At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AHDH) is an affliction that causes a number of social and personal difficulties. Those with adult ADHD are predisposed to many hardships, both on a personal and professional level. Treatment is available for the disorder, and has been shown to significantly improve the prognosis.
Approximately 4% of school aged children suffer from ADHD. The best estimates show that about 60% of these children will continue with the disorder through adulthood. Since ADHD has only become a known phenomenon in recent years, many adults went undiagnosed as children, and have continued as such.
Symptoms of adult ADHD are quite varied. Some of the more common ones are: consistent lateness and forgetfulness, difficulty following instructions and completing times tasks, low self esteem, anger management issues, procrastination, easy frustration, boredom and mood swings. All of these symptoms create a host of problems for the sufferer, from emotional and social to academic and professional.
Someone with adult ADHD is more likely to suffer from substance abuse and to have difficulties with law enforcement. On a smaller scale they are more likely to smoke and to have multiple speeding tickets. The impulsiveness that accompanies the disorder makes sufferers more likely to have impaired judgment when dealing with difficult situations.
The lack of concentration and difficulty in completing tasks makes it difficult for them to advance very far in the business world. Thus, professional difficulties for adult ADHD sufferers are common. Because of this, those with adult ADHD are more likely to jump from job to job, and have financial problems. This can feed into an already low self esteem.
Many who suffer with adult ADHD have difficulty staying in a monogamous relationship as well. Multiple marriages are common, as are those riddled with affairs. Relationships with friends can suffer from the same types of problems, since lack of commitment and reliability tend to follow the most extreme symptoms.
To diagnose adult ADHD, doctors usually turn to a full examination, both physical and mental. The patient's past is examined to discover if they may have had ADHD that went undiagnosed as a child. Family members are sometimes questioned, and old records like report cards and school evaluations may be checked to see if the pattern began in youth. A physical examination rules out other health issues that could be contributing to the problem.
Treatment is largely psychiatric. The adult ADHD sufferer can be given counseling, sometimes in a group setting, to teach them coping skills. Sometimes medications can be helpful. Some of the medications prescribed for children with ADHD can have an addictive quality for adults. Doctors will therefore use caution in prescribing them. The medication Strattera® has been approved for use on adults by the FDA, and has been shown to be non-addictive in clinical studies.