Have you ever found yourself lost in a labyrinth, unaware that you’ve even entered one? This feeling is strikingly similar to experiencing ADHD. It’s not just about absent mindedness or restlessness. ADHD is a cognitive condition where your focus might suddenly get swept away from one point to another, transforming the most ordinary tasks into complex challenges.

But here’s the silver lining: once you realise you’re in this maze, you’re not just left wandering aimlessly. Acknowledging that you have ADHD is like discovering a compass in your pocket. With this newfound awareness, you can start developing tactics and strategies. You can learn how to navigate through the bewildering turns and twists, making your journey through the maze not just manageable, but also empowering.

The clinicians’ guide, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is the map to this maze. However, don’t set about diagnosing yourself which is becoming more and more common with terms like “I’m a bit ADHD” undermining the adults who live with challenges that come with the condition.
The diagnosis hinges on the long-standing pattern of certain behaviours, ones that outdo what you’d expect for someone’s age.

Picture ADHD as a fast-growing tree, with thoughts branching off in all directions. Just like this tree, your mind is teeming with new ideas and distractions, making it challenging to stay focused on the original task.

Imagine walking into a room with a clear purpose in mind, akin to the sturdy trunk of a tree. This is your main task. But as you cross the threshold, your mind starts sprouting branches – new thoughts and distractions that pull your attention away from the original goal. Suddenly, you’re standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by a forest of distracting thoughts, and you can’t recall why you’re there.

This is where some clever strategies come into play. To tame this forest of thoughts, try setting alarms on your phone as reminders, or use post-it notes to keep track of tasks. Leaving objects in visible places rather than tucked away in drawers can also serve as helpful reminders. These strategies act like a seasoned gardener, pruning the thought-tree to maintain focus on the main task.

Living with ADHD is much like navigating a forest – it requires clever strategies and sometimes, outside help. If you find yourself struggling, remember, you’re not alone. In the UK, your GP is a great starting point. If you’re in the US, there are numerous private ADHD clinics available. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help; you can learn to guide your thought-tree in a way that suits you best.


ADHD TYPES – Not one size fits all

Imagine consistently overlooking the details that matter, or finding your thoughts drifting away during crucial meetings. Or maybe you often misplace your keys or phone. These could be signposts of inattention, one key element of ADHD.

Perhaps, you can’t help but tap your feet or jump in to answer a question before it’s been fully asked. You might find waiting for your turn in a conversation as trying as waiting for a kettle to boil. These are signals of hyperactivity and impulsivity, the other side of the ADHD coin.

But here’s the trick – ADHD is not one-size-fits-all. Some people wear both inattention and hyperactivity on their sleeves, while others might tend more towards one. Moreover, the type of ADHD someone has can evolve over time from ADHD to ADHD (innattentive) or ADHD combined (both ADHD and Inattentive type) 

There are three types of ADHD – Combined, Predominantly Inattentive, and Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive. You might have met someone with ADHD and thought or said to them “I’d never be able to tell you had ADHD” which often comes from a genuine place but shows a lack of understanding from a lot of people who don’t have ADHD. 

In the UK, ADHD is more common than you’d think. About 5% of kids and 3-4% of adults have it. That’s over 2.6 million people on this journey!

ADHD and Adulthood – So how does ADHD shape-shift as you age? 

Now, it’s a myth that ADHD is just for the playground. It’s a loyal companion that often saunters into adulthood. And as people mature, ADHD dons a new disguise. Adults might feel a restlessness rather than being the marathon runner, or they might battle with maintaining focus amidst work. The World Health Organisation even devised a survey if you’re an adult pondering over ADHD.

As you grow and the world around you evolves, the way ADHD impacts you adjusts to keep pace. Where kids might be kinetic dynamos, adults may harbour a continuous inner restlessness. Inattention can improve, but often trails behind what’s expected.

As for the roots of ADHD, it’s a cocktail of genes and the environment. Genes have a significant say, but they don’t dictate the entire narrative.

When it comes to managing ADHD, it’s about tailoring the solution to the individual. Therapy, acquiring new social skills, or medication could be part of the toolkit. The goal is finding what brings out the best in each person.

If this story seems oddly familiar, and you suspect you might be in the maze of ADHD, know that there’s a way out. 

In the UK, start with your GP, who can point you to the right expert in the form of a referral to a psychiatrist. At the time of writing this referral process can take anywhere from 1 year up to 3 years in some areas. That’s why it’s important to weigh up whether you want to go private for a diagnosis which will cost more but you’ll be seen much quicker. 

If you’re based in the US, private ADHD clinics offer assessments and support. Wherever you may be, remember it’s never too late to seek help.