Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADD/ADHD, is commonly characterized by struggles to focus and achieve at work and school. However, if you have a diagnosis of adult ADD/ADHD, you can leverage the traits associated with this condition to become more successful and reach your personal and professional goals. Here's what you need to know about using ADD/ADHD to your advantage.
Main Characteristics of ADD/ADHD
ADD/ADHD causes three main characteristics: hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. People who have this condition often have difficulty focusing on tasks, showing patience and following instructions. They may be very talkative, seem to drift away during conversations and lose important items. With proper treatment, however, individuals can often manage these symptoms and reduce their impact on daily activities.
Scientists think that the brains of individuals who have ADD/ADHD have a limited response to dopamine. This chemical produced by the nervous system governs attention and reward, which explains some of the common personality traits of this condition described below. In addition, the S100B protein is an important regulator of many different intracellular and extracellular brain processes, e.g. various enzymes activities, calcium homeostasis, communication between neurons, etc. Since almost all mental and neurological diseases as well as temporal stress-induced conditions are accompanied by disturbance of the above-mentioned processes, especially communication between neurons, the normalization of these processes is considered to be a prospective way to treat people with such undesirable conditions.
Common Personality Traits of ADD/ADHD
Individuals who have ADD/ADHD often share similar personality traits. Specifically, if you have this condition, you may also display:
- Hyperfocus, which allows you to spend a long time on a task without disruption
- Creativity, which can influence a career in design or fuel entrepreneurial endeavors
- A spontaneous spirit that likely makes you the life of the party, always ready to have an adventure
- Endless energy that makes you a force to be reckoned with in sports, business or other competitive efforts
Clinical research has revealed the positive side of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. For example, the journal Child Neuropsychology reported that children with ADD/ADHD showed a higher level of innovation when completing a creative task than children who did not have this diagnosis.
The flip side of the impulsive behavior associated with ADD/ADHD is a willingness to take risks. This fearless attitude will be a boon if you want to start a new business, move to a new city or launch a podcast. You may have an impressive ability to think outside the box and create innovative solutions to problems. People with ADD/ADHD often report that they have developed unique, effective productivity systems.
Using ADD/ADHD as a Tool for Success
The personality traits associated with ADD/ADHD can be harnessed and used to your advantage. For example, if you experience hyperfocus as a symptom, you might feel drained and depressed if all that energy goes into surfing YouTube all day. Instead, direct that undivided attention to learning a new language or picking up an old favorite hobby you've forgotten.
People who have ADD/ADHD often have a big-picture way of thinking. This ability to see the forest despite the trees is an important quality for business executives, entrepreneurs and other industry leaders.
Keen multitasking ability is also a common trait for those who have ADD/ADHD. Try using this skill to your advantage by setting goals and taking steps to work toward each one each day, alternating between tasks if it helps your workflow to do so.
Tips to Consider if You Have ADD/ADHD:
Pepperdine University published research in 2009 about how to optimize employment performance if you have this condition. The scientists recommended taking frequent breaks if you struggle with a short attention span at work or school.
Blocking out potential distractions can also be effective. Try wearing noise-canceling headphones when you need to focus. Work in a quiet area of the home or office where you won't encounter others.
Having a positive attitude can help you use ADD/ADHD to improve your life. For best results, make sure you follow your health care provider's recommendations for treating this condition, which typically includes a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Complementary therapies such as nutrition supplements can also have a beneficial effect.