Understanding Adult ADHD
While ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is often associated with children, it also affects approximately 8 million adults in the United States. However, many adults with ADHD are not ever diagnosed or treated. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of and treatment options for adult ADHD.
Much like children with this disorder, adults with ADHD may have trouble remembering information, staying organized, completing tasks, and following directions. This can lead to a host of problems, not only with one’s career but also in marriage and personal relationships. In addition, ADHD in adults often leads to other behaviors and symptoms, such as depression, aggression, social anxiety, impulsiveness, boredom, or low self-esteem.
Although adult ADHD is considered a separate disorder, it does not manifest in adults independently; rather, it simply went undiagnosed during childhood and adolescence. If you suspect that you may have ADHD as an adult, your doctor will discuss symptoms that may have gone unnoticed during childhood, such as poor school performance. He or she will also perform a comprehensive clinical and psychological exam, including personal history, self-reported symptoms, especially those that indicate inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and emotional instability
Treatment is also quite similar to the treatment of ADHD that is diagnosed in childhood. Typically, this includes prescription stimulant drugs that improve focus, such as Adderall XR, Concerta, Focalin XR, Quillivant XR, and Vyvanse. Helpful treatment techniques include relaxation and stress management therapies; job coaching or mentoring; and family centered therapy. Adults may also benefit from psychotherapy, particularly if they have coexisting mental illness such as anxiety or depression. ADHD is often associated with specific learning disabilities, anxiety and mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and chemical dependency
While the exact cause for ADHD is not known, it is thought to be genetic and linked to changes in the brain that occur very early in development. Though the disorder can not be prevented, early diagnosis and treatment can help control the manifestation of adult symptoms. If you have difficulty concentrating and feel that it is negatively affecting your life, or if you had ADHD as a child and think it may be manifesting in adulthood, talk with your doctor.