While most diagnoses for Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder happens during childhood, it can still happen when you are an adult. Many of these are called "high-functioning" because they can manage their symptoms well.
If you are concerned that you may have this condition, it is important that you go to a professional. Diagnosing ADHD can be a complicated process, as there is no one test that can be done, whether it is medical or diagnostic.
But there are some guidelines and assessments that can be done to determine whether someone has ADHD. This includes the Test of Variables of Attention, or more commonly known as the T.O.V.A. test.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The American Psychiatric Association says that around 2.5% of adults have this condition. There are three types of ADHD that one can be diagnosed in, namely Inattentive type, Hyperactive/ Impulsive Type, and Combined Type.
Those who exhibit predominantly inattentive behaviour are the ones who cannot see, to focus on things. For children, they will not be good at paying attention in class, the same is true for adults.
They will also not be able to listen to instructions well. Because they are easily distracted, they may find it difficult to be organized. Many will often lose things like their cellphone and keys, or not able to do their chores and errands.
As for those who have a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive heavier, they are the ones who cannot keep still. They will not like sitting for long periods of time, even for just a meal. Most would be seen tapping their hands or their feet, and would often squirm while seated.
They are also talkative and will likely interrupt a conversation or question by blurting their answers, even during inappropriate times. They will like physical activity very much. Many children will run and jump around to expend that extra energy. This can happen anytime, even when they are told to be quiet and keep still. When they play games, they will also be noisy and talk loud.
What are the Causes of ADHD?
Even up to this day, there are no set causes for this condition. Genetics may be a factor but there also be possible causes such as
- Having a low birth weight
- Being exposed to certain elements, such as lead
- Mothers drinking alcohol or smoking while they were pregnant
What are the Symptoms of ADHD in Adults?
There are many adults who may have the condition, but they never realized they had it. That’s because ADHD can manifest differently in children and adults. Some of the common signs for children include being impatient and finding it hard to focus.
It’s good to note that most of these symptoms can be present at one time or another. If you notice that you exhibit most of these symptoms, get yourself checked out by a doctor in order to get a diagnosis.
Tasks are never finished
Do you find yourself starting a passion project and just never actually finishing it? Sometimes it’s even hard for you to start one. It’s not easy for adults with ADHD to do tasks that need a lot of focus. And even when they do their tasks, they may not be able to finish them on time.
Easily feels stressed
There was a time when it was believed that adults diagnosed with ADHD had a hard time multitasking. But research has shown that this was not so. One thing that can happen though is that they are more likely to feel stressed. Focus is something that people with ADHD do not have enough of, and this can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Not a good listener
Has anyone ever told you that you are not a good listener? You probably tend to "space out" during conversations. For others, they will be easily distracted. They will be in the middle of talking to someone when they will see a show on TV or another conversation catches their attention. But even without anything to distract them, adults with ADHD will still have difficulty listening with intent.
Thoughts are too busy
According to AdditudeMag, having ADHD may feel like you don't belong. That is because their world is curvilinear, not separating time as we often would. Their brains would always be on the go, with many thinking about four or more things at one time. Just imagine four people talking to you all at the same time.
What are the Treatments Available for Adults with ADHD?
It will require a lot of time before an adult can be diagnosed with ADHD. There will be a lot of things that the doctor will ask, including the symptoms being exhibited now and those in the past. Most would also conduct a medical exam in order to rule any other disorder as the symptoms for ADHD can also be seen in other conditions.
Once diagnosed with ADHD, there are several treatment paths available. The most common treatment is drugs. You may have to try several before you find one that works for you as what works for others may not necessarily work for you. Also, if taken for a long period of time, they may lose their effect and you will need to change your medicine again. There are also some side effects that you will have to watch out for, including headache, loss of appetite and insomnia.
For others, therapy can be helpful. This can be in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy, where you can learn techniques to manage your symptoms; or family therapy, where you and your family can both adjust to the new changes in your life. You may also want to connect with other adults who are in the same boat; having a support group can help you adjust to your condition.
Other things you can do include changing your lifestyle. Try getting rid of vices, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and doing exercises like yoga. Have a conversation with your doctor so they can help you plan.
While there may be difficulties that one may face when diagnosed with this condition, it is very much possible to function properly in society. With the help of modern medicine, adults with ADHD can still live a fruitful and fulfilled life.