To help primary care doctors understand what the symptoms of ADHD might look like in adults, Dr. Tim Bilkey, a psychiatrist, developed the FAST MINDS acronym to improve diagnosis.
FORGETFUL Do you forget what people have told you? Where you put things? Do you miss appointments?
ACHIEVING BELOW POTENTIAL Do you feel that you underachieve? Feel that you should be getting better grades or moving further in your career?
STUCK IN A RUT Are you having a hard time moving ahead in your life? Do you feel trapped, trying to keep your head above water, playing catch up?
TIME CHALLENGED Are you often late? Do you often underestimate the amount of time things take?
MOTIVATIONALLY Do you procrastinate? Do you do things at the last minute or need the pressure of a deadline to get things done?
IMPULSIVE Do you think without anticipating the consequences? Do you blurt things out in conversation? Engage in risky behavior? Make purchases that go beyond budget?
NOVELTY-SEEKING Are you often bored? Do you seek out new stimulating experiences to avert boredom? Do you say yes to new obligations when you are already too busy?
DISTRACTIBLE Do sights, sounds, thoughts, or lower-priority activities distract you from what you should be doing? Do you find yourself daydreaming on a daily basis?
SCATTERED Are things messy in your personal space. Is there chaos on your desk, in your house, or in your car? Is it hard to stay on top of what you need to do?
BY THE NUMBERS
8 million: Estimated number of adults in the United States
More than 40 percent of survey respondents who met criteria for ADHD and had not been diagnosed
SOURCE: The National Comorbidty Survey Replication, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 2006
WHERE TO TURN
Drawing on Strengths (Cambridge) www.adhdldsupportgroup.blogspot.com
Boston Area Adult ADHD Community (Malden) www.meetup.com/adultadhd
The Boston Attention Deficit Disorder Meetup Group (Allston) www.meetup.com/boston-add