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ADHD in Adults

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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ADHD in ADults
ADHD in Adults

What is ADHD in Adults?

While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known by its abbreviation ADHD, represents one of the most popular developmental childhood conditions; in some cases, it continues to manifest throughout adulthood. The percentage of this disorder continuity situate at around sixty. This means that approximately 4% of the entire U.S. population, or better said 8 million people are exposed to ADHD in their adult lives. Unfortunately, there are few individuals who properly identity and treat it so it doesn’t persist in their later years.

As research revealed, this condition affects between three and ten percent of children during their school periods and an estimated amount of sixty percent of these kids will manifest functionality troubles after the age of eighteen. The prevalence rate of adult ADHD is between four and five percent from a general point of view. Although at young ages it affects more males than females, the percentage seems to even out with time.

Within the first papers to discuss particular adult cases of ADHD there is the one written by Shelley and Reister in 1972 in which sixteen cases of ages between eighteen and twenty three linked to difficulties in coping with military training have been observed on an Air France base.


So far, precise causes linked to this disorder haven’t been determined. On the other hand, it is believed that the genetic component possesses a core role in its development, conclusion reached by a number of studies that revealed a higher occurrence rate within family members. For instance, research revealed that the chances compared to random of suffering from this disease among a family whose members have been diagnosed are five times more.

Studies are ongoing and focus on the gene identification linked to the percentage of susceptibility to ADHD. When it comes to the link between its development and brain chemistry structures, an influence of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine was noticed in the idea that they usually help regulate normal activities and attention of the person during these. Furthermore, various parts of the brains are more active in those who suffer from it.

There are some situations in which ADHD is in fact the result of a brain injury, head trauma, as well as other impediments that interfere with the proper brain growth and include birth complications, premature delivery, alcohol and cigarette consumption during the pregnancy, or exposure to a series of toxic environmental levels. Moreover, people who have epilepsy also possess increased chances for the appearance of ADHD.

Despite most of the people’s beliefs, this condition is not a result of improper parenting or inattentive children observation, but the chances of appearance are increased by consumption of food additives and refined sugars from an early age.

Signs & Symptoms

There are various symptoms that can appear in adults that suffer from ADHD and depend on the attitude of the person towards the disorder. For instance, although there are some with difficulties in concentrating on some tasks, if they’re interested in a certain domain their problems disappear and the concentration is maintained for long periods of time. On the other hand, there are those who are not interested in anything and whose symptoms manifest through impulsiveness, mood swings, poor organization skills, procrastination, issues linked to relationships with other people, and substance abuse or addictions which end up alone and developing other conditions such as depression, fatigue, or anxiety alongside.

Believable or not, the person who goes from one situation to the other doesn’t have any type of patience when it comes to fixing or solving some problems, and the one who is focused and properly concentrates on certain tasks of interest may suffer from ADHD and because of this, sometimes it is very difficult to say which individual has it. On the other hand, if observable symptoms are the classic ones that include impulsiveness, hyperactivity, impossibility to concentrate, and mood swings, there are high chances for that person to suffer from it. The other cases are much rare and may be a result of an ADHD from childhood which manifests throughout adulthood although some treatments have been applied.

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults

In order to properly diagnose adult-ADHD, an individual is advised to go to a medical professional if any of the above symptoms are noticed. Even though in most situations it is rather difficult to put a diagnosis without having the patient undergo a series of tests, a visit to healthcare provider may solve the dilemma. The most common tests that are utilized in these cases are called self-screening and can be taken by those who believe they may have it.

If difficulties related to this condition aren’t diagnosed in proper time and no measure is taken whatsoever, certain social, emotional, academic and occupational issues may appear as a result.

Other ways in which a person with ADHD can differentiate from others is through psychological tests, the family medical history, and a physical exam which includes neurological testing.

Treatment for ADHD in Adults

When this condition persists or is noticed throughout adulthood, a visit to the doctor is the first step that needs to be done in order for them to prescribe proper medication that can have a positive impact upon the organism and increase the chances of healing. Most of this medication is a part of the stimulant category.

In addition to them, cognitive therapy, as well as a life-coach, may be recommended in order to constantly supervise the evolution of the patient and notice whether they actually have a beneficial effect on a specific person. Although medication is helpful in most cases, treating this disorder doesn’t only depend on taking a pill. It requires a long-term involvement from the patient’s perspective as well as slowly learning how to have patience, be properly organized and try to concentrate on certain things without getting easily distracted.

Some stimulants that are generally prescribed include Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, Ritalin, and Quilivant and potential side-effects depend on the age, sex, and health of the patient, but in case they appear the treatment should be interrupted.

On the other hand, those who want to try a natural approach, should look for dietary supplements that feature ingredients like St. John’s Wort, Fish Oil, Zinc, GABA, and Melatonin. However, it is important to keep in mind that the capsules/tablets alone won’t have a noticeable effect and have to be combined with therapy or other ways of getting rid of its troublesome issues.