Adult ADHD

A lot of people think Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD only affects kids. But doctors say adults can have it too.

Impulsive, disorganized, restless. All of us feel like that some time in our lives. But when those feelings are constant and severe, they may be symptoms of a real medical illness.

Doctors say ADHD used to be thought of primarily as a disorder of childhood. Symptoms of inattention, distraction, trouble keeping things in mind, impulse dysregulation, calling out in class, somehow are magically supposed to go away as children go through adolescence. They now know that most of the time they don't.

Studies show about four-percent of adults have ADHD, that's about eight million Americans. Most of the time, a doctor never makes the diagnosis.

Common symptoms include:

Short attention span
Disorganized
Restlessness
Depression
Low energy level

Some ADHD patients say it makes relationships very hard, it makes working very hard and it makes keeping your lifestyle and personal business difficult.

Doctors say they are more likely to be divorced or separated, under perform and have more ADHD symptoms on the job.

Talk to your doctor if you think you have ADHD.

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ADD Facts

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are the same thing.

Who Has ADHD?

  • ADHD usually persists throughout a person's lifetime.

  • It is NOT limited to children.

  • Approximately one-half to two-thirds of children with ADHD will continue to have significant problems with ADHD symptoms and behaviors as adults, which impacts their lives on the job, within the family, and in social relationships.

What is ADHD?

  • ADHD is a diagnosis applied to children and adults who consistently display certain characteristic behaviors over a period of time. The most common core features include:
    • 1. Distractibility (poor sustained attention to tasks)
    • 2. Impulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification)
    • 3. Hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness)

  • In order to meet diagnostic criteria these behaviors must be excessive, long-term, and pervasive.

  • The behaviors must appear before age 7, and continue for at least 6 months.

  • A crucial consideration is that the behaviors must create a real handicap in at least two areas of a person's life, such as school, home, work, or social settings.

Common Symptoms

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention to tasks
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often fails to follow instructions carefully and completely
  • Losing or forgetting important things
  • Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out answers before hearing the whole question
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn

Treatment

  • Clinical experience has shown that the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication (when necessary), therapy or counseling to learn coping skills and adaptive behaviors, and ADD coaching for adults.

  • Medication is often used to help normalize brain activity, as prescribed by a physician.

  • Behavior therapy and cognitive therapy is often helpful to modify certain behaviors and to deal with the emotional effects of ADHD.

Source: www.add.org (Attention Deficit Disorder Association Web site) contributed to this report.


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