About 5% of United States adults have ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but few get diagnosed or seek treatment for it. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders that is often first diagnosed in childhood. ADHD Awareness Month aims to improve the lives of those living with ADHD by educating and raising awareness about this mental health disorder.
What is ADHD?
ADHD can be described as the persistent and ongoing pattern of hyperactive impulsivity that interferes with one’s daily life. Scientists do not know the main cause of ADHD, but many suggest that it could be caused by the following:
- Environmental exposures (ex. lead exposure during pregnancy or a young age)
- Low birth weight
- Brain injury
- Alcohol and drug use during pregnancy
- Premature delivery
Many adults who have ADHD are not aware that they even have it. Daily tasks may seem difficult for them to prioritize and it may be hard to focus. Oftentimes, adults with ADHD may catch themselves missing meetings or deadlines. Some other ADHD symptoms include:
- Trouble multitasking
- Problems focusing on tasks
- Poor planning
- Frequent mood swings
- Trouble coping with stress
Everyone experiences these symptoms at one point in their lives. If these symptoms occur occasionally, you most likely do not have ADHD. ADHD is only diagnosed when the symptoms above are ongoing and make everyday tasks difficult. Often, anxiety and other mood disorders will have the same symptoms of ADHD. Therefore, it is often misdiagnosed. Adults with ADHD will likely have additional mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression.
Complications from ADHD
Those who have ADHD may experience many different complications throughout their life. ADHD has been linked to:
- Poor work or school performance
- Financial problems
- Substance use disorder
- Car accidents
- Unstable relationships
- Poor physical and mental health
- Poor self-esteem
- Suicide attempts
Types of ADHD
According to the CDC, there are three different forms of ADHD. These symptoms may change over time as well as the type of ADHD. They include:
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: Symptoms or signs of this include a person fidgeting or talking a lot with difficulty sitting still for extended periods at a time. A person who has this type of ADHD may be impulsive and restless. This person may interrupt others when talking, speak at inappropriate times, or grab things out of other’s hands. It may be challenging for this person to follow directions.
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: This type of ADHD makes it difficult for a person to complete a task, pay attention to details, or follow instructions. This person is easily distracted and forgetful.
- Combined Presentation: This is when a person has both types of ADHD listed above.
An ADHD diagnosis is provided by a licensed mental health care professional, such as a Psychiatrist at Harmony Bay Wellness. Psychiatrists may follow an ADHD symptom checklist, behavior rating scales, and a detailed history of past and current functioning. ADHD testing is also available at Harmony Bay Wellness. Most adults who seek treatment for ADHD may be experiencing the following problems:
- Chronic frustration or feelings of guilt and blame
- Chronic stress and worry about failure to accomplish goals and responsibilities
- Getting upset over minor things
- Forgetting things
- Relationship problems due to not completing tasks
- Inconsistent job performance; losing or quitting jobs often
- Academic or career achievement
- Poor ability to manage chores, paying bills, and organizing
If you are diagnosed with ADHD, you may feel ashamed or like there is something wrong with you. However, ADHD is not an indicator of intelligence or capability. Everyone can find their niche to experience success. ADHD can have traits that impact a person both positively and negatively. Those with ADHD often have a high level of creativity, energy, and passion.
Making some simple life changes can help a person manage their ADHD symptoms and lead productive lives. There are many steps you can take to manage your symptoms, including:
- Getting plenty of sleep: Lack of sleep and tiredness can make it even more difficult to focus on tasks and manage stress. Turning off devices one hour before bed and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep increase focus and reduce stress.
- Exercise and eat healthy: A person with ADHD has increased levels of energy. Exercising regularly can help rid excess energy and aggression. Eating foods that have reduced levels of sugar can help you be calmer and reduce mood swings
- Work on relationships: Listen when others are speaking and do not interrupt conversations. Cultivate relationships with those who understand your ADHD symptoms.
- Create an organized work environment: If you have ADHD, it is easy to get disorganized and distracted. To make your work environment more efficient, take notes, create lists, and color-code files and projects. Declutter and keep a clean workspace.
Seek help at Harmony Bay Wellness
If your ADHD symptoms are getting in the way of living a productive life, reach out to Harmony Bay Wellness in Clementon, New Jersey. Adults with ADHD can benefit from a wide range of treatments including, individual ADHD therapy, medication-assisted therapy, and behavioral coaching with a licensed Psychiatrist.
“Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Sept. 2018, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html.
“ADHD in Adults.” HelpGuide.Org, 13 Feb. 2019, www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/adhd-attention-deficit-disorder-in-adults.htm.