How do I know if I have ADHD? A diagnosis of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other disorders or have been written off by previous doctors as normal or just part of a person’s personality.

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Those with adult ADHD/ADD have been told they are everything from dumb to depressed and everything in between, and it’s quite common for them to suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth.

However, most of those with adult ADHD/ADD know deep down that there is something more going on inside of them and strive to educate themselves and find the right professionals to work with to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

How do I know if I have ADHD? Here is what you need to do to receive a diagnosis and treatment.


How Do I Know if I Have ADHD? Identify Your ADHD Symptoms

Symptoms of ADD/ADHD can mirror a number of other conditions including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Avoidant disorder

It’s likely that you may have been diagnosed with a different condition when in fact you have adult ADHD.

It’s also possible that you have been told there is nothing wrong with you and that your lack of concentration or inability to manage your moods is just part of your personality.

Take a moment to write down the symptoms that have led you to believe you have adult ADHD.

Common ADHD/ADD symptoms include:


ADHD Symptoms

Symptoms of Adult ADHD


When examining your symptoms, it’s important to know that not all cases of adult ADD/ADHD are the same and that you may display just a few of or many of the above symptoms.

If you know of others with ADD/ADHD, your symptoms may look vastly different from theirs, but this does not mean that you don’t have the condition.

If your symptoms greatly affect your everyday life and have been present for more than six months, it’s possible that you have adult ADHD.


Look at Your Family ADHD History

Researchers have found that there is a strong genetic component to ADHD. If you have parents or siblings with ADHD, there is a much higher likelihood that you also have the disorder.

Because the research on adult ADHD is relatively new, your parents may not have been diagnosed with ADHD. However, you can often think back on how they acted during your childhood and how they act now and identify symptoms in this manner.


Think About Your ADHD History

Were you diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as a child? If you were, it’s possible you have carried many symptoms over into your adult life.

If you were not diagnosed with this condition as a child, think back to how you handled schoolwork, home life, and friendships.

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It’s possible you had the condition as a child and were not properly diagnosed. When thinking about your history, it’s important to realize symptoms of ADHD change as people age.

While you may have been hyperactive and a chatterbox as a child, you may now have internalized symptoms and experience more anxiety and worry as an adult.


Understand What ADHD Treatment Can Do for You

Many adults with ADHD are worried about getting a proper diagnosis because they are afraid it will lead to labeling or problems in their careers or relationships. However, undiagnosed ADHD can lead to much greater problems and, with a proper diagnosis, you can get the help you need.

There are numerous treatment options for adult ADHD and a personalized treatment plan can help you:

  • Manage anxiety
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Help you live a more fulfilled and successful life

ADHD treatment can include counseling or therapy, something that is very important for the newly diagnosed individual who has spent years feeling alone or that there is something wrong with them.


How Do I Know if I Have ADHD/ADD

Do You Have ADHD?


A counselor can help you talk through your feelings and establish coping mechanisms to help you navigate challenges. A therapist can help you recognize destructive or negative thought patterns and give you methods to change them so you can display better emotions and behaviors.

Therapy may also include a group setting so you can speak with others who have adult ADHD or family therapy where you can work through issues with immediate family members and they can learn about your condition and how to help you manage it.

There are also a number of medications that can help you manage your ADHD symptoms. [1*]

Short and long-acting stimulants, non-stimulants, and anti-depressants can help:

  • Improve your focus
  • Calm racing thoughts
  • Manage your moods
  • Be more present in your everyday life

A good treatment plan will likely include both counseling or therapy with appropriate medications to manage symptoms.

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Get Evaluated by an ADD/ADHD Doctor

The only way to find out for sure if you have adult ADD is to visit an ADD/ADHD clinic to be evaluated by a trained professional. It’s important to choose a clinic that has experience with adult ADD and can recognize the many behaviors and symptoms of those with the condition.

It’s also vital to choose a clinic that has a number of treatment options including counseling, therapy, and medication so that you will receive a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan if you receive a diagnosis of ADD. [2*]

Do you think you may have adult ADHD/ADD? After writing down your symptoms, taking a look at your family, and thinking back on your history, you may find there is a pattern of thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with this condition.

Don’t be afraid of getting a diagnosis of ADHD. A proper diagnosis will lead to effective treatment and will help you experience a more successful career and better relationships with those you love.

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.