Recognizing ADHD in Adults | Heather Brannon | TEDxHeritageGreen

Published 2021-07-21
Many people feel badly about themselves and have no idea why. They just aren’t interested in opening their mail or picking up their clothes from the floor. They feel ashamed because they believe the people around them who say they’re lazy, have a serious character flaw, or—at best—are quirky. They don’t realize that adult ADHD doesn’t look like ADHD in kids, and remaining undiagnosed can make them feel anxious, overwhelmed, and powerless.

Speaker Heather Brannon, MD, draws on 14 years of experience treating adult ADHD. A family physician who has been practicing for nearly 30 years, she realized that many patients who felt overwhelmed, anxious, easily frustrated, and tired actually had ADHD and that diagnosing it correctly and treating it was life-changing for those patients. She decided in 2014 to devote her entire practice to adolescents and adults with ADHD.

This presentation debuted during TEDxHeritageGreen 2021: TRUTH, held in three short virtual sessions on April 23, 25, and 27—visit for more info. It was a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at A family physician who has been practicing for nearly 30 years, Heather Brannon, MD, sees adolescents and adults and is very passionate about the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Her interest in ADHD began when, as a primary care provider in a family practice, she realized that many patients who felt overwhelmed, anxious, easily frustrated, and tired actually had ADHD—and that diagnosing it correctly and treating it was life-changing for those patients. She decided in 2014 to devote her entire practice, Greenville ADHD Specialists, to adolescents and adults with ADHD. Heather completed her internship and residency at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, NC, and has served as a staff physician in a combat support hospital, behavioral science curriculum coordinator, medical director of a family practice residency clinic, and chief of staff of a community hospital. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

All Comments (21)
  • snufkin
    that is also my problem when it comes to choosing a career, every job seems either boring or too overwhelming, there's like no in between
  • Jaime Spade
    This was explained so well. I struggle to put into words how ADHD impacts my life. The shame and anxiety are no joke. I completely agree that medication can be extremely effective. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 37 (last year), and my life has completely changed since receiving treatment.
  • Devin Hanson
    I'd add in the story about Tom, he may be hiding that mail, because it still "feels" important. So while the outside observer thinks it's a simple out of site out of mind thing, Tom is haunted by that mail and it makes him sick and he's hiding something as simple as that from people who love him 😔
  • Christine Avila
    Anyone else with ADD listening to the video but simultaneously reading comments and thinking about what the video is saying but also have a mental response to all the comments?
  • TooLittleInfo
    It's kind of funny how listening to her describe parts of my life in detail made me realise how many coping mechanisms I put into place to deal with problems that other people don't have
  • Sid Vyas
    Lol just showed this to my mom, the response? I’m spending more effort and time trying to prove to myself and everyone that I have ADHD than doing the work I need to do LMFAO don’t you love it 😂
  • Valerie Lander
    Thank you, thank you for this video. I was just diagnosed with inattentive ADHD last month (age 39). For so long I thought there was something wrong with me as a person. That I was a failure. That I was just bad at life. Shame, anxiety, perfectionism... You hit the nail on the head. It's hard to explain it to others and it's hard for others to understand because all they see are the outward results, or rather, the lack of results, caused by the disorder. They don't understand why I can't just handle everything the way they do. They don't understand the constant internal struggle and anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. I hope my husband will watch this with me because it explains everything so well. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone.
  • Tyler Loconte
    So many ADHD tedtalks get it so, so wrong. Thank you for doing your part and being so informed.
  • Ashby Arts
    This seriously hit home with me! You detailed so much of what I feel and struggle with. Just figuring it out and feeling a lot of peace fo know I am not the only one feeling this way
  • Adam Roe
    I spent 43 years trying to deal with ADHD on my own, and was consistently recognized as very good at my job, but not quite at the top level because I was inconsistent. I reluctantly decided to go on medication and was recognized as #1/357 in my career field the following year. The greatest gift of the medication was the reduction of anxiety, which allowed me to prioritize, which allowed me to focus on what’s most important. Now it seems obvious to make the major things the main things. Previously everything felt like a five alarm emergency.
  • Nore GR
    I'm crying, this hit me so hard. I'm not diagnosed but I've struggled all the time, especially now. I'm doing a research because the school it's too much for me and I need answers... I'm asking for help but my family doesn't trust me about having ADHD (I'm a woman from Mexico and the stereotypes are strong)
  • mjd Edge
    The struggles are real! I'm 46 and have my first psychologist visit next month. I'm 95% sure I have ADHD.
    I get distracted all the time. I'm a construction estimator and price jobs from $10k to $6-10M.
    Yesterday I found out I totally missed pricing for a drawing detail that was worth $73k - Thankfully we haven't signed the contract for that project yet and we can add that to our bid....but that's the constant anxiety I live with - someone distracts me and I forget to finish what I'm doing.
    Plus, on the same day, the banana I had for lunch wasn't fully ripe. Nothing to do with my ADHD, just thought I'd mention it
  • bookkrworm
    I've been considering getting tested for adhd for awhile now, and while I feel like it's a good idea, I'm also really scared that I won't be able to get the correct help. Or that I'll get told that nothing is wrong and get over it, because I've been told that so much in my life.
  • TM
    I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD and for a while I still wasn’t sure I had it. This video helps reinforce my belief that I’m on the right direction though. So much of my anxiety came from what I now believe to be my ADHD. I was always having problems with executive functioning, getting overwhelmed easily, losing stuff, having terrible organizational skills, overthinking to the point that it’s harmful, being so bored by important things I need to focus on. The list goes on.
  • Alexandra
    As someone who felt so alone and confused when I was diagnosed with ADHD, unaware of what it really was, this video brought me to genuine tears. Thank you for putting into words exactly what ADHD is like both from the view of someone who has it and someone on the outside looking in.
  • Janie Buck
    I just found out, at 61 years old. I've had treatment for years, but was misdiagnosed as Bipolar disorder - rapid cycling. It turns out that I have both. When I found out, I was angry! My diagnosis came way too late. I missed so many years of my life. The characteristics that Heather describes are precise to what I experience everyday. If you're behavior resembles what she's describing, get treatment until you are satisfied that indeed the diagnosis is correct so that you don't spend decades of struggle like I did.
  • My MeTime

    You are telling about this with interesting story and it really helps me to understand more about ADHD!
  • Borley Boo!
    I’m 65 and I’ve lived like this for YEARS! Only after reading about autism/Aspergers syndrome did I find out about ADHD. I then knew this was ME! I am seeing my GP next week and asked no him for a referral to a specialist.
  • jason santana
    I didn't know the term ADHD or its associated symptoms until very recently. I think I have always used it to my advantage from being hyperfocused for accomplishments of the most difficult tasks to be able to perform many different tasks at the same time. The "swirl" of ideas has allowed me to grow tremendously and help others do the same well in an unimaginable way. I would say that ADHD is not a disorder but a different form of cognitive thinking. Just imagine what kind of mundane world this would be without those that have impulsivity, and radically new ideas? The entire human race probably wouldn't have existed if that ancient caveman didn't charge that lion to have a chance to get something to eat, or those people who thought about all the concepts for our greatest invention today.
  • Katie Foster
    You just described my life. I have always thought I was lazy, inconstant, and disorganized. Thank you so much for this video