Living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: what ADHD is really like

Written by: Top Doctors®
Edited by: Alex Rolandi

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. Symptoms often manifest at an early age and may become more obvious when a child’s situation changes (starting school, for example). Previously known as attention deficit disorder (ADD), ADHD is believed to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals or neurotransmitters in the brain. Although there are many myths surrounding ADHD, with people even saying it is not real, ADHD is actually recognised as a legitimate medical disorder.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD symptoms generally fall into two categories:


  1. Inattentiveness
  • Short attention span
  • Distracted easily
  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing things
  • Trouble following through with time-consuming tasks
  • Trouble listening or following instructions
  • Jumping between different tasks
  • Organisational problems


  1. Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Regularly fidgeting
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks
  • Excessive movement
  • Risk taking due to reduced sense of danger
  • Talking excessively
  • Acting without considering the consequences
  • Interrupting conversations

ADHD is a non-discriminatory condition, as in it can affect people of any age, race, religion, or intellectual capacity. ADHD symptoms severely disrupt the everyday life of an affected individual, whether it be at work, school, or in personal relationships.


Living with ADHD

People have described living with ADHD as feeling like thoughts are constantly racing through their brain, whilst they sit in a room with several televisions on displaying different channels as they try to carry out a task.

Living with ADHD can be a big challenge, both for the affected individual and for those around them.

Children with ADHD more often than not have problems. The parents may have problems when it comes to giving instructions, social occasions, going out shopping, or being generally organised. Ways of dealing with children who have ADHD are:


  • Setting clear rules
  • Staying positive
  • Giving clear instructions
  • Using an incentive scheme
  • Exercising
  • Getting to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Speaking to teachers

Adults with ADHD may turn to drink and drugs in order to cope, and in some cases they may have problems with crime and employment. Ways for adults to live with their ADHD include:

  • Making lists, reminders, and dedicating a set amount of time to organising life
  • Learning what helps them relax (such as music)
  • Speaking to employers about ADHD
  • Join a support group

If you or anyone you know is struggling with ADHD, get in touch with a specialist to find out how they can help.






By Topdoctors

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