Have you always struggled in relationships? Do you struggle with maintaining a job? were you that kid who could never sit still? Were you that child who was labelled as lazy or unmotivated? Do you struggle with anger management or addiction issues? Not all brains are the same, some are neuroatypical, maybe someone is missing something, or maybe you have Adult ADHD.
Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a complicated diagnosis with endless variety in how the symptoms manifest in each individual and can present as either Inattentive ADHD (often referred to as ADD), Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD or a combination of both. It is often initially misdiagnosed, and if undiagnosed or untreated, the symptoms of ADHD in adults often result in challenges to one’s physical, emotional and mental health. In fact, undiagnosed or untreated ADHD in adults is highly comorbid or connected with additional mental health challenges, such as anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders and disorders connected to substance use. Many adults who are struggling with undiagnosed ADHD suffer from low self-esteem, poor self-concept and poor stress management, which creates guilt and shame related to the struggle to understand why they aren’t “normal.”
Some but not all of the symptoms of Adult ADHD include:
- Organizational Challenges – difficulty organizing one’s physical environment, keeping track of bills, storing items, etc.
- Difficulty Prioritizing Tasks – struggling to complete time-sensitive tasks due to being overwhelmed or distracted by other less pressing jobs on the to-do list.
- Poor Time Management – being blind to time, losing track of time or having a poor ability to predict how long a certain task will take accurately.
- Trouble with Focus – the inability to focus is often misinterpreted in ADHD as not being able to focus. Still, it is actually the allocation of one’s focus that creates the problem. The ADHD adult is paying attention to many things all at once and not necessarily the one thing they need to.
- Hyperfocus – otherwise known as the ADHD superpower, the ability to focus intensely on a topic or task once the brain gets directed is a recipe for amazing accomplishments if managed properly. It can also create problems though, when the focus leads to poor time management and prioritization of important tasks.
- Inconsistency and Difficulty Maintaining a Schedule – due to the previously mentioned symptoms, this can lead to overbooking and taking on too many responsibilities or tasks.
- Starting Projects and Not Finishing Them – when things are fresh and new for the ADHD brain, they help to focus the brain, but once the novelty or excitement tapers off boredom and distraction can creep in. This can lead to problems in work and relationships.
- Restlessness or Increased Activity – being busy or fidgety often goes away in adult ADHD but is not uncommon.
- Impulsive Behaviour – this can manifest in poor decision-making, judgement, risk taking and negative social or relationship patterns.
- Mood Swings – this can also be exacerbated by the tendency for adults with ADHD to experience more intense moods in general.
- Difficulty Managing Anger – due to the accumulation of frustrations in attempting to cope with symptoms, adults with ADHD can be prone to anger management issues at work or in their relationships.
Treatment of Adult ADHD
While every person is different, and there are no set rules that can be applied in the treatment of Adult ADHD, successful management of ADHD usually can be found by implementing a mix of the following interventions.
- Medication – stimulants are the most common form of medical intervention but there can be some success with non-stimulant medications. This is highly individualized to each person.
- Skill Building – a counsellor can work with you to develop planning, goal setting and time management skills.
- Therapy – learning to change one’s thought processes and management of emotions and behaviours can lead to improvements in self-esteem and professional, social and romantic relationships.
If you have any more questions regarding Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, there is a wealth of free information and self-assessment tools online or feel free to contact us here at Crossroads, and we would be happy to assist you.