Archives for June 2010

Definition of ADHD

The definition of ADHD in the 1994 publication (which is the most recent ) of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) stated that it is a “Disruptive Behaviour Disorder” where unusually high levels of inattention, hyperactivity or a combination of both are constantly present in an individual and to such an extent that they inhibit what is considered to be the norm.

That may sound depressing, but don’t be alarmed. The official definition of ADHD sounds much worse than day to day realities of living with Adult ADHD actually are.

There are 3 types of ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type and Combined Type.

ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type: means it’s tricky for you to focus, but unlike your hyperactive-impulsive friends, you are able to be physically still. Some problems you experience are not appearing to be listening to others, being forgetful and disorganized, having difficulty staying on task and making careless errors despite your best intentions.

ADHD-Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Paying attention is not a major problem for you. However, you act and speak before thinking, have lots of energy and when required to sit down you fidget and feel restless. You are known among your friends to talk lots.

ADHD-Combined Type: You have characteristics of the both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsivity type.

Although everyone experiences ADHD symptoms at times, someone with ADHD experience these behaviours to a greater extent and frequency.

Before being  officially diagnosed with ADHD, the specialist carrying out your evaluation will want to find out the following:

  • That the characteristics have been present for 6 months or more.
  • The symptoms were present before you were 7 years old
  • The traits effect your life in 2 or more settings
  • and finally the symptoms aren’t  due to another condition,  such as bipolar disorder, sleep disorder or anxiety etc.

Adult ADHD

The general public is often surprised to learn about Adult ADHD. While most people are aware children have ADHD, they don’t realize it also affects adults. One third of children with ADD do grow out of it, while the rest of the population carry ADHD into adulthood.

Information on ADHD is growing all the time, and since little was known about it 30 years ago it is understandable why many adults didn’t realize they had it until adulthood.

A common way adults discover they have ADHD is that their school-aged child is diagnosed with ADHD. The parent then realizes that the ADHD characteristics that their child is presenting with are also characteristics that they also have . This leads them get an official diagnosis too.

Another group of adults realize that they experience challenges in life and they feel different from everyone else. After doing some research, stumbling across an article or hearing a snippet on the news about ADHD symptoms they will promptly get a diagnosis.

Reactions to discovering you have ADHD vary dramatically, but usually fall into 2 groups. Some adults feel very relieved finally they understand why they are the way they are.Others feel angry that it took them so many years of struggling with life before they realized what it was it. Usually whatever the initial reaction, everyone wants the same thing  which is to learn how they can live their best life.

Some adults have known since childhood that they have ADHD. However what they are now experience are different challenges. Learning skills on how to do well in school, are now replaced with the need to learn how to do well in a work environment, manage a household and take care of finances etc.

While there is often much negative thinking around Adult ADHD, there are also many wonderful gifts too. Once some of the negative aspects are managed ( which can do done with or without medication) then your wonderful gifts can shine through. This blog is a great place to learn about Adult ADHD as well as how to mange it and lead and full, rich and joyful life.

Adult ADHD Symptoms


The official  definition of ADHD is described as a “Disruptive Behavior Disorder” where high levels of inattention, hyperactivity or a combination are constantly present in an individual.  Adult ADHD symptoms are different to that of a  child with ADHD. However please don’t be scared, the official term sounds MUCH worse than reality.

Here are 5 key ADHD symptoms that adults with ADHD experience:

1. Inability to Concentrate.

Lack of concentration has many implications. For example, losing track of conversations can mean important information is missed. Distractedness has implications at work and study. As well as missing information, you can experience resistance to things that need a deep level of concentration. This trait can cause tension in relationships as people can misinterpret it as lack of interest.

2. Lack of organization

Problems in planning tasks, personal organization and time management can result in labels being given such as “lazy” or “lacking in self-discipline” and “disorganized”. Often arriving late, hurried and ill-prepared, over committing and leaving tasks unfinished, the sufferer may feel unorganized and overwhelmed with resulting low self-esteem. ADHD adults find it hard to set up and stay with a routine.

3. Poor memory and Forgetfulness.

Memory and forgetfulness  can result in important possessions, such as passports, wallets and purses, laptops and palm pilots being lost or misplaced. Attending meetings, appointments and lectures punctually can be a real problem; sometimes they can be forgotten altogether.

4. Confusion and trouble thinking clearly

Adults with ADHD find it hard to perform up to their intellectual capability. There are difficulties with intense learning situations such as lectures and in-depth reading. There can be errors in spelling and math. Because of the tendency to become side-tracked, information can go unseen, resulting in mistakes at work. Often it can be difficult to maintain a job.

5. Depression and low self esteem.

Because the world is set up for people without ADHD, life can be challenging, and depression, anxiety and low self-esteem are often features in a person with ADHD.

As you are reading this list of ADHD symptoms please don’t feel depressed. There are many ways to manage your symptoms and lead a rich and wonderful life and this blog has lots of great ways to do this.

An Organized Environment


organization and adhdHaving an organized environment helps adults with ADHD feel calm, focused and able to function at their peak. However, having ADHD also means achieving and maintaining an organized environment is really hard. One of the biggest challenges is the accumulation of clutter. In my book, Untapped Brilliance, I have a chapter about achieving a clean, tidy and organized environment and I am always interested to learn more about this subject so I can in turn pass the information on to my clients. It was with fascination that I read organization guru Julie Morgenstern’s book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck.

Julie makes the connection between hoarding your belongings and staying stuck in life. It is really hard to move forward in life when you have the physical and mental reminds of the past. She gives a powerful personal example of how her old belongings were preventing her from moving forward.

Her childhood passion for theatre led her to be a theatre director. Then when her circumstances changed and she was a single mum, she started her own business as a professional organizer. Her business was going well, however she noticed it had reached a plateau. Due to lack of storage, she had six boxes of theatre production books (her old life) housed under her dining room table. By getting rid of those boxes, she witnessed a remarkable growth in her business (her current life).

Because getting rid of things is so hard for people with ADHD, I really liked Julie’s philosophy as it gives a deeper meaning to getting rid of your clutter. She suggests picking a theme for the next chapter of your life. This theme acts as a mental guide to help you get rid of your belongings that reflect your old life’s chapters.

So are you ready to create a beautiful living environment for yourself? One that helps you move forward in the direction of your dreams? Here are the five steps:

  1. Pick a theme for your next life chapter. Are you a singleton, empty nester, freshly graduated or about to embrace a new healthy lifestyle? Identify yours and then use a few positive words to describe your theme.
  2. Write list of every area you want to declutter. You probably know where your clutter is lurking in your house. There might be a little in every room, or you might have one room that is “off limits.” Writing it down gets it clear in your mind and acts as a great reminder of what you have done, once you start putting checkmarks beside areas that you have decluttered.
  3. Grab your kitchen timer and work for fifteen minutes a day on the Decluttering process. If you are inspired to do more than fifteen minutes, go for it, but don’t burn yourself out in one day. Then you won’t be able to face Decluttering again for months.
  4. If you are unsure if you should part with something, remember your theme. Does this item fit in with where you are going in life?
  5. Reward yourself along the way. The benefits of decluttering are huge; however, they aren’t always obvious in the beginning. Give yourself treats and rewards every time you do your Decluttering.