Many people live with the frustrating symptoms of anxiety, an inability to concentrate, mood swings, short attention span, and a lack of time management skills. Some people just deal with the challenges, convinced they were just born that way. Others are diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, depression, or a number of other conditions that may or may not be accurate. What many of these people don’t know is that they may be suffering from adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Because they believe that ADHD only affects children and teens, they never think that they may be afflicted by the condition as an adult.
The surprising truth is that 3-4.5% of the adult population in the United States has ADHD and it can have a number of negative effects on their relationships, careers, and families. Do you believe you have adult ADHD or that your loved one may? Here are some interesting facts you should know.
ADHD Medication Can Help with Symptoms
The symptoms of adult ADHD, which can include emotional outbursts, irrational and impulsive behavior, racing thoughts, hyperactivity, and forgetfulness, can be treated with a number of drugs. These include short or long-acting stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin XR, and Evekeo. Stimulants are effective in treating the symptoms in about 70% of adult ADHD cases but come with the risk of side effects, dependency, and abuse.
Non-stimulant medications can also be used to treat adult ADHD symptoms, including Catapres and Strattera. Non-stimulant medications boost levels of norepinephrine and, though not usually as effective as stimulants, do not carry the same risk of dependency and abuse. Some adults with ADHD also find relief from symptoms by taking doctor-prescribed anti-depressants such as Wellbutrin and Aventyl, which boost levels of serotonin and other beneficial brain chemicals.
Medication should only be one part of the treatment plan, however, and is most effective when paired with counseling or therapy. While medication can help slow thoughts and control mood, therapy can help teach the sufferer how to recognize and change negative thought patterns and learn skills that can help them better manage their time and increase their attention span. Knowledgeable San Francisco ADHD doctors will most often develop an individualized plan that includes both counseling or therapy and medication where appropriate.
Not Everyone Who Has ADHD Has Excessive Energy
When we think about ADHD, we often picture children or young adults with so much energy they can’t contain themselves or sit down long enough to pay attention to anything. Hyperactivity, however, is not present in every case of ADHD. Some adults find their ADHD presents in a way that is marked by low energy and sluggishness while others have a normal amount of energy but simply can’t organize their thoughts or maintain a steady mood. That’s why it’s vital for those with adult ADHD to be thoroughly evaluated by an experienced doctor who can identify their symptoms and develop the proper treatment plan.
Each Case of Adult ADHD is Unique
No two cases of adult ADHD are exactly alike. While one individual may have trouble sleeping, is easily irritated, and excessively worries, another may have extreme mood swings and experience high levels of anxiety over social situations. Because each case is different, treatment plans vary widely from individual to individual.
Short-Term Memory is Often Affected in Those with Adult ADHD
Many of those with adult ADHD can perfectly recall what their 5th grade English teacher looked like but have trouble remembering what time their daughter’s basketball practice is when it was just discussed the previous day. An impaired short-term memory often leads to the classic ADHD symptoms of an inability to concentrate, poor time management skills, and disorganization.
ADHD Symptoms Can Change Throughout a Person’s Life
Many of those with adult ADHD had the disorder as a child. Whether it was diagnosed or not, the symptoms can often change as the individual gets older and his or her brain changes. In many cases, symptoms become more internal and less visible as the sufferer ages, which can lead many to believe they have grown out of the disorder. In other cases, external situations can have an impact on how symptoms present. An adult who does fine living on their own and manages their own schedule, for example, may completely fall apart when they get married or have children and suddenly have to deal with multiple schedules and activities.
ADHD Has a Genetic Component
It’s estimated that 80% of those with ADHD inherited the condition from a parent. Researchers believe there are several genes that can predispose an individual to ADHD and these genes, paired with a certain environment, can lead to the disorder. However, those who have a parent with ADHD may display vastly different symptoms of the disorder so it’s important to get a diagnosis to identify the unique symptoms that can be treated.
Get an Adult ADHD Test
A diagnosis of adult ADHD does not mean that the individual will not be able to live a full and normal life. In fact, a diagnosis is often met with relief because the individual finally has an explanation for why they have always felt they are behind others or don’t deal with life as well as their peers. With therapy or counseling and possible medication, the symptoms of ADHD can be treated and the sufferer can experience relief from many of the issues they have most likely been dealing with their entire lives.
It’s important for those who believe they may have adult ADHD to visit a San Francisco ADHD clinic to be evaluated by a trained professional. If a diagnosis of ADHD is made, a unique treatment plan can be established and the individual can begin the road to living a happier and more successful life.