Symptoms of ADHD

Hello friends,

I've been working hard on my book, Refocus, trying to get it closer to that ever elusive finish line.

Just recently, I was working through the official list of ADHD symptoms from the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition).

The list is far from perfect.

It's missing some important pieces, particularly symptoms related to emotional dysregulation (which many hope will eventually be added).

But it struck just how impactful this list could have been if my parents or a teacher had this knowledge when I was growing up.

  • Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble holding attention
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Has trouble following through on instructions
  • Has trouble organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Loses things necessary for tasks and activities
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful in daily activities
  • Fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat
  • Has trouble remaining seated
  • Runs about or climbs in situations as a child, restlessness as an adult
  • Unable to take part in leisure activities quietly
  • Constantly acts or feels “on the go” or as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
  • Has trouble waiting their turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • The diagnostic criteria says a child needs to match 6 or more of those (5 or more for an adult).

I presented at least 12 of these symptoms as a child, and probably 10 of them as an adult—double the criteria requirement.

This is a big reason why I write this newsletter, why I'm writing my book, and why I share content online about ADHD.

Knowledge is power, and awareness is knowledge!

This exact list didn't exist when I was a kid (the DSM-V update came out in 2013), but similar lists did.

It's hard not to imagine how different my life might've been if one of my parents had stumbled onto a list of symptoms like this and realized how much it sounded like their son.

Raising awareness and sharing your story is important.

Important to break the stigma. Important to bust myths. Important to show people what ADHD really looks like, and potentially change someone else's life forever.

Stay focused,

Jesse J. Anderson

P.S. "ADHD" rhymes with "Under the Sea" 🎵



📺 PKM Through the Lens of ADHD [Second Brain Summit]​ ​In case you missed it last week, the recording of our panel is now available! I had an amazing time with Marie, Bryan, and Karaminder discussing ADHD, productivity, knowledge management, and much more. As one person said, "That wasn’t an ADHD Panel, it was an ADHD PARTY 🥳"

📺 Do You Have ADHD, Something Else, Or... Both??​ ​Another great video from How To ADHD. They say ADHD often "comes with friends" because related disorders (anxiety, autism, bpd, depression, dyslexia, ocd, etc) often show up alongside it.