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The NHS provide a very simple definition of ADHD as ‘a condition that affects people’s behaviour’ and goes on to say that those with ADHD ‘may seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse’ but it is so much more than this  ADHD is really complex and in my opinion, the name doesn’t really describe it all too well. For this reason, I find it useful to simplify medical definitions and to expand on them…

ADHD is often referred to as a neurodevelopmental condition, but I like to refer to it as a neurodevelopmental difference. This means that those who have ADHD are classed as neurodiverse and are therefore more divergent in their way of thinking. We are wired differently compared to those without ADHD who are neurotypical and whose thoughts easily go from A to B to C. An ADHD brain tends to have a more non-linear way of thinking and can skip from A to R and back to C for example. We still get to the same destination… we just take a slightly different route. 


Those with ADHD also have an unregulated and impacted ‘executive function’ which is the front part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex). I often call it the ‘CEO of our brain’ as it’s responsible for making decisions, analysing situations, helping us focus, and regulating our short and long term memory. Another difference is that we typically tend to have lower levels of dopamine which again affects our behaviour. 

What Is ADHD?

Much like with the definition of ADHD, the symptoms are vast, complex and can present differently for different people but here are some of the most common:


  • A short attention span

  • Being easily distracted

  • Difficulty concentrating 

  • ‘Attention Deficit’ actually meaning we have an abundance of attention which is why an ADHD brain flicks from one thing to the next so rapidly. I often describe my brain as being at an after party where the music is blaring and everyone is talking over each other. 

  • Emotional dysregulation with extreme highs and lows and nothing in between 

  • Addictive personality traits and more prone to addiction

  • Reward deficiency syndrome which means we find it harder to get happy which is again due to low dopamine levels and why we constantly chase it 

  • Hyper activity which can result in impulsiveness and acting without thinking of the consequence as well as making careless mistakes 

  • Overthinking which can be internalised with racing thoughts or voiced and result in interrupting and overtalking 

  • Forgetfulness 

  • High sensitivity to rejection which is not currently in the diagnosis but means we can perceive it before it happens and experience feelings of paranoia and imposter syndrome. 


One thing to note is that symptoms for ADHD fall into two categories - inattentive or hyperactive (or impulsive). Read more about this and the checklist for these here. You can also have combined ADHD which is a blend of both inattentive and hyperactive. 

What Are ADHD Symptoms?

Is ADHD A Disability?


The official definition of a disability is any condition of the mind or body that makes it more difficult for the person to do certain activities or interact with the world around them so yes, ADHD is classed as a disability.


If left undiagnosed or untreated it can be so debilitating as it impacts every aspect of your life. From social situations and relationships to your work and career and even day-to-day tasks. 


There is also a huge correlation between ADHD and mental health. In fact, research suggests that those with ADHD are more likely to experience poor mental health such as anxiety and depression. I personally put this down to many of us not understanding our struggles enough which causes an extreme lack of self-confidence and self-belief. 


The good news is that when treated and understood, ADHD doesn’t have to be considered a disability and we can work to turn your pain into power… this is the exact mantra of ADHD Untangled. 



Link to What Is Untangled page

How To Get Diagnosed With ADHD?


Currently in the UK, the first port of call is to go and see your GP for screening. They will then put you on a list to be seen by a psychiatrist but the wait for this at the moment is between 2 and 10.5 years! That being said, there is something called Right To Choose (read more about this here) which, if you mention this to your doctor, will help you to be fast tracked. 


The screening process for ADHD diagnosis is called DSM 5.Again, you can read more about this here. It considers behaviours and patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity. You have to present five or more of the symptoms and they need to have been consistently displayed. 


My personal journey was very holistic in that they spoke to people who had known me when I was younger to help gain a better picture. ADHD is considered on a spectrum based on your score meaning you can have it mildly, moderately or severely. I have combined ADHD (both inattentive and hyperactive) and scored 9. This is considered severe. 


If you (or someone you know) are at the early stages and are considering consulting your GP, there are several free ADHD tests available online which can help you to gain a bit more of a steer on things.



Link to ADHD Test page 


ADHD is complex to say the very least and due to being under researched it is highly misunderstood.

Maybe you are at the early stages of exploring the possibility of having ADHD, or waiting an adhd diagnosis or trying to support a loved one who  has ADHD?

Here my answers some of the most common questions…

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