ADHD is frequently a lifelong condition yet symptoms in adults and adolescents may be different and/or less noticeable than those in children. These differences may dramatically affect the adult's perception of well being, accomplishment, and relationships.
Do you feel that you have been struggling for years to get your life together? Feeling like you are always late, or overwhelmed, not completing tasks, losing things, trouble organizing or underachieving? Is sleep troubled? Do you endure social anxiety and intense mood swings? Many people with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have sought a diagnosis or treatment for years but have either been misdiagnosed or not adequately treated.
ADHD may appear differently in adulthood
For example, symptoms of hyperactivity in children, such as climbing or running excessively, may appear in adults as a feeling of restlessness. Additionally, ADHD can have a dramatic effect on emotional regulation in adults that may result in situational frustration, disinterest, insecurities, irritability and anger.
Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatments may help.
For some adults, understanding a diagnosis of ADHD allows them to understand the reasons for their tendencies, and treatment will often help them to deal with their problems more effectively.
Improve your focus
Improve time management
Become more organized
Feel more confident
... helping to improve personal, professional and relationship satisfaction.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn’t occur in children and adolescents only. The truth is that ADHD symptoms frequently continue into adult life. Recent research has shown that as many as 60% of children with ADHD may continue to have ADHD symptoms as adults (approximately 4% of adults). According to another study, it is estimated that only 25% of ADHD cases are diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.
When people diagnosed with the condition in childhood experience symptoms of ADHD in adulthood, the symptoms that are often perceived as different from peers can include: emotional disruption, anxieties, extreme distractibility, and poor self-control. As well, there may be an impactful difficulty with initiation, planning, organization, and time management skills-- collectively termed 'executive function' -- affecting daily personal, academic and professional life.
Many adults have adapted to their inner processing of emotions, impulses, and distractions to an adequately functional level--having never been evaluated or treated as a child of ADHD
“Adult ADHD (sometimes referred to as ADD or ADHD) is one of the more misunderstood and often hidden disorders wreaking havoc on otherwise high-functioning adults. Fortunately, in recent years there have been a number of advances in the understanding and treatment of this disorder. While ADHD is not curable and can trouble many some parts of daily life for those affected by it, ADHD offers dramatic benefits to society and the life of the person affected by ADHD.
For many adolescents and adults, a diagnosis of ADHD -- and an understanding of how it may be affecting their current life-- allows them to understand the reasons for their thoughts and emotions, and treatment will help them to deal with their problems more effectively. The goals of care are to minimize difficulties and expand knowledge of the personal inner-workings of ADHD in the patient's life.
EFFECTIVE TREATMENT CAN HELP:
Given the diverse and challenging daily implications of ADHD, the standard approach to the diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD is often less than adequate. ADD and ADHD symptoms can surface at various stages of one's life, and just because a person has coped successfully to a certain point in their lives, the history does not mean that they do not have ADHD. Many adults adapt their lives to the underlying difficulties and find ways to effectively compensate for the difficulties innate in the ways they process thoughts and emotions. However many teens and adults struggle daily with the emotional and functional turmoil internally without it being recognized or adequately treated. This lack of understanding often causes or contributes to poor self-esteem, difficulties in work and problems in relationships.
It's fairly common to misunderstand the complexities of this condition and not recognize that some adults with ADHD may not have been properly diagnosed in childhood, even if they had symptoms. Others may have been misdiagnosed, either in childhood or adulthood as having anxiety or depression. Still, there are others diagnosed and treated in childhood that find that their tendencies have returned in their current life despite having been less impactful through prior years. Occasionally, ADD and ADHD can be an incorrect or limited diagnosis in both adolescents and adults alike where a diagnosis of a specific anxiety disorder, mood disorder or even substance abuse disorder is overlooked and that person is misdiagnosed as "ADHD".
Individuals may find it difficult to stay organized, stick with a job or remember/keep appointments. Daily tasks can be challenging for adults with ADHD. They often have a history of failure at school, problems being considered uncaring or not listening. Many get into multiple traffic accidents or make poor choices that impair their life. Like teens, adults with ADD/ADHD seem restless and try to do several things at once, usually unsuccessfully. Unfortunately, people affected by ADHD innately prefer "quick fixes," instead of taking the steps to achieve greater rewards. This tendency leads to ongoing difficulties or even recurrent trouble in most circumstances.
How is ADHD diagnosed in adults?
Adults who suspect they have ADD/ADHD can be evaluated for ADHD and for other, discrete psychological, social, and emotional difficulties. An adult generally will have symptoms that began in childhood and continued through adulthood. Often, diagnostic rating scales and a review of the person's history of childhood behavior and school experiences are appropriate. Additional input may be necessary from spouses, partners, parents, instructors, friends and other associates. The patient may also undergo a physical exam and various psychological tests.
ADHD has a classic triad cluster of symptoms stemming from or including inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity. There are two subtypes of ADHD including hyperactive type and inattentive type. Most often, adults present with the inattentive type even if they had symptoms of hyperactivity as children.
After appropriate evaluation, a treatment plan is constructed. Medication is often very helpful but is not always the complete answer, or even the right answer. Recommendations for related self-help strategies are appropriate in most plans. Additional counseling or consultative care may be necessary.