Do You Have High Functioning ADHD?

High Functioning ADHD

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or, for short, ADHD, is something everyone has heard about. However, many people do not realize that this disorder can be applicable to them, too. How to know if you have high-functioning ADHD? Let’s define what it is at first.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. A high-functioning ADHD is the same thing, but in this case, people experiencing this disorder are able to still keep up with highly demanding everyday life. 

While adults with ADHD are less hyperactive than children, they typically have less success staying focused on one task. Some other symptoms of adult ADHD include:

  • Poor sense of time
  • Inability to multitask
  • Being disorganized
  • Having mood swings
  • Feeling of restlessness
  • Not being able to focus for long periods of time
  • Having troubles setting up priorities
  • Getting easily stressed out

Related: Can ADHD Get Worse With Age?

What Does High Functioning ADHD Look Like in Adults?

High-functioning ADHD in adults can be much more than just an inability to focus or being easily distracted. The “high-functioning” part means that people with ADHD might seem like they do not have this condition, but in fact, they are just struggling to keep up with everyday life at work, at home, or alone. 

ADHD symptoms might not present themselves in a very straightforward way and the person that is struggling with ADHD might just be very good at keeping up with it. 

Is ADHD high functioning autism?

No, ADHD is not falling on the autism spectrum. However, some of the symptoms are similar between the two. In addition, having one of these conditions can potentially increase the chances of having the other. 

Can High IQ Mask ADHD?

The overall consensus is no, high IQ cannot mask ADHD. 

Many assume that a high IQ can make the management of ADHD easier. Yet, research shows that a high IQ does not help people avoid symptoms of ADHD.  Despite their high IQ, adults with ADHD have demonstrated more cognitive difficulties and functional impairments in comparison to high IQ adults without ADHD. The study used a range of tests that included verbal, memory, and problem-solving tasks.

People with high IQ often perform well at tasks that require “out of the box” thinking. However, they tend to have problems with tasks that call for logic, accuracy, and speed. 

Can we assume that someone with ADHD has a high IQ? This topic is also highly debated, as experts try to determine what this correlation means. 

Adults with high functioning ADHD can perform well in school or at work if they enjoy what they are doing. This does not necessarily mean that they have a high IQ. At the same time, depending on the severity of ADHD symptoms, adults can have trouble finishing everyday simple tasks – this can give the impression that a person has a lower IQ, while it might not be the case.

Another study published in a 2011 issue of Psychological Medicine claimed that IQ and ADHD are not related in any way. According to the research:

“The association between ADHD and cognitive performance was largely independent (80–87%) of any contribution from etiological factors shared with IQ.”

High Functioning ADHD Child Symptoms

In children, ADHD is often diagnosed around the age of 7. Yet, the symptoms of this condition are typically seen before the age of 12. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 9 percent of children and 4 percent of adults have ADHD in the US. 

Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD in children are:

  • impatience
  • difficulty sitting still
  • constant talking
  • Inability to complete tasks on time
  • inability to listen or follow direction
  • Impulsive behaviours
  • problems learning concepts and/or materials at school

High Functioning ADHD Treatment

High Functioning ADHD

When it comes to ADHD treatment, there are a lot of options that can help. Some of them include:


There are a lot of medication options available on the market that can help reduce or manage ADHD symptoms in both adults and children. In order to understand which medication works best for you, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor. 

Stay Organized

One of the most stressful parts of managing ADHD is the inability to meet deadlines and prioritize tasks. There are a number of tools adults and kids can use to better manage their time and work/school. It is important to find the most suitable tool to set deadlines for yourself. Working/studying in a place with no distractions and breaking the task into smaller steps can help tremendously. 

Take breaks

It is crucial to take frequent breaks to keep the focus and concentration as high as possible. You can take a 5-10 minute break every hour to go for a walk, make some tea, or do some deep breathing techniques. This helps to keep your attention at an all-time high and saves you from burning out. 


Adults with high functioning ADHD might seem like they have it “all figured out” and they are doing well. Yet, this condition is challenging to have, especially in the current high-paced environment. If the above symptoms seem like they can apply to you, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor and ask for help.