Is it anxiety, depression, or adult ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is commonly associated with children who struggle to stay focused, are easily distracted, and exhibit impulsive behaviors. However, ADHD does not just affect children, as many adults also struggle with this condition. ADHD has three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms can affect an adult or child in home, social, and work/school settings.
According to recent estimates, almost 11 million adults in the United States have ADHD. Many adults today struggle with aspects of their daily lives and wonder if what they are experiencing is normal due to living increasingly stressful lives or if it is something more. Additionally, many can be misdiagnosed with anxiety or depression when they do reach out for help and then feel dissatisfied with treatment or question why they are not improving.
Untreated ADHD can lead to mood disorders, but the underlying, untreated cause can be ADHD. Symptoms in the home environment can include often being forgetful in daily activities, such as doing chores, running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments. Additionally, individuals with ADHD may often interrupt or have difficulty focusing during conversations, completing others’ sentences, not waiting for a turn in the conversation, or appearing distracted even when there is no obvious distraction. Other symptoms can include often losing things necessary for daily tasks or activities, such as tools, wallets/purses, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, or cellphones.
Symptoms in the work/school environment can include often being late for meetings, missing deadlines, and failing to complete tasks or projects. Additionally, individuals with ADHD may fail to give close attention to details or make careless mistakes. They may also speak over others during meetings or interrupt.
Symptoms in social settings can include missing birthdays or important dates, not keeping promises, or following through with planned activities. Individuals with ADHD may also talk excessively or interrupt and have difficulty maintaining focus during conversations and social interactions.
When ADHD goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and frustration. People with untreated ADHD are also more likely to have relationship problems, be overly emotional, and have arguments with others more often than peers. They have higher rates of divorce than the general population. The same risky behaviors that can harm teens with untreated ADHD can also impact adults in the same situations, such as drinking, smoking, drug abuse, and risky sex.
Proper assessment and diagnosis by a licensed clinician are always recommended. Working together with a therapist and a psychiatrist to develop an individualized plan of treatment aimed at shaping healthy behaviors and improving focus and concentration will lead to positive outcomes.
It is important to understand that ADHD is a treatable condition. Medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes can all be effective in managing symptoms. The first step in getting help is to recognize the symptoms and reach out to a medical professional for an evaluation. It is never too late to seek help for ADHD, and with the right treatment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and lead successful lives both personally and professionally.
In conclusion, ADHD is not just a condition that affects children. Adults can also experience the symptoms of ADHD in their daily lives. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms and seek out a medical professional for an evaluation. Proper diagnosis and treatment can lead to positive outcomes and help individuals manage their symptoms effectively. With the right help and support, individuals with ADHD can thrive both personally and professionally.