ADHD and ADD are terms most often associated with children, but ADHD in adults is commonly misunderstood and unmentioned in many reports. Many children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder will carry these characteristics into their adult lives, and still other adults might develop ADHD or not receive their diagnosis until later in life.
Adult ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and distractibility. While these are the same common symptoms as ADHD in childhood, they manifest themselves in different ways because the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood are different than those in childhood.
Impulsivity refers to the poor control of immediate reactions, and adults with ADHD might engage in gambling or substance abuse. Other effects of this symptom include difficulty with communication, as adults with ADHD are likely to say the first thing that comes to mind, which might lead to tension and anger within a given relationship. Other signs of impulsivity include a quick temper, and while and adult with ADHD might be angry and frustrated one minute, the next he might be calm and finished with the argument.
Adult ADHD symptoms also include hyperactivity, which is the condition most often applied to children with ADHD. While hyperactivity in children is often manifested by running or jumping around, in adult ADHD it refers to feeling edgy or restless. Trouble sitting still or fidgeting are also a part of hyperactivity.
Distractibility is another benchmark symptom of adult ADHD. Adults will often feel bored or have difficulty concentrating on a task. This symptom is likely to affect and adult in the workplace, and it can also affect how a person pays attention to a conversation, which might place stress on a relationship. Organizing and planning ahead are also tasks that are difficult for a person with adult ADHD, and working with deadlines can be a challenge. Distractibility also includes being disorganized or sloppy.
While there are some “negative” approaches to the symptoms of adult ADHD, these individuals also have some very positive attributes. Adults with ADHD tend to be very creative, and they also are often very intelligent. When adults with ADHD find something that interests them, they are also very passionate and work very hard and put energy into that interest.
Many individuals diagnosed with adult ADHD later in life (those who did not receive the diagnosis as a child) might be surprised at first, but it can be a relief to discover a reason for their symptoms. Living with adult ADHD can be a challenge, but with the balance of proper medication, natural remedies, exercise, and behavioral coaching or therapy, adult ADHD is manageable.
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