ADHD is a condition many people associate with rambunctious children, not a business professional in an office or a stay-at-home mom. The truth is that adult ADHD is just as real for adults as it is for children. There are several things that you should know about ADHD in adults.
Adult ADHD: The Symptoms
There are several Adult ADHD symptoms that you should know about. While a person may not experience every single one of these symptoms and the degree to which they impact your life may change, these are the basic symptoms to watch for:
- Low frustration tolerance.
- Hot temper.
- Trouble focusing or concentrating.
- Impulsive behavior.
- Difficulty completing tasks.
- Mood swings.
- Trouble dealing with stress.
- Unstable relationships.
The thing to keep in mind with this is that these symptoms are not always easy to pick out in adults, especially if you are looking at yourself. This is because it is easy for you to find ways around the symptom or a way to cope with it. For instance, an adult with ADHD may think they are not restless, yet they unconsciously fidget all day long. This is why most adults who have ADHD are not aware they have it.
It is also important to note that all people who have adult ADHD had ADHD when they were a child, though in many cases it simply was not diagnosed. The difference here is that some people experience fewer symptoms of ADHD as they age while in other people it becomes more pronounced.
ADHD Vs Normal Adult Behavior
When looking at the list of symptoms it is easy to think that this may be you. Every adult experiences these symptoms at one point in their life or another. Even if you have adult ADHD you may find that you do not experience all of these symptoms- or simply are not aware of them in your life. The difference is that people with this condition only deal with these symptoms occasionally. It is not something you deal with on a regular basis. Keep in mind too that these symptoms can be indicative of a number of mental health conditions. This is why it is important to see a mental health professional for evaluation.
It is also important to note that there are several conditions that people with ADHD are more prone to. These include mood disorders, anxiety problems, personality disorders and learning disabilities. Some of these are the result of the symptoms of the adult ADHD in their lives. An example of this is with anxiety. Someone with ADHD may have more anxiety than normal because their life is not organized and seems dysfunctional, causing them greater distress. In other cases, it is simply something these people are more prone to having, though it is not fully understood why. Some of these symptoms may also mimic the symptoms of ADHD in adults. That’s why it is important to have an evaluation done; determining the existing issues is essential to get them addressed.
When to See a Doctor
If you have looked over the list of symptoms of adult ADHD and thought to yourself, “Wow this really describes me!” then it is time to see a doctor. If distractions, disorganization and impulsive behavior cause issues in your life, then it is time to do something about it. It is best to be evaluated so you can get the help you need to get the control you need over your life.
How is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?
There are a few ways that a diagnosis can be reached for this condition. Unfortunately it is not as cut and dry as many medical conditions where a simple blood test will show that you have the condition. An adult ADHD test is rather a process that occurs over a few visits.
The first thing that will happen is that you will answer a ton of questions. This will look at your medical and personal background. You will generally be asked questions such as if any in your family has a history of mental health issues, your drug use and many other aspects. While this may seem invasive, it is an easy way for mental health care providers to get a better understanding of who you are and what influences have lead you to this point in your life. Many of the questions you are asked will be on paper, which can help to make it feel less invasive. However, when you sit down with someone, you will be asked a number of questions so be prepared to talk.
During the interview process, there are a number of things that the mental healthcare provider will look for with the ADHD test for adults. They will ask a number of questions and observe your behavior. Generally if a person meets at least 6 of the categories for ADHD in adults and this has persisted for more than six months and has an impact on the person’s home or work life, then they are diagnosed.
Most of the time this is not something that is diagnosed with one visit to a psychiatrist. Rather, this is generally done over two to five sessions. This is because they want to make sure that what they are observing isn’t just occurring that one day. Also, the more you go, the more comfortable you become, which allows you to open up more with the healthcare provider. Depending on the facility you go to, you may be evaluated by a couple of different mental health professionals who will take notes and compare them to help give a better picture of what you are going through.
Treating Adult ADHD
ADHD may seem like a burden of a condition for any adult to deal with, especially if this is something you have never even thought you had before. The good news is that there are many ways that this condition can be treated. There are medications out there as well as other treatments that have been shown to be beneficial. By using multiple treatments for this condition, you are more likely to reduce the symptoms of ADHD so you can be more productive. Let’s take a look at the different options.
There are many ADHD medications for adults, most of which are the same as ones prescribed to children with this condition. They include medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin and many others. The key to finding the right adult ADHD medication is targeting the most symptoms while avoiding making other conditions worse. For instance, someone who suffers from depression as well as adult ADHD may be a good candidate for Wellbutrin. This is why the psychiatrist will look at your past history with taking medications as well as any other mental or medical health conditions you may have.
Another form of treatment for ADHD in adults is cognitive or behavioral therapy. This is an important way of helping people with this condition to understand how to make the changes they need in their life. With this therapy, the therapist will teach you how to recognize the symptoms of the condition and will train you on how you can counter these destructive behaviors with ones that are more productive to your life. This can range from organizational skills to restlessness and more. Simply being able to talk about your life with a therapist cane be an excellent form of treatment because you will be able to get more clarity and look at it from another point of view.
There are a number of different lifestyle changes that can help with a person who has adult ADHD. One of the best is meditation. This may seem impossible for someone who is unable to focus. However, the opposite is actually true. It may not come as naturally to them as someone without this condition. But over time, they will get better, which in turn with help them with their attention and concentration skills. Yoga and exercise are another excellent way to help with adult ADHD as well. In many cases, it may be as simple as keeping a planner that keeps you on task. The idea is to have a healthier life which in turn will help to make the condition easier to manage. Your mental health care professional team can help you understand the best lifestyle choices for your life.