ADHD or Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurological disorder that affects adults and children, and is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women. ADHD in adults is characterized by a constant pattern of hyperactivity, inattention, and/or impulsivity that interferes with and impacts home life, work, and relationships, especially if left untreated. Hadar Swersky says that ADHD was historically considered a childhood condition, but it is now recognized as a lifelong condition that persists into adulthood. Still, several adults with ADHD never get a diagnosis in their lifetimes.
ADHD broadly resemble the common signs of childhood ADHD. However symptom intensity especially hyperactivity is known to decrease over time for many individuals.
Common Adult ADHD Symptoms
- Difficulty getting started and completing tasks
- Poor attention to detail
- Difficulty focusing and regulating attention
- Poor time management, organizational skills
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting frequently
- Low frustration tolerance
- Emotional dysregulation
Challenges Associated with Adult ADHD
Adult ADHD impacts virtually each aspect of life, more so if the condition remains untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated – all of which can have harmful effects on an individual’s psychological quality of life, and well-being.
ADHD can have a considerable impact on adults if they do not get treatment for the condition. It can also affect people staying with them. Some risks associated with untreated ADHD in adults include:
- A review of multiple studies found that untreated ADHD in adults can lead to job unsteadiness. People with ADHD may be less likely to graduate from college or high school and may, therefore, find it more difficult to have a stable income, compared with those without ADHD.
- Women are more expected to have low self-esteem if they have ADHD. They are also more likely to experience major psychological distress such as depression and severe anxiety. Chronic stress because of these issues can also lead to other conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
- Untreated ADHD in adults can cause conflicts in a parent-child relationship. Parents with ADHD may have more difficulty controlling their emotions and impulses, which may result in frustration and conflict with children.
- People with ADHD have a significantly higher mortality rate. The mortality rate ratio was even higher in those who received an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood, compared with people who got a correct ADHD diagnosis in childhood.
- The symptoms of ADHD have a higher likelihood of misusing psychoactive substances, misusing alcohol, and being more susceptible to nicotine addiction.
Hadar Swersky says that several treatment plans and options for ADHD are there. These include:
Medications that treat ADHD in children can also help control symptoms in adults. Some of these medications include stimulants, nonstimulants, antidepressants.
People with ADHD can undergo therapies improve and manage their behaviors. For example, these options may include:
- learning how to manage their time effectively
- learning how to cope with stress
- being a role model to their children
- increasing their productivity
- spending time with supportive people
- getting organized
- limiting screen time
- setting realistic goals
Receiving a correct diagnosis and treatment and managing challenging behaviors can help adults with ADHD better cope with the symptoms of the condition.