Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a lifelong, neurological state that can occur alone or with other conditions. It is a very commonly co-occurring condition for autistic people. The prominence of ADHD traits differs. Some people find that physical hyperactivity, or mental hyperactivity, is most noticeable. Some struggle primarily with impulsivity, some have both of these features, and all are likely to have a frustrating inability to remain focussed on a task.

If impulsivity and hyperactivity aren’t noticeable, we may have an ADD diagnosis, depending on when this was, and which country we live in. Some in the UK still diagnose ADD, but these are private practitioners. ADD is no longer recognised as a separate condition in the current ICD-11 and DSM-5-TR diagnostic manuals. This in no way implies that it can’t remain our identity, of course.

ADHD-ers are often described as daydreamers at school – attention wanders – making listening to instructions difficult, memory problems are common, making constant lists (with all good intentions) that never get completed. So many brilliant projects that somehow never reach completion. Relaxing, switching off, keeping still – in mind, body or both, and sleep can all prove elusive, and so much more besides. Like autistics, ADHDers frequently find ourselves exhausted by the need to socially mask.

This is yet another giant topic and everyone’s experiences differ.

As for who can diagnose ADHD, if self-diagnosis doesn’t feel enough for us, I’d recommend reading the glossary entries on both Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

A really key glossary page to read, is the one on dopamine. It’s a bit of an eye opener…

You’ll find more to read on the subject in the Information section. You may also find the glossary entry on Ritalin, and the links from that page, useful too. If you’re curious about the role that caffeine plays for an ADHDer, click here → Caffeine and ADHD – happier or snappier?