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ADD in Adults?

Diagnosis: ADD

The following characteristics are commonly associated with attention deficit disorder, according to Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center in New York City, which specializes in diagnosing and treating ADD and other cognitive and emotional conditions.

“If you have exhibited at least 12 of the following behaviors since childhood, and if these symptoms are not associated with any other medical or psychiatric condition, you should consider being evaluated by a professional,” says Hallowell.

A sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’s goals (regardless of how much one has actually accomplished)

Difficulty getting organized

Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started

Many projects going simultaneously; trouble with follow-through

A tendency to say whatever comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark

A frequent search for high stimulation

An intolerance of boredom

Easy distractibility; trouble focusing attention, tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or conversation

Often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent

Trouble going through established channels and following “proper” procedures

Impatient; low tolerance of frustration

Impulsive, either verbally or in action (e.g., impulsive spending of money)

Changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans and the like; hot-tempered

A tendency to worry needlessly, endlessly; a tendency to scan the horizon looking for something to worry about, alternating with attention to or disregard for actual dangers

A sense of insecurity

Mood swings, especially when disengaged from a person or a project

Physical or cognitive restlessness

A tendency toward addictive behavior

Chronic problems with self-esteem

Inaccurate self-observation

Family history of ADD/ADHD or manic-depressive illness, or depression, substance abuse, or other disorders of impulse control or mood


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12:17PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

I've been selected with the "gift" off A.D.D. for 9 years now. It is a curse but a curse that can be used for good. I had numerous people tell me lead singers and other famous people had A.D.D. We are a different breed. We see the world differently. Others may say we are weird or out casts. To people who don't know what A.D.D. is like, walk into a room full of teenage girls talking, all at once about different things, don't mean to offend anybody, than try to remember a number, while explain street names while saying your ABC's backwards. Okay, not that extreme but some may agree! It effects my relationships, sleep, and food intake. I'm currently trying to find a specialist to help with A.D.D. and my anxiety tied with it. To many pills!

11:05AM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

Great article. Thanks.

11:45AM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Really important and interesting topic---thanks. We have this in our family.

1:48AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

I have ADD. And it's hard to read a big wall of text. Some people think my short and direct answers are rude, but I can't focus on these big huge things.

Thanks for making the list easy to read.

5:53PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

PS, another quick thought: WHY do bipolars and ADD/ADHD's get into so darn much trouble? Because all that excess nervous energy constantly seeks TARGETS: stuff to expend the energy against; stuff to stop it, define it, direct it, contain it. This often fails to serve the person's needs adequately, and it often involves social situations and interactions that can be quite exasperating &/or tiresome for others. My heart goes out to all manics (and ADD/ADHD, PTSD, MAD, GAD and all the other cousins in that fascinating extended family.)

5:42PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

Interesting how "ADD" seems to be the term de jour for people who've always been called "Bipolar" in the past. Yes, there are some differences, notably the lack of depressive episodes... although the commonest form of bipolar (often called mixed anxiety and depression or MAD) is one in which the person is "up" almost all the time, rarely having an actual depressive slump.

Because of SO MUCH going on in their heads, both conceptually and emotionally, almost all the time, bipolars are extremely disorganized, restless, stimulus-seeking, tangential and distractible... i.e., everything described herein as "ADD."

Also, actually it's NOT so essential to "get an accurate diagnosis" as advised herein. In point of fact, VERY FEW people neatly "inhabit" a particular diagnosis. Instead, in actual practice, 99% of patients are a little of this, a smattering of that, a lot of this under certain circumstances, none of it under others.... No, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to get an accurate picture of exactly what problems the traits and tendencies bring into a person's life, establish patterns and triggers, learn tools and coping mechanisms and other avenues of control, and go from there. A diagnosis is just a starting point to get one "into the ballpark."

I've worked in mental hospitals for 22 years and I know what I'm talking about. Also I'm about 2/3 bipolar myself. Luckily saved by my father's genes. If HE'D been bipolar too? Yipe!

5:43AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Wow... thats 20 out of 20 for me... scarry.. never thought about ADD ... It does say if you suffer from anxiety you may display similar symptoms... now the question is this... Is my anxiety actually misdiagnosed ADD or is it actually Generalised Anxiety... 20 out of 20 on the ADD Symptoms and i've been like that for as long as I can remember.. all my school reports always said the same thing... Intelligent and could do well but lacks attention. lol... I did well in school in the end due i guess to a period of hyperattention lol ... I do wonder... Where i'm from you can't get diagnosed for anything properly so i won't bother going to fnd out.. i'll plod along as i always do... It has it's pittfalls but hey what doesn't...

4:44AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

I've only heard of ADHD, not of ADD.

3:48AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

Thank you for a very good article.

1:39AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

@ Jill C. I'm not sure where you got your "FACTS" but it seems obvious to me that you don't know nor have ever been close to someone suffering from ADD. I have a friend who fits the description perfectly and when he comes over it's like a psychological tornado hit and he is not even aware of what damage he has done. I can see it is not anything he can control on his own. i think you would not be so quick to say it is not an illness if you could experience it.

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