You're Late, Lost and Loveless. Normal Life or Adult ADHD?
Just because you can't find your keys, your desk is a mess and you blow up at your boyfriend doesn't mean you have adult attention deficit disorder. Then again, it might. Here's how to tell the difference.
Two key factors help determine whether you have adult ADHD: frequency and the impact on your life. “If you look at the list of symptoms and check off that you do them rarely or occasionally, you probably don’t have ADHD,” says Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, and author of Taking Charge of Adult ADHD (Guilford Press), “but if you check ‘often’ or ‘very often’ on most of them, you may.” Just as important: Do these symptoms affect your daily life? “If you experience consequences from these symptoms in major life activities like work, education, raising your children, managing money or social relationships,” says Barkley, “you may have ADHD.”
The following scenarios can help you figure out what’s normal life and what might signal ADHD. For troublesome symptoms, we’ll suggest ways to cope better and how to get help if you need it.