ADHD 101


Common questions about ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, is a psychiatric condition characterized most commonly by distractibility and difficulty paying attention. It’s most commonly diagnosed in children, but is found in many adults too.

Yes, absolutely. While many people, even some health professionals, hold the controversial opinion that it doesn’t really exist, research has shown that ADHD is a genetic disorder, and is linked to a difference in production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Studies show that approximately 60% of those diagnosed with ADHD as children will have their symptoms continue into adulthood. The intensity of the symptoms can vary greatly, and some adults are able to learn healthy coping mechanisms, while others are severely hindered by ADHD.

This is a personal decision, and something you should discuss with a health professional or therapist you trust. For more than half of people with ADHD, medication can be a very effective tool to help them combat some of the negative symptoms they deal with. For nearly everyone, learning healthy coping mechanisms and structuring their lives to assist them with ADHD is crucial.

Many people find it helpful to work with a therapist or counselor, especially early into their journey through ADHD. It’s not a cure-all, but speaking with a professional can help you better understand your ADHD, and learn how to manage it.

ADHD is not something to be ashamed of, but this can still be a hard choice for many people. It’s up to you whether you talk about your ADHD, but be aware of how you frame the topic, and who you tell. Many people find it easier to not discuss with their employer for example, but it would be very important to be able to discuss with your spouse and loved ones. Ultimately, you want to have people in your life that you can be honest and transparent with, but should also be selective of who you discuss things like this with.

After diagnosis, the first thing most doctors or psychiatrists will recommend is trying medication. This is effective for many people and should definitely be explored, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it should not be the only direction you explore. The most effective method for treatment is generally a three-pronged approach: Medication, lifestyle changes, and therapy.

While there’s no cure for ADHD, it is among the most manageable psychiatric conditions. For many, medication is enough to easily treat their symptoms. Some others seem to just outgrow the disorder as they get older.

Whether you use medication or not, learning about ADHD and how your mind works can help you develop systems that will make managing symptoms significantly easier.


What does ADHD look like?


The problem isn’t that you can’t focus, it’s that you are focused on too many things.

  • Inability to ignore external stimuli like noises, conversations, and visual distractions
  • Inability to block out extraneous thoughts in your mind
  • Difficulty focusing on the task right in front of you
  • Sticking with one thing from start to finish is nearly impossible


You don’t often “stop and think” before acting.

  • You interrupt people without meaning to
  • You have little patience for waiting your turn
  • You react too quickly
  • You start projects impulsively without considering all the steps and difficulties
  • You stop projects impulsively when you get frustrated or bored, or distracted by something new 

Emotional Self Control

Managing your emotions is difficult or downright impossible.

  • You get more upset than you should in certain situations
  • You seem to feel things more intensely than those around you
  • You get frustrated or upset easily
  • You get excited and fixated on positive emotions easily too

Time Blindness

It’s more than just “poor time management.”

  • You get more upset than you should in certain situations
  • You seem to feel things more intensely than those around you
  • You get frustrated or upset easily
  • You get excited and fixated on positive emotions easily too

Poor Working Memory

You can’t seem to hold memories long enough to finish the task at hand.


  • You forget to do the things you mean to or say you will
  • You leave most projects unfinished
  • You get started on things, but get distracted and don’t remember to finish them
  • You have trouble remembering your longterm goals


It’s more than just “poor time management.”

  • Your thoughts are constantly running a mile-a-minute
  • Difficulty resting, relaxing, and settling down
  • You may feel low-level anxiety even when there’s nothing specific causing

Organization Problems

It feels like your life is in a constant state of chaos.


  • Trouble organizing your schedule, finances, home, work, and everything else
  • You can’t prioritize effectively because everything feels urgent
  • It’s hard to stick to a plan

Task Initiation and Completion

You have trouble starting tasks and finishing them, unless they are fun and exciting to you.

  • You know what you “should” be doing, but you can’t make yourself do it
  • You procrastinate starting things that are overwhelming, boring, or hard.
  • You have trouble sticking with a project until it’s finished
  • You can’t always resist the urge to do something more fun when you should be working

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