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ADD in Adults

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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ADD in Adults

What is ADD in Adults?

Attention deficit disorders refer to a group of symptoms which affect the proper functionality of a person throughout their adulthood. It is more likely a form of ADD suffered as a child who has transferred into maturity due to the lack of treatment and therapy which should have lowered is impact upon that person’s life.

However, there are some sources which claim that a person shouldn’t have been affected as a child in order to develop this disorder during later years, but analysis is still ongoing and there is no clear reason behind its development, thus certain beliefs have yet to be diminished. Although they are various ways in which this condition is described by people, there are some common characteristics to it, but the symptoms differentiation divides it into several types. The severity and period of appearance also interferes with the person’s lifestyle and there are some cases in which a treatment should be immediately applied in order to give chances of proper functionality to the individual who’s suffering from it.

Even though signs linked to ADD have been found in some medical literature dated before the twentieth century, it represents a relatively newly discovered disorder which requires further studying, as well as clinical trials on various patients that have different evolutionary stages so a general definition can be stated.


Even though in the past the causes of this disorder were linked by most of the people to bad parenting, high sugar intakes, excessive TV watching, family problems, or food additives, the specific reason of its appearance is yet to be known. However, most of the theories behind it are linked to the chemical composition of the brain, mostly because some areas seem to function in a different way than among normal people.

On a general level, scientists agree that after the utilization of a medical technique named MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, that these differences are more noticeable in the areas of the brains that are related to organizational skills and hyperactivity. Furthermore, some research points out that its prevalence is higher within member of the same family. Research is still ongoing and if the causes behind the apparition of this condition would be revealed, chances are that scientists would easily find a proper treatment for it. It’s not the only bodily issue whose cause is unknown, but since the prevalence is relatively increased, finding the cause is the key to understanding it and finding new ways to help individuals that suffer from it.

Signs & Symptoms

In comparison with children, when the symptoms of this medical condition are observed among adults, they vary from individual to individual and are often viewed as unique, thus it is believed that no person that suffers from it manifests the same signs as another. On the other hand, there are some common regions related to personal lifestyle which are generally affected. These are troubles linked to focus maintenance and concentrating, hyperfocus, disorganization, forgetfulness, impulsivity, restlessness, and emotional impairment or difficulties.

For instance, troubles experienced when concentration is required means things like inability to pay attention to someone who’s talking for more than three minutes, a tendency to overlook details which generally leads to incomplete work or errors, poor listening skills, difficulties when instructions or directions are implied, and periods of “zoning out” in the middle of conversations, chores, or activities of high importance.

On the other hand, those who have a negative impact linked to forgetfulness and disorganization usually have a procrastination tendency, go through a series of issues when projects have a time-limit, frequently forget commitments, deadlines and appointments, misplace or lose things, and generally underestimate the time needed to finish a specific task.

The impulsivity type means recklessness or spontaneous actions without fear of consequences, troubles when some social appropriated ways are required, addictive tendency, frequently speak over people in conversations and possess a poor self-control which manifests in every feature of their lives. Those with emotional difficulties experience mood swings, irritability, constant stress-out periods, hypersensitivity to random criticism, troubles in staying motivated, and constant feelings of underachievement.

If any of the above-mentioned signs are experienced on a long-term period, a doctor should be consulted because the chances of ADD’s existence are pretty high.

On the other hand, there is a big misconception linked to the children that suffer from ADD. Most of the individuals believe that their intelligence is slightly lower compared to normal children. After a study conducted using 117 kids, it was revealed that the of them possessed an IQ score of more than 120 which places them on the basic intelligence group, meaning that intelligence is not directly influenced by this medical condition. At the same time, students seem to be impaired in normal situations by their inability to deploy their smarts in social situations that include communication. This means that even though ADD doesn’t influence one’s intelligence, it is more difficult to express yourself when suffering from this condition which makes other people view the ones suffering from ADD as inferior intelligence-wise. Because of this, people that have it should be taken care of and understood in the sense that their situations isn’t a choice, but a disorder and they are unable to control themselves or understand some things that seem easy for the others.

Diagnosing ADD in Adults?

This condition is often diagnosed with the help of a specialized doctor. However, most of the individuals don’t think that their symptoms may be a part of a medical condition so in the majority of cases, they’re left untested. For those whose symptoms are of higher impact upon their lives, one of the first steps that need to be done is to see a specialized doctor.

With the help of the family medical history, some additional tests which may include MRI as well as a physical exam, the diagnosis can be put and individuals have higher chances of improving their life quality after it. Although there are some natural treatments for minimizing the impact of this disorder and people are not obliged to see a doctor in order to determine the possibility of its existence, for cases in which the negative effects are high and the emotional and social troubles persist, it is better to do so. It is important to know if a child or an adult suffers from this condition because it can easily interfere with his/her normal functionality and can living in society can become a struggle for them and others should know how to properly treat the situation. This is why one should immediately go to a specialist if some of the above-mentioned symptoms are experienced.

Treatment for ADD in Adults

There are various ways of treating ADD. From cognitive therapy to prescribed, over-the-counter and natural medication, an individual who has this disorder, possess high chances of curing him/herself from it. However, if the situation isn’t that serious, prescribed drugs should be avoided due to potential side-effects linked to it.

In order for the treatment to work faster and better, whether natural supplements or over-the-counter medication is included, it should be taken alongside therapy because on general levels, as this disorder is related to a behavioral and mood changes as well as an impossibility to focus on specific things or tasks. A person with ADD can either ask someone close to help them through the small steps needed in order to get rid of it, or may go to a therapist with a degree if they have no beliefs in their personal strength and powers.

When it comes to natural supplements, products featuring ingredients such as Omega-9, Omega-6, Omega-3, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Skullcap, Chamomile, Passionflower, Lemon balm, or Brahmi in proper quantities should be sought because they’re among the ones with the most enhanced beneficial effects in these situations. As a support for Omega-3’s treatment, there was a study conducted by researchers that work at the University of Oslo who examined and analyzed the behavior of mice with a particular focus on the biochemical processes that take place inside the brain. As a result, they concluded that supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids has improved the overall functionality of sex. However, there are some sex differences because the effects has been more pronounced in men rats as compared to women. The rats that were utilized in the study are named SHR rats, also known as spontaneously hypertensive rats.

Even though the study was a success in the way that it discovered a new connection which can change the way doctors treat individuals who suffer from ADD, one of the professors that took place in this study, Professor Walaas, declared “In the first place there is of course a difference between rats and humans, and secondly the rats are sick at the outset. Thirdly the causes of ADD in humans are in no way mapped sufficiently well. But the end result of what takes place in the brains of both rats and humans with ADD is hyperactivity, poor ability to concentrate and impulsiveness”. The official conclusion was that “giving priority to basic research like this will greatly increase our detailed knowledge of ADHD.”

Some studies point out that cognitive enhancement medication or supplementation may not have any effect whatsoever on the person following the treatment. For example, Dr. Farah, head of the Center of Neuroscience and Society describes the effects of Adderall in students as being “very small effects-not zero but not a whole heck of a lot difference.”

However, their utilization should be done with care in order to avoid harmful effects on the body and maximize the chances of success. In case any type of unwanted effect appears during the treatment, this should be stopped because it may harm the person instead of helping him/her. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that the treatment is different, depending on the type of Attention deficit disorder suffered and finding a proper solution regarding one’s case is mandatory for the success of the treatment. That’s one of the reasons a specialized healthcare provider should be consulted and the decision shouldn’t be made by someone who has no information whatsoever.