Have you ever been confronted by someone who claims that ADHD is not “real” or who says something such as “You probably don’t have ADHD - everybody gets distracted – we’re all just so busy!”

Of course, it is possible that any particular individual does not have ADHD, even if he thinks he might.  But it is NOT the case that ADHD is not real.

Research done by Russell Barkley, Ph.D., Kevin Murphy, Ph.D. and Mariellen Fischer, Ph.D drives this point home.  When asked whether or not they experienced the symptoms of ADHD often, respondents with ADHD responded radically differently than respondents in the "community" broup without ADHD:


Fails to give close attention to details:  ADHD adult - 74%  /  Community adult (No ADHD diagnosis) - 3%

Difficulty sustaining attention:  ADHD - 97% / Comm. - 3%

Fails to listen when spoken to directly:  ADHD - 73% / Comm. - 2%

Doesn't follow through on instructions:  ADHD - 75% / Comm. - 1%

Has difficulty organizing tasks:  ADHD - 81% / Comm. - 5%

Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort:  ADHD - 81% / Comm. - 2%

Loses necessary things:  ADHD - 75% / Comm. - 11%

Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli:  ADHD - 97% / Comm. - 2%

Forgetful in daily activities:  ADHD - 78% / Comm. - 4%

Fidgets with hand/feet or squirms in seat (H)*ADHD - 79% / Comm. - 4%

Leaves seat when required to stay seated (H)ADHD - 30% / Comm. - 2%

Feels restless (H):  ADHD - 77% / Comm. - 3%

Difficulty doing leisure activities quietly (H):  ADHD - 38% / Comm. - 3%

Has to be "on the go" (H):  ADHD - 62% / Comm. - 12%

Talks excessively (H)ADHD - 44% / Comm. - 4%

Blurts out answers (H)ADHD - 57% / Comm. - 7%

Difficulty awaiting turn (H) ADHD - 67% / Comm. - 3%

Interrupts or intrudes on others (H):  ADHD - 57% / Comm. - 3%

* symptoms marked with an (H) are hyperactive/impulsive symptoms of ADHD, which not all with ADHD have

Source:  Barkley, R., with Benton, C, Taking Charge of Adult ADHD pp. 32-33

ADHD is a biological, neurologically based condition…one that most often wreaks havoc in a person’s life if not treated.  To suggest that the struggles of those with ADHD are simply more of what everyone else encounters is both ignorant and hurtful.

About the Author

Melissa Orlov

Melissa Orlov is the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, which won the gold medal for best psychology book of 2010 from ForeWord Reviews.

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