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Although ADHD is a Common Childhood Disorder, it can Show Up in Adults as Well

Do you have difficulty concentrating, or feel like you have racing thoughts that are out of control? Do you need a lot of structure, or forget what you are doing frequently?

If so, you may have undiagnosed ADHD. Though the disorder is most commonly diagnosed in children, you may discover in adulthood that you have ADHD. There are many reasons why you may not have been diagnosed when you were a child.

According to the New York Times,

“There’s all kinds of reasons why people can get into adulthood without being diagnosed or detected,” Dr. Barkely said.
Girls, for example, are less likely to be diagnosed than boys, which is part of the reason the prevalence of A.D.H.D. among women has typically been underrecognized, he added.

Since sometimes ADHD is not diagnosed in childhood, you can still go to the doctor to find out if you may have ADHD as an adult. Your parents may not have noticed symptoms as a child, or they may have been less severe than what you are currently experiencing.

You may find that you have gone undiagnosed, especially as a woman, because in childhood ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than in girls. Symptoms may present differently for men and women, and that is the reason why this has commonly happened.

It may be that your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, and you find yourself thinking that the symptoms sound a lot like what you experience too. This happens for some parents taking their child in for treatment.

Symptoms of ADHD

To find out if you have ADHD, you will need to talk to your doctor, who may refer you to a mental health professional. They will be looking to see if you present with at least 5 of the symptoms of ADHD in your daily life. You may be struggling at work, school, or at home.

According to The Mayo Clinic, symptoms of ADHD are:

  • Impulsiveness

  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing

  • Poor time management skills

  • Problems focusing on a task

  • Trouble multitasking

  • Excessive activity or restlessness

  • Poor planning

  • Low frustration tolerance

  • Frequent mood swings

  • Problems following through and completing tasks

  • Hot temper

  • Trouble coping with stress

If you feel that you are struggling with some of these symptoms, and they are making your daily life difficult, it is important to speak with your doctor, or a mental health professional. Your family doctor can give you a referral for diagnosis and treatment, or you can find a list of providers on your insurance webpage.

According to Psycom, if you think you have Adult ADHD,

A good place to start is by watching Jessica McCabe's TedX talk, Failing at Normal, which is both humorous and educational. (Jessica is also the host of a popular YouTube channel, How to ADHD.) Then, read on for an insider look at the ADHD experience, with the help of a few online tools. If it explains a lot—or sounds like someone you love—seek a medical diagnosis. Getting the care and treatment you need to thrive with ADHD requires it.

Knowing that there are others experiencing what you do can be helpful to find a supportive community when seeking help. There are many groups online and in person where you can get to other adults with ADHD, and learn coping skills that have worked for others, and may work for you as well. It is good knowing that you aren't alone, and that you can still live a happy and full life with ADHD.

Treatment for ADHD

When you are diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, this is the first step towards getting treatment, so that you are able to manage your symptoms and thrive in life.

According to The Mayo Clinic,

Standard treatments for ADHD in adults typically involve medication, education, skills training and psychological counseling. A combination of these is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD, but they don't cure it.

Working with a professional to get help with your ADHD symptoms can make a big difference in your mental health, and in your life. There are several different types of therapy that may be helpful or recommended for you if you have ADHD. Going to a therapist and learning coping skills that you can use in your daily life can be extremely helpful.

Some of the skills you can learn through therapy and education, according to The Mayo Clinic, are:

  • Improve your time management and organizational skills

  • Learn how to reduce your impulsive behavior

  • Develop better problem-solving skills

  • Cope with past academic, work or social failures

  • Improve your self-esteem

  • Learn ways to improve relationships with your family, co-workers and friends

  • Develop strategies for controlling your temper

Once you begin therapy, you will start to feel better about yourself and your life. It is validating to realize that your problems stem from a mental health issue, and aren't happening because you are lazy or a bad person. Learning to understand your mental health can help you accept yourself and love yourself the way you are. You can also learn how best to cope with the issues you are facing on a daily basis.

At first, it can be difficult to accept that you have a mental health diagnosis, but in the long run it is a first step towards healing and finding better coping skills. You can read more about my experience being diagnosed with a mental health condition too.

I have learned that, even with a mental health diagnosis, you can still have a happy and full life.

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