ADHD Symptoms Often Mistaken for Personality

It is not uncommon that symptoms for ADHD are mistaken for personality or other conditions.

Dopamine related experiences. Dopamine fuels the Executive Function that helps concentrate, understand, prioritise, and enjoy things.

  • Day dreaming
  • Zoning Out
  • Interrupting (didn’t notice they were busy)
  • Mindwandering during conversations
  • Hobby Hopping
  • Procrastinating (because I don’t know how to do the thing)
  • Chronic lateness (got distracted before I was supposed to leave)
  • Can’t solve the problem
  • Stupid errors

Norepinephrine/Noradrenaline fuels the fight/flight centre, manages moods and connects your “want” to your “action”.

  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Interrupting (feels too urgent to wait, scared you’ll forget)
  • “Lazy” and “unmotivated” (despite wanting to, you just can’t seem to do it)
  • Procrastinating (can’t get started)
  • Negative self talk
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Anger (drives the norepinephrine/adrenaline up so you can get things done)
  • Mood swings and Emotional Dysregulation
  • Chronic lateness (lost time sense and the ability to estimate how long)

Rejection Sensitivity describes how we perceive ourselves, how much we value someone else’s opinion and ties in with many Social Anxiety problems. As a result:

  • Social Butterfly (flitter around, trying to please everyone, be everything, then burnout due to exhaustion)
  • Practice conversations, role play upcoming social interactions
  • Micro examine previous social interactions, checking for fault, faux pas, judgements
  • Mirror or mimick other people’s behaviours
  • Chameleon our presentation to fit in with the group, as Masking we aren’t aware of it, as Camoflague we are, which can lead to confusion about our identity
  • Chronic lateness (this time due to social anxiety driven delays)
  • Social Exhaustion (spent all of our Spoons being around the people)

This is often caused by low neurotransmitters, both Dopamine and Norepinephrine, being around the wrong people, low social skills, poor self esteem and self evaluation, and exacerbated by toxic people [link].

Coping mechanisms for ADHD are often mistaken as personality defects and moral failings. These are often the consequence of, or a solution outside of medication to low neurotransmitters. Follow this link for a better understanding of what the Dopaminergic System does.

  • Substance use/misuse
  • Food misuse (often binge or over eating)
  • Unused planners and lost lists
  • Over planning, perfectionism
  • Forgetfulness
  • Misremembering details
  • Hyperfocus
  • Poor multi-tasking while looking busy
  • Black and Whiting (options and situations are simplified into false dichotomies)
  • The Two Modes – Do everything OR Do Nothing
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