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Psuedo ADHD - Does it exist?

Living ADDventure™ an independent organization committed to helping people who have - and people who live alongside ADHD.Is there a condition that looks like ADHD, but is not? Here's the answer!

ADHD is a complex condition, of that there's no doubt. There are so many myths and legends that swirl around ADHD that it's often difficult to know what it really is, and what it isn't.

To answer the question, let's look at some of the parameters that influence the answer.

  • Nobody has ADHD on it's own! There is always a co-occurring condition. The most common are anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), amongst others. The golden rule here when you get a diagnosis of any of the co-occurring conditions is to check for ADHD, as it's very often the underlying condition.
  • There are different types of ADHD. The scale is a continuum from the Inattentive Type to the Hyperactive Type, and everything in-between, known as the Combined Types.
  • Everybody has at least one, two, even three symptoms of ADHD, which in no way means they have ADHD. Even if a symptom presents as severe, it DOES NOT mean that person definitely has ADHD.

Now we can see that it's possible to have a few symptoms of ADHD, but not "qualify" for the label. To be diagnosed as having ADHD, you have to satisfy the criteria laid down in the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual version 4).

There are 18 symptoms that are divided into 2 groups of 9, and to be diagnosed you have to have at least 6 in each group, and to have presented these symptoms in early childhood. So having 3 or 4 ADHD symptoms DOES NOT  mean you have ADHD, or ADD.

Some environments can cause people to present ADHD-like symptoms. Busy open-office areas with telephones ringing, lots of people walking around, having "meetings on the go" keyboards clattering, TV's and radio's going, emails arriving in a steady stream, and having to work long hours.

This is information overload, and more and more people are battling to maintain focus, to minimise distractions, and do their work properly.

They will start to forget things, get irritable, procrastinate a lot more, start staring into the distance, start smoking or drinking more than usual [adults], and avoid certain situations or doing tasks they dislike.

Sounds like ADHD doesn't it? ...But it's not.

Medications like Ritalin and Concerta will not provide relief. Depression will set in.
In these cases, ADHD-coaching will be of benefit, and the LADD™ ADD coaching program teaches people how to handle those unique pressures, and how to create some structure in the midst of all the chaos that is our modern fast-moving technological world.
Can you now see how doubly difficult life is for an ADDer in an environment that can cause non-ADHD people to present ADD-like symptoms?

Read more from Dave at 'Ask an Expert'
Dave Pughe-Parry is the founder of Living ADDventure™ an independent organization committed to helping people who have - and people who live alongside ADHD. Dave advocates and practices a multi-disciplinary methodology in dealing with this complex and often bewildering condition. ADHD is the most prevalent of all psychiatric conditions, affecting close to 10% of any population.