Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without Hyperactivity, affects about 6-10% of the population. Although it is perceived as a childhood condition which will be outgrown, that is not the case. Adults have ADD, too; they had it as a child and will have it all their lives. It may sometimes seem as though someone has outgrown their ADD, but in fact, they have just learned to manage their symptoms better.
Although ADD is called a “deficit” and a “disorder”, neither is true nor accurate. ADD is just different. You can put a negative spin on it, or a positive one. An inability to focus in on one thing can also be thought of as an ability to multi-task.
There are a number of symptoms that characterize ADD or ADHD. I have listed some of them below.
Please note that many people may have instances when they exhibit some of these symptoms. The DSM IV, which is the diagnostic tool that psychologists and psychiatrists use when evaluating ADD, requires that at least 6 symptoms be present for a period of 6 months or more in order to diagnose ADD. Generally, children under age 7 are not evaluated.
- An inability to pay attention to most things for more than a few minutes
- Hyper-focus – an ability to lose one’s self in something, to the exclusion of everything else
- An inability to filter out distracting sounds, smells, or sights
- An inability to sit still for any reasonable length of time (also a restless but deep sleeper)
- Poor time management skills – no concept of time or how long things take
- Poor organizational skills
- Messy environment
- Tendency to start multiple projects, but rarely finishes them
- Easily overwhelmed
- Highly creative
- Usually very intelligent, but poor grades
- May be a risk taker
- Impulsive – acts without thinking
- Ability to multi-task
- Often a visually oriented learner