Adult ADHD: Overview, Symptoms…

Introduction to adult ADHD

It is not only children that can suffer from ADHD; adults can equally suffer from this condition. Theirs is referred to as adult ADHD and you are about to read everything about it now. So, just keep reading! In kids with hyperactivity, you can find them bouncing off and on of a piece of furniture, not doing their assignments or even looking out of the window consistently when a class is ongoing. ADHD is more of restlessness and an inability to follow a course or process through.

Not less than 4% of American adults suffer from ADHD. And this percentage is from a population size of about 9 million people!

But one interesting thing about Adult ADHD is that it doesn’t come with so much hyperactivity as seen in children. That is why adults will more likely be assessed by ADHD primarily inattentive presentation.

This notwithstanding negatively influence human relationships as can be seen in marriages, social interactions, and career. It can go ahead and trigger harmful lifestyle like abusing alcohol or drugs and gambling among others.

Recognizing adult ADHD

ADHD in adults has a different manifestation from that in children. This difference can most times make the condition go undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed in adults.

Adult ADHD messes up with what can be referred to as “executive functions” of the brain.

Memory, initiative, ability to take on and complete complex tasks, decision-making, and judgment are some of the functions of the brain you can call ‘executive’

When these functions are messed up, it can mean hell for expertise and scholastic work. Itcan interfere with developing and sustaining meaningful relationships.

It is often common to wrongly diagnose adult ADHD as anxiety disorder or even depression

This is because both depression and anxiety usually come with ADHD as they most times come with impaired executive brain functions.

Adult ADHD is characterized;

  • an inability to stay on task
  • inability to take on attention seeking tasks
  • forgetting of appointments
  • habitual lateness
  • poor listening skills
  • the compulsion to complete other people’s sentences or interrupt them while talking
  • a high level of impatience when in a queue
  • impatience when caught in a traffic
  • quirky character traits
  • nervous behaviors

Most times, adult ADHD go misdiagnosed as a learning insufficiency or conduct anomaly while the affected adult was a child. In essence, an adult can conceal ADHD from his childhood years until adulthood when different demands come on board. If adult ADHD is not diagnosed early enough and treated, it can result in the affected adult having depressive sickness and low self-esteem.

Adult ADHD
Photo Credit: Michael Ascher MD


Adult ADHD Self-Reporting Scale

If you find yourself having any of the listed symptoms, I’ll recommend you check these symptoms against a checklist that was developed by the world health organization and a workgroup on adult ADHD. The name of the checklist is called  Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale Symptom Checklist.

Doctors often use this checklist as a diagnostic tool. Not less than 6 symptoms of adult ADHD with different specific degrees must be confirmed for any ADHD diagnosis.

Using any of the following ratings, ‘Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, or Very Often’, answer the following questions on the Checklist.

  • “How often do you feel extremely compelled and active to do things, just like you were driven by a car?”
  •  “How often do you find yourself interrupting others when they are busy with something?”
  •  “How often do you find yourself struggling to maintain a line when you have to take your turn to do or get something done?
  •  “How often do you find difficulty maintainingyour attention whenever you are undertaking a repetitive or boring work?”
  • “How often do you get distracted by either noise or activity around you?”
  •  “How often do you find it very difficult to keep appointments or obligations because you forgot?”

You should consider seeing a doctor soon if most of your answers were ‘very often’ or ‘often’.

Adult Attention Span Questionnaire

A sample ‘attention span test’ developed by Dr. Kathleen Nadeau (director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center in Maryland) can be used to diagnose adult ADHD. It comes as a questionnaire that has to be rated on a scale of zero to three. Zero means not at all. Three means just like me.

Here is the questionnaire:

  •  “It’s very hard for me to listen in a very long sessions of meetings.”
  • “Meal planning is really difficult for me.”
  •  “I jump from one topic to another in most conversations.”
  • “I often don’t finish reading the books I started reading.”
  • “My office and home are messy and scattered.”
  • I pick up and later drop hobbies and interests easily.”

If your ratings gave a very high score from most of the questions, plus a history of difficulty with concentration and focus can be pointers that you have adult ADHD.

Book an appointment to see your doctor or a mental health practitioner as soon as possible.

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