Are you someone who struggles to follow directions or feels overwhelmed by even the simplest of tasks? Do you find yourself constantly coming up with excuses to avoid doing things that others find easy? If so, you might have PDA – Pathological Demand Avoidance.

PDA is a lesser-known aspect of autism that is often overlooked or misunderstood. It can affect people of all ages, and many adults may not even realize they have it. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you better understand the symptoms and provide some practical tips to help you manage this condition.

What is PDA, and How Do You Know if You Have It?

PDA is a type of autism that is characterized by an intense need to avoid or resist everyday demands. People with PDA may struggle with tasks that others find easy, such as following a schedule or doing household chores. They may also feel overwhelmed by social demands or experience high levels of anxiety in situations that require them to conform to expectations.

Some common symptoms of PDA in adults include:

  • Difficulty following directions or complying with requests
  • Avoiding social interactions or events
  • Feeling overwhelmed by changes in routine or unexpected events
  • Using manipulative or evasive strategies to avoid tasks
  • Acting impulsively or recklessly
  • Difficulty with decision-making

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it might be worth exploring whether you have PDA. However, it’s important to note that everyone is different, and not all people with PDA will exhibit the same symptoms.

What Can You Do to Manage PDA?

If you suspect that you have PDA, the good news is that there are many things you can do to manage this condition and lead a fulfilling life. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Identify your triggers – Knowing what triggers your anxiety or demand avoidance can help you avoid or better manage those situations.
  2. Use positive self-talk – Remind yourself that you are capable and that it’s okay to ask for help when needed.
  3. Create a supportive routine – Establishing a routine that works for you can help you feel more in control of your daily life.
  4. Seek professional support – Working with a therapist or counselor who understands PDA can be incredibly helpful in managing the condition.
  5. Find supportive communities – Connecting with others who have PDA can provide a sense of understanding and support that can be difficult to find elsewhere.

Remember, having PDA does not define you or limit what you can achieve in life. With the right tools and support, you can learn to manage this condition and thrive.


PDA can be a challenging condition to live with, but with awareness and understanding, you can learn to manage it and lead a fulfilling life. By identifying your triggers, using positive self-talk, creating a supportive routine, seeking professional support, and finding supportive communities, you can take control of your life and overcome the challenges of PDA.

So, if you suspect that you might have PDA, don’t be afraid to explore this possibility and seek out the support you need. You deserve to live your best life, and PDA should not stand in the way of that.

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Dr. Jessica Myszak has had over 10 years of experience performing psychological evaluations with children and adults. She offers both in-person and telehealth evaluations. In addition to seeing clients on the Chicago North Shore, she is able to work with families who reside in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin! If you are interested in learning more about potentially working with her, you can visit her website here to get the process started.