Not just a condition that affects young children, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also be experienced in later life. All those who experience ADHD in adulthood will have had it from childhood, but the disorder may have gone undiagnosed or passed off as being a ‘difficult’ or hyperactive child.
Adult ADHD will present itself differently to how a child would show symptoms, mostly due to the coping mechanisms developed to internalise the hyperactivity. Because the disorder is a neurological condition which affects a person’s concentration and ability to to keep focused on tasks, it can often be extremely detrimental to those in employment or trying to build or maintain relationships with others.
ADHD in children is often noticed when excessive hyperactivity occurs frequently, however, Adult ADHD may well present itself as hyperactivity of the mind, a coping mechanism developed to fit in with social norms. When diagnosing the condition in adults, medical professionals will question the following signs;
ADHD in adults can be complex to diagnose, due to the crossover with other symptoms of mental health conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder. A professional with experience in adult ADHD will perform a detailed evaluation of each patient, including questionnaires, rating scales and interviews to measure concentration and distractibility.
Symptoms of the disorder can be destructive to all parts of life, as lack of concentration and difficulty interacting in a team can be hard for colleagues and peers to cope with at work, and family life is derailed by disorganisation and impulsive tendencies.
An exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but research suggests there are key factors which influence the development of the disorder in children, which then is carried on to adulthood. These include;
The disorder is singular in its definition, however, quite often adult ADHD co-exists with other mental health conditions such as:
These occur fairly often in adults with ADHD with symptoms of extreme worrying and fear of future events. Anxiety often increased when ADHD causes setbacks e.g. being made redundant from a job or a relationship breakdown.
Many adults with ADHD also have depression, bipolar disorder or other mood conditions. These conditions are not caused by ADHD itself by can be intensified by the difficulties the condition causes in the person’s life.