Is it possible for me to have ADHD?

I was an ordinary kid. Not too successful, also not too bad, a bit shy in social situations, generally positive, not too lazy, not too energetic, didn’t had big problems in my life. My relationship with my family was great. When I was 19, I thought “enough fun” because I was into gaming, movies and books(novels) a lot and decided to get more serious with my life. I made plans, decided to start exercising etc. but I couldn’t follow those plans. I didn’t care though, I was happy with my life anyways. Then when I turned 22-23 years old, I wanted to become a more responsible person, I decided to get my life in order again because I was slowly realizing that I was failing at most tasks. I mean, even if it was a simple thing, like I had a lot of notepads in the computer, I wanted to tidy them up but I couldn’t focus. Even if it was something that I really wanted to do I was having a hard time starting it. Another example, I was going to back up some files in the computer to external hard drive, then format the computer, then transfer those files back to computer. Even if it was easy for me(I’m using computer since I’m 10), it felt/seemed like a complicated task when I actually sit down and tried to do that. To finish that kinda jobs I was doing lists like:

1-Decide which files you’re gonna back up

2-Calculate how many space/GBs those files take up in total

3-Back them up

etc… Those type of lists were making it easier for me to finish the job. Anyways I’m giving too much detail. So I started to make a lot of plans when I was 22-23 and I did love the idea of being more disciplined, organized, completing tasks etc. I was excited. But weeks were passing by and I wasn’t doing any of the jobs I wrote in those plans/to do lists. Or maybe I was doing like 1/10 of them. I felt very demoralized by it. One day, I researched about this. I guess I googled focus problems or something like that. And I came across something called ADHD and “Adult ADD”. It was describing me a lot. Unfortunately, this happened in 2014 and I still couldn’t make progress since then. I don’t have much to write about the following years. In short, I did succeed in getting better for a while, then I failed again, then I had other problems(misophonia for example) etc.

Fast forward to this year, I’m trying to get better but actually not trying. The “trying” part only happens in my mind. Not sure if it makes sense. Anyways. I didn’t single out the Adult ADD thing, it was in the back of my mind, I was just not researching/doing anything about it lately. But a couple of weeks ago, I came across some Tedx videos about ADHD. Actually I was thinking about writing this(ADHD) for a while and wanted to ask questions. But those videos sped me up. Otherwise, I’d definitely postpone writing this.

Now, a few things are making me confused. I’m 32 right now, lets say that I was 23 when I first realized I’m having a problem with getting things done. But what are the chances of me having ADHD? I forgot to mention, when I first read a page about Adult ADD, I thought “I probably don’t have it, because if I had it, I would know by now.” I also thought “even if I don’t have it, my problems are similar, so I’m gonna research and learn about what people with ADHD do and maybe what worked for them can also work for me.” Then I did not research and/or follow(I wonder why?) but my first thoughts were like that. Anyways back to questions.

1-First question is about the very first thought I had about this 8 years ago. Is it possible for someone to realize that he/she has ADHD in adult years like 23 years old?

2-Is it possible to not have this condition in childhood years but have it after adulthood? Can it start later, not from birth? I know it probably doesn’t make sense but I still wanna ask.

3-The moment I saw “ADHD” in 2014 I thought “but I’m not hyperactive” and then I thought “I can only be hyperpassive at most” and chuckled. Whatever… I don’t feel hyperactive at all. But in some of the videos I watched, they were saying that it can be different, not everyone with ADHD are hyperactive. So I’m confused. Are there any ADHD people who never experienced hyperactivity even in their childhood years?

I definitely had other questions but I forgot. I’ll ask them later if I remember.

To sum it up, I’m not sure if having ADHD is possible for me or I’m just trying to find an answer/excuse for my laziness. I find some of the things said in those Tedx videos very familiar, some are not. For example, I don’t think I’m bright/smart or something. But then again in one of the videos a lady talks about hyperfocusing. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing but sometimes, I’m having a hard time starting something, then when I actually start it I can get too into it, even spend hours working on that. For example, that notepad tidying up thing I mentioned above. I started to tidy them up in 2015 and I did love it. Even after I stopped, I was still thinking about it all day, I was so eager to go back to computer and continue. I was trying hard to hold myself. If I’m into something so much, I’m having a hard time getting out. I wanna keep doing that job all the time. Once, I was into some computer job again and then it was lunch or dinner time but I just didn’t want to pause and go eat something. I did go to table of course but I remember finding that feeling(taking a break from something I enjoy bothering me so much) quite strange. Those were 6-7 years ago. Since the last few weeks, I’m obsessing over a true crime case. I keep thinking about it day and night.

So what are your thoughts? Do I have to see a doc or it’s just a vitamin deficiency or something?

This post is messy, actually I was gonna tidy it up as much as I can but I don’t care right now, I hope you’ll understand. And English is not my native language so if there is a part that’s not very clear, please tell me, I’ll try to explain.

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Welcome to the HowToADHD forums, Indigo (@Cevizci )!

Well, if you have experienced ADHD-like traits and struggles…then you just might have ADHD.

I was diagnosed two years ago, at 45, but the signs were there all along:

  • In 1st Grade, my teacher had to talk to my mom about how often I was caught “daydreaming” in class. In 3rd-5th Grades, I would bring my homework home every day, but forget to do it at home. I would hurriedly finish it on the bus ride to school the day it was due. In 6th Grade, I got letters sent home and got detention more than once for homework incomplete or left blank (I had a much shorter bus ride then, so the same strategy didn’t work.) In Jr. High and High School, I developed a note-taking habit to help me pay attention, but still forgot to do most homework at home… I did my homework in class (if there was time), and finished up as much as I could in the 10 minute “passing period” before each class. – I generally did well with tests and in-class participation, and with whatever I completed of my homework, so my teachers knew I was interested, engaged, generally smart enough, and giving an effort…I somehow managed to graduate H.S. with a 3.50 GPA.
  • In college, I struggled more with getting homework and studying done. I haven’t done so well at it, having attended 9 years spread out from 1993 to 2015 (5 different majors at 5 different schools, and still no degree).
  • In career, I have struggled to advance. My performance evaluations usually say that I need to work on time management, being more consistent, managing distraction, and the like.
  • I was married for 20 years. While my wife loved me, she was often frustrated by my issues with inattentiveness, distractibility, and my poor working memory. While I was going through the ADHD assessment process, she told plainly, “you don’t have ADHD”… after I got my diagnosis, she didn’t acknowledge it for about 6 months. (Note: She didn’t leave me because of my ADHD, though. No, she fell in love with someone else, and left me for him. …I’m not meaning to vilify her, just telling what happened.)

We normally try to act like everyone else, downplaying how impacted we are by our ADHD struggles. The term for this is “masking”…which means “trying to appear ‘normal’.”

Some people legitimately are neurotypical in their youth (not having a genetic cause for ADHD), but might develop attention issues as as result of a traumatic brain injury, severe illness, or other deficiency. (For instance, hypothyroidism can exhibit cognitive issues similar to ADHD, as can uncontrolled diabetes, or a number of other health issues. Once identified and treated properly, if the attention issues continue, then perhaps the individual also has ADHD.) – No matter what the cause, the same strategies that help ADHD “Brains” can help most people who are experiencing ADHD symptoms.

Having the ‘H’ for “hyperactivity” within the name of the disorder is misleading. About 25% of the people who have ADHD do not have hyperactive-impulsive traits. According to the diagnostic criteria, there are three different Presentations of ADHD:

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive presentation (only the H-I traits are severe enough for a diagnosis); about 25% of those with ADHD only have this presentation
  • Predominantly Inattentive presentation (only the Inattentive traits are severe enough for a diagnosis); again, about 25%
  • Combined presentation (meeting the criteria for BOTH the Hyperactive-Impulsive & Inattentive presentations); about 50%

As for me, I only meet the criteria for the Inattentive presentation.

*NOTE: In the past, the disorder was known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), regardless of which of the modern presentations a person had. Later, the name was changed to ADHD, despite the fact that the full name does not apply to everyone with the diagnosis… not every one of us has an “attention deficit”, and not every one of us has “hyperactivity”.


If you struggle with attention issues, then getting a professional evaluation could be a great benefit. It was for me. Since my diagnosis and treatment, I am doing much better.

  • I take medication, which helps a great deal with my working memory performance, and helps me to be able to control my attention & steer myself away from distraction. It’s not a 100% improvement; it still takes work on my part, but the fact that I can now actually DO IT makes all the difference in the world.
  • My initial diagnosis came while I was being treated for anxiety. I have found that anxiety, depression, high levels of stress, and lack of sleep all have a compounding effect on my ADHD. (They don’t cause the ADHD…they make it much more severe!) – So, I’ve learned to use mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other strategies to help me to manage stress, anxiety & depression. I’m still working on improving sleep habits.
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Well, if you have experienced ADHD-like traits and struggles…then you just might have ADHD.

Honestly, that’s a great answer. I never thought of it like that.
What I wrote above doesn’t sound like I’m joking/making fun, right? Because I’m not. I do mean what I wrote. What you said made me realize that I’m overthinking about it.

In 1st Grade, my teacher had to talk to my mom about how often I was caught “daydreaming” in class.

Yes, daydreaming is one of my biggest problems I guess. But I don’t think I had it that much at childhood. I feel like some traits got much more visible after my adulthood. I mean until 18-20, I was doing ok with my works, chores, social skills etc, I wasn’t really good but I wasn’t too bad. Then again I was(and still am) the youngest child so people, especially my family was very understanding with my mistakes, laziness, awkwardness etc. After adulthood, everything became worse. For example, I realized that I cannot listen to people for long. I do wanna listen, they don’t bore me at all, but I keep zoning out. I don’t think I had that, at least not to that extent, in my teenage years.

…I’m not meaning to vilify her, just telling what happened.)..
Well it happened, so it’s best to move on. :+1:

…Some people legitimately are neurotypical in their youth (not having a genetic cause for ADHD), but might develop attention issues as as result of a traumatic brain injury, severe illness, or other deficiency. …

Thanks for the info. I guess I have to see a doc soon.

…No matter what the cause, the same strategies that help ADHD “Brains” can help most people who are experiencing ADHD symptoms…

That’s great. I’ll research more about ADHD, wish I did that 8 years ago.

Having the ‘H’ for “hyperactivity” within the name of the disorder is misleading.

Yes! I think it’s such a weird name for this disorder. I wonder if it’s actually an ADHD person who named this? Just kidding, no offense.

As for me, I only meet the criteria for the Inattentive presentation.

That’s kinda interesting. I read that it’s usually hyperactive type for boys. How did you get diagnosed? Was it easy? And do those hyperactive kids get better with time, I mean do the hyperactive part of them calm down or not?

If you struggle with attention issues, then getting a professional evaluation could be a great benefit.

I do wanna see a doc but I don’t wanna take medication. It’s not that I’m %100 against it, maybe I’ll change my mind and take it. If its gonna help with my misophonia I’m so willing to take it. I miss feeling normal and not getting mad just because a family member made a very normal small sound.

I think that hyperactive boys fit the ADHD stereotype most, and so they are more likely to be diagnosed in their youth. Hyperactive girls are less likely to be diagnosed in their youth.

Those of us (male or female) who are only Inattentive are much less likely to be referred for diagnosis as kids. Again, I think I’ve read and heard that Inattentive males are more likely to be diagnosed than Inattentive females.

I was diagnosed while going to counseling for treatment of anxiety. However, I specifically asked to be evaluated for ADHD, because I’d been suspecting more and more over a few years that I have it… And I was right.

I had to be patient with the diagnostic process. My counselor had to meet with me several times, before making a diagnosis.

  • The state that I was living in allows licensed counselors to diagnose ADHD. My doctor at the time also confirmed the diagnosis. Some states in the USA are more restrictive of who can make an ADHD diagnosis, but only a doctor, psychiatrist, (or in certain places… even a nurse practitioner, with special licensing) can write prescriptions.

Medication is very often the most effective treatment for ADHD. The problem is that it can take anywhere from a few months to several years of working with your doctor to find the best ADHD medication and dosage for you. For me, it took about 6-7 months.

  • My doctor first put me on only an SSRI for my anxiety for the first month, and then re-evaluated the severity of my ADHD. He then put me on Adderall XR, because he said he’s found it to be the most effective for most of his ADHD patients. It wasn’t the best for me, so I am now on a non-stimulant (atomoxetine, best known by the brand name Strattera).

I’m not medicated for anxiety anymore, but I still struggle with it. Counseling helps, when I can afford it. Practicing mindfulness, which I was taught in counseling, certainly helps with the anxiety. Keeping the anxiety under control, together with ADHD medication, helps make the ADHD much more manageable.

I was diagnosed while going to counseling for treatment of anxiety. However, I specifically asked to be evaluated for ADHD, because I’d been suspecting more and more over a few years that I have it… And I was right.

Ok then if he/she doesn’t mention ADHD after listening to my problems, I’ll try to bring it up straight out.

My doctor first put me on only an SSRI for my anxiety for the first month, and then re-evaluated the severity of my ADHD. He then put me on Adderall XR, because he said he’s found it to be the most effective for most of his ADHD patients. It wasn’t the best for me, so I am now on a non-stimulant (atomoxetine, best known by the brand name Strattera).

There are a couple of medications I’d like to try. But they’re not legal in Turkey I guess. Vyvanse, for example. Anyways, I hope other medications will work for my other problems too.

Sorry for the late reply. I did read your reply a few weeks ago but couldn’t write. By the way, is it ok if I delete my messages? Because I don’t want my family to read what I wrote.

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You can delete messages, but it shows a record that you had left one but then deleted it.

You can edit your messages after you had originally posted them (to change our remove what you had written). But, is other forum users have quoted your messages, you cannot edit those quotes.