Adult ADHD is often first recognized by the associated hyperactivity; unfortunately, this has created the mistaken notion that you can’t have ADD or ADHD without being hyperactive. If you’re not bouncing off the walls, many people don’t believe you have ADD. This is incorrect, and one of the main reasons fewer women are diagnosed than men. Women with ADHD are more likely to have what is called ADHD, Inattentive Type, and often exhibit less motor hyperactivity. It is also the reason why so few adults with ADHD are diagnosed (only 1 in 10 adults with ADHD are diagnosed).
In adulthood, the physical hyperactivity we often associate with ADHD typically subsides or is replaced with less-noticeable fidgeting, or by an internal or cognitive hyperactivity. Adults with ADHD often describe their numerous racing thoughts and enormous creativity, with many ideas occurring at the same time. They often try to focus on one thought but another one quickly pops in and distracts them, changing their focus. This bouncing from one idea to the next often leaves them exhausted but having accomplished little.
Most people exhibit occasional ADD-like traits in certain situations. It only becomes Attention Deficit Disorder when the symptoms are severe enough to negatively affect a person’s quality of life across multiple domains such as at work, at home, in personal finances and in social situations. Recognizing all the signs and symptoms of ADHD, as well as their severity, is essential to accurately judge the presence of ADHD.