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With so much focus now on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and with more people currently seeking a diagnosis, I think it’s critical to bring some attention and focus to this often misunderstood disorder.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Commonly associated with symptoms like impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity, ADHD often receives significant attention for its challenges.

However, beyond these well-known traits, there are several surprising aspects of ADHD that are often overlooked. In this week’s article, I will explore seven surprising ADHD traits that shed light on the complexity and uniqueness of individuals with ADHD.

7 Surprising Traits


1.      Hyperfocus

While ADHD is typically characterised by difficulty sustaining attention, individuals with ADHD can experience periods of intense focus and concentration, known as hyperfocus.

This state of deep engagement allows them to immerse themselves in activities they find interesting or stimulating. It can lead to remarkable productivity, creativity, and the ability to excel in specific tasks or hobbies.

However, hyperfocus can also be challenging, as it can be difficult for individuals with ADHD to shift their attention away from a highly engaging activity to other important tasks.

When in a hyper-focused state, a person can forget to eat, drink or even go to the bathroom. They may also get little sleep until the hyperfocus ends (partly due to a sudden drop in dopamine, which typically occurs when the novelty of the task has worn off), causing a crash or ‘low’ state.

How to identify this trait:

  • Can you focus on something for hours without taking a break or getting bored?
  • Do you sometimes struggle to drag yourself away from a task that you’re enjoying unless you absolutely have to?
  • If you get a new hobby, do you go down a rabbit hole until you’ve learnt every possible thing you can about it?

2.      Creativity

ADHD is often associated with creativity and divergent thinking. Individuals with ADHD often possess a unique ability to think outside the box, connect seemingly unrelated ideas, and generate innovative solutions.

Their minds are constantly buzzing with ideas and possibilities, making them excellent brainstormers. This creative flair can be a valuable asset in various fields, such as art, design, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving.

How to identify this trait:

  • Can you spot solutions or problems way before others do?
  • Do you often wonder why people can’t foresee problems or solutions like you do?
  • Do you have a flair for coming up with creative solutions?
  • Are you entrepreneurial? (For example own your own business, have side hustles, always looking for ways to improve things or make money on the side.)

3.      Sensitivity to Stimuli

Many individuals with ADHD have heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli, including sounds, lights, textures, and even emotions. This sensitivity can make them more susceptible to distractions and lead to difficulty maintaining focus.

However, it also means they can notice subtle details others may miss. This heightened sensitivity can be channelled positively, allowing individuals with ADHD to bring unique perspectives and insights to various situations.

How to identify this trait:

  • Do loud noises (especially unexpected ones) or does bright light trouble you when others don’t notice?
  • Do certain textures like cotton wool or clothes labels rubbing your skin bother you?
  • Do you sometimes find being in the vicinity of lots of other people overwhelming, e.g. loud restaurant, concert or party?

4.      Intuition

People with ADHD often possess strong intuition and the ability to make quick connections and judgements. They can rapidly grasp complex situations, identify patterns, and draw conclusions.

This intuitive thinking can be especially helpful in situations that require quick decision-making or adapting to rapidly changing circumstances. However, it is essential to strike a balance between intuition and taking the time to analyse situations thoroughly to ensure accurate judgement.

How to identify this trait:

  • Do you have what you may refer to as a sixth sense when it comes to sensing the mood of others?
  • Can you sense when something is inherently wrong with a person, project, place or situation?
  • Do you often get a feeling about the right next move, even when the ‘sensible’ thing to do may be quite different?

5.      Adaptive Thinking

ADHD is characterised by an atypical cognitive style that allows individuals to think on their feet and adapt to new situations more easily.

They tend to thrive in dynamic and unpredictable environments, often coming up with spontaneous ideas and solutions. This adaptability can make individuals with ADHD excellent problem solvers and quick learners. They are typically brilliant in a crisis.

They have a unique ability to approach challenges from multiple angles, providing fresh perspectives and alternative solutions. You definitely want your ADHD friend with you in a Zombie apocalypse!

How to identify this trait:

  • Are you brilliant in a crisis?
  • Do you have trouble focusing on tasks you aren’t that interested in, but as soon as there’s a problem, you’re super focused?
  • Do you work best under pressure and with a deadline? (For example, do you do your best work at the eleventh hour?)

6.     High Energy Levels

While hyperactivity is a well-known symptom of ADHD, it is important to recognise that it can manifest as high energy levels rather than constant physical movement.

Individuals with ADHD often experience restlessness and a surplus of energy that needs to be channelled constructively.

When directed towards activities they find engaging or rewarding, their high energy levels can lead to impressive productivity and enthusiasm.

How to identify this trait:

  • Do you feel restless if you don’t do enough exercise?
  • Do you find it challenging to sit and read a book or watch TV without having to do something else at the same time?
  • Do you find it hard to relax, feeling agitated or guilty if you’re not always on the go?

7. Empathy and Compassion

Contrary to the misconception that individuals with ADHD lack empathy, many people with ADHD possess a high degree of empathy and compassion.

They often have a deep understanding of other’s emotions and can offer genuine support and empathy. Their unique experiences and challenges may have fostered a greater sensitivity and understanding of the struggles faced by others.

This empathy can make individuals with ADHD excellent listeners, caregivers, and advocates for those in need.

How to identify this trait:

  • Do you find that others like to come and offload their problems onto you?
  • Do you identify with being a people-pleaser?
  • Do you have an innate ‘knowing’ about how to help others?


ADHD encompasses a wide range of traits that extend beyond the common symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. By exploring these surprising traits, we gain a deeper understanding of the complex and diverse nature of ADHD.

Unfortunately, many people with ADHD go undiagnosed, especially women (which I’ll discuss in a future article) and those over 35. They have likely been struggling their whole lives without knowing that their challenges are ADHD-related or how to channel their uniqueness.

There’s also still quite a stigma attached to being diagnosed with ADHD, and many people worry about being ‘labelled’ and what that might mean.

What Next?

If you identify with any of the traits I’ve listed above, it may be worth doing your own research.

I’d highly recommend:




ADDitude Magazine – Online

Focus Magazine – Online

As I mentioned, I’ll write much more on neurodivergence in upcoming articles. I’m also working on corporate workshops (as I did with menopause) focusing on raising awareness for individuals and leaders.

I’m also now working with and have supported a number of coaching clients with their ADHD journey. From identifying the traits to helping get a formal diagnosis. I have helped them make adjustments to their personal and professional lives that have allowed them to thrive.

If you’ve never considered coaching or would like to hear more about my unique approach, please contact me at jo@jobanks.net for a complimentary 15-minute discovery call.

Finally, if you haven’t subscribed to receive my weekly newsletter, which contains my latest articles, news and special offers, click here.  As a thank you, you’ll receive FREE access to my 30-page mini-course on ‘How to Hack Your Happy Hormones’.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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