Every 5 out of 100 children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD). This condition seriously affects the lives of these kids, both at home and at school. What you may not be aware of is that those childhood symptoms can sometime carry over into adulthood, and some adults who experience more obvious symptoms now, were probably never diagnosed as a child, and haven’t really ever understood that ADHD may be the source of problems they might experience today.
Untreated, ADHD can cause many mental and even physical problems, and these can carry over into financial strains, career difficulties and relationship problems. It’s critical to understand the symptoms and signs of adult ADHD so that you can address them immediately, and take a proper course of action.
Symptoms of ADHD can range across the board, but some of the more prominent characteristics include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These are characteristics that many children exhibit at some point in their lives, but for those children to receive a formal diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms and behavior are generally those that are not deemed appropriate for the age of that child.
ADHD is generally considered a child or adolescent condition. That’s why adult ADHD is a fairly new concept to most. In fact, adults can be plagued with this condition more severely than children. It’s hard to believe, but as many as half of adults diagnosed with adult ADHD, had the condition as a child…they just weren’t diagnosed when they were young. When ADHD carries over into adulthood, symptoms may vary. An adult may exhibit restlessness versus hyperactivity, for example. Adults with ADHD often have problems with relationships and employment, whereas a child would not because that child isn’t expected to hold a job or hold together a marriage and a family.
Adult ADHD Categories
ADHD symptoms consist of three different categories: Hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention:
Hyperactivity is more often present in young preschoolers and is nearly always present before the age of seven or eight. These symptoms can include difficulty playing quietly, unable to engage in quiet leisure activities, fidgeting, running, talking excessively and climbing. They symptom may vary with age and developmental stage, and will change their appearance when the symptoms are carried over into adulthood. A child, for example, may be in constant motion, whereas an adult may just feel restless or have difficulty relaxing.
With impulsivity, symptoms can include impatient behavior, frequently interrupting, initiating conversations at inappropriate times and difficulty delaying or blurting out answers. Impulsivity can also lead to clumsiness, accidents and engaging in hazardous or dangerous activities. A lot of these symptoms occur from time to time in normal people, but these same incidences occur more frequently in adult ADHD patients.
Finally, inattention,whichmay not appear until a child enters the challenges of school, can appear in adults and manifest in work or social settings, including producing sloppy work, making careless mistakes and difficulty paying attention to details. Additionally, adults with ADHD may have trouble completing tasks, listening to others and concentrating, as well as habits of frequently interrupting, easily distracted, forgetting daily activities like appointments, trouble concentrating, procrastinating and disorganization.
Adult ADHD Outlook
Some adults with ADHD develop learning problems that may not improve with ADHD treatment. Additionally, hyperactive behavior may be associated with other disruptive disorders, particularly conduct and oppositional-defiant disorder. But the good news is that those with adult ADHD ultimately adjust, and those more severe cases may require several available intervention treatments, counseling and medication to adjust and control the condition.
Inattention tends to persist through childhood, adolescence and on into adulthood, while hyperactivity tends to diminish with age. As patients with ADHD age, they may experience periods of anxiety and depression. These symptoms may worsen as demands at home and work increase, and could manifest into symptoms such as apathy, difficulty following instructions, inattentiveness, excessive talking, fidgeting and disorganization.
Treating the Diagnosis
Some symptoms that cause impairment must be present before the age of seven or eight to receive a formal ADHD diagnosis, and must occur in more than one setting or environment. For example, the person may be impaired at work and at home. This is grounds for an adult ADHD diagnosis. Additionally, there must be substantial evidence that the symptoms interfere with the person’s ability to function at home, at work and in social environments. However, with proper medication and treatment, ADHD in adults does not have to be a hopeless situation. A large number of people have learned to deal with their disability, recognize their limitations and function as productive, hard-working people.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist at consumer technology, health and fitness, and he also owns a PR firm and a consulting company where he and his staff focus on these industries. He is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit http://www.healthline.com/.