The Women's Journal

Is It ADHD? How To Get Answers

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pip nc jas17 Liz Brown
Liz Brown, Be Well Life Coaching

If you are wondering if you or your child have ADHD (commonly called ADD), you are not alone. Each week I receive several calls from people asking me this question. People wonder whether their trouble focusing, getting organized, starting and finishing a project or feeling distracted are because they might have ADHD. Sometimes the symptoms are caused by issues other than ADHD. For example, many people might have trouble focusing or feel distracted at times due to a busy lifestyle. But for 10-12% of the population, ADHD might be the diagnosis.   

Diagnosis is first

ADHD is classified into 3 types: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type and combined. This is important because many think you need to be hyperactive to have ADHD. Adult hyperactivity is often seen more in fidgeting behavior.  

Diagnosis can be tricky. One way to get started is to do a quick screening to see how many symptoms you have and to what level of severity. For ADHD to be present, symptoms need to be present for a least 6 months, have a negative impact on the person’s ability to function in two or more environments including home, social, school or at work. The symptoms fall into the three categories of impulsiveness, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity (for ADHD Hyperactive type). For children, the symptoms must be not be regular age appropriate behavior like fidgeting. To be diagnosed with ADHD, you generally must have 6 or more symptoms in one or more of the 3 categories. 

There are basic checklists that will provide a quick screen. For a thorough evaluation, a neurologist, psychiatrist, or psychologist who does testing, or a pediatrician is necessary. These professionals will do an interview, administer testing and get feedback from family and/or teachers. If medication is needed, a medical doctor must prescribe and monitor. Your doctor will also be able to determine whether your symptoms are from ADHD or caused by something else. 

Education is critical

ADHD education is critical before, during and after diagnosis. This is important for both the person with ADHD and parents, partners and teachers. Understanding the brain science involved with ADHD and learning strategies that will help, will take away many of the misconceptions that often come with symptoms. ADHD is not caused by lack of discipline or by laziness. Education is also important to help mitigate the shame or blame that often go along with undiagnosed ADHD.

Support and strategies

Newly diagnosed people may feel relieved to have found an answer but also fearful that the symptoms have no solution. The good news is that there are many effective strategies to help manage struggles caused by ADHD. Schools can help students by creating accommodations that will work best for the student. As an ADHD coach, I help with education, strategies, support and accountability. Family members can provide support and encouragement once they are educated in how best to help. There are numerous technology-based resources as well.  

Common Adult ADHD Symptoms


  • Trouble paying attention
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful
  • Trouble following through on a task
  • Losing important items
  • Avoid tasks requiring prolonged mental effort
  • Trouble estimating time or running late

Hyperactivity or Impulsivity

  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Unable to sit or engage in activities silently
  • Always on the go
  • Overly talkative
  • Trouble waiting
  • Frequently interrupting and talking over others

If you have questions about resources, coaching or need more information on where to find help, please email me [email protected] or schedule a complimentary session in person or by phone 302-584-5521.  


“Liz is amazing with all ages whether they have trouble with ADHD, need help sorting their life out, or need guidance with unpredictable situations. She is very personable and professional, which makes it easy to open up. I highly recommend Liz Brown as a life coach.”  ~ Client in Newark, DE


Liz Brown PCC is a Professional Certified Life Coach and Owner of Be Well Life Coaching. She is one of 1000 coaches internationally with the National Board Certification in Health and Wellness Coaching. In addition, she holds national certifications in ADHD Coaching, Recovery Coaching for Teens and Adults and is a Certified Career Direct Coach. At Be Well, Liz helps clients turn their personal and professional dreams, goals and visions into reality.  

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To schedule a complimentary one-hour session, please call me at (302)584-5521 or email [email protected]

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