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CAN ADULTS HAVE ADHD?

CAN ADULTS HAVE ADHD?

We’ve heard the phrase thrown around for children and teens, ‘ADHD – Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder’, but it’s important to know and understand that ADHD does not have age boundaries and does not only affect children. Many adults have ADHD; they often undiagnosed as children and carry it through to adulthood. Sadly, these adults often wonder why they don’t function as others do, without ever knowing they have a recognisable conditional. Up to 60% of all children with ADHD will carry it through to adulthood.  It is estimated that 2.8% of adults have ADHD, according to a 2016 study. [1]

WHAT IS ADHD?

It is important to note that even though ADHD is a disorder affecting the brain, it is not classified as a mental health disorder and is instead a developmental disorder. Its main distinguishing traits include the difficulty to maintain attention, concentration and impulse control, impacting a person’s day-to-day life. [2]

HOW DOES ADHD AFFECT ADULTS?

Many adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as a child grow out of the disorder, but many don’t. Those that carry it into their adult lives include men and woman equally. Many adults are completely unaware that they even have it as symptoms range from mild to severe. Sadly, when symptoms are more severe and it goes undiagnosed and untreated it can be debilitating to an adult, affecting their day-to-day lives, causing issues in their lives and the lives of others.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ADHD?

ADHD has several symptoms and affects adults differently.

According to Psychology.org.au

The key signs and symptoms of ADHD cover two main areas of difficulty; inattention, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Although, in adults, hyperactivity and impulsivity may be less obvious.

Inattention includes

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty staying focused
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble organising tasks and activities
  • Tendency to lose things.

Hyperactivity/ Impulsivity includes

  • Fidgeting and restlessness
  • Difficulty sitting for long periods of time
  • Difficulty engaging in quiet activities
  • Difficulty waiting for a turn
  • Acting or speaking before thinking things through.

For a person to be diagnosed with ADHD, they must currently have several symptoms. Symptoms must have started before the age of 12, and difficulties must be present in two or more settings (such as at home and at work).

Symptoms that arise later in life are unlikely to be ADHD and should be assessed immediately.

There are three main types of ADHD, depending on the main difficulties the person is experiencing. These are:

Predominantly inattentive: The person mostly has symptoms of inattention, rather than hyperactivity or impulsivity.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive: The person mostly has symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, rather than inattention. 

Combined: The person has symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

THE EFFECTS OF LIVING WITH ADHD.

Sadly, those living with unmanaged and untreated severe ADHD find negotiating the disorder taxing on their life. It is hard to live with the effects of ADHD and it is equally hard living with others who have unmanaged ADHD. A key step in managing the effects of it is diagnosing the disorder.

ADHD can cause people to experience poor work performance, chaotic and unstable relationships, unemployment, financial problems, poor self-image, accidents, substance abuse, poor mental health and wellness, mood disorders, anxiety and/or other learning disabilities.

Thankfully, many diagnosed adults manage, cope and live very happily using their preferred method of management and treatment.

HOW TO GET HELP AND TREATMENT?

Step one is taking a quick and easy questionnaire: https://www.connectablelife.com/employeewellness/do-i-have-adult-adhd

After taking the questionnaire, you will be advised to see either a counsellor or a coach to help you manage your ADHD.

If managed correctly, living with ADHD is not as hard as one may think. Many ADHD adults live very happily without constraint in a happy, well-balanced environment.

Therapy with a Counsellor, Life, Health or Wellness Coach.

Food plays a massive role in the effects of ADHD [3].

Research shows that the food we eat either has a positive effect on our brain and body or a negative effect. Those struggling with ADHD should be even more aware and conscious of the food they are eating. Consequently, staying away from processed foods, sugars, refined carbs, sugary drinks and all artificial colours and flavourings will be beneficial.

Good supplements are important. Speak to a nutritionist, dietitian or functional doctor to learn more.

Exercise is crucial in helping reduce the effects of ADHD. It is good to know that, when you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include dopamine, which helps boost the brain with attention and clear-thinking. People with ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brain. Exercise also helps adding extra oxygen to the brain, more blood flow as well as removing toxins from the body.

Stress relievers such as meditation, the outdoors, doing something you enjoy on a weekly basis also help with the overwhelm and management of ADHD.

Planned schedules and lists will help you to stay focused on tasks which need completing.

Medication might help but is by no means the only way.

IS THE ONLY WAY MEDICATION?

No, as you have read above, there are many natural methods for ADHD.

It is interesting to know that production of the medications used to treat ADHD have skyrocketed in recent decades. People often see that medication is the easiest option, which often it is but, sadly, not always the most beneficial. As positive as the outcome may seem (by using medication) there are severe side-effects, especially for children. These are highly addictive medications and can have a powerful impact on the brain and its long-term functioning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that ADHD diagnoses in children increased by about 41% between 2003 and 2011. It was estimated that 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 years old had been diagnosed with ADHD, as of 2011. That is 6.4 million children in total.

If you are considering using medication as a treatment, it would be in your best interest to do background research on the effects psychotropic medication has on the brain and other side effects.

KNOWING THERE IS A WAY FORWARD

If this article makes you understand yourself a little bit better than you did 10 minutes ago, now is the time to take further action in becoming your best, most productive self. You don’t need to live under the burden of unmanaged ADHD. Speak to a counsellor or therapist to help you work on a focused plan forward.

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