Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Through research done in recent years, we know that adult ADHD does indeed exist and can be a significant impairment for many adults. We know that ADHD is an inheritable disorder and many parents end up being diagnosed with this disorder, after their children are assessed for ADHD. While it is true that most people experience many of these symptoms occasionally, there is a big difference in not being able to pay attention when you are tired and not being able to pay attention no matter how important you know it is, and how much effort you put into it. As an adult with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) you may have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child and received treatment. In the past, it was thought that children with ADHD outgrew their symptoms and went into adulthood leaving ADHD behind. We now know that at least 60% of adults maintain some of the core symptoms of ADHD into adulthood. Some symptoms such as outward hyperactivity may decrease in adolescence or adulthood, however many patients report that they have simply learned how to channel their restlessness into more appropriate outlets. Many adults however, still describe an ongoing feeling of internal restlessness. Children in school do not have much of a choice of how to structure their day, or what an acceptable activity level would be. Adults have more control over how they spend their time, especially if they can find a good fit in a career. Impulsivity may decrease in adulthood or at least change in its presentation, however it tends to remain as a challenge for many adults with ADHD. Since the symptoms of hyperactivity seem to lessen in adolescence, some adults who were diagnosed as children may not qualify for a full ADHD diagnosis, however when interviewed they still complain that they feel impaired by some ADHD symptoms. This shows us that more research needs to be done in the area of adult ADHD and what actually should designate a diagnosis. This also leads us to wonder if many adults who do not totally qualify for an ADHD diagnosis, but are still affected by many of the symptoms, would not benefit from some form of treatment. Perhaps we also need to look at the possibility that some adults who are suffering from symptoms in the area of attention only as adults, are the children that have simply outgrown their outward hyperactivity. Again these individuals can be misdiagnosed more often, especially when assessed by a professional who is less experienced in this area.
You may also be an adult who is new to this diagnosis, having been missed as a child. Even in this day and age we know that ADHD is still being under-diagnosed, contrary to the information reported by the media that ADHD diagnosis is rampant.
Those who present with ADHD 'primarily inattentive type' (see ADHD general information) tend to be more frequently overlooked as children and also as adults. These adults are not as easy to pick out in a crowd as their symptoms affect others less, but are also more often internalized. It was shown in a study by Dr. Joseph Biederman in 1998 that females with ADHD suffer more from mood disorders than their male counterparts. We therefore need to pay attention to adults who suffer with depression and anxiety and assess them for possible ADHD.