Understanding Adult ADD
Understanding Adult ADD
Since the concept that ADD occurs in adults is a fairly new concept over the past decade or so, much more information is available about ADD in children at this time.
However, in a nutshell, as an adult, ADD has matured into a chronic neurobiological disorder, displaying three main traits:
Although there is yet a positively identified determined set of factors, by they genetic, biological or physiological, that cause a person to become afflicted with ADD, fingers point to biological and heredity factors as playing major roles.
Causes of Adult ADD
Cases in which heredity has been ruled out point to the following contributing factors:
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Exposure during fetal development
- Extremely high levels of lead in the body
- Birth weight recorded low
- Difficulties with birth and/or premature delivery
- Postnatal injury to the prefrontal brain areas
Note several popular “mythical” factors that many attribute to causing ADD when in reality they don’t:
- Too much television
- Too much sugar and food additives
- Social environment (like divorce, poverty) or “bad” parenting
Adult ADD seems to know no national boundaries, afflicting people worldwide where studies have been performed. Although ADD strikes both genders, adult male sufferers seem to outnumber females in a 2:1 ratio or lower.
Adult ADD Symptoms
Now let’s take a look at the symptoms or traits characteristic of adults who have ADD …
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DSM-IV), adults with ADD most generally:
- Fail to give close attention to details
- Make negligent mistakes at work
- Fidget with hands or feet, twist about in seat
- Have difficulty with attention span during tasks and activities
- Are unable to remain seated in situations where seating is expected
- Don’t appear to listen when spoken to directly
- Feel unable to relax
- Have difficulty following instructions, often failing to finish work
- Express difficulty with quiet participation in leisure activities
- Suffer difficulties with organizational skills and activities
- Feel energized; i.e. “on the go” or “motor-driven”
Don’t like engaging in lengthy mental effort; i.e. they prefer NOT to engage in anything that asks for sustained mental effort
- Talk a lot (an inordinate amount of time)
- Lose necessary items for tasks and activities
- Rush to supply answers before questions are completed
- Become distracted easily
- Tend to be impatient
- Are forgetful with regards to everyday activities
- Interrupt frequently or intrude upon others
As a result of the above major characteristics in adults with ADD, the following issues are among the most popular that are prevalent in adult ADD lives. Note that both the characteristics above and the following problematic issues can range in scope from mild to extreme, depending upon the person’s own unique health combined with their ADD and other social, personal and economic situations.
Adult ADD Major Problems Areas
A professional health practitioner is recommended for best evaluating each case.
- Suffering repeated anxiety, depression and / or mood swings
- Experiencing relationship, behavioral and self-control problems
- Struggling with poor memory skills and work effort
- Managing troubles with emotional, arousal and motivational issues
- Undergoing low self-esteem, boredom and time mismanagement issues
- Ongoing employment or substance abuse issues
- Annoying chronic tardiness, risk-taking and (greater than average) multi-tasking behaviors
Actually any of the variety of social, personal and economic problematic areas in adult ADD lives is what causes the person to seek professional help when their disorder is undiagnosed.
Often referred to as a “hidden disorder,” ADD in adults can underlie many outstanding mood disorders, substance abuse and other complicated cases.
Often it’s not until after a person has been diagnosed with something else like anxiety or depression, or until after his or her own child is diagnosed with ADD, that healthcare providers are alerted to the adult’s ADD.
Thus many today still go undiagnosed, untreated, which is a shame …
Because without the diagnosis, many believe ADD sufferers to be lazy, unintelligent and immature.
But There is Help with ADD Treatment
Many afflicted with ADD can even apply for help under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibits employment and public accommodations discrimination against people with a record of and / or who have current physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities, including learning and working.)
For a diagnosis, people can begin with their healthcare provider or consult an educational psychologist, a behavioral neurologist, a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist.
They would undergo an evaluation that would generally include a complete developmental, medical, psychiatric, educational and work history, interview about any medications used and noted ADD symptoms / characteristics and overall look at personal health, well-being and life in general (relating to social and environmental factors).
Normally more than one person is involved in this diagnostic processing that spans a couple hours time. And main areas of focus are whether or not, and if so, to what extent, the person has the three main ADD traits:
- Lack of attention
Adult ADD evaluations also include DSM-IV AD/HD symptom rating scales to go over previous records; for instance, past medical evaluations and test results, past work and school records in order to present a more accurate assessment and diagnosis.
Then a program of treatment and coping skills can be put in place and any possible other health issues may be uncovered for further treatment or ruled out.
To find out more about adult ADD take a look at the Help4ADHD website which contains great information.
The information contained in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.