Symptoms, treatment and types of ADHD in adults
These days, ADHD in adults may sound less like a health problem and more like a general statement of “burnout”.
Deep down, we know ADHD is a medical condition that affects a person’s ability to focus and stay organized – but how do you know if you might have it? And if you already have a diagnosis, what do you do next?
Since adults are currently the fastest growing age group being diagnosed with ADHD (to the point where some experts are really concerned, it could be more diagnostic), we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the condition from top to bottom. Let’s get started.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. As you may have guessed, ADHD in adults is just ADHD, but in adults.
While adults and children experience the same basic symptoms, they can manifest themselves differently. In children, you are more likely to see symptoms such as:
- difficulty paying attention
- aggression and / or emotional disturbances
- disobedient behavior
- noisy and disruptive trends
In adults, you may notice:
- poor time management
- low stress tolerance
- restlessness and anxiety
- lack of concentration
- feeling driven by a motor or unable to stand still
To apply this to real life, children with ADHD can get lost in daydreams, be loud during quiet times, get involved in conversations in turn, and have a room that looks like a disaster area.
For adults, this can be more difficult to spot, as the symptoms closely correspond to signs of burnout and stress – something that almost everyone struggles with these days.
Adults with ADHD may jump from job to job or relationship to relationship, have chronic difficulty following their schedule (not just during peak times), be overly self-critical, or have low self-esteem. self and having trouble sleeping or relaxing (i.e. the person who is simultaneously on their phone, reading a book and checking email while watching Netflix).
Additionally, adult women and men may experience ADHD symptoms differently as well.
While men typically exhibit hyperactive characteristics, women with ADHD often display calmer inattentive qualities. They may forget to follow through on their plans or feel constantly overwhelmed with a growing to-do list that they can’t seem to tackle.
No, you don’t lose it. Getting diagnosed later in life is surprisingly common, especially among women.
Since ADHD does not develop in adulthood, an adult diagnosis means that you have likely lived with these symptoms since childhood. Is anyone else feeling an “aha moment” right now?
If you are not already living with a diagnosis but think you might have ADHD, you can get tested with the help of your health care provider.
Talk to them about your symptoms and they can refer you to a specialist who will administer a psychological assessment and review your family history to determine if you meet the criteria for an official diagnosis.
From there, it’s about choosing the right treatment plan and getting back to living your best life.
ADHD has three main characteristics (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity), which present themselves to varying degrees in different people.
The “type” of ADHD you have can be categorized according to the characteristic most present in your life:
- Type 1: Inattention. You are easily distracted, forgetful, disorganized, and have difficulty paying attention.
- Type 2: Hyperactivity-impulsivity. You constantly fidget, talk or move and are known to interrupt people or engage in risky behavior.
- Type 3: Combination. You come across a delicious mix of the two types above.
Your doctor can help you determine what type of ADHD you have and, in turn, an ideal treatment. Which brings us to …
While there is no cure, you have a ton of resources to manage your condition, including medications, behavior therapy, lifestyle changes, and at-home / over-the-counter (OTC) options. ).
Adults tend to benefit the most from a combination approach, but it should be noted that finding the secret sauce to manage your symptoms can take time and experimentation. Don’t give up if one method doesn’t work!
The most common medications prescribed to treat ADHD are stimulants and non-stimulants.
Stimulants, in general, work by increasing the amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain (chemicals that affect concentration and energy).
Non-stimulants act more slowly and work by using different neural pathways in the brain. They are ideal for people who experience unwanted side effects from stimulants.
Some of the most common Rx’s on the market are:
Learn more about how these medications work. here.
Behavior therapy aims to identify negative behaviors triggered by ADHD and create concrete actions to deal with your symptoms. A therapist can help you set up a daily routine that improves organization, productivity, stress management, and sleep.
While this is not a solo treatment without your doctor’s approval, many people report seeing positive results by adding these at-home treatments:
- Fish oil. Omega-3s in fish oil have been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine levels.
- Melatonin. For people with ADHD who have trouble sleeping, melatonin supplements can help you get much-needed sleep.
- Light therapy. Using a light therapy box not only helps establish a healthy sleep routine, but studies have found that it can improve mood and reduce the main symptoms of ADHD.
- Exercise. Exercise is a great way to deal with the urge to move and release excess energy. Even just walking around the block for lunch or after dinner can be extremely helpful.
- Essential oils. Oils like frankincense, rosemary, vetiver, and cedarwood are just a sample of the EOs that help improve ADHD symptoms. A word of warning: essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, so it is important to source your oils with care. Choose only quality oils and follow this user guide to get the maximum benefit.
Battling ADHD symptoms is no small feat, and it impacts just about everything (and everyone) in your life. However, with a proper treatment plan and basic knowledge about your condition, you can definitely manage your condition.
First of all, proper diagnosis is essential, as undiagnosed ADHD can lead to chronic stress, unhealthy relationships, problems at work and chaotic personal life, among other serious health issues.
Once the proverbial ADHD cat is out of the bag, you’ll be able to make smarter, more informed decisions and engage in meaningful dialogue to properly communicate with the people in your life.
Never heard anyone ask Why you act like you do? A diagnosis should help matters to become clearer.
Having children and feeling stressed (especially if they too have ADHD)? Treatment for yourself and / or your little ones will make parenting easier (this guide can help, too).
Once you have developed a solid routine and stick to it, life will stabilize. Be clear and consistent with house rules and discipline, prioritize play and exercise, and remember to take the time to you. You can’t pour into an empty cup, as the saying goes.
A person with ADHD may appear as if they are not even listening when you are talking to them directly.
They may forget birthdays or do tasks that they have been asked to do 100 times. They might be too busy to keep their space clean. They may appear distant, indifferent, or as if they are ignoring you. They might not text you for a while.
All of this can lead to problems in your personal and professional life, but especially with your significant other. Your SO might say that you have “selective hearing” without realizing that it is not by choice.
On the other hand, your ADHD can make you flaky or make it difficult to maintain a long-term relationship. Awareness is the first step – acknowledge your struggles and don’t dwell on the coals for it. You are not a bad person.
Then, work with a doctor or therapist to develop strategies to combat the behaviors that disrupt your relationships. You got this!
Depression, anxiety, and stress are all linked to ADHD. In fact, a huge 50 percent of people with ADHD are believed to also have an anxiety disorder.
Antidepressants may be an option for relieving persistent symptoms of depression or anxiety. Your doctor can also help you determine the best treatment method.
Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help, whether it is a friend, a healthcare professional or a member of your family. You are not alone and the support you need is there. All you have to do is ask!