Once thought to be a disorder affecting only children and teenagers, ADHD is now recognized as a treatable disorder for adults as well. Many of those who had ADHD as a child bring symptoms of the disorder into adulthood, though some may experience an evolution of symptoms that affect them differently as they age. If you believe you have adult ADHD in San Francisco, you likely have a number of questions. The knowledgeable experts at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers.
How Common is Adult ADHD?
Though different figures have been cited, most experts agree that adult ADD or adult ADHD affects anywhere from 3 to 4.4 percent of the adult population in the United States. In contrast, around 9.5 percent of children are diagnosed with adult ADD. This leads researchers to believe that more than half of those who have ADD as children either grow out of the disorder or are not re-diagnosed as adults.
How is Adult ADHD Different from Adult ADD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is the new name that is officially accepted for what was previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The name was changed to reflect that hyperactivity is a major component in many cases of the disorder. However, many people still use the term ADD and both terms can be used interchangeably to describe the same condition.
How Can Adult ADHD Affect One’s Life?
ADHD symptoms can range from relatively mild to incredibly disruptive. The following symptoms are common to the disorder:
Inability to concentrate
Many adults who suffer from ADHD cannot concentrate on tasks for a long period of time and this can lead to problems both at home and work. Projects that require focus are not easy for those with ADHD and this can lead to delayed or incomplete work. It can also lead to problems in relationships as those with ADHD may have a difficult time listening to and connecting with important people in their lives.
Though usually not as severe as the mood swings that accompany bipolar disorder, ADHD can come with the symptom of feeling on top of the world one minute and incredibly sad or angry the next. These mood swings can be difficult to navigate and often cause problems with colleagues, family members, and friends.
The difficulty with time management
While managing time effectively is second nature to most people, those with ADHD often have problems determining how long a project or activity will take and are frequently late to meetings and other predetermined activities. This can lead to late projects, missed opportunities, and reprimands at work for causing delays.
Many with adult ADHD have difficulty fully thinking through decisions and how they will affect themselves and others. This can lead to impulsive behavior that is harmful to themselves, dangerous, or hurtful to others. Excessive spending, eating, drinking, or gambling are all dangers for those with ADHD.
A classic symptom of adult ADHD is racing thoughts that are difficult or impossible to control. These thoughts add to the lack of concentration that is already present with the disorder and can also lead to anxiety or excessive worry.
How is Adult ADHD Diagnosed?
Adult ADHD has many symptoms that can be confused with other disorders which can often make it difficult to diagnose. Other mental health issues and disorders should also be considered and tested for when an individual is seen by their doctor if they believe they have ADHD. For an official diagnosis to occur, an individual must exhibit multiple symptoms of the disorder that lead to significant problems in daily life that impact relationships, careers, or normal activities.
They must exhibit these symptoms for a minimum of six months before a diagnosis can be made. The symptoms must also be persistent, excessive, and continue to show up in different areas of a patient’s life. When making a diagnosis, a doctor will look at the sufferer’s environment, past history, symptoms, and medical records to make a proper diagnosis.
How is Adult ADHD Treated?
Once a diagnosis is made, those with adult ADHD can begin receiving treatment at a San Francisco ADHC clinic. Depending on the types of severity of their symptoms, their treatment plan may include one or a combination of the following:
- Counseling – Speaking with a counselor who is familiar with ADHD and can provide support and coping strategies can be very effective for those who are newly diagnosed with ADHD. Many adult ADHD sufferers have felt there is something wrong with them their entire lives and have often been judged, criticized, and misunderstood. When a diagnosis is finally made, working through the emotions they feel with a counselor can help them adjust to their new reality.
- Individual Therapy – Therapy is more intense than counseling and should be performed by a trained therapist who has worked with those with adult ADHD. One of the most common forms of therapy for those with ADHD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT. CBT works to retrain an individuals brain to recognize and change destructive thought patterns. Because one of the main symptoms of ADHD is racing thoughts and anxiety, CBT is often very effective in changing those thoughts that lead to negative emotions and undesired behaviors.
- Group or Family Therapy – Many of those with adult ADHD find it therapeutic to meet in groups with others who suffer from the same condition. Learning how others cope with their symptoms and knowing they are not alone is usually a powerful treatment option. Other ADHD sufferers find it useful to meet with their therapist with members of their family, especially if there is tension in the household regarding the emotions or actions of the person with ADHD.
- Medication There are a number of stimulant, non-stimulant, and anti-depressant medications that can be used to treat ADHD symptoms. These can be used on their own but are most often paired with counseling or therapy to create an individualized treatment plan.
Do you believe you may suffer from adult ADHD or have you been recently diagnosed with the disorder and want to look into treatment options? Please visit EZCareClinic.com to learn more about what we do and reach out to speak with a professional about scheduling an appointment.