Do you find yourself constantly losing your keys? Do you feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate on daily tasks or meeting deadlines? Are you easily frustrated?If these moments of forgetfulness and frustration happen every once in awhile it’s no big deal and could mean we’re under a lot of stress or a major life event has occurred. If you find them happening daily, then it could be a sign of ADHD.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a mental disorder that is characterized by the inability or difficulty in maintaining focus and attention. One of the major symptoms of adult ADHD is inattentiveness. This is when a person is simply unable or has great difficulty focusing on one task or multi-tasking.
Such a person can be distracted very easily. It is difficult for them to set their mind to something and give their attention to their work because the disorder interferes with their ability to focus. If not recognized and treated, ADHD can cause significant functioning and performance problems at work and at home.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD include:
- Poor work performance
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Poor time management
- Trouble focusing
- Excessive activity or hyperactivity
- Poor planning
- Trouble multi-tasking
- Irritability or becoming easily frustrated
- Hot temper
- Trouble coping with stress
- Frequent mood swings
- Problems following through and completing tasks
ADHD usually manifests in childhood and if it’s not diagnosed and treated then it progresses into adult ADHD and can become difficult to spot and treat because signs and symptoms can then mimic other disorders or it can be attributed to “work and/or life stress.”
Adult ADHD symptoms can seem to decrease as a person ages, but whether the symptoms are actually decreasing or the person has learned to better manage their symptoms is unknown. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Diagnosis of Adult ADHD
Diagnosing adult ADHD can be a multi-modal approach and feedback from spouses, self-analysis, or a boss/supervisor regarding work performance can be powerful in getting an appropriate diagnosis. Physical exams, psychological tests, self-reports, and gathering info from other relevant sources will all be used to make an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for Adult ADHD is similar to that for child ADHD. Counseling, skills training, medication, and treatment for any co-occurring disorders is often recommended and can be very effective if followed through. Initially, other mood and mental disorders may be ruled out first to ensure ADHD is what a person is actually experiencing.
Counseling and/or skills training will be a powerful tool to use in the successful management of ADHD. Counseling can not only provide life skills to help you manage your ADHD but also help you manage any mood disorders and symptoms you are experiencing in conjunction with the ADHD. There are also ADHD life coaches that will visit a person’s home and help them effectively manage their ADHD through behavior changes.
Medications can be stimulants, non-stimulants, or anti-depressants. Stimulants work for 70-80% of people and in the event that they don’t, non-stimulants are an option as well. Anti-depressants are helpful at managing the mood disorders that can accompany ADHD and will likely not only help the mood disorder but will help the ADHD symptoms as well.
Causes and Risk Factors for ADHD
Causes for ADHD are not clear and research efforts continue. Some of the contributing factors may include genetics, environment, and upbringing. ADHD tends to run in families so it appears that there may be a genetic link. Also, environmental factors in childhood such as being exposed to lead with its negative effects on the nervous system can be a factor. Mothers that smoke while pregnant can also increase the risk of having a child that will suffer from ADHD.
Steps to Help Manage Adult ADHD
If you suspect that you might be suffering from ADHD there are some actions that you can take right now to help manage your life while you’re in the process of getting diagnosed.
Make lists. Lists help people with ADHD stay on task and remember what they need to do.
Set timers. Sometimes setting a timer to work on a certain task will help a person focus on getting the job done.
Use apps/resources. There are many apps available to help people with making lists or keeping them on task.
Carry a notebook/pen/paper. This will help you keep track of ideas, thoughts, and tasks and have a place to put them without forgetting.
Follow a routine. Routines are critical for people with ADHD. They help take the guesswork out of tasks that need to be done and help decrease the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Set up systems to file and organize. A symptom of ADHD is being overwhelmed and getting easily distracted which means forgetting important tasks at times. Having a system in place prevents you from forgetting and ensures everything gets done on time.
ADHD can be managed with the right plan. If you suspect you have ADHD, seek help to get appropriate resources to help you get your life back on track. You deserve it and remember God delights in the uniqueness and diversity of His children.
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