Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition not limited only to childhood.
According to the April issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, more than half of children with ADHD can expect to contend with the condition as adults. ADHD in adults often is more subtle than in children, but still can be troublesome. It usually presents itself in one of two ways or a combination:
Inattention: Prioritizing and focusing on tasks can be enormous challenges. Organizing work or following instructions may be more difficult than it is for others.
Excessive levels of activity or difficult-to-control impulses: Adults with ADHD aren't likely to be as physically active as hyperactive children with ADHD. Instead, adults may experience ongoing feelings of restlessness or have trouble relaxing. An adult may always feel the need to be on the go. Impulsivity may show up as impatience, mood swings, intense anger outbursts or trouble with relationships.
Tip-offs that a medical evaluation is needed include:
- A history of academic or career underachievement.
- Inconsistent work performance, such as frequently quitting or losing jobs.
- Difficulty managing daily responsibilities such as paying bills on time or completing household chores.
- Difficulty with relationships, perhaps related to such behaviors as forgetfulness, being easily angered or not completing tasks.
Interviews and detailed medical and behavioral histories are usually keys to diagnosis. Tests to measure attentiveness and concentration could be part of the evaluation.
Adult ADHD is generally managed with some combination of medication, psychotherapy or life coaching. Many adults with ADHD find counseling helpful. Counseling alone may be sufficient treatment for many adults with this illness.