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Undiagnosed Adults with A.D.D.

Updated on May 9, 2011

According to, approximately 4% of the US adult population, or an estimated 8 million adults have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, very few adults are identified or treated for it.

Many of these adults have lived with the symptoms all their lives never realizing they had something that is treatable. Many have lived their whole lives thinking they are stupid, or slow, or just not like other people. They don't understand why they don't think like other people or can't remember things like everyone else seems to. They don't understand why they speak out of turn blurting things out or have trouble behaving.

Most adults never find out they have ADD or ADHD until they have a child that is suspected of having it by their teacher. Once the adult takes the child in for screening, they begin to see the same symptoms in themselves.

In my husband's case, I recognized the symptoms. I then, looked it up online and began to read to him the checklist. He broke down in tears once he realized that this was something that could possibly have changed his life had it been detected as a child. On one hand he was relieved to know there was a name for what he's experienced, and a cure, but at the same time, he felt cheated out of years of his life. These were years that should have been fun and happy that were instead filled with disruptive behavior in school, trouble relating to his parents, and later girlfriends. College was excruciating for him since it required so much more concentration. Once he graduated, the working world was just as tough.

I'm happy to report that we were able to get him to our family doctor and he's taking the prescription drug, Strattera. I can see a world of difference in him. He was apprehensive about taking it at first because he was afraid that it would alter his personality too much. He didn't want to become an emotionless zombie. I assured him that I would make sure that didn't happen. He has been very pleased with the results as well.

I urge you to read over the list of symptoms and if you, or someone you love, exhibits many of these symptoms and the symptoms have caused them challenges or troubles in their health, relationships, work etc. then please make an appointment to have it checked.

So much going on at once!
So much going on at once!

Symptom Test for Suspected A.D.D.

  • An internal sense of anxiety
  • Impulsive habits such as spending habits

  • Frequently distracted during sex

  • Frequently loses or misplaces personal items such as car keys, purse or wallet, brush or comb, etc.

  • Unable to give attention to detail

  • Family history of ADD, learning problems, mood disorders or substance abuse problems

  • Difficulty in following the proper channels or chain of commands

  • Unable to obey rules resulting in frequent traffic violations

  • Impulsive job changes

  • Difficulty in maintaining an organized work and/or home environment

  • Chronically late, always rushed or in a hurry

  • Frequently overwhelmed by normal daily tasks

  • Poor financial management resulting late payments

  • Procrastination

  • Spending excessive time at work due trying to make up for inefficiencies

  • Inconsistent work performance and/or work attendance

  • Sense of underachievement

  • Frequent mood swings

  • Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships

  • A need to seek high and higher stimulation activities, bores easily

  • Tendency toward exaggerated outbursts

  • Transposes numbers, letters, words

  • Tendency toward being argumentative and/or highly opinionated

  • Addictive personality toward food, alcohol, drugs, work and/or gambling

  • Tendency to worry needlessly and endlessly

  • "Thin-skinned" - having quick or exaggerated responses to real or imagined slights

The Hazards of Undiagnosed ADD/ADHD

Left untreated, ADD/ADHD can totally disrupt a person's life. It can affect their career, their relationships, their financial stability and their health. The more time that elapses with it left untreated only adds to the chaos and the damaging effects.

In their career, they may experience difficulty in concentrating, handling multiple tasks, listening attentively, and relating to their boss and/or co-workers. They may have difficulty meeting deadlines, being on time, or forgetting appointments.

In their relationships, they may feel that they are picked on for being untidy, unorganized and seemingly inattentive in conversations. The person with ADD/ADHD often blurts out hurtful things. They also are unreliable for matters involving dates, times, or organization.

With regards to finances, the person with ADD/ADHD has trouble remembering to pay bills on time, balancing a checkbook, keeping up with receipts or balances on credit cards. They are also prone to impulsive spending.

The person with ADD/ADHD can have difficulty with compulsive eating, drug and/or alcohol abuse. They are forgetful in remembering to eat properly or take medicine timely.

Famous People With ADD/ADHD

The following celebrities are listed as having ADD or ADHD. I've only included celebrities that are still alive today. Many believe many of the great inventors, public figures, etc. of our past suffered from ADD/ADHD. A link is provided below if you want to see the list of those believed to have had it.

Harry Andersen - (1952-present) - Actor, Comedian

Terry Bradshaw - (1948-Present) - Football Quarterback

Jim Carrey - (1962-present) - Actor, Comedian

Prince Charles - (1948-present) - Royalty of England

Cher (1946-present)- Actress, Singer

Bill Cosby - (1937-present) - Actor, Comedian

Tom Cruise - (1962-present) - Actor

Kirk Douglas -(1916-present) - Actor

Danny Glover - (1947-present) - Actor

Tracey Gold - (1969-present) - Actress

Whoopi Goldberg - (1955-present) - Actress

Dustin Hoffman - (1937-present) - Actor

Bruce Jenner - (1949-present) - Olympic Gold Medalist, Athlete, TV Personality

"Magic" Johnson - (1959-present) - Basketball Player

Michael Jordan - (1963-present) - Basketball Player

Greg Louganis - (1960-present) - Olympic Gold Medalist (Diving), Author

Ozzy Osbourne - (1948-present) - Actor, Singer, Entertainer

Nolan Ryan - (1947-present) - Major League Baseball Player

Will Smith -(1968-present) - Actor, Rapper, Entertainer

Suzanne Somers - (1946-present) - Actress, Author

Steven Spielberg - (1946-present) - Director, Filmmaker

Sylvester Stallone - (1946-present) - Actor, Director, Producer

Robin Williams - (1952-present) - Actor, Comedian

Henry Winkler - (1945-present) - Actor, Director, Producer, Author

Stevie Wonder - (1950-present ) - Musician


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    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Good luck to you! I hope you're able to pinpoint your issues and get the help you need!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 7 years ago from Southern Spain

      Thanks for pointing out this article to me > I did a quiz online and it said to see someone IMMEDIATLY so I have made a doctors appointment .

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks lxxy and ahostagesituation!

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 7 years ago

      Thanks! Funny, Ixxy. KCC Big Country, I like that you included celebrities with ADD. I think that a lot of people use terms that are way too broad in describing people with it. In school, because I was girl, they were pretty much like, she has ADD, give her ritalin, good bye. I learned more later, and I hate that no one ever recognized that in your husband as a kid. It's usually pretty obvious with boys. I told my buddy who was 28 at the time he had emotional tourettes which made me want him tested for ADD. They said it was ADHD. Thanks for the hub, and the links!

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Too long; didn't read. Haha, just kidding. Quite useful. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Dohn, the list of deceased people beleived to have had A.D.D. will astound you even more. In fairness, I left them out. I'm not sure we can accurately determine today that someone that lived many years ago had A.D.D. Although, I personally believe that many of the most brilliant minds are those with A.D.D.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Wow, KCC Big Country. I'm absolutely blown away by the list of names, as they are some of the most recognizable celebrities, sports figures, and renown figures in general! I'm sure that these same people had a tremendous amount of support throughout the course of their lives, overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to become the people who we now know them to be. Incredible. Thank you.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you Wealthmadehealthy! There is hope for those who need it.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      This is a hub which should have been written years ago..I am sure it has helped a great many people....Thank you for writing it and giving such great links....Kudos!!!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you donotfear. I think too many people are walking around struggling when there is help. It's up to the rest of us to notice in our friends and family to to mention it to them so they can look at getting help.

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      I'm really glad you wrote this article on such an important subject. It really needs to be addressed.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      So good to see you Teresa! I think my husband finds the symptoms more annoying now than before as well. In your youth, you seem to take it for granted that you're going in 50 directions all at once. The medicine really does help him. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I'm annoyed more at some of the symptoms than I was when a kid--inability to focus enough to read is a real nuisance, as I used to be able to get lost in a good book. Now I just get lost. Thanks for the detailed examination of the condition.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      That's true Anjalichugh. I hadn't heard about the connection between A.D.D. and Alzheimers. I'll have to look into that.

      Madison, thank you. I'm glad you found the information helpful.

      Thank you both for stopping by!

    • Madison22 profile image

      Madison 8 years ago from NYC

      Very good article and helpful...Thanks!!

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      I read somewhere that ADD can also be an early symptom of 'Alzheimer'. These days you have a name for every malfunction in the body. Until some years ago (even now in some countries) no one knew what ADD was. Thx to the scientists and medical practitioners who keep finding names for new diseases. At least now a victim can figure out what's happening inside his body. Thx for creating this hub.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      LanthatIlove: Are you one of the undiagnosed or are you being treated for it?

      Catherine: Your friend does sound like a likely candidate. You may want to suggest she visit a doctor. A simple pill could change her life.

      Thank you both for stopping by!

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I have a friend who I think has ADD. She is very very bright but cannot cook a thing without burning it. She cannot go out without losing her wallet - the bank won't give her credit cards anymore as she has lost so many. I have often wondered how such a clever person cannot deal with everyday life and this explains it to me! And then seeing all those high achieving celebrities kind of confirms it. Interesting stuff.

    • landthatilove profile image

      landthatilove 8 years ago from ohio

      That be me