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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.

  1. A sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’s goals (regardless of how much one has actually accomplished)
  2. Difficulty getting organized
  3. Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started
  4. Many projects going simultaneously; trouble with follow-through
  5. A tendency to say whatever comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark
  6. A frequent search for high stimulation
  7. An intolerance of boredom
  8. Easy distractibility; trouble focusing attention, tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or conversation
  9. Often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent
  10. Trouble going through established channels and following “proper” procedures
  11. Impatient; low tolerance of frustration
  12. Impulsive, either verbally or in action (e.g., impulsive spending of money)
  13. Changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans and the like; hot-tempered
  14. 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
  15. A sense of insecurity
  16. Mood swings, especially when disengaged from a person or a project
  17. Physical or cognitive restlessness
  18. A tendency toward addictive behavior
  19. Chronic problems with self-esteem
  20. Inaccurate self-observation
  21. Family history of ADD/ADHD or manic-depressive illness, or depression, substance abuse, or other disorders of impulse control or mood

Go Deeper

The number of adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is growing more than four times faster than diagnoses among children. What’s behind this trend, how does ADHD present differently in adults, and what are the latest treatments? For more, see “The Rise of Adult ADHD.”

This was excerpted from “The Distracted Adult” which was published in the June 2011 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Jessie Sholl

Jessie Sholl is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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