Adult Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, it is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that interferes with development or functioning.
ADHD begins in childhood, but it is not limited to children. Around 30-70% of kids with ADHD continue to show symptoms of ADHD in adolescence or adulthood. It can also remain undiagnosed until adulthood. Many adults who have it, are not aware that they have the disorder. They struggle with getting organised, try to do multitasking but usually fail or do not perform well, and may have difficulty arriving at appointments on time. ADHD makes it hard for them to remember dates of important life events such as birthdays or anniversaries. They are also more involved in traffic accidents.
Adults with ADHD are also likely to have problems at work, relationship, and marital problems (with higher rates of separation or divorce).
ADHD can be comorbid with other conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and substance misuse.
Professionals who can provide help to patients with ADHD are Psychiatrists, Paediatriciains, Psychologists and ADHD Coaches.
Symptoms of ADHD in adults
– easily distracted
– poor organisational skills
– poor listening skills
– lack of attention to details
– frequent mood swings
– restlessness, trouble relaxing
– impulsive behaviors
– extreme impatience
– angry outbursts
The exact cause of ADHD remains unknown, yet it is believed a combination of the following factors contribute to its development:
– Genetics (many studies suggest that ADHD runs in families)
– Brain injury
– Smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy (prenatal exposure)
– Social environmentаl factors
For adults and adolescents age 17 years or older to be diagnosed with ADHD, the following criteria must be met:
– Several symptoms must be present before the 12th year of life.
– The patient must have at least five symptoms (six are needed to diagnose in younger children) of either inattention and/or hyperactivity.
– The symptoms must be present in two or more surroundings (for example at work and at home).
– Clear correlation and evidence must be seen, that the present symptoms interfere with the patient’s functioning in these different environments.
A comprehensive assessment is required for diagnosis. This is conducted by a specialist psychiatrist. Once diagnosis is reached, the psychiatrist will help to make a treatment plan that suits best for your condition. Treatment for ADHD is multimodal. For most people, the best therapeutic effect is seen with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Behavioral management strategies and the involvement of close family members in the treatment are also helpful.
Medications are the main treatment for ADHD. According to some studies, around 2/3rd of adults with ADHD who take stimulant medicines like Methylphenidate, Lisdexamphetamine show significant symptoms improvement. In case stimulants do not show good results or cause severe side effects, your psychiatrist will prescribe non-stimulant medications. Non-stimulants that are prescribed for treating ADHD are Atomoxetine and Guanfacine.
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