1. Take Note of Concentration Problems
While concentration problems, alone, do not mean that you have ADD, many people with the condition report that they begin too many projects at once, have trouble prioritizing or regularly fail to complete projects. If you experience a total inability to focus on the task at hand or are constantly distracted by things going on around you, it could be a sign of ADD. If your concentration issues are causing you to struggle at work or school, seek a professional evaluation.
2. Observe Sleep Patterns
Sleep is a proven necessity for daily function, mental health and quality of life. If you or your child regularly experience insomnia, overwhelming fatigue upon awakening or frequent nightmares, it could be a corroborating ADD indicator. Beware of physicians diagnosing you with ADD based solely upon sleep patterns, however. Millions of Americans suffer from inadequate sleep, which often results in ADD-like symptoms (irritability, focus difficulties and frustration). In some cases, ADD is offered as a misdiagnoses of what is actually a sleep disorder.
3. Pay Attention to Chronic Forgetfulness
ADD may surface in memory problems: you may be continually losing your keys, misplacing paperwork or forgetting important appointments. Most people remember things by storing information that they receive from another source. This process is problematic for those with ADD, who may struggle to pay attention to the information in the first place. Many people with ADD also struggle to retrieve the information once it has been sent to their brain for storage. While everyone forgets, don’t discount the possibility of an attention deficit problem if you are frustrated daily by an inability to remember appointments, tasks or processes.
4. Factor in Mood Disorders and Emotional Conditions
If you regularly experience the above symptoms and are also susceptible to unexplained or excessive panic, worry or sadness, you may have ADD. Many people with ADD suffer from coexisting conditions such as anxiety, depression and mood disorders. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to separate these conditions from one another, since they share many of the same traits. Your mental health practitioner may determine that evidence of an emotional condition on top of forgetfulness, distraction and concentration issues add up to an ADD diagnosis.