What is adhd?
ADHD stands for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It is a mental health condition that makes it difficult for individuals to maintain attention, and may cause people to exhibit hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
When you think of ADHD, you most likely thought of the hyperactive child struggling to pay attention in a classroom setting. However, adults can also struggle with ADHD, and it can impact their lives tremendously. Before we go into adult ADHD, it is helpful to look at ADHD in children.
ADHD in Children
In children, ADHD symptoms typically occur between the ages of three and six. However, these signs often go unnoticed, leading to a later diagnosis in their childhood. Many children may outgrow ADHD. However, approximately 60% of children with ADHD still have it as adults.
Classic ADHD Symptoms:
- Hyperactivity: very hyper, constantly talking and fidgeting, difficulty concentrating on one task.
- Inattention: difficulty focusing and concentrating, getting distracted, poor organizational skills.
- Impulsivity: interrupting when others are talking, taking impulsive risks (not thinking things through)
These symptoms vary in every individual. There may be many degrees of ADHD, which we will discuss shortly. These 3 symptoms are classic ones that characterize ADHD. Adults with ADHD will also experience the same symptoms, though they may experience them in different ways than children.
ADHD is a lifelong condition, meaning adults who are diagnosed with ADHD, had it as children too. Those who had it as children, will go into adulthood with adult ADHD whether they know they have it or not. In the U.S., it is estimated about 4-5% of adults have ADHD. However, they are less likely to be diagnosed than children.
Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity are also symptoms that those with adult ADHD will experience. In addition, Those with adult ADHD find it hard to:
Adult’s with ADHD may (have) also experience(d):
- Mood swings
- A history of not doing well and underachieving in school
- Getting into trouble often while in school
- Repeating a grade
These symptoms can have significant effects on one’s life. They could lead to problems such as:
- Relationships issues
- A history of multiple traffic accidents
- Higher rates of job loss
- Financial problems
- Alcohol or drug use
How is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?
ADHD is diagnosed by doctors and psychiatrists. Your family doctor will likely refer you to a psychiatrist who has experience diagnosing and treating people with ADHD.
In order to diagnose ADHD, the doctor may do the following:
- Ask you get a physical exam to ensure there isn’t any other medical problems
- Ask you to take a blood test
- Recommend psychological testing
- Ask questions about health history
If you find yourself fitting many of the symptoms discussed, you may want to do some research online on ADHD and conduct a ADHD questionnaire before seeing a doctor. Questionnaires such as the following will ask you a series of questions based on typical symptoms those with ADHD have.
*It is important you see a doctor to get a full diagnosis.
Every individual case is different! There are mainly 3 categories of ADHD that medical professionals recognize. These are
- Predominantly inattentive presentation
- Predominantly hyper-active presentation
- Combined presentation
You can read more about each of these here.
How is Adult ADHD Treated?
ADHD is treated through a number of ways. The most common treatment is through medication.
ADHD is treated through either stimulant or non-stimulant medications. Stimulant medications are those that increase alertness and energy. Two thirds of adults with ADHD report that stimulant medications have significantly improved their condition. Examples of stimulant medications include: Focalin, Adderall, Dexerdrine, Vyvanse, Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate, Methylin, and Ritalin. These kinds of stimulants are usually in pill form and are prescribed by doctor.
Another example of a stimulant medication is Adrafinil, which is a milder stimulant drug used to boost concentration and focus, and improve mental performance. You do not need a prescription for Adrafinil and can purchase on Anti-aging central.
2. Therapy and Other Behavior Treatments
Treatment of ADHD may also be in the form of therapy and other behavior treatments such as
- Cognitive and behavorial therapy
- Relaxation training and stress management
- Life coaching
- Job coaching or mentoring
- Family education and therapy
Adult ADHD is very manageable in most cases, there are a number of ways to help those with ADHD cope with everyday life easier. Besides the above mentioned treatments, those with ADHD should also take extra precautions in their organization skills and every day life. For example, writing down appointments on a big calendar, making to-do lists, keeping a planner, setting a timer to focus on one task and focusing on the one task until the timer goes off, burning off extra energy through exercise everyday, and taking tim to breathe slowly and relax. Being aware of your condition will help you tremendously!