What is ADHD? Understanding ADHD
ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, and it’s thought to affect anywhere from two to 11 percent of the population.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number as the condition is likely underdiagnosed, leaving many people asking, “do I have ADHD?”
ADHD is a brain disorder. It responds well to medication and individual therapy treatment. When people with the condition receive a diagnosis in childhood, it opens the door to effective interventions. Most importantly, children with ADHD grow up to be adults with the condition.
There is no cure for this mental illness. And for those people asking themselves, “do I have ADHD or am I just lazy”, they probably already know the answer. Because clearly, severe symptoms of ADHD have already led you to ask yourself “do I have ADHD disorder”. Of course, your best route here is to review your symptoms by a professional dual diagnosis mental health treatment center. A modern behavioral mental health center can help ensure you do not fall victim to the pitfalls people suffer from when they do not know about ADHD. Examples of these pitfalls include substance abuse to self-medicate or boost poor self-esteem.
Three Core Symptoms Characterize ADHD:
Because the symptoms can be subtle or misunderstood, it’s not uncommon to reach adulthood and wonder whether your ongoing forgetfulness, distractibility, or carelessness might suggest undetected ADHD. In ADHD, these behaviors stem from something called executive dysfunction. When it’s working well, the executive functioning portions of the brain’s frontal cortex manage your organization, prioritization, and discipline.
What about ADD?
For the sake of clarity, the term “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder” replaced “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD) in 1987. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder has been the recognized medical designation ever since.
Signs of ADHD in Adults
These are a few behaviors associated with the inattentive ADHD category:
- Making careless mistakes
- Losing items and general forgetfulness
- Easily distracted
- Getting sidetracked and failing to finish tasks (even fun tasks such as video games or a TV series)
- The trouble with organizing tasks that include many steps
On the hyperactive/impulsive side:
- Quick and strong emotional responses
- Intense emotions that can look like overreactions
- Fidgeting and restlessness
- Talking excessively
- Impulsiveness (seen in shopping decisions or with reckless driving)
Many people with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder develop aversions to the tasks that they find frustrating. This can create the appearance of lazily giving up without trying.
Some popular myths misrepresent the nature of Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder and the people who have it. It is a complex disorder, and reducing ADHD to stereotypes is oversimplifying.
Lots of People Are Disorganized
People may dismiss Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder as an excuse for shirking responsibilities or ignoring authority figures.
Misdiagnosis can happen, as with many medical conditions. However, this does not invalidate the experience of ADHD. On the contrary, years of studies have associated ADHD with fundamental differences in brains and behavior. Indeed, ADHD symptoms are not unique to people with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder; think of it as major depressive disorder. Healthy people can feel sad, but depression’s reach extends beyond situational sadness. ADHD works similarly.
The combined presence, chronic nature, and severity make it an actual and challenging status.
Why Do People Confuse ADHD & Laziness?
Some doctors believe that people diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. They’re also more likely to smoke or vape and often have a more challenging time quitting smoking. In addition, people struggling with untreated ADHD are more likely to become chemically dependent. They’re also more likely to have higher arrest rates. In short, ADHD is a real mental health disorder. If left untreated by an ADHD treatment program, Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder can have serious consequences that affect a person’s professional life, social life, relationships, and overall quality of life.
ADHD & Intelligence
Recent studies show that most people with ADHD are of average intelligence. There is little difference in the intelligence levels of people with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder compared to others in the general population. The study found that people with ADHD who scored lower on intelligence tests usually had other preexisting conditions. These conditions include learning disabilities or different types of cognitive impairment.
People with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder sometimes perform at lower levels than their peers at school. This may be because they have trouble staying organized, paying attention to detail, focusing, and completing tasks. However, their lower academic performance is not due to a lack of intelligence. With proper management, coaching, and discipline at a mental health treatment program, individuals with ADHD can achieve academic success.
Types of ADHD
There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which types of symptoms are strongest  in the individual:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
ADHD & Laziness are NOT the Same
The idea that people with ADHD are lazy seems silly. After all, it’s a hyperactivity disorder. If people are hyper, how are they lazy? The truth is that people with ADHD often come across as lazy because their minds move too fast. Before getting an ADHD diagnosis, people with this problem have trouble focusing. Their minds work overtime, but they have difficulty completing tasks on time. For those on the outside looking in, it appears that people with ADHD are too lazy to finish their work. In reality, they can’t focus, making completing work difficult.
Do I Have ADHD, or Am I just Lazy?
Knowing the link between ADHD and laziness, how do people respond to, “Do I have ADHD or am I just lazy?” In truth, they can’t answer this question without professional help. Only a doctor can diagnose ADHD. However, there are a few scenarios where people can determine if they’re just lazy or have the disorder. First, they have to look at how they react during a crisis. While Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder might cause trouble focusing in typical situations, high adrenaline situations make the brain work harder. Therefore, people who are a mess under stress might not have ADHD.
Next, people need to ask themselves if they meet their potential. If they feel pretty good about what they accomplish, they likely don’t have ADHD. But, unfortunately, people with this disorder rarely feel like they achieve a lot even when they achieve their goals.
Do I have ADHD, or am I just lazy? When you ask yourself this, consider another question: does your difficulty concentrating come and go? If you said yes, then you don’t have ADHD. This disorder is present in your DNA. Because of that, people do not have Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder one minute and don’t the next.
Additionally, take a look at your family tree. Does anyone else in your family have ADHD? If not, there’s a good chance that you don’t have it either. After all, Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder is the genes, so it is rare to see only one person in a family develop it.
Did you know that it’s never too late to start an ADHD treatment program? Even adults benefit from entering into treatment at a residential treatment program. When you work with experts in the field, you receive help for the condition and any side effects. Possible modalities include:
- Substance abuse treatment that helps you quit using if you start to self-medicate
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which encourages you to switch out dysfunctional patterns with healthy coping skills
- Trauma treatment is a way to overcome adverse events of your childhood that still affect you
- Mindfulness and meditation training as a way to no longer feel lost and unable to belong
It is time to reach out for help if you need Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, addiction, or dual diagnosis treatment for addiction and a mental health disorder. You may not have gotten the care you needed as a child. Now is a great time to make up for that missed opportunity.
If you want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder so you can stop wondering if you have ADHD, reach out for help from a treatment program. You will feel better once you have a diagnosis and understanding to your condition.
In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information to your questions such as do I have ADHD? And other aspects of treatment. So make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and answer any of your questions.
Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.
 American Psychiatric Association (APA)– https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/
 What is ADHD? – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention