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Oct 4

ADHD: Not Just for Children

In the last few decades, the terms ADD and ADHD have gained widespread usage. Though most of us know it because it affects school age children, it also affects adults. And though adult ADHD may not always be as severe as other learning disorders, it can still disrupt the lives and relationships of those people who have it.

ADD vs. ADHD

ADD (attention deficit disorder) used to be a catch-all term for attention deficit problems. However, it does not properly define all attention disorders, nor types of ADHD.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) has three types:

  • Inattentive. This used to be what ADD described. This type of ADHD means someone is inattentive or has difficulty focusing, but does not have hyperactivity.
  • Hyperactive. Rather than having difficulty concentrating, people with hyperactive ADHD can be overly restless or impulsive to the point of disrupting daily life.
  • Combined. When a person has impulsive/restlessness issues along with the inability to concentrate or be attentive, he or she has combined ADHD.

Adult ADHD

Some people suggest that you can “grow out of ADHD.” And indeed, many people report better impulse control or concentration as they age. However, this may be due to increased internal or societal pressure as much as the brain growing and overcoming those deficiencies. And some people, though they learn to manage their behaviors in part, may not grow out of ADHD. For adults, ADHD can affect more serious day-to-day activities like work and relationships.

One misconception about ADHD is that people with this disorder cannot concentrate on anything. In fact, it can be just the opposite. The symptom of hyperfocus is another ADHD tendency. Hyperfocusing individuals concentrate so deeply on one thing–such as a thought or an activity–that hours can pass at the neglect of chores or other people. While this can be a period of intense productivity, often it leads to the individual getting nothing done.

The failure to manage time becomes more critical in adult years. ADHD adults may procrastinate or ignore tasks that they consider too difficult or boring. There is also the tendency to focus on the “now” rather than on the future–often detrimental for many business practices.

Forgetfulness is another common and often serious side effect of adult ADHD. Many of us forget things from time to time. But for those with ADHD, forgetting things–such as appointments or where you put an item–is routine. It can vary from the minor to the serious, which may contribute to stress or damage a relationship.

Finally, ADHD can affect your budget, even if your relationships and chores are fine. In hyperactive and combined ADHD, impulsivity is high. This easily leads to impulse purchases and other pricey decisions–even when you know you can’t afford to do so.

ADHD Symptoms

Does the above sound like your life? Check out these other symptoms of ADHD.

  • Restlessness
  • Impulsivity
  • The tendency to become bored easily
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Anxiety
  • Serious, persistent procrastination
  • Avoiding tasks that are “boring”
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty listening to others, even when addressed directly
  • Hyperfocus

 

If you suspect that you have ADHD or other attention problems, talk to your doctor. Once you know the reason behind inability to focus or impulsivity, you may be able to talk to professional organizers or life coaches to help yourself stay on track. Or, if your ADHD is more severe, you can use medication to help yourself focus and keep your life low-stress. Whatever your specific case, work on eating right, getting enough sleep, and managing stress to help calm the chaos in your life.

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