ADD / ADHD: Its Not Just for the Kids Anymore
ADD/ADHD is one of the hardest conditions to diagnose because it's symptoms are so common in other mental disorders. Often, it is mistaken as a form of depression or anxiety. Most people believe that if you are not properly diagnosed in childhood then you escaped any danger of infliction. However, not all cases of ADD/ADHD are necessarily disruptive enough to be noticed right away. Again the symptoms can be easily confused with normal stages of growth like childhood restlessness or pubescent depression. Unfourtunetly, this doesn't make ADD/ADHD any less disruptive in a person's life. Without proper diagnosis it can undoubtedly effect your health, relationships, work and finances. ADD/ADHD is to commonly associated with a squirming school child when in reality, like most disorders, it has many faces and is completely unbiased about age, race, sex or social position.
Adult ADD/ADHD is similar to children's in it's symptoms of inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is often displayed in children as excessive squirming, moving and disruptive behavior. In adult's it is more manifested as a constant feeling of extreme restlessness and agitation. Other signs may include extreme procrastination, disorganization, trouble making deadlines, and impulsive behavior. Lets be honest, most of us have challenges in these areas but someone with Adult ADD/ADHD has these problems constantly, and they often negatively effect themselves as well as their loved ones.
Other symptoms can be broken down into 3 categories; inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Inattention symptoms include concentration and organization which tend to become more dominant in adults than in children. Adults may have trouble paying attention to conversations and will often "zone out" without realizing. They have a hard time completing tasks and are very easily distracted or forgetful. Keeping things organized is an enormous challenge since they often underestimate how much time something takes and are prone to distraction. A tendency to misplace and loose things is also common.
Hyperactivity does not look quite the same in children as adults. Adults find themselves easily bored, irritated, experience mood swings, restlessness and feel full of nervous energy. Which causes them to have difficulty sitting down, relaxing, or enjoying quiet activities and.also tends to cause an incessant need to talk. Children however tend to become more fidgety and physically hyperactive.
Impulsivity includes decision-making problems and impulsive actions. A pattern of making sudden decisions or trouble listening to others may also lead to an inability to relate to others. Not only does ADD/ADHD cause trouble in following a conversation but it can also cause tendencies such as interrupting others, answering before a question has been asked, or blurting out things you regret later. This can obviously make a person's social and work lives impossible.
A direct cause for both adult and child ADD/ADHD is unknown, though it's believed to be a result of misfiring neurotransmitters. Luckily, there are still treatment options like lifestyle changes and medication that have been proven to help allot of people. It is important to have a certified doctor diagnose your ADD/ADHD, especially when considering habit-forming medicines like ritalin and aderall. This doesn't mean that you should wait to make lifestyle changes as those tend to ease allot of these symptoms if practiced with patience. After all it can't help to educate yourself as much as possible on ADD/ADHD or investigate support groups so you can talk to ADD/ADHD patients. In fact it can help anyone to practice organizational and social skills, keep stress to a minimum and make healthier choices. Try using one organizer to keep all your appointments and dates. Remember to keep everything in one place. For big projects start small and don't let yourself get carried away thinking about the future or start a new project until you finish the first. Practice active listening by summarizing what the other person said in your head before responding. Remember to always pause before you speak; wait a few minutes and if the comment still seems important proceed. It is also important to look for social cues so that you can be more effective in your communication skills.
With patience, hard work and the right medical treatment both childhood and adult ADD/ADHD can be managed but only if you are ready to face the diagnosis head on and held high.