tests
- Tests for kids
- Best / recommended medication
- Side effects of ADHD drugs
- Natural, proven remedies
- Psychological help
- Similar conditions to ADHD
Main signs that you might have ADHD
Adults that struggle with attention deficit disorder suffer from more or less the same symptoms.
These include, but do not refrain to, 10 major warning signs of ADHD:
- Emotional turmoil;
- Relationship problems;
- Failure to keep focus;
- Difficulty in following simple instructions;
- Distractive driving;
- Organizing issues;
- Low self-esteem;
- Outbursts of excessive energy;
- Inability to meet work deadlines.
All these visible signs indicate the presence of a mental disorder that has a severe impact on your lifestyle. To obtain a reliable diagnosis and establish whether you have ADHD or not, you have to run a series of tests.
Major signs explained
There are 10 major signs of ADHD that occur in both kids and adults. It takes over six months of repetitive behavior that includes at least 6 of these symptoms to diagnose somebody with this mental disorder. This can be done with the help of professional medical staff or with periodic tests that examine the subject’s behavior in hypothetical situations. The 3 most important signs that define an ADHD sufferer can easily be observed even by an untrained eye. Here they are:
Failure to keep focus
A person that suffers from attention deficit disorder has a hard time keeping attention on everything that happens around them. This unfortunate behavior can lead to minor disagreements in a social context or even to tragic road accidents, depending on how much that person is affected by ADHD.
If you often fail to focus on the details of your work or other activity, you could be suffering from a mild, incipient form of ADHD. The same goes if your mind occasionally drifts off during a conversation with somebody and you struggle to pay attention to their words. The bad news is that this practice allows the brain to develop an unhealthy habit of avoiding certain tasks that require a deep mental effort.
Complete lack of organizing skills
The next problem that most ADHD patients have to deal with is the lack of organizing skills. It seems that no matter how hard they try, they rarely manage to meet deadlines on their work or reach the airport before the plane takes off. The main causes for this behavioral failure are procrastination, the inability to focus and the lack of any prioritization techniques.
If you have a difficulty of keeping your workspace or your own home in order, you might be suspect of a regular form of ADHD. Other signs include being distracted easily from work or delaying important tasks until it is too late to complete them. Almost every night you go to bed with a to-do list that barely has any scratch on it and which remains like that for days. The lack of focus contributes to this problem and adds even more issues to your disorganized lifestyle. The bad news is that without any organizing skills you risk losing your job, your social connections and even the relationship with your loved one.
Outbursts of excessive energy
Most ADHD sufferers have a hard time investing their energy productively. Their hyperactivity nature forces them into outbursts that are sometimes aggressive or socially inacceptable. These are the same people who fidget or tap their hands and feet when sitting down. They are the ones who cannot stay put and who sometimes engage in violent and unnecessary physical conflicts over minor disagreements.
If you have a history of impulsiveness and restlessness, you might be suffering from an advanced form of ADHD. Combined with the lack of focus and organizing skills, this behavioral defect can have a major negative impact on your social life. Other signs that your hyperactivity is completely obvious to the ones around you include nervous ticks and a constant “on the go” attitude. Also, if people often tell you that you talk too much or ask you to stop interrupting them you should strongly consider medical advice for your disorder.
Most of the ADHD symptoms have a negative effect on your social life. The inability to reach simple goals results in low self-esteem. No confidence leads to emotional turmoil and even more restlessness. Basically, if left untreated this medical condition could send you on a downward spiral of failure and insecurity from where it is almost impossible to return. Fortunately, with professional help and ADHD adult tests, these issues can be alleviated, as long as you are aware of them.
Weird signs or no-signs for Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
It might come as a surprise but some people live all their lives carrying aggressive forms of ADHD without even realizing their condition. The popular saying of “it is what it is” seems to apply to all the blunders that these individuals go through during their existence. Their family and friends treat them as colorful characters of their groups while to the outside world they appear as socially awkward abnormalities.
The reason why some people keep their ADHD conditions flying under the radar is that they rarely show symptoms of this disorder. They drive carefully, they finish most of their tasks on time and they don’t have violent outbursts. This is what the others around them see. What they do not know is that the same people struggle with deep emotional insecurities, low self-esteem and constant restlessness. In fact, these signs never come to the surface of the individual’s behavior and when they do, they appear as an once-in-a-lifetime tantrum.
What tests can you perform?
The ideal ADHD test has to deliver two conclusions: whether the subject suffers from a deficit disorder and if there is the possibility of a worse medical ailment such as autism. The common tests performed on adults include intelligence quizzes, computer challenges and examinations of their memory or motor skills. A popular solution to find out if you suffer from this condition is to undergo an ADHD rating scale. This is a broad questionnaire that places you in hypothetical, yet specific social situations in order to grade your emotional response.
All ADHD testing methods can provide an initial diagnostic of the current state of your mental health. However, if you have a hunch that your kids could be struggling with this disorder, you will have to rely on a specific type of medical investigations. The following sections suggest the best ways to test for ADHD, for different age categories.
ADHD tests for adults
If you have the slightest impression that you are suffering from ADHD, you need to seek professional help from an experienced physician.
The first thing that you can do to determine the impact of this mental condition into your life is to undergo an ADHD test. Over the years, the medical field has elaborated a series of reliable methods of examination that can confirm the presence of the first signs of attention deficit / hyperactive disorder. The simplest forms of questionnaires regarding this matter can be accessed online. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional help from your doctor as soon as you check in positive to one or more broad-scale ADHD tests.
If you are suspicious of your children’s behavior and you believe that they manifest the initial symptoms of ADHD, you can consult the same web resources for a first, unofficial diagnostic. Thankfully, many of these tests have been constructed to address both adults and kids. So, before paying the pediatrician a visit, you should consult these online examinations. Most of them offer a quick resolution and they only imply imagining social situations that would usually lead to distractive, anxious or hyperactive behavior from your child.
Understanding adult ADHD
It used to be called Attention Deficit Disorder and it was mainly attributed to children. Overtime, unusual hyperactive behavior has been generally considered as an integral part of this medical condition. Clinical research has led to many solutions aimed to treat ADHD in children. Only recently it has been revealed that this disorder does not go away during the aging process. Even worse, more than half of the affected children continue to struggle with its side effects during their adult lives.
In the past, kids who would have trouble focusing on their tasks would usually be classified as lazy, slow or dim-witted by their teachers. Their more protective parents would, of course, label them as dreamers or bohemian spirits. During the same period, a child with impulsive or aggressive behavior was named a troublemaker and was universally considered a “bad apple”. Nowadays, we know that the first case is one of children suffering from attention deficit disorder, while the latter is the unfortunate case of a kid struggling with unnerving hyperactivity.
The bad news is that both of these conditions can severely alter the life quality of a future adult if they are left untreated. The inability to focus leads to problems like building a professional career, raising a family or simply paying the bills. On the other hand, the intense behavior of a hyperactive kid transforms the subject into a disorganized adult that is slowly but steadily overwhelmed by his destructive actions. Overtime, both disorders lead to chronic anxiety, depression and deep-rooted social seclusion.
The good news is that ADHD can be treated in both kids and adults. All that it takes is a thorough acknowledgement and education over this matter combined with a list of life-altering decisions. These may include diet changes, self-imposed behaviorism and professional help. Let’s take them bit by bit and find out which is the right way to fix your ADHD.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America only 20% of adults have received a proper diagnostic for their condition. Even more worrying is the fact that less than half of them look for a remedy. Before asking for a drug prescription from your doctor, you must know the entire spectrum of ADHD tests for adults that you can undergo. Try as many of them as you can to obtain a reliable solution.
Here they are:
The ADHD rating scale
This is the quickest way to find out if you have an attention deficit disorder. Most of these tests can be found online and consulted in less than 10 minutes. You can easily undergo one of them on your coffee break and discover whether your emotional gauge feels the pressure of hypothetical social situations.
Test mental and physical abilities
Through a series of small tests a doctor can determine if you have ADHD and whether your condition is amplified by other medical issues. Sometimes, memory loss or learning disabilities can increase the effects of the attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder. These investigations include IQ tests, vocabulary quizzes and a thorough examination of your motor skills.
To comply with today’s exposure to computer technology, many doctors ask their patients to undergo these ADHD tests. A common examination includes small applications that challenge the subject to maintain attention as long as possible. Based on a pre-determined rating sheet, a doctor can determine if you are showing symptoms of ADHD.
Last, but not least, the doctor may ask for a broad scanning of your brain activity. If all of the other methods fail to offer an exact image of your mental condition, a PET scan (positron emission tomography) or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will be used to determine your condition. Many representatives of the medical field believe that ADHD sufferers present small anomalies on their brains, which cannot be identified without this type of examinations.
What can you do about it?
Adult life can be a tricky experience for many people. If you find yourself constantly running out of time, missing deadlines, forgetting important dates and you cannot cope with all your responsibilities, you may be suffering from ADHD. There is no other way of going around this issue than to acknowledge it and seek the ideal remedy for it. People who fail to see this problem live in constant denial. Eventually, they are overwhelmed by their own disorder and risk losing their jobs or their relationships.
And here is an interesting infographic with facts about ADHD:
If you have decided to overcome your medical condition, you have already made your first step to recovery. Congratulations are in place, but before you get ahead of yourself you must know exactly what it takes to fix your ADHD. There are many solutions practiced and promoted by both the medical field professionals and homeopathic practitioners. Finding the right treatment for your disorder will take time, but once you discover it, you will finally obtain a much-needed stress relief.
Coaching for ADHD adults
A recent form of therapy has increased in popularity among ADHD patients: behavioral coaching. This practice is very similar to having a personal fitness trainer. The main difference is that your coach is not helping you build body mass or lose weight, but he is supporting you in overcoming your emotional problems. These professionals guide you into taking better decisions regarding your personal relationships and your professional career.
A reliable life coach can also use his micromanaging skills to organize even the smallest aspects of your life. As a result, you can achieve a new level of neatness to your daily schedule with pre-programmed tasks and activities that raise your productivity and increase your efficiency without drenching your energy levels. With the help of a good organizer you can finally escape the burden of time-managing all your chores and focus your attention on more important things.
When will I get rid of ADHD from my adult life?
Putting an ADHD diagnose on an adult is more difficult than on a child. However, it is easier for a mature person to reduce the side effects of this mental disorder than it is for a kid. An adult has access to more powerful medicine and understands better the extent of this affliction. Therefore, even if you will never be able to permanently get rid of ADHD from your life, you will find more accessible ways to deal with it.
The best way of curing ADHD is by getting used to living with it and countering all its negative consequences. This implies a healthier lifestyle filled with outdoor activities and social interactions. It also means that you have to plan every single detail of your professional life to ensure a steady job and a fruitful career. Managing your emotions will help you keep a happy relationship with your friends and family, while taking occasional ADHD tests will reveal your progress. It might seem like a lot of effort, but it prevents you from succumbing to depression and a subsequent addiction to stress medication.
Self-help for ADHD adults
Most doctors believe in a natural approach towards ADHD and its symptoms. They believe that a combination of carefully-planned behavioral changes and psychological help can reduce the signs of this mental disorder better than medication.
Here are the main steps that you should try as remedies for your ADHD issues, if you want to avoid prescribed medicine:
- Exercise regularly – a daily workout program can relieve depression and reduce hyperactivity
- Eat healthy foods – a balanced diet nurtures both your body and your mind. Eating a variety of natural foods will prevent mood swings and increase your energy.
- Sleep well – Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Build a routine that allows you to go to sleep at night at the same time and wake up refreshed with the dawn. This behavior will help you maintain focus on your goals and reduce daily stress.
- Avoid procrastination – Make the best of your time and don’t let your tasks pile up in your schedule. This way you will have more free time and feel less pressure from your job.
- Cultivate your relationships – Maintain an active social life. Meet with both your friends and your love interests and feel free to talk about your ADHD issues. This will help you feel more comfortable in their presence and it will reduce the usual anxiety associated with social interaction.
Tests for kids
ADHD can be diagnosed easier in children. Before the age of 12, some children manifest an unusual deficit of attention and hyperactivity. These conditions can severely affect their learning abilities and even impact on their primary socializing skills. If left untreated, kids can carry this medical condition throughout their lives and suffer from adverse side effects like anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
Here are the main ADHD tests for children that can prove if your kid is suffering from this mental affliction:
The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale
This is a resource test used by many pediatric doctors to determine if a child is suffering from ADHD and at what extent. The entire examination process consists of 55 questions that treat all the known symptoms associated with this disorder. This test also offers a clear image if the subject is tending more towards the attention deficit type or the hyperactive-impulsive behavior.
Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC)
ADHD symptoms are easier to notice in kids mainly because they lack control over their violent bursts or their distractive patterns. This test aims to determine how much a child is affected by the hyperactivity aspect of this disorder. That is why the entire process relies on the direct response to aggression and lack of conduct.
Child Behavior Checklist / Teacher Report Form (CBCL)
This test is usually performed on kids suspected of ADHD for a prolonged period of time. Some subjects enter the examining process at the age of 6 and undergo periodic investigations until they turn 18. The nature of this survey is to determine if this mental affliction can reverberate into much more serious issues like delinquent behavior, self-mutilation or depressive withdrawal. The entire process consists of a continuous exchange of reports between the parents, the teachers and the psychologists, all of whom are constant presences in the child’s life.
If all these methods fail to present a clear image of a kid’s struggle with ADHD, a doctor may ask for further medical exams. These investigations usually include brain scans, blood tests, hearing or eyesight tests and an analysis of the thyroid gland.
Behavior therapy for ADHD kids
Some parents cannot handle the ADHD issues of their children. To decrease their apathy or their hyperactivity, these tutors usually head directly to the medicine cabinet and feed their kids with prescribed medication. While these drugs have a short-time effect of stress-relief for both the parents and the children, it is hard to say what the long-term effects will be on their developing brains.
A much safer way to deal with your kid’s ADHD is to establish a behavior therapy that he or she can follow on a regular basis. This program has to have a positive and pleasant nature in order to attract the child’s attention and commitment. Here is how the two forms of this mental disorder can be approached when a kid is involved:
Children with attention deficit disorder need a radical change in their environments. For example, their study room should be free of any electronic devices like TV’s, radios or computers, which could easily offer a distraction from homework. Next, a system of “deeds and rewards” should be established between the parents and their kids. If the latter can achieve simple goals like punctuality, meeting deadlines and keep focus on their school activities, they will receive a gradually increasing bonus.
Children with hyperactivity disorder require a constant modeling of their behavior. For example, they should always be corrected when they talk excessively or they interrupt others. They should also be confronted with their impulsive actions without punitive actions, but with calm and collected dialogue.
How long does it take to cure ADHD in kids?
ADHD in kids does not have a speedy resolution, nor does it have a permanent cure. The best way to counter its effects is to acknowledge it from an early age and treat it as good as possible to relieve the stress on the future adult. This mental disorder is hard to identify in children younger than 5 years old. Nevertheless, if symptoms like apathy, the inability to focus or hyperactivity manifest past this age, you should perform an ADHD test on your kid.
If the result of an initial examination is positive, the process of ADHD alleviation requires extensive attention from both the parents and the doctors. With careful planning, the kid can develop social skills that treat both his anxiety and his impulsiveness. As soon as he reaches the puberty age, your child is ready to work with a life organizer, a psychologist or a coach. These professionals will help him set goals and establish strategies through which to complete them. As a parent, you must understand that this is a long-term process which only becomes fruitful once your kid grows up to become a fully functional adult.
The best ADHD medication
There is a wide range of ADHD drugs available on the market. Most of this medication can help sufferers deal with problems like anxiety, impulsiveness and focus lapses. However, none of these remedies should be taken without a doctor’s prescription. Some of them may have adverse side effects, especially if they interact with other pills or supplements.
The first thing you need to know about ADHD medication is what it can do for you. The ideal drug for attention deficit disorder or hyperactive behavior is not the one that gets more commercial time on TV, but the one which addresses your specific needs. If you have problems maintaining your concentration or channeling your energy, then a drug for hyperactivity will not do you any good. On the other hand, if you are constantly on the edge and suffer from impulsive outbreaks, you should ask your doctor for a stress-relief medicine and not a stimulant for depression.
The most common ADHD treatments available right now include medicinal products like:
Remember! All of these drugs have a different effect on your metabolism. It is crucial that you first obtain a certified diagnostic and a doctor’s prescription before taking any of them.
Side effects of ADHD drugs
It is important to know that ADHD drugs do not cure this medical condition. Their action is simply aimed at a temporary relief from the bothering symptoms of this affliction. For example, stimulant pills are designed to improve focus and to reduce the episodes of day-dreaming distractions. However, these drugs can have an adverse effect for people who are struggling with heart-related problems, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. Persons who have had a history of anxious moments or panic attacks should also refrain from undergoing a treatment that includes stimulant medicine for attention deficit disorder.
Hyperactivity can overpower any individual, regardless of age. If you are struggling with restlessness and constant agitation, you should choose an ADHD medication that boosts the level of norepinephrine, a relaxation-inducing brain chemical. Users should be advised that these drugs also include side effects like sleepiness, dizziness and abdominal pains.
ADHD medication should be used for kids only in exceptional cases. Although the FDA has approved a series of reliable drugs that treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children, the safety of these pills has not been completely confirmed. Some of them have even been dubbed as dangerous, with the infamous Strattera capsules being responsible for suicidal tendencies in kids suffering from anxiety or bipolar disorder.
Natural remedies for ADHD
As ADHD occurs naturally in the human brain, its relief should be produced the same way. Besides consuming organic foods and herbal remedies, you should also include as many leisure activities in your schedule as possible. Practicing sports is a great way for both adults and kids that are struggling with this disorder to overcome their difficulties. Pick the ones that bring you the biggest pleasure and avoid burnout programs. You do not have to hit the gym every morning, and you don’t have to ride your bike every day, regardless of the weather conditions.
Try to take part in many activities set in nature. Join hiking excursions, trail running circuits and camping. Bring your friends along to accommodate yourself and avoid the anxiety feeling that you get when you are surrounded only by strangers. All these practices have the role to increase your dopamine and reduce the stress levels, which are the same effects produced by regular medication for ADHD. The main difference is that you maintain an active life and a high spirit without taking any drugs.
ADHD tailor-cut diet
Diet and nutrition play an important role in managing and curing most medical conditions. Even if ADHD cannot be treated solely on food, a balanced meal plan can produce a soothing relief for the symptoms generated by this affliction. Combine natural ingredients with vitamins, minerals and even organic supplements to increase your cognitive functions and improve your focus. Here are the main foods that will decrease the adverse side effects of ADHD on your lifestyle:
- Protein – Consume lean meat, dairy products, eggs and nuts. A high level of protein in your body will prevent your blood sugar from escalating and produce outbursts of hyperactivity.
- Fiber – Serve foods rich in fiber for breakfast and lunch. Try whole wheat pasta, quinoa and brown rice to maintain a stable digestion and a healthy metabolism that will reduce the chances of depression and anxiety episodes.
- Fruits and vegetables – Have at least 4-6 servings of these foods with your meals every day. They will keep your body fueled with natural sugars and they will eliminate the unnatural cravings for salty snacks and sweets.
A balanced diet that will reduce the stress caused by your ADHD condition should contain mostly natural products. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, pastry products and sugary beverages. These products have been proven to amplify anxiety, depression and impulsiveness for both adults and kids.
Psychological help for ADHD patients
A good way to solve ADHD symptoms like anxiety, apathy or restlessness is to talk about them to a psychologist. A neutral guide can help you avoid depression by offering professional advice and by guiding you to a life of better choices. A family member or a good friend can only bring you enough moral support before their subjectivity takes the stage. On the other hand, a doctor well-trained in psychology can use his experience to help you take control of your disorder and of your life, subsequently.
Psychological support can be an important factor in relieving ADHD-related problems. A professional in this domain can help you communicate better, manage your emotions and control your impulsive behavior. Many patients prefer this type of approach to regular medication or expensive drug treatments. Combined with a balanced lifestyle and an active social life, the relationship with a psychologist can do wonders to your attention deficit / hyperactive disorder.
When ADHD is the lesser evil
Another issue related with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder has caught the attention of the medical field. Many children show numerous signs of suffering from this affliction. In fact, some of them meet the diagnostic criteria with no less than 8 out of the 10 main symptoms. Still, they do not have ADHD. How is it possible?
Some doctors believe that these are rare cases of “highly-spirited” children who will gradually reduce their energy to standard levels as they grow up. Others think that they are just struggling with temporary learning disabilities that will easily be resolved in time. If that is the case, the parents have only two solutions to determine the well-being of their kids. They can either wait for the full development of the child or they can seek further medical support for more serious afflictions like bipolar disorder or OCD.
This brings us to a more tragic chapter for the ADHD sufferers: the combination of multiple mental disorders. Unfortunately, some people develop regular symptoms of attention deficit or hyperactive disorder only to cover deeper and more intricate afflictions. As they grow older, the signs of ADHD slowly disappear only to reveal the true mental ailment that had been marring the sufferer’s life all along.
Here are the main disorders that are sometimes misinterpreted as ADHD:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Like ADHD, OCD can present mild forms of nervous ticks, attention issues and coordination problems for children who are struggling with it. Parents and doctors alike fall in the trap of these symptoms and diagnose a child with the former disorder. As time goes by, the kid develops into a sad figure of its former self and loses interest for what was once pleasurable. Soon, he will enjoy arranging things in a certain fashion, only by him understood – a practice that will often deplete his energy levels. Parents should be advised that at this point their child is developing a severe form of autism and ADHD is the least of their problems.
ADHD can sometimes be a disguised form of bipolar disorder. Medical research has proven that these two conditions cannot co-exist. Therefore, what may be taken as a mild stage of attention deficit / hyperactive disorder it is actually an incipient form of a worse affliction. People who suffer from bipolar disorder pass very quickly between states of unbearable euphoria and relentless agony. Although their social behavior seems a bit awkward, they can still pass as functional members of a society for a while. The problem is that, with time this disorder transforms into dementia.
Contrary to general opinion, Tourette’s syndrome does not manifest itself only through outrageous swearing. This mental condition can force the sufferer to blink, twitch his nose, twist his neck and shrug his shoulders in an abrupt and uncontrollable fashion. These motor tics can sometimes be interpreted as symptoms of ADHD, especially in young children.
During their early years, patients suffering from Tourette’s syndrome perform their tics with a lot of spare time in between. This sometimes confuses doctors into believing that they are only witnessing a mild form of muscle hyperactivity from the child. Unfortunately, as years go by the disorder develops into an uncontrollable behavior that, unlike ADHD cannot be tamed with medication or professional coaching.
For many years it was believed that people overcome the ADHD condition once they reach adulthood. Believed to be only a developing phase of one’s childhood, this disorder had never really received the necessary attention from the medical field. Only recently it has been proven that dysfunctional adults fail to live standard social lives because they are struggling with intense emotional issues. Today, it is easier than ever before to know if you have ADHD with adult tests for adults and kids.
You do not have to go too far or spend any money to get an initial diagnostic of your mental health. Simply access an online test for ADHD and you can assess your condition in a matter of minutes. If you test positive for this disorder, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor about it. Also, remember that it is never too late to turn your life around, take control of your emotions and complete your personal goals.0