A lot of discussion is given to childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But ADD greatly affects adults as well. While the exact cause of ADHD isn’t yet understood, recent research seems to indicate that genes and our environment play key roles.
Symptoms of Adult ADHD
Many adults who are eventually diagnosed with ADHD have always “sensed” that something was off, but they were too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help. Others never paid attention to the signs:
- They have difficulty focusing attention, especially when it comes to reading maps, books or magazines.
- Their homes, offices, and/or personal spaces are always disorganized and messy.
- They have challenges completing tasks and projects.
- They feel like they are in a mental fog or haze.
- Their friends and family members tease them about being scatterbrained.
- Their symptoms have been present since childhood.
- Other family members also have attention issues or suffer from depression or anxiety.
Other Disorders That Mimic ADHD
It’s also important to mention that there are other disorders and conditions that exhibit similar symptoms to ADHD:
- Executive functioning deficits
- Bipolar disorder
- Sleep apnea
- Certain prescription medications such as antibiotics and blood pressure medication
- Substance abuse
- Head injuries
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
While you can try to diagnose yourself, your best course of action is to find a trained therapist who can take a detailed history and determine if your symptoms are truly due to ADHD or something else.
Since there are many disorders that cause inattention, neuropsychological testing can help you determine if what appears to be ADHD is really that – something which a screening measure cannot do. Additionally, if you need accommodations on standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT, at school, or at work under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you’ll need testing to receive documentation of your ADHD and its effects.
Should you be diagnosed with adult ADHD, you will want to work with your therapist to come up with the right treatment plan.
Your plan may include a combination of therapeutic strategies such as therapy, coaching, medication, exercise, and joining a support group. Finding the right treatment plan for you will take a bit of research, planning, and experimentation. But once you find what works for you, you will be able to manage your ADHD symptoms and live your best life.
If you are interested in getting diagnosed, testing, or exploring treatment options, please be in touch. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.