ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect both adults and children. Therapists diagnose the condition by evaluating clients’ intelligence, memory, attention, behavior, and achievement.
While this diagnosis can only be made by a healthcare professional, some symptoms may point toward ADHD. Here are the symptoms to watch for before considering ADHD testing:
Difficulty paying attention and sustaining focus on tasks is a core symptom of ADHD. Individuals with ADHD may find themselves overlooking relevant details and making careless mistakes because of their inability to focus.
Children may find it difficult to concentrate on tasks that require mental effort, like reading and doing homework. Adults may be unable to focus on their work and maintain lengthy conversations.
Inattention often occurs regardless of whether there are external stimuli in the environment. It may result from reduced dopamine activity in the brain’s attention network or impaired executive functioning. Consider ADHD testing if you’ve tried everything from eliminating distractions in your environment to practicing mindfulness and meditation but still can’t focus on tasks.
Impulsivity is acting without thinking about consequences. Children with ADHD may present behaviors like speaking out of turn and interrupting others during conversations. Adults may present more risky behaviors like engaging in substance abuse, sex, and gambling without considering the potential outcomes.
Impulsivity may be brought on by executive dysfunction because of a lack of blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. It may also result from weak inhibitory control. Consider undergoing testing if you try to press pause before acting but are unable to do so.
Hyperactivity is characterized by restlessness and excessive physical activity. Children with ADHD may present excessive motor activity. They may appear to be constantly on the go, climbing stairs, running, and frequently getting out of their seats, even when it’s inappropriate.
It’s worth noting that these symptoms don’t always point to ADHD if your child is a toddler, as increased motor activity is expected at this developmental stage. A therapist can help you determine if your child’s hyperactivity is typical or a sign of ADHD.
Hyperactivity in adults can manifest as inner restlessness. You may feel the need to engage in multiple activities simultaneously, constantly tap your hands or feet, squirm in your seat, talk excessively, or experience the urge to keep moving. Hyperactivity can result from difficulty regulating motor activity and controlling impulses.
People with ADHD often have difficulty remembering information. They may abandon tasks midway because they forget they were doing them, miss appointments, lose things like car keys and wallets, and have difficulty recalling memories on demand.
You may find it difficult to remember the last book you read or the last movie you saw. This isn’t to say that experiencing memory lapses once in a while is a cause for concern. It’s normal to occasionally forget things and misplace items, as the human brain isn’t designed to remember everything. Only be concerned if memory lapses occur frequently.
Forgetfulness in ADHD may result from a weak alpha modulation when encoding and retrieving memories. Alpha waves help filter out sensory input from the environment, allowing the brain to focus on key information. With weak modulation, the brain can’t separate valuable details from unhelpful ones, making it difficult to recall information when necessary.
Individuals with ADHD often have challenges prioritizing tasks, managing time, and maintaining an orderly environment. They may find themselves with numerous half-completed projects because of their inability to organize themselves. This often leads to inefficiency and feeling overwhelmed.
Disorganization can also manifest mentally. One may make presentations or tell stories out of order and include extraneous details. Disorganization in ADHD can result from abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex.
6. Academic Challenges
People with ADHD sometimes face academic difficulties, like poor grades. ADHD symptoms like inattention and forgetfulness can interfere with a learner’s test-taking abilities. One is likely to make careless mistakes because of overlooking key details and finding it challenging to recall information when answering questions.
ADHD clients may also have trouble focusing on written text, making extracting relevant information and understanding complex concepts difficult. A therapist can administer achievement tests during your evaluation to determine if you have ADHD.
Seek ADHD Testing If You Have These Symptoms
ADHD testing can help you understand yourself or your child better. Understanding your challenges can help you and your therapist create strategies to manage the condition. Common strategies include behavioral therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes like creating routines and breaking down long tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Seek help through testing today.