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  1. We focus so often on the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children, that tend to overlook the fact that just as many adults are living with the condition; experts suggest even more remain undiagnosed. While some children outgrow their ADHD symptoms, up to 70% will continue being treated into adulthood. ADHD in adults follows a slightly different pattern than in children, as symptoms tend to evolve and may become more subtle over time. For example, adults with ADHD tend to have more problems with memory and attention rather than with hyperactivity. Adult Symptoms Of ADHD & The Impact On Daily Life In order for an adult to be diagnosed with ADHD, the must meet the following criteria in accordance to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV): six or more symptoms of inattention that have lasted at least six months, or six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity that have persisted at least six months. Specific Symptoms Of ADHD In Adults May Include: Forgetting names and dates Missing deadlines and leaving projects unfinished Chronically late for work or important events Becoming easily distracted and disorganized Low frustration tolerance Putting off boring tasks in favor of more enjoyable activities Trouble multitasking Executive function deficits Excessive activity or restlessness Extreme emotionality and rejection sensitivity Generalized anxiety and mood disorders Blurting out inappropriate or hurtful thoughts The effects of adult ADHD are an overall inability to remain focused to follow through with responsibilities and an overwhelming accumulation of incomplete tasks — impacting careers and relationships over time. Adults With ADHD Often Remain Undiagnosed There is an abundance of materials focused on the general education of signs to look for in children with ADHD, but not nearly as much on awareness for similar symptoms and diagnosis in adults. That’s why some experts believe up to 75% of adults who have ADHD don’t know they have it. Without knowledge or outreach for treatment, day to day life can be much more challenging and lead to false feelings of inferiority. In fact, studies show that substance abuse as well as other compulsive bad habits impact a far higher percentage of adults with undiagnosed ADHD than the general population. So What Can Be Done? We need to better inform the public and broaden the conversation surrounding ADHD to include the adult population and eliminate common misconceptions & stereotypes that surround ADHD as “only a childhood condition affecting hyperactive kids”. If you are able to recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone you know, consider checking in with a mental health specialist who can conduct a clinical assessment to diagnose ADHD. Neuropsychological tests are often used for diagnosis. These can include timed, computer-based tests to measure attention and problem-solving skills. Neuropsych testing is not essential to making a diagnosis, but it can help shed light on how ADHD can be affects your daily life. It can also uncover potential coexisting conditions. Once Diagnosed, Adult ADHD Is Highly Treatable Getting the right diagnosis and proper treatment can be life-changing. Adults with ADHD don’t outgrow the condition, but most learn to manage it to great success. Standard treatments for ADHD in adults usually involve a combination of medication, education, skills training and psychological counseling. As with most treatments, it may take some time to determine what works best for each person, so stick with it. Considering A Career In Telebehavioral Health Or Know Someone Who Could Benefit From Virtual Access To Licensed Behavioral Health Professionals? Telemynd offers patients the ability to connect with providers from the safety and convenience of their homes. Providers can join our network by applying online. If you’re a patient, choose your current insurance provider to request an appointment or call our live support for assistance in scheduling care today! Sources Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): Diagnosis of ADHD in Adults American Family Physician: Diagnosis and Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults Harvard Medical School - Harvard Health Letter: Recognizing and managing ADHD in adults
  2. Everybody can have trouble sitting still or paying attention now and then. However, for some people, it’s so difficult that it interferes with school, work, and social life. These individuals may have ADHD (short for Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder), one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood – and for many, it lasts well into adulthood. Approximately 9% of children and 5% of adults have been diagnosed with ADHD, and professionals believe there are likely more who are undiagnosed. Fortunately, our society has become more cognizant of ADHD symptoms, so there’s a better chance of catching it early and getting treatment. Definition of ADHD ADHD is defined as a “persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”. Scientists first documented children exhibiting inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in 1902. Since that time, the disorder has had many names. Previously known as simply ADD, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), renamed the disorder Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, which better reflects the importance of the inattention part of the disorder as well as the other characteristics of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD The DSM-5 criteria for ADHD are lengthy, and are slightly different for children vs. adults. To be diagnosed with Inattention, 6 or more of the symptoms below must be present for children up to 16 years old, while 5 or more symptoms must be present for those 17 years and older. Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, and be disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level: Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities. Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked). Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework). Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones). Is often easily distracted Is often forgetful in daily activities. To be diagnosed with Hyperactivity and Impulsivity, 6 or more of the symptoms below must be present for children up to 16 years old, while 5 or more symptoms must be present for those 17 years and older. Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, and be disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level: Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat. Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected. Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless). Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly. Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”. Often talks excessively. Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed. Often has trouble waiting their turn. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games) In addition, the following conditions must be met: Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years. Several symptoms are present in two or more settings, (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities). There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (such as anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder). Causes And Risk Factors Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genetics plays a big role. In addition, researchers are looking into possible environmental factors such as lead paint, and are also studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and social environment might contribute to ADHD. Scientists do know that the risk of ADHD can increase with the following factors: Close relative, such as a parent or sibling, has ADHD or other mental health disorder Alcohol or drugs during pregnancy Premature birth How Does ADHD Impact Daily Life? Children with ADHD often experience delays in independent functioning and may seem to behave younger than their peers. They may also have mild delays in language, motor skills, or social development that are not part of ADHD, but often co-occur. Kids with ADHD tend to have low frustration tolerance, difficulty controlling their emotions, and often experience mood swings. Ultimately, they’re at risk for potential problems in adolescence if the ADHD is not diagnosed and treated, such as academic failure or delays, difficulties with peers, risky behavior, or substance abuse. Early identification and treatment by a behavioral health provider is extremely important. Many adults who have ADHD don’t know it. They may feel that it’s difficult to get organized, stick to a project or job, or remember to keep appointments. Daily tasks such as getting up in the morning, getting ready for work, arriving on time, and being productive on the job can be especially challenging for adults with undiagnosed ADHD. Adults with ADHD have difficulties with attention, focus, executive function, and working memory. If you feel you or your loved one have any of these symptoms, check in with a behavioral health provider who can diagnose and treat you – individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life with the right help! Treatment for ADHD ADHD can be treated with a combination of support, therapy, and medication. Speak with a behavioral health professional to learn how best to approach treatment that is right for you or your loved one. They will assess current symptoms and history to determine the best treatment plan. For example, certain kinds of therapy can help individuals with ADHD become more aware of their deficits in attention or focus and can provide skills for improving organization and efficiency in daily tasks. Therapy may also address feelings of low self-esteem, and help control impulsive and risky behaviors. Do you or a loved one have symptoms of ADHD? You can access licensed psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and therapists who can diagnose and provide treatment for ADHD from the convenience of your home. Click here to find your current insurance provider and request an appointment today! Sources Centers for Disease Control (CDC): What is ADHD? Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): ADHD NIH | National Institutes of Mental Health: What is ADHD?
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