10 Conditions That Look Like ADHD, but Are Actually Something Else

Can’t seem to stay focused at work? You could have ADHD. Or, perhaps it’s something else. While ADHD is often associated with an inability to pay attention, it’s possible this behavior could signal a variety of conditions.

If you need a quick refresher on what adult ADHD looks like, check out our list of symptoms here. And if it’s not this disorder, consider the alternatives. Here are 10 conditions that bear an uncanny resemblance.

1. Bipolar disorder

It’s no surprise bipolar disorder and ADHD are sometimes confused with one another, as there are many similarities between the two. According to Healthline, ADHD and bipolar disorder share a handful of symptoms, including mood instability, restlessness, and impatience.

An important distinction between the two, though, is the age at which symptoms begin. ADHD starts during childhood, whereas bipolar disorder typically develops after the age of 18. Additionally, mood swings can come and go within 20 to 30 minutes for a person with ADHD. People with bipolar disorder, however, can experience shifts in mood lasting for hours, even days.

2. Epilepsy

It may seem like epilepsy would be easy to spot, as some people with the condition experience extreme seizures. Others, however, experience epilepsy in a different, less severe manner. For instance, absence seizures, short periods of blanking out due to abnormal brain activity, can sometimes go undetected. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, a person who experiences absence seizures often stares into space for less than a minute, which can appear as nothing more than daydreaming.