As Nadia Sawalha opens up about ADHD diagnosis – the 9 signs you must not ignore

LOOSE WOMEN star Nadia Sawalha has revealed her “life changing condition” for the first time on TV today.

During an episode of the hit ITV show, the presenter, 58, told the panel she has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It’s estimated that ADHD affects 3-4 per cent of the adult populatio

It’s estimated that ADHD affects 3-4 per cent of the adult populatio

The common disorder, which is often diagnosed in childhood, often sparks symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

It’s estimated that ADHD affects 3-4 per cent of the adult population, with the majority of cases going undiagnosed.

Nadia made a film about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for the daytime show and discovered she had been living with the condition since childhood.   

The mum-of-two, who recently feared she had early onset dementia, talked through her symptoms which are characterised by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

She told ADHD specialist Rebecca: “I couldn’t sit quietly without noise, I have to have something on to relax.

“Years ago I gave myself a lifetime ban on driving and the reason I give is, I lose consciousness.

“Everyone gets annoyed about this, saying I should pull myself together.”

The star was gripped with emotion as she added: “But actually the thought that I could…”

At the end of the assessment Rebecca confirmed Nadia’s diagnosis and said: “The symptoms you exhibit are consistent with ADHD.”

“I don’t know why that makes me cry, sorry!” Nadia replied through tears.

The 9 symptoms of ADHD you should know

ADHD comes under the “neurodivergent” umbrella term, which encompasses autism, dyslexia and Tourette’s among others.

With each, the brain differs from a “normal” brain but does not mean the person has a lesser brain.

ADHD behaviours tend to fall into one of two types: inattentiveness, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Some people experience a mixture of both, which is often called attention deficit disorder (ADD).

In children and teenagers, hyperactivity stands out and is more commonly seen in boys, while inattentiveness presents more in girls and is harder to spot. 

In adults, hyperactivity is less common, and symptoms are more subtle, making them tougher to identify.

Signs can include:

  1. Trouble concentrating
  2. Being easily distracted
  3. Difficulty staying organised
  4. Impatience and restlessness
  5. Struggling to sit still
  6. Leaving tasks unfinished
  7. Putting an unusual amount of effort into staying on top of things
  8. Low self-esteem, mood swings, struggling to deal with stress
  9. Being impulsive with money, sex, etc.

Is there a test for ADHD?

If you think your child has ADHD you might wish to consider speaking to your child’s teacher and then GP.

Your GP can’t formally diagnose your child with ADHD but they can ask questions and refer them for a specialist assessment, if they deem it necessary.

They may also suggest a parent training or educational programme to help your family with every day life.

If you or your child is referred for an assessment, this may be undertaken by a:

  • psychiatrist
  • paediatrician (in a child’s case)
  • learning disability specialist, social worker or occupational therapist with expertise in ADHD

There is no simple test to make the diagnoses but a professional will take into consideration a physical examination, a series of interviews and reports from other adults.

For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD they must have been showing symptoms for at least six months, showed symptoms before they were 12, displayed symptoms in numerous settings and had symptoms that made their lives considerably more challenging, among other criteria.