Many adults are finding answers about a diagnosis typically associated with children. Today, one in 20 adults have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which was originally thought to primarily affect grade school aged children and teenagers.
In some cases, diagnosis of their teenager has led to the same diagnosis being given to a parent and even a grandparent, after the adults recognized some of the same symptoms in themselves. Because of an increase of knowledge about the condition, adults are more aware of ADHD and its symptoms.
In the case of a 56-year-old man who struggled with feelings of hyperness and short attention spans his entire life, finding out that he had ADHD was a surprise. Though he knew that the depression previous doctors had diagnosed wasn’t quite right, he was not familiar with hyperactivity and what it meant for adults.
The difficulty to pay attention or impulsive behavior is easily recognizable to teachers in a classroom setting, but for adults, ADHD is harder to identify. Adults with ADHD may experience short attention spans, memory loss, trouble focusing and disorganization. Without the supervision or everyday interaction with others, such as those that students have with a parent or teacher, it is more difficult to recognize a problem as an adult.
How are adults to know that what they are experiencing is ADHD and not just a common side effect of aging? Doctors differentiate the two by looking at symptoms that occurred earlier than age 12, which would indicate ADHD rather than symptoms that are more commonly caused by aging. ADHD is diagnosed when a healthcare professional analyzes an individual’s responses to a range of questions and symptoms regarding feelings of stress, attention span and other side effects associated with ADHD.
Many treatment options are available to improve the quality of life for individuals with ADHD. Counseling, coaching on proper communication skills and prescription medications has proven successful for millions of adults with the diagnosis.
To find out more about ADHD symptoms and treatment options, contact Family Guidance Center, where professionals have the knowledge and tools to treat symptoms and enhance the quality of life for individuals with mental illness.