If you’ve struggled with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, you may have questions about neurodivergence. Anyone involved in the mental health world, especially on social media, has probably heard about neurodivergence, mainly ADHD and autism. With increased awareness, more people are wondering if these diagnoses apply to them.
ADHD and autism are often classified as disabilities or developmental disabilities. As society becomes more accepting of those with ADHD and autism, the stigma is starting to lift. This means many adults are learning they may meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD or autism, which explains why they have struggled with issues beyond regular anxiety.
While every person is different, and co-morbidities (overlapping conditions) are common, this guide is a resource for adults looking for further mental and emotional health resources.
Learn more about common signs you may be neurodivergent below.
An Important Note On A Diagnosis
This article contains professional resources and information, but it’s not meant as a diagnosis tool. In order to be professionally diagnosed, you must work with a trained mental health professional specializing in autism or ADHD.
Also, if you are struggling with your mental health and suspect you may have specific conditions, it’s vital to reach out to mental health providers for assistance. However, if you want some basic information, this guide can help.
Signs Of Autism In Adults
While ADHD and autism do have some similiarities, they are different. It’s also worth noting that signs of autism are different in adults than in children, and there are some gender differences that lead to girls and women being underdiagnosed.
However, some of the general signs that an adult could be autistic include:
- Struggles with social anxiety
- Issues with making and keeping friends
- Difficulty expressing emotions or understanding how others feel
- Tendency to take things very literally
- Being blunt or rude without meaning to
- Following a specific routine and getting upset if it changes
- Difficulty understanding social rules
- Obsessive nature over specific interests or hobbies
While these are some general signs of autism in adults, it’s important to note some of the ways autism may present in adult women over men.
Here’s how autism may look different in adult women than in adult men.
- Autistic women may learn to copy social behaviors and “fit in.”
- They may show fewer repetitive behaviors.
Generally, autistic women are harder to diagnose as they may learn to adapt or “mask” to survive or blend in.
Signs Of ADHD In Adults
Now that we’ve covered some common signs of autism in adults, it’s time to look at ADHD. As noted above, some overlap occurs. Just like with autism, ADHD often goes unnoticed in girls and women.
Overall, there are some of the common signs of ADHD in adults:
- Difficulty staying on task or keeping a routine
- Trouble listening
- Not paying attention to details
- Being disorganized
- Losing things regularly
- Fidgeting often or feeling restless
With ADHD and autism, symptoms may look different depending on the individual. It’s also common to struggle with other conditions, such as anxiety. So, working with a professional is vital.
Next Steps To Take
If you resonate with several of the signs mentioned above, it’s worth reaching out to a mental health professional. It can also be helpful to do more research to better understand signs and symptoms and see if they apply to you.
Finally, remember that only a trained professional can make a diagnosis, but if you are struggling with any mental health issues, don’t wait to seek help.