Do I Have ADHD?

With an ever-growing awareness and use of the term ADHD there is an increase in individuals questioning ‘if’ they might have some of the associated traits, and whether those traits are impacting on workplace productivity and their relationships at home.

Modern Labels: Neurodiversity Vs Neurotypical

As a society we have little understanding just how long people have suffered from the Neurodiversity associated these days with for example, focusing and maintaining attention for tasks and completing these, being organised, and behaving impulsively causing regret and relationship strains and/or financial hardship.


Today, it seems, AD(H)D, Attention Deficit, with or without Hyperactivity (-H), Disorder is becoming noticed by individuals at a rate never seen before. In the US the following figures are cited for ADHD …

    • The prevalence of children ever diagnosed with ADHD increased by 42% between 2003 (7.8%) and 2011 (11.0%).
    • Males had a consistently higher prevalence of ADHD than females from 2003 to 2011.
    • For US Adults the estimated of adults aged 18 to 44 years with a current diagnosis of ADHD is 4.4%.
    • Prevalence was higher for males (5.4%) versus females (3.2%).
    • The non-Hispanic white group (5.4%) had a higher prevalence than all other race/ethnicity groups.
    • The estimated lifetime prevalence of ADHD in US adults aged 18 to 44 years was 8.1%.


Accidently learning how we might have some of those traits!

I professionally meet individuals displaying the associated traits each week in many clients suffering anxiety, depression or relationships struggles who have been or would otherwise be prescribed anti-depressants, or Anxiolytic medication to reduce anxiety, and this may or may not be appropriate but for those that it is, their prescribed medication is rarely a solution in and of itself.

Psychopharmacology has many limitations when prescribed for mental health conditions of suffering that have more than one root cause. However, for those with high-impulsivity and hyperactivity, prescription medication that stimulates the individual’s physiology IS highly useful in a significant number of cases. The reader may be aware of one such medication, Ritalin, commonly prescribed here in the UK for many years, once formally diagnosed.

Sadly*, here in the UK, formal assessment for AD(H)D can only be performed by a psychiatrist. These physicians are the only mental health practitioners, being doctors, that can prescribe, when diagnosed, the medications that can reduce some of the less helpful aspects of ADHD.

* (I say ‘sadly’ because waiting times for assessment, and the costs for private care can be prohibitive for many if your GP is unable or unwilling to refer you to an NHS service either in your area of residence, or out-of-area)

What will I be asked about if I seek a formal assessment?

Although there is no single medical or physical test for ADHD, a diagnostic evaluation can be provided by a mental health care professional who gathers information from multiple sources. These sources include ADHD symptom checklists, standardised behaviour rating scales, a detailed history of past and current functioning, and information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well. Some practitioners will also conduct tests of cognitive ability and academic achievement to rule out a possible learning disability.

ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from brief observations at one appointment or simply by talking to the person. The person may not always exhibit the symptoms of ADHD during the meetings, and the clinician needs to elicit a thorough history of the individual’s life. A diagnosis of ADHD must also include consideration of the possible presence of co-occurring conditions.

And without formal assessment?

However, it IS possible to begin to understand whether you do fit the (current) diagnostic criteria by exploring educational material and informal guides, such as free online assessments and other relevant literature. For many it takes a relatively short amount of time and study to self-assess at least most of the possibilities, but this in and of itself will not suffice for any formal diagnosis, this is vitally important to be aware of. Self-assessment can provide an ‘indication’ only!

A Holistic Approach of Mindfulness, CBT, and Counsel

Whether medication is prescribed and recommended or not, continued growth of self-awareness and education is hugely important and this can be mentored, coached and guided through private service-for-a-fee counsellors with cognitive and behavioural courses of action to offer, such as the author. I can also help with Mindfulness guidance and Mindset Shifts to maximise the positives and minimise the less helpful traits.

So, what are some of the traits are we looking for in the adult?

 AD(H)D predominantly inattentive presentation:

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Does not appear to listen
  • Struggles to follow through with instructions
  • Has difficulty with organisation
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Loses things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities

ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation:

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others

ADHD combined presentation

  • The individual meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations.

(These symptoms can change over time, so adults may fit different presentations from when they were children.)

It’s useful to have an impartial advocate who can be at your side.

If you wish to explore how you can optimise the positives of ADD or ADHD or to change behaviours you would rather see less of do contact Bob Brotchie and arrange an appointment, usually available within one to two weeks. [email protected] or 07747042899.


Do you have a story, hints or tips you’d like to share about your experience with diagnosed or undiagnosed ADD or ADHD? Do let us know in the comments.


Scattered Minds – Gabor Mate

ADHD Aware

NICE Guidelines

NHS Overview

*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not exhaustive and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. It is purely intended to provide information and guidance and it is for the reader to be responsible for sourcing and validating their own information.

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).