ADULT ADHD

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ADHD is a chronic condition, beginning in early childhood and persisting throughout a
person's lifetime. It is estimated that 33-66% of children with ADHD will continue to
have significant ADHD-related symptoms persisting into adulthood, resulting in a
significant impact on education, employment, and interpersonal relationships.
Many people have heard of ADHD. It may make you think of kids who have trouble
paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD, too. About
4% to 5% of U.S. adults have it. But few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.

Who gets adult ADHD?
Every adult who has ADHD had it as a child. Some may have been diagnosed and known it. But
some may have not been diagnosed when they were young and only find out later in life.
While many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. Adult ADHD seems
to affect men and women equally.





Adult ADHD Symptoms
If you have adult ADHD, you may find it hard to:
Follow directions
Remember information
Concentrate
Organize tasks
Finish work on time
This can cause trouble in many parts of life -- at home, at work, or at school. Getting treatment
and learning ways to manage ADHD can help. Most people learn to adapt. And adults with
ADHD can develop their personal strengths and find success.














Challenges People With Adult ADHD Face
If you have ADHD, you may have trouble with:
Anxiety
Chronic boredom
Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
Depression
Trouble concentrating when reading
Trouble controlling anger
Problems at work
Impulsiveness
Low tolerance for frustration
Low self-esteem
Mood swings
Poor organization skills
Procrastination
Relationship problems

or underachievement compared to your potential. If you have ADHD. but others avoid it. Problems at School     Adults With ADHD may have: A history of not doing well in school and underachieving Gotten in a lot of trouble Had to repeat a grade Dropped out of school   Problems at Work Adults With ADHD are more likely to: Change jobs a lot and perform poorly Be less happy with their jobs and have fewer successes at work      Problems in Life Adults with ADHD are more likely to: Get more speeding tickets.Health history While experts don’t agree on an age that you can first diagnose ADHD. Talk with your parents to see if you had any symptoms during childhood. have their license suspended.A physical exam to rule out other medical problems . or be involved in more crashes Smoke cigarettes Use alcohol or drugs more often Have less money Say they have psychological trouble like being depressed or haveanxiety    Relationship Problems Adults with ADHD are more likely to: Have more marital problems Get separated and divorced more often Have multiple marriages   How Is Adult ADHD Diagnosed? . Substance abuse or addiction These may affect you a lot. you may be able to concentrate if you’re interested in or excited about what you’re doing. Plus. poor focus. They may also: Look at school report cards. or they may not bother you much. But some people with ADHD have trouble focusing under any circumstances. Others can be very social and go from one relationship to the next. . That’s why when a doctor sees you they will ask about your behavior and any symptoms that you may have had as a child. No two people with ADHD are exactly alike. they do agree that people don’t suddenly develop it as an adult. some people with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial. lack of effort. They can be problems all of the time or just depend on the situation. Some people look for stimulation. They’ll look for comments about behavior problems.

or a dependence on drugs or alcohol. Daytrana. or drive. pay bills. How Is Adult ADHD Treated? . Teachers may have had to work with you. Quillivant) But stimulants are not always ideal. too. Stimulants are controlled substances. You may also have a learning disability. Hard to remember to take. Metadate. That’s because people with ADHD often face other conditions. Adults with ADHD are often offered stimulant medications. Some adults with ADHD have substance abuse problems or had them in the past. Methylin. But if they do take them later in the day. If people choose to stop taking them in the evening. either on its own or with a stimulant.Treatment plans can include medicine. This can be helpful information because it does seem like ADHD runs in families. Since people with ADHD can have trouble with forgetfulness. Doctors may also recommend a non-stimulant medication for you to take.People who have ADHD may have had trouble getting along with others when they were kids or had a hard time in school. Dexedrine) Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) Methylphenidate (Concerta. therapy. Medications to Treat Adult ADHD Stimulant Medications. - Making sure you get fully checked by a doctor is important. Short-acting types of stimulants (versus long-acting) may wear off quickly. remembering to take them several times a day can be a challenge. Why? They can be: Addictive. maybe you had to sit at the front of the class." Non-Stimulant Medications. They’ll also ask if anyone else in your family has ADHD. That means you may get hooked on them. Hard to time. they may be tempted to use alcohol or other things "to relax. obsessive compulsive disorder. help children with homework. they can have a hard time focusing to do housework. Studies show that about two-thirds of adults with ADHD who take these medications have big improvements in their symptoms. Knowing the whole picture can make sure you get the best plan for you. and getting family support.           Examples of stimulant medications include: Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) Dextroamphetamine (Adderall. Ritalin. They are: Atomoxetine (Strattera) Guanfacine (Intuniv) Clonidine (Kapvay) Therapy and Other Behavioral Treatments . anxiety or another mood disorder. education or learning more about ADHD. For example.

Family education and therapy. the responsibilities of adulthood -. Move yourself to a quieter location. it can help you learn new ways to stay organized at home and work. Make lists of daily tasks (be reasonable!) and work to complete them. Life coaching. Organize. leave notes for yourself. Burn off extra energy. to name a few -. jobs. take them exactly as prescribed. or ask others to help make things less distracting. or another pastime can be good choices. 1: Trouble Getting Organized For people with ADHD. We all need help from time to time. . Breathe slowly. and it's important to not be afraid to ask for it. Other Things You Can Do to Manage ADHD Here are some things you can do on your own to make life with ADHD more manageable: Take medications as directed. manage the impulse by pausing. and set your alarm clock when you need to remember an appointment or other activity. Ask for help. It can help with self-esteem. too: Cognitive and behavioral therapy. such as interrupt others or get angry at others. Exercise. Count to 10 while you breathe slowly instead of acting out.           You may want to ask about making these part of your treatment plan. It can also help you all find ways to lessen how much it affects everyone’s life. If you have disruptive thoughts or behaviors. turn it off or use earplugs. talk to your doctor as soon as possible. ask a counselor if they have any ideas you can try that could help you control them. Plus. If you notice side effects or other problems. These can lower anxiety and stress. Relaxation training and stress management. 10 PROBLEMS THAT COULD MEAN ADULT ADHD No. and children. Use a daily planner. It may help you set goals. Cut down on distractions. If you have a tendency to do things you later regret. This can help you and loved ones understand ADHD better. a hobby. If you find yourself being distracted by loud music or the television. Job coaching or mentoring. This can help support you at work.can make problems with organization more obvious and more problematic than in childhood.bills. Usually the impulse will pass as quickly as it appeared. Taking two doses at once to catch up on missed doses can be bad for you and others. You may need a way to get rid of some energy if you’re hyperactive or feel restless. It can help you have better working relationships and improve on-the-job performance. If you are taking any medications for ADHD or any other condition.

the partners of people with undiagnosed ADHD take poor listening skills and an inability to honor commitments as a sign that their partner doesn’t care. and lose their driver’s licenses. If you’re the person with ADHD. so spending time behind the wheel of a car can be hard. 3: Marital Trouble Many people without ADHD have marital problems. 6: Restlessness. ADHD symptoms can make some people more likely to speed.No. Trouble Relaxing . Often. hustle-bustle world. have traffic accidents. leading to a lot of missed appointments and misunderstandings. you may not understand why your partner is upset. even though you called to remind him on his way home? Problems with attention result in poor listening skills in many adults with ADHD. making it hard for you to finish tasks. No. especially in noisy or busy offices. 2: Reckless Driving and Traffic Accidents ADHD makes it hard to keep your attention on a task. 4: Extremely Distractible ADHD is a problem with attention. you might find that phone calls or email derail your attention. Many people find that distractibility can lead to a history of career under-performance. No. 5: Poor Listening Skills Do you zone out during long business meetings? Did your husband forget to pick up your child at baseball practice. so a troubled marriage shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a red flag for adult ADHD. and you may feel you’re being nagged or blamed for something that’s not your fault. But there are some marriage problems that are likely to affect therelationships of those with ADHD. so adult ADHD can make it hard to succeed in today’s fastpaced. No. If you have adult ADHD. No.

people with adult ADHD mis-prioritize. and before they know it an hour has gone by. Often. First. No. like a deadline at work. adults with ADHD are more likely to be restless or find they can’t relax.While many children with ADHD are “hyperactive. they feel as if they have no control over their emotions. 8: Lateness There are many reasons for this. their anger fades as quickly as it flared. Many people with adult ADHD are quick to explode over minor problems. People with adult ADHD also tend to underestimate how much time it takes to finish a task. If you have adult ADHD. adults with ADHD are often distracted on the way to an event. Many times. while spending countless hours on something insignificant. . 10: Prioritizing Issues Often. 9: Angry Outbursts ADHD often leads to problems with controlling emotions. failing to meet big obligations. No. workplace issues. whether it’s a major assignment at work or a simple home repair. long before the people who dealt with the outburst have gotten over the incident. No. adults with ADHD often drag their feet when starting tasks that require a lot of attention. and problems with friends. Rather than bouncing off the walls. No. including marital disagreements. This procrastination often adds to existing problems.” this ADHD symptom often appears differently in adults. maybe realizing the car needs to be washed and then noticing they’re low on gas. 7: Trouble Starting a Task Just as children with ADHD often put off doing homework. others might describe you as edgy or tense.

even ones that seem simple tendency to overlook details. Do your best to identify the areas where you experience difficulty. leading to errors or incomplete work poor listening skills. quickly bounce from one activity to another. such as when reading or listening to others struggling to complete tasks. The following categories highlight common symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. hard time remembering conversations and following directions Hyperfocus While you’re probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them. or become bored quickly. you can start to work on strategies for dealing with them. attention deficit disorder often looks quite different than it does in children—and its symptoms are unique for each individual. you may be easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds. For example. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:       “zoning out” without realizing it.Signs and symptoms of adult ADD / ADHD In adults. Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome. mundane tasks. you may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become . Once you pinpoint your most problematic symptoms. Trouble concentrating and staying focused Adults with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and attending to daily. even in the middle of a conversation extreme distractibility. wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track difficulty paying attention or focusing.

For example. For better or for worse. Hyperfocus can be an asset when channeled into productive activities. If you have impulse problems. wallet. bills) underestimating the time it will take you to complete tasks Impulsivity If you suffer from symptoms in this category. being patient is extremely difficult. desk. life often seems chaotic and out of control. phone. You may struggle with controlling impulses if you:     frequently interrupt others or talk over them have poor self-control blurt out thoughts that are rude or inappropriate without thinking have addictive tendencies . and managing your time. Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:        poor organizational skills (home. You may find yourself interrupting others. you may go headlong into situations and find yourself in potentially risky circumstances. or react without considering consequences. or your computer that you completely lose track of time and neglect the things you’re supposed to be doing. prioritizing the things you need to do. and deadlines constantly losing or misplacing things (keys. you may be so engrossed in a book. or car is extremely messy and cluttered) tendency to procrastinate trouble starting and finishing projects chronic lateness frequently forgetting appointments. keeping track of tasks and responsibilities. Disorganization and forgetfulness When you have adult ADD/ADHD. It can be so strong that you become oblivious to everything going on around you. You might act before thinking. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus. blurting out comments. and responses. Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the chaos. office. and rushing through tasks without reading instructions. you may have trouble inhibiting your behaviors. documents. but it can also lead to work and relationship problems if left unchecked.absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. comments. a TV show. Staying organized and on top of things can be extremely challenging—as is sorting out what information is relevant for the task at hand. commitments.

Common symptoms of hyperactivity in adults include:         feelings of inner restlessness. constant fidgeting craving for excitement talking excessively doing a million things at once You don’t have to be hyperactive to have ADD / ADHD .  act recklessly or spontaneously without regard for consequences have trouble behaving in socially appropriate ways (such as sitting still during a long meeting) Emotional difficulties Many adults with ADD/ADHD have a hard time managing their feelings. however. You may be highly energetic and perpetually “on the go” as if driven by a motor. temper low self-esteem and sense of insecurity Hyperactivity or restlessness Hyperactivity in adults with ADD/ADHD can look the same as it does in kids. Common emotional symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD include:         sense of underachievement doesn’t deal well with frustration easily flustered and stressed out irritability or mood swings trouble staying motivated hypersensitivity to criticism short. the symptoms of hyperactivity become more subtle and internal as they grow older. especially when it comes to emotions like anger or frustration. often explosive. agitation tendency to take risks getting bored easily racing thoughts trouble sitting still. For many people with ADD/ADHD.

   Physical and mental health problems. Managing finances may also be a problem: you may struggle with unpaid bills. hopelessness. skipping doctor appointments. or get organized. meeting deadlines. Untreated ADD/ADHD has wide-reaching effects ADD/ADHD that is undiagnosed and untreated can cause problems in virtually every area of your life. chronic stress and tension. lost paperwork. and family relationships. love. The difficulties you’ve had are symptoms of attention deficit disorder—not the result of personal weakness or a character flaw. and low self-esteem. Those close to you. Relationship problems. Adult ADD/ADHD doesn’t have to hold you back When you have ADD/ADHD. in fact. and sticking to a 9-to-5 routine. It helps you understand what you’re up against for the first time and realize that you’re not to blame. suffer from prominent symptoms of hyperactivity. listen more closely. disappointment. substance abuse. late fees. it’s easy to end up thinking that there’s something wrong with you. and loss of confidence. Adults with ADD/ADHD often experience career difficulties and feel a strong sense of underachievement. anxiety. and forgetting to take vital medications. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can contribute to a variety of health problems. You may be fed up with constant nagging from loved ones to tidy up. But it’s okay to be different. That’s why a diagnosis of adult ADD/ADHD can be an enormous source of relief and hope. including compulsive eating. may feel hurt and resentful over your perceived “irresponsibility” or “insensitivity. Only a small slice of adults with ADD/ADHD. You may have trouble keeping a job. Remember that names can be deceiving and you may very well have ADD/ADHD if you have one or more of the symptoms above—even if you lack hyperactivity. ignoring medical instructions.Adults with ADD/ADHD are much less likely to be hyperactive than their younger counterparts. You may also run into trouble due to neglecting important check-ups. . Work and financial difficulties. frustration. following corporate rules.” The wide-reaching effects of ADD/ADHD can lead to embarrassment. on the other hand. You may feel like you’ll never be able to get your life under control. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can put a strain on your work. or debt due to impulsive spending. ADD/ADHD isn’t an indicator of intelligence or capability.

Many adults with attention deficit disorder have found meaningful ways to manage their symptoms. It can be helpful to think about attention deficit disorder as a collection of traits that are both positive and negative—just like any other set of qualities you might possess. Use timers and alarms to stay on track. It can help to team up with less creative. You don’t necessarily need outside intervention—at least not right away. more organized people—a partnership that can be mutually beneficial. stay productive. even for seemingly small tasks. When you’re tired. and files. Support yourself by getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night. notes-to-self. Exercise vigorously and regularly—it helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way and soothes and calms the body. There is a lot you can do to help yourself and get your symptoms under control. rituals. passion. Schedule activities with friends and keep your engagements. Set deadlines for everything. energy. message. for example. or important thought. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods and limit sugary foods in order to even out mood swings. and a constant flow of original ideas. If possible. but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your niche and achieve success. Figure out what you’re good at and set up your environment to support those strengths. The key is to find out what your strengths are and capitalize on them. manage stress. often come incredible creativity. Get plenty of sleep. Cultivate relationships with people who are sympathetic and understanding of your struggles with ADD/ADHD.Certain things may be more difficult for you. you can make real changes in your life. Be vigilant in conversation: listen when others are speaking and try not to speak too quickly yourself. out-of-the-box thinking. Prioritize time-sensitive tasks and write down every assignment. Make frequent use of lists. color-coding.      Exercise and eat right. Work on your relationships. take advantage of their gifts. choose work that motivates and interests you. Self-help for adult ADD / ADHD Armed with an understanding of ADD/ADHD’s challenges and the help of structured strategies. Create a supportive work environment. reminders. Take breaks at regular intervals. and keep on top of your responsibilities. Avoid piles of paperwork or procrastination by dealing with each item as it comes in. Practice better time management. Along with the impulsivity and disorganization of ADD/ADHD. . and lead productive and satisfying lives. Notice how and when you work best and apply these conditions to your working environment as best you can. it’s even more difficult to focus.

)  Always asking for attention. but  Not listening and not responding to name being called out  Unable to focus on tasks at hand. cannot sustain attention in activities  Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort  Makes careless mistakes by failing to pay attention to details  Difficulty organizing tasks and activities  Fails to follow-through on complex instructions and tasks (e. etc.When to seek outside help for adult ADD / ADHD If the symptoms of ADD/ADHD are still getting in the way of your life. including behavioral coaching.g. chores. should involve a team of professionals. like treatment for kids. as if "driven by a motor"  Cannot wait for their turn  Blurts out answers  Intrudes on others and interrupts conversations . homework. educational assistance. and medication. self-help groups. along with the person’s family members and spouse. despite self-help efforts to manage them. individual therapy. Treatment for adults with attention deficit disorder. Professionals trained in ADD/ADHD can help you:       control impulsive behaviors manage your time and money get and stay organized boost productivity at home and work manage stress and anger communicate more clearly Inattentive-type (ADHD-PI) Hyperactive/Impulsive-type (ADHD-PH) In children:  Forgetful during daily activities  Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli  Losing important items (e. pencils.) In children:  Squirms and fidgets (with hands and/or feet)  Cannot sit still  Cannot play quietly or engage in leisurely activities  Talks excessively  Runs and climbs excessively  Always on the go. toys. vocational counseling. homework. it may be time to seek outside support. Adults with ADD/ADHD can benefit from a number of treatments. etc.g.

easily irritated  Impulsive. stimulating jobs  Avoids situations with low physical activity or sedentary work  May choose to work long hours or two jobs  Seeks constant activity  Easily bored  Impatient  Intolerant and frustrated. losing track of time  Indecision and doubt  Hesitation of execution  Difficulty persevering or completing and following through on tasks  Delayed stop and transition of concentration from one task to another In adults:  Chooses highly active. snap decisions and irresponsible behaviors  Loses temper easily. these evolve into:  Avoiding tasks or jobs that require concentration  Procrastination  Difficulty initiating tasks  Difficulty organizing details required for a task  Difficulty recalling details required for a task  Difficulty multitasking  Poor time management. angers quickly  The tendency to hyperfocus on particularly stimulating or emotionally engaging tasks.In adults. .