Do you have ADHD?

Performers with ADHD (a.k.a. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are often standouts, as entrepreneurs, risk-takers, quick-wits, or thinking "outside the box." Yet ADHD also inflicts deficits which can make it difficult to reach your full potential. Consequently, for those who feel tense because life feels like being stuck in a heavy fog where things come out of nowhere and you can't predict the consequences, it helps to find out if you have the diagnosis and then check out various treatment options.

Similar to many medical conditions, ADHD is a syndrome with multiple symptoms, such as being overly active or highly distractible. No two people with this neurological disorder look alike. On top of that, it can't be diagnosed with a physical, genetic, or blood test. However, it does help to get screened by the following World Health Organization's self-report questionnaire.

Screening for ADHD

For symptoms 1-3, "sometimes" or greater qualifies as positive, whereas "often" and "very often" are used for symptoms 4-6. How often do these experiences apply to you?

  1. Trouble wrapping up a project's final details after the challenging parts are over.
  2. Difficulty getting things in order when a task requires organization.
  3. Problems remembering appointments or obligations.
  4. Avoiding or delaying tasks that require a lot of thought to get started.
  5. Fidgeting with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time.
  6. Feeling overly active and compelled to do things like you're propelled by a motor (e.g., overeating, spending money, abusing alcohol or drugs).

If you scored positive for four out of six items over the last six months, you have a 93% chance of having ADHD. The next step is to seek a professional evaluation by a specialist who will take your full history, speak to those closest to you (with your permission), and decide whether you have this disorder. This process takes time. Be wary of anyone who diagnoses you after the first visit.

Treatment

The good news is that most people with ADHD pass for "normal" in spite of their struggles. Still, if you've received a diagnosis from a qualified specialist, treating this syndrome can literally change your life for the better. There are several treatment options that include coaching with or without stimulant medications. An excellent book "Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?" will answer further questions and offer resources for help. Remember, you don't have to be one of those people where "if it's boring, it ain't gonna happen unless you make me." It's possible to lift the fog and focus on what needs your attention now.

Glass Pieces
New York City Ballet, Glass Pieces by Jerome Robbins - Photo © Paul Kolnik