Many people say their attention is gotten poorer in the digital age.
But, is it just a regular inability to focus, or is it a ‘disorder’?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD or ADD, can cause people to have problems with simple day-to-day tasks, like paying bills.
It may even cause someone to lose their job, through persistent lateness or failing to perform routine tasks.
The World Health Organisation has released the latest version of an adult test for ADHD.
The answers to these questions have been found to reliably predict people suffering from ADHD.
- How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?
- How often do you leave your seat in meetings and other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
- How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?
- When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?
- How often do you put things off until the last minute?
- How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?
To each of these questions, the options are “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “often” or “very often.”
Answering “sometimes,” “often” or “very often” to four of the six questions indicates the test-taker may have adult ADHD.
However, the questions are designed as a simple way to screen people.
In other words, they can give you an indication, not a diagnosis.
Many people, though, have ADHD without being diagnosed with it.
This latest study suggests that 8.2% of people have adult ADHD, double the previously reported rate.
People with ADHD are sometimes prescribed drugs like Ritalin or Adderall.
However, psychotherapy is usually preferred as it has far fewer side effects.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (Usun et al., 2017).