Adult ADHD 101: How To Know If You Have It

Adult ADHD 101: How To Know If You Have It

When used right, ADHD is a superpower.
Dan Johnston
Check the full Adult ADHD playlist on my Youtube channel

One day I hope I can meet a handsome man who can sit still, follow the rules, and complete tasks in consecutive order…said no interesting woman ever.

In this post we’re looking at adult ADHD or ADD and, before we get into adult ADHD signs and symptoms, I want to share why I am so passionate about this topic.

Not only is it something that I have, and something that a lot of my clients have, but it is something that is terribly misunderstood.

In parts of the world it is massively undiagnosed, in other parts of the world it is massively over-diagnosed.

Some people think that if you have ADHD you’re just lazy.

Other people think it’s a terrible disorder that sets you up for a life of crime and academic failure.

But if you understand it, and you’re diagnosed with ADHD, and you adjust your life to it (and I’m going to explain how to do that in this series of posts), ADHD is a superpower.

When used right, ADHD is a superpower.

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

You know what I think is a disorder?

Someone who’s happy to sit in an office for eight hours a day.

Someone who can’t think on their feet at all because they need to be told exactly what to do.

Someone who can’t figure out how to build Lego without instructions when they’re eight years old.

Ah, well, I mean, come on, it’s not that hard!

You look at the picture, you look at the Lego, you build something that probably doesn’t actually look like what you were trying to build, but it’s still a lot more fun to do without the instructions.

Learn About Different Types of ADHD

1. ADHD Inattentive Type

This is where you may see negative themes.

I’m going to get into a lot of the positive themes in this series, but the negative themes that might stand out when you might be looking for information on how to know if you have ADHD might be:

  • Trouble with concentration
  • Trouble focusing
  • Trouble being organized or staying on task

2. ADHD Hyperactivity Impulsive Type

This ADHD Type is probably exactly what it sounds like.

  • Often an inability to control your impulses – maybe it’s speaking out when you shouldn’t – or I think should because it makes life a lot more fun! Or maybe doing stupid things that later on you think you should have probably held back – but hey, you did it
  • You could do things that some of my school teachers might have referred to as stupid or risk-taking or say they’re disrupting the class
  • It can also mean feeling just that hyperactive in terms of not being good at sitting still – fidgeting and needing lots of movement

Now, with this type of ADHD, if you’re in a classroom that forces you to sit there and listen to a pretty boring teacher going through a pace that is way below what you could keep up with, not being stimulated enough, then it does seem like you have negative traits.

But hey, we were evolved to move. We were evolved to be out and to be in nature and to be doing things, which is why a lot of people, including myself think a lot better when moving and can achieve a lot more and come up with our best creative ideas when we are maybe exercising or going for a walk.

3. ADHD Combination Type

This ADHD combination type is the most common.

A few things to note, though, if you’re trying to figure out “Do I have ADHD?” or if someone you know does (I will be doing another post in this series on specifically diagnosing it) is that girls are more likely to have the inattentive type.

Without the hyperactivity, this means girls are often under-diagnosed with ADHD. So this is something that’s often over-diagnosed in young boys who just want to play, want to move around, and teachers see that and say something like:

Oh, this person must be hyperactive!

So ADHD is often under-diagnosed in women.

ADHD is actually a physical difference in the brain, primarily in the prefrontal cortex.

This is the part of the brain that helps us control ourselves and focus our attention, so it’s the part that maybe says:

Hey, maybe I shouldn’t say this thing or

I’m sitting down and I’m working and I really want to get up and look at see what that noise is out the window, but I should actually keep working, so I’ll just stay at my desk.

People with ADHD have less power essentially to keep it simple in our prefrontal cortex, which means we have trouble directing and controlling our attention.

And that’s ultimately what leads to a lot of the traits of ADHD, good ones and negative ones.

Some of the good ADHD traits involve things like:

Creativity, being spontaneous, and being able to improvise things.

I could not do the videos I do on my YouTube channel if I had to write out long scripts.

I love to improvise, I love to think on my feet. It’s when I’m at my best.

This is a very common ADHD trait, something that may not be as possible with a strong prefrontal cortex that is constantly questioning and limiting behavior.

So this is just the start of this series on Adult ADHD.

I look at this as a great opportunity and a superpower.

If you really learn about ADHD, and you design your life around it, and you follow some advice I’m going to give throughout this series, you’ll have the ability to get a lot more done compared to the majority of other people.

You have this Ferrari engine in your head that has the ability to go so much faster than other people and, yeah, if you get caught up, if you get trapped into someone else’s structure, running someone else’s race, you can end up getting nothing done.

You can end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you, or that you’re crap, or whatever else.

But if you learn about this and you figure out how to design your life around it and use the right strategies, it can be something that is really awesome.

And ultimately, if you have it, you don’t really have a choice anyhow! 🙂

I’m going to do my best in this series to share everything I’ve learned about ADHD, both in terms of what it is, clear up some of the misunderstandings or the myths out there, but also get into all the tools that I use myself to not only get by, but actually to thrive and to design my life and my business around my personality – and ADHD is a big part of that.

You’ve made it this far, that’s amazing. Check out some of my other articles on Dreams Around The World blog and here is a Free Training for ENFPs

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