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Hello, I’m Doctor Holly Atkinson.
We usually think of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder as a children’s
But it’s estimated some 8 million AMERICAN adults may also have ADHD… it may have gone
untreated because they were never diagnosed when they were kids. In adults, ADHD sometimes
gets written off as a personality quirk or bad habits, but it can really affect the things
you care about most… like your career or marriage. It may even lead to substance abuse.
ADHD is easier to spot in kids because the symptoms are external and parents are monitoring
closely for a developmental problem… so when a child shows outward signs of the disorder
– like not being able to sit still – there are people there to notice the condition developing.
But, for adults, because that screening process isn’t in place, symptoms get written off
as personality flaws. Or sometimes, the symptoms are mostly internal – some people describe
a feeling of inner restlessness, or unhappiness during inactive times. This is why ADHD in
adults is often confused with other conditions like depression or anxiety.
Experts believe that 30 to 70% of children who have ADHD will be affected by the disorder
as adults. It’s important to remember that ADHD doesn’t develop in adulthood… it’s
just that adults with the condition weren’t diagnosed as a child.
So, how does ADHD translate into adulthood? Underachieving is the word experts use to
describe the primary effect on adults. Adults who don’t learn to manage the symptoms can
experience significant and long term problems in one or more areas of life.
In college, adults with ADHD may: have a history of poor performance, an inability to complete
assignments, have high absenteeism, or they may drop out entirely.
At work adults with ADHD may change or lose jobs frequently, have repeated bad reviews
for not completing tasks, or have bad reviews for abrasive inter-actions with colleagues.
Relationships can also suffer, people with ADHD may have more marital problem and have
higher rates of divorce
And socially, adults with ADHD are likely to have more traffic violations, suffer from
alcohol or drug addiction and have trouble with their finances, like having difficulty
saving money, and paying their bills on time.
With all the negatives ADHD can bring, there are some positives if the condition is well-managed.
Many adults with ADHD have found ways to control it and make it work to their advantage. Many
excel at multi-tasking, problem solving or handling crisis situations, and as a result
are successful entrepreneurs. The key to managing ADHD is recognizing it and getting treatment.
If you think you may have the condition talk with your doctor and get diagnosed.