A while back, I shared an Open Letter To Adults with ADHD Traits Who Suspect the ADHD Diagnosis is BS.
In that post, I acknowledged common cynicism about ADHD. Many people who have the traits associated with ADHD are understandably resistant to being pathologized. They don’t want to be labeled, or they have doubts about medication. Often, that’s where exploration ends. They want nothing to do with ADHD.
Unfortunately, this attitude keeps many people from valuable information and support. You don’t have to fully embrace the ADHD label to benefit from learning more. What matters is understanding, accepting, and making the most of your own unique brain wiring — wherever that is on the spectrum of normal human variation.
Today, I want to take this a step further by focusing on something I touched on in that earlier post: the idea of being “ADHD-ish” or, as I’m calling it today, ADHD Lite.
What the heck is ADHD Lite?
Okay, so I made that term up. But indulge me for a moment…
Researchers estimate that about 90% of the population meets the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. But it’s also true that most of us have some of the traits.
Have you taken the Adult ADHD Spectrum Self Test? Or any other ADHD self-test? Did you answer Yes to a lot of questions, but then think, “Don’t most people feel that way?” Or, “How much is ‘a lot’ to lose or forget things? Or, “I used to interrupt people a lot, but I trained myself not to, at least at work.”
Do you feel like you cope pretty well most of the time? Maybe you’re even highly successful. You don’t see yourself as having a disorder. You’re not usually overwhelmed by your challenges. But still, this “ADHD stuff” resonates somehow.
Is it possible that some of these traits, these things you said “yes” to in the self-test are either:
- Long-term challenges that you’ve had to work very hard to counteract; or,
- Brilliant strengths that you sometimes notice in yourself, but can’t consistently direct or follow through on.
If you’ve been nodding your head as you read along, you may have ADHD Lite. It’s not a serious label or a commitment. It’s simply a recognition that there’s something here for you, something worth exploring, an avenue of acceptance and understanding by which your life could become easier and more fulfilling.
Why it’s worth it
If even a few ADHD traits feel like they’ve been a big part of your whole life, there is value in learning more about ADHD. This may seem like a radical statement, but: You don’t have to “have” ADHD to optimize your ADHD-related traits.
By understanding how attention works and exploring your own brain wiring, you can learn to:
- Access your strengths more easily.
- Focus more easily when you want to.
- Maintain momentum toward your goals.
- Improve your relationships.
If you’ve taken the Self Test, you’ve already seen these options on the “What does my score mean?” page, but here they are again:
- Skeptical? Didn’t I just cover that? Go ahead and be skeptical, but consider doing #2 or #3 anyway.
- Cautiously Interested? Learn more about Unpacking ADHD’s strengths-based approach and proven roadmap. Here are a few links to get you started:
- Impatient for Change! Take a free introductory class right now with no risk or obligation. (Click on the “Introduction” lesson.)
I’ve been leading groups for adults living with the traits of ADHD for more than 15 years. I am a licensed counselor in the state of Washington, and I received my own diagnosis of ADHD in 1997. I am passionate about sharing cutting edge information about ADHD wiring and helping people with ADHD connect with others in our “tribe.”