6 Surprising Signs of Adult ADHD


The Mel Robbins Podcast


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More and more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD, so today, we are unpacking the 6 surprising signs of ADHD. I also tell you why so many women, in particular, go undiagnosed.

This episode is deeply personal, but my story is shared by so many women.

I lived my entire life with symptoms of ADHD and crushing anxiety because of it. But I was never diagnosed until the age of 47 - and I found out by a fluke!

So in this episode, I go deep into what ADHD is: a neurological disorder that affects the brain structurally and chemically. I explain the signs and the science behind what is going on in your brain to help you live a better life. 

If you ever wondered if you have ADHD, or you feel like menopause is making it worse, or you struggle with anxiety, an eating disorder, or low self-esteem, you have to listen. All these might be symptoms of ADHD.

This episode goes way beyond an inability to focus, because it turns out ADHD is so much more. This is an education in how your brain works, how focus works, and how to help yourself or someone in your life who may have ADHD.

I’ve been wanting to record this episode for MONTHS, but I didn’t want to do it until I had first-class resources for you. Because every time I talk about my ADHD story, we get an avalanche of questions from listeners.

I have regrets about that lost time when I did not know I had ADHD, and I don’t want you to have them, too.

Today you’ll learn:

*why women have been profoundly underdiagnosed

*four key differences between genders with ADHD

*why my diagnosis was both a blessing and a curse

*the surprising way most women find out

*six symptoms of ADHD that most people don’t catch

*the connection between anxiety and depression and ADHD

*resources and hacks to help you take charge over your symptoms

Xo Mel

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • 2:44: The surprising backdoor way I was diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 6:30: What I learned about the “lost generation” that has blown me away.
  • 7:45: A terrifyingly important statistic that led to this podcast episode.
  • 9:00: The definition of ADHD that may make you feel better about yours.
  • 10:15: Why are women underdiagnosed?The differences in symptoms.
  • 19:30: This is how ADHD impacts your brain.
  • 22:30: Breaking this myth about this symptom of ADHD.
  • 24:45: A really clear metaphor to explain how your brain silences noise, or doesn’t.
  • 32:00: How is it I have ADHD, yet I can hyper-focus?
  • 34:00: More surprising symptoms of ADHD that might make your relationships hard.
  • 38:00: This one hack helps me get birthday gifts for others on time.
  • 40:00: The jobs I loved because they worked well with ADHD.
  • 43:45: Now here’s the good news!
  • 45:30: A predictive statistic about children that you’re going to want to hear.

Resources and go deeper:

  • For Closed Captions: Watch on YouTube and turn on “CC.” For instructions to turn on closed captions, click here.
  • The Guardian: Read about the “lost generation” of women with ADHD.
  • Vogue: Why a rising number of women are being diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Check out Dr. Ed (Ned) Hallowell’s book, Driven to Distraction.
  • TED: Dr. Ed (Ned) Hallowell describes how ADHD is a Ferrari in your brain.
  • Read more of the research from Dr. Ellen Littman and colleagues here
  • Dr. Daniel Amen has a brain quiz on his page that I really like. 
  • Here is a self-assessment that you could bring to your doctor’s appointment.
  • ADDA: Foods to eat and avoid when you have ADHD.
  • Dr. Ed Hallowell: Exercising an ADHD brain.
  • The Atlantic: Exercise is ADHD medication.

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In The Mel Robbins Podcast, Mel takes you behind the scenes in real-time. Every episode is packed with tactical advice, hilarious screwups, compelling conversations, and the tools and inspiration you need to create a better life.