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The Emotional Symptoms of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks

People with ADHD have passionate thoughts and feelings that are more intense than those of the average person. In this video, learn the emotional symptoms of ADD that many clinicians misdiagnose.

The textbook symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD)— inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity — fail to reflect several of its most powerful characteristics; the ones that impact how you think and feel.

This video can help you understand the emotional symptoms, and may explain your intense feelings.

The Emotional Symptoms of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks

ADHD is not what you think it is.

Visible hyperactivity occurs in only 25% of children and 5% of adults with the condition.

Almost universal among ADDers, though, is an internal feeling of hyperarousal:

  • “I’m always tense. I can never relax.”
  • “I can’t just sit still and watch TV with the rest of the family.”
  • “I can’t turn off my brain and body to go to sleep at night.

The passionate thoughts and emotions of people with ADHD are remarkably intense.

Their highs are higher. Their lows are lower.

A person with ADHD may experience both happiness and criticism more powerfully than others.

Children with ADHD hyperarousal may develop low self-esteem because:

  • They know they are different
  • They fail to get engaged and finish what they start
  • They can’t yet distinguish between actions and character

Adults may experience overwhelming shame thanks to harsh criticism — both external and internal.

Many are misdiagnosed with a mood disorder like depression or anxiety.

“People with ADHD feel everything more vividly. When it comes to passion, joy, and curiosity, this is a good thing. When it comes to rejection, overwhelm, and anger, powerful emotions can be debilitating. ” – Edward Hallowell, M.D.

To counteract feelings of shame and low self-esteem, a person with ADHD needs a genuine “cheerleader” who says this daily:

  • “You’re a good person.”
  • “If you could overcome these problems by hard work alone, you would have.”
  • “This isn’t about willpower; something else is getting in your way.”
  • “I will be there with you until we figure this out.”

To learn more about emotional hyperarousal as a defining feature of ADHD, visit

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