Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) seem to be an increasing concern for college students today, and its symptoms may create difficulties for school and relationships. It is estimated that approximately 4 - 6% of the U.S. population has ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD is broken down into three different subtypes:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type,
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and
  • Combined Type.

Symptoms of ADHD typically need to be present prior to 7 years of age and be present for at least 6 months in order for someone to be diagnosed with ADHD. And, the symptoms must create daily difficulties in at least two areas of a person's life, such as work, school, home, or social settings. However, ADHD often goes undiagnosed until adulthood.

The symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Distractibility or Difficulty focusing attention
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity (physical restlessness, fidgety)

Other possible signs of ADHD include:

  • Being easily distracted or forgetful in daily activities
  • Making careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Often does not follow through in completing responsibilities in school, work, chores
  • Losing things
  • Interrupting others or not listening when others are talking

It is important to seek appropriate diagnosis for ADHD/ADHD with trained clinicians, because there are many other mental health disorders that may have similar symptoms as those with ADHD.

We encourage you to come to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) in the Student Wellness Center, Room 300B, to consult on strategies around ADHD. CAPS does not provide services for new ADD/ADHD evaluation or testing. The counselors at CAPS will refer you for further testing should we determine that you may have possible ADHD, and counselors will help you cope with your ADHD symptoms if you are diagnosed.  Our personal counselors are available for appointments and walk in crisis counseling.  Please call us at 408-924-5910 to schedule an appointment or for more information.  The local resources for testing are the Bay Area Assessment Services and Wright Institute Assessment Service

After Diagnosis

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, here are a few suggestions that may be helpful in accomplishing your academic and personal success:

  • Develop a relationship with a physician, a psychologist, and other qualified professionals who are trained in working with those with ADHD. A professional can answer your questions and concerns, and help you increase your personal effectiveness.
  • Educate yourself. Read materials about ADHD. Join a support group and learn from other ADHD persons as well as share your experiences with them. Click HERE for information on ADHD Support Group.
  • Manage your time wisely. Keep daily to-do lists with you and visible throughout the day. And, try to schedule your classes during the time of day that you are most productive.
  • Break tasks/assignments into smaller units. Break up large assignments into smaller pieces so they are more manageable. Larger assignments seem impossible for most people and especially for those with ADHD. Build in short breaks and reward yourself as you complete your goals.
  • Follow a daily routine. It will be easier to deal with ADHD if you have a consistent routine.
  • Take good care of yourself. As anyone who has a disability, your performance will be enhanced if you maintain the proper balance of exercise, rest, and a good diet.
  • Discourage negative self-talk. Talking down to yourself is ineffective and may immobilize you. Try to treat problems as learning opportunities and as challenges to be met.
  • Visit the Accessible Education Center (AEC) on campus. Ask for reasonable accommodations to meet your needs.
  • Meet with your professors and inform them of your ADHD. Ask them to help you achieve success in the class to the best of your potential.

References and Further Reading

Fact Sheet on ADHD/ADHDExternal Link that Will Take User Outside SJSU Domain
American Psychological Association on ADHDExternal Link that Will Take User Outside SJSU Domain
The National Resource on AD/HDExternal Link that Will Take User Outside SJSU Domain