What is the most common attention deficit disorder symptom? There are many symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and many of these are used to diagnose other conditions as well which makes diagnosis challenging.
How can you tell if you or a loved one has ADD? Obviously, the final diagnosis comes after an evaluation by a skilled professional, but the hallmarks of ADD/ADHD include similar childhood symptoms and persistent adult symptoms that interfere with work and relationships, all throughout life:
If a child has ADD/ADHD, even if he/she is officially diagnosed, he/she is at risk for having ADD/ADHD as an adult. A child with ADD/ADHD usually demonstrates symptoms of not being able to sit still, listen, or follow directions, no matter how clearly they are presented. He/she may constantly fidget and tend to blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Or he/she may just appear to always be “spaced out” or daydreaming (more common in girls than in boys with ADD).
In adults, the difficulty of being able to concentrate and organize becomes more prevalent than in children. Adults with ADD/ADHD have an extremely hard time concentrating. They can’t follow conversations and continue to unintentionally zone in and out. Finishing tasks might feel impossible, although they may have started many. ADD causes adults to get very easily distracted or forgetful, which then leads to errors or incomplete work.
Another attention deficit disorder symptom affects the organization. Keeping things in place both at home and work could be an enormous challenge for someone who suffers from ADD. So, they are usually viewed as just being overly messy.
In children, hyperactivity, another symptom of ADD, can be pretty obvious to identify – a hyperactive child may bounce around a lot and never sit still, even when seated. But in adults, hyperactivity manifests itself differently. Often adults with ADD get easily bored, irritated, and experience mood swings. They tend to be restless and full of nervous energy and just unable to relax, making quiet activities seemingly impossible. Some also feel the need to talk continuously.
Another symptom is trouble controlling impulses. In children with ADD, impulsivity is seen when they blurt out answers or constantly interrupt others’ conversations or activities. An adult with ADD might have a hard time managing finances due to their impulsive purchases. Impulsivity also affects decision-making. Someone with ADD might have a pattern of making sudden decisions “on a whim” or have trouble listening to others.
If someone with ADD/ADHD remains untreated, the disorder can disrupt everything from his/her career to relationships, health, and financial stability. While most of us sometimes have challenges in these areas, the persistent chaos and disorganization of ADD/ADHD can make managing the problems worse and worse.
While much is still being learned about ADD/ADHD and how to tackle one attention deficit disorder symptom at a time, we see that there are also positive traits associated with this condition. Impulsivity, boundless energy, and the tendency to switch tracks constantly may turn into creativity, flexibility, the ability to rapidly adapt to new information, or tremendous drive and commitment.