What do we know about adult ADHD? For a long time, scientists thought that children “outgrow” hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder in the process of growing. Currently, however, there is a different view. This syndrome is expressed not so clearly, as in childhood, but adult patients have quite weak concentration and focus in comparison with others. They are easily distracted. They are often very impulsive and sometimes do things “without thinking”, and later regret about it. Nervousness is another clear feature of adult ADHD, just as prone to inactivity. Many of them have to bad habits and suffer from mood swings.
Syndrome of attention deficit with hyperactivity was previously called minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), minimal brain damage, hyperkinetic syndrome or hyperactivity syndrome. It is one of the most common disorders of brain function in children, and approximately 60% of its cases are retained in adulthood. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults often remains undiagnosed. Meanwhile, it is important to recognize this syndrome because there is effective, inexpensive and safe treatment. Early and continuous treatment in childhood not only provides an immediate effect – it also promotes the formation of normal behavior in adulthood.
Active or Hyperactive?
It’s not necessary to refer any excited kid to the category of children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. If your child is full of energy, if it hits over the edge, and the baby is sometimes stubborn and rebellious – it doesn’t mean that he has ADHD. If you are chattering too much with your girlfriend and your child gets angry, he cannot stand still – this is normal.
Any child from time to time has moments rage and irritation. And how many children enjoy messing and fooling around! The fact that your child is struggling the boredom in some strange way is not yet a sign of hyperactivity. Noisy child, full of strength and energy is a cause for joy, but not for concern.
ADHD on Wikipedia
Comparison of adult ADHD symptoms
Symptoms of Childhood and Adult ADHD
The diagnostic criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder changed over the years. Symptoms almost always occur up to 7 years, usually at 4-year-age. The average age when patients are applying to a doctor is 8-10 years. In this age study and work at home are beginning to demand independence, motivation and concentration. Doctors usually do not establish a diagnosis for children at an earlier age during the first survey. They wait for several months, during which the symptoms must persist. This action helps to avoid diagnostic mistakes: for example, transient disorders of attention may be a reaction to a quarrel or divorce of parents.
The main signs are violation of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Depending on the presence or absence of specific symptoms, ADHD is divided into three subtypes: attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, mixed type.
Diagnosis of attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity requires at least six of the nine symptoms listed below. Symptoms must be present for at least six months.
Signs for three primary subtypes:
A. Attention Deficit:
1. Decreased selective attention, unable to concentrate for long on one subject, details of the subject, making careless mistakes.
2. Cannot maintain focus: the patient cannot perform the task to finish, he’s not concentrated in its execution.
3. Looks like he’s not listening when somebody talks directly addressed to him.
4. Doesn’t fulfill direct instruction or cannot finish them.
5. Has difficulty with organizing his work, often switching from one action to another.
6. Avoids or dislikes tasks that require long-term mental efforts.
7. Often loses things that he needs.
8. Easily distracted by extraneous noise.
9. Increased forgetfulness in daily activities.
B. Hyperactivity and impulsivity:
1. Intensive motion with hands or feet during excitement.
2. Often rises from his seat.
3. Sharp rises up and runs too much.
4. Difficulty with participating in quiet activities of leisure.
5. He acts like “wound-up”.
6. Shouting from seat, and other noisy antics in the classroom, and so on.
7. He answers before questions have been completed.
8. Inability to wait for his turn in games, during class, and so on.
9. Interferes in conversation or other activities of other people.
C. Mixed type: Signs of both attention disorder and hyperactivity.
5 Ways to Neutralize Attention Deficit Disorder
With an understanding of all adult ADHD problems you can help yourself and make real changes to improve your life. Many adult people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have discovered effective ways to cope with their symptoms, and some of them even take advantage of their talants, having productive and satisfying life. Adults with ADHD don’t necessarily require outside intervention — at least not immediately. There are many things you can do for self-help and get your disorder under control.
1. Proper nutrition and exercises. Exercise energetically and regularly — it lets you get rid of abundant energy and aggressiveness in a positive way and calms the body. Try to eat a wide range of healthy foods and restrict sugary products in order to even out humor fluctuations.
2. Sleep enough. When you are tired, it’s much more difficult to concentrate, undergo stress and stay productive. Help yourself by 7-8 hours of good sleep every night.
3. Use time management tools. Set deadlines for all, even small tasks. Get timers, notes and organisers to stay on track. Don’t hesitate to take small breaks or regular intervals. Avoid heaps of paperwork or delay by dealing with every task as it comes in. First solve time-sensitive tasks and note every message, assignment or important thoughts.
4. Pay attention to your relationships. Plan activities with friends and adhere your commitments. Be watchful in conversation: listen when other people are speaking to you and try not to talk too quickly. Develop relationships with others, who can understand your struggles with ADHD.
5. Build a supportive work atmosphere. Make common use of lists, reminders, color-coding, rituals, notes-to-self and files. Try to choose work that interests and motivates you. Observe how and when you usually work best and employ these conditions to your work. It may help to consolidate with more organized but less creative people — and any partnership is reciprocally beneficial.
Causes of Adult ADHD
Previously it was considered that childhood and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is caused by prenatal or perinatal brain damage. Now scholars have obtained data about the genetic predisposition to the syndrome of attention disorders with hyperactivity. Statistics show that 20-30% of parents of hyperactivity patients suffer or suffered from ADHD. The hypothesis that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may be caused by food allergy, has not been confirmed in controlled trials. In some cases, the cause of the disease is a violation of intrauterine development. Some scientists also believe that the development of adult ADHD may be caused by Reye syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, lead poisoning, but these assumptions have not been confirmed.
Prevalence and Prognosis
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is more common in boys. The comparative prevalence among boys and girls is about 4/1. At present, the prevalence of this disorder in primary school pupils equals 3-10%.
More than half of children suffering from symptoms of attention deficit disorders in elementary school, keep this syndrome in adolescence. These teens are prone to different addictions, they hardly adapt to the society. As it was previously said, in 60% of cases the symptoms of ADHD stay in adulthood. So, there are about 2-6% of adults with ADHD.