How Do I Sort Out Whether I Have ADD Symptoms?

Distracted student
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Question: How Do I Sort Out Whether I Have ADD Symptoms?

“I am totally disorganized and cannot concentrate on anything unless I am really interested. I had never heard of ADD until my Gran bought me a book on organization. Inside the book is a list of symptoms for ADD and I can identify with most of them. I’m in my second year of college and am having a difficult time keeping up with the work. I lose stuff continuously, my mind wanders, and getting assignments in on time creates a lot of stress. My friends say I am a bundle of energy. I just want to think straight for a bit and not spend hours making a simple decision. What do I do?”


This user went on to explain that she is dyslexic, has difficulty processing information, and though she has always been very messy was a model student up until college and wonders if because of this she may not meet the criteria for ADD. She also worries about the noise in the press about “taking on disorders to cover for personal failings.”

If you are having questions and concerns that it may be symptoms of ADD in addition to the dyslexia that is causing you problems, set up an appointment with a doctor for an ADD evaluation.

Yes, if you have ADD, the symptoms would have been present in childhood. You mention some issues with disorganization and feelings of restlessness. It is also possible that the interventions used by teachers and your caregivers (structure, routines, immediate feedback, and rewards, etc) helped you to manage the ADD symptoms so they simply weren’t as obvious when you were younger, but now that you are in the freedom and unstructured environment of college, symptoms are more difficult to keep under control.

Don’t let what others have said in the press or whatever prevent you from trying to figure out with a doctor what may be going on to cause such stress, distractibility, disorganization, and nervous energy. It may or may not be ADD, but a qualified doctor can help you sort out what’s going on and begin steps for addressing the problem and making life feel more joyful and productive for you.

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