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Could I have ADHD?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I am sure I have ADD but I do not remember and my parents have confirmed this, that my restlessness and inattention did not begin until I was in my mid teens. According to my doctor this means that I could not have ADHD now. She did not suggest what else I could have. I have read a lot on the symptoms of adult ADHD and it is like every article is writing about me personally. Is it at all possible to have ADHD that doesn’t start until adolescence?

  • Cynthia Klatte Says ...
    Cynthia Klatte

    Dear Anonymous,

    ADHD, by definition, is a disorder that begins in childhood. Per Kevin R Krull, PhD, in his article Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: Clinical features and evaluation, hyperactivity in ADHD typically begins by age 4. It tends to peak by age 7 or 8 and declines steadily, being barely noticeable by adolescence. Therefore, whatever you are experiencing is not likely to be ADHD.

    There are many conditions that can mimic symptoms of ADHD. The bipolar spectrum disorders can sometimes be mistaken for ADHD and have their onset either in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Per recent studies, another condition commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD is sleep apnea. Other similar conditions are anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury and learning disabilities.

    Typically, when someone is experiencing difficulties with attention, concentration, and restlessness or excessive energy, they consult with their primary care physician, a psychiatrist or a mental health clinician. If the situation is complex, it may be recommended that the individual undergo neuropsychological testing, which is conducted by a psychologist or neuropsychologist. Testing will help with the process of accurate diagnosis and with the development of a treatment plan.


    Cynthia Klatte, LCSW, ACSW

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