Beyond Inattention: Lesser-Known Signs of ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often marked by disorganization, forgetfulness, distraction, and difficulty focusing. While these symptoms of inattentive ADHD are often the most recognizable, there are many other signs of ADHD you may not even be aware of.

You may chalk up many of these signs to symptoms of other disorders, or simply to your own personality. But familiarizing yourself with the lesser-known signs of ADHD can mean the difference between getting needed treatment and having to learn to live with disruptive symptoms.

At Abbey Neurodynamic Center, our team of expert neurologists provides treatments that can help you manage many ADHD symptoms, including issues with focus. Here are just a few of the less common signs of ADHD we recommend keeping an eye out for.

Strong emotional reactions

Emotional reactivity and mood swings are often brushed aside or ignored. But they may actually be a symptom of ADHD. Many people with the disorder struggle with impulse control, and are thought to be more emotionally sensitive than the general population.

That can mean you react more strongly to a seemingly benign event or get frustrated or annoyed more quickly. You may even find it harder to feel calm after an upsetting experience. 

Laser-sharp focus

This may be counter to the inattention that often characterizes ADHD, but people with the disorder may instead intently focus on a task. You may be concentrating so much on the task at hand, in fact, that you lose track of time and forget to move on to your next task. 

If this hyperfocusing happens at night, when there are fewer distractions, you may have a hard time quieting your mind for sleep and develop poor sleep habits.

Executive function deficits

Certain cognitive skills and abilities make up what’s called your executive function. These include your working memory, processing speed, and ability to pay attention. When you have deficits in any of these areas, it may point to ADHD.

Executive function deficits can include issues like short-term memory loss, difficulty switching tasks, and challenges with problem solving. 

Sleep issues

You may not realize that tossing and turning all night is a symptom of ADHD, but between 25% and 50% of people with ADHD have issues getting a good night’s sleep. People with ADHD frequently have trouble both falling and staying asleep, and struggle with insomnia. 

These sleep issues can lead to difficulty focusing and forgetfulness — both symptoms of ADHD. Because symptoms of ADHD and sleep deprivation often overlap, it’s recommended you get screened for a sleep disorder along with ADHD.

While all of these may be signs of another condition unrelated to ADHD, it never hurts to get screened for the disorder just to make sure. The sooner you know if your symptoms are related to ADHD, the sooner you can get the treatment you need.

For more information, call our Palo Alto, California office at 650-210-7131, or send us a message online today. 

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