Itâs a condition that is almost exclusively associated with children, and that makes it one of the most unrecognized conditions in adults. You might recall this elusive condition from when your kids were young, being called into their classroom because they couldnât sit still, or wouldnât focus on the teacher, and would never pay attention in class. It wouldnât be long before a doctor would diagnose your child with ADHD: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of ADHD in children has increased dramatically over the past few years. The data from the U.S. Children National Health Interview Survey in 2011 found that more than five million children had been diagnosed with ADHD.
But what about adults?
That survey doesnât even record or ask about the number of adults with ADHD because itâs rarely diagnosed in adulthood. That doesnât mean you canât develop ADHD when youâre older. In fact, Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Tim Bilkey says itâs one of the most unrecognized conditions in adults because doctors donât even think that adults might be suffering from this condition their whole lives without ever being diagnosed. According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, about eight to nine million adults are suffering from a type of ADHD right now.
If you have experienced these symptoms for at least six months, then you want to get checked:
â¢ Unable to pay attention to certain tasks for an extended period of time
â¢ Impaired impulse control
â¢ Hyperactivity, including consistent restlessness
Because doctors are so used to seeing this disorder in children, they might be hesitant to consider you as a candidate for ADHD. But the myth that ADHD is just a childhood ailment is false, say the National Resource Center on ADHD. If youâve been diagnosed as a child, you might not outgrow the condition as an adult, as you previously thought. The condition persists until adulthood, can cause disruptions for you at work, or at home. About 70%â80% of children with diagnosed ADHD will carry the symptoms into adulthood. Scientists are now getting caught up, tooâthe fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, set to come out in May 2013, will mention adult ADHD for the first time.
Stressful life events can also aggravate this condition, just like they exacerbate many other health problems. You donât have to suffer in silence. Perhaps youâve always been someone who couldnât watch TV for hours on endâyou always had to get up midway and walk around. Maybe you found sitting in your cubicle too boring and you were constantly asked not to be restless. Or maybe your kids always joke that you let your impulses drive you and that you get easily excited or distraught making small decisions.
Now you can breathe a sigh of relief and know that what youâve been feeling is real.
Hereâs what you need to do next:
â¢ Ask your physician if youâre a candidate for ADHD and rule out other illnesses.
â¢ Find a support group. Your peers will help you learn tools to deal with restlessness, impulse control, and the overall symptoms of ADHD.
â¢ Understand your symptoms and what makes them flare up. Note these trigger points and practice keeping them under control.
â¢ Some patients feel better when theyâre on medication, but like the saying goes âthe pill does not replace the skill or the will.â Youâll still need to work on yourself, even if you choose to take medication.
Source(s) for Todayâs Article:
âADHD FAQs,â Attention Deficit Disorder Association web site; http://www.add.org/?page=ADHD_faqs#2, last accessed March 20, 2013.
âMyths and misunderstandings,â National Resource Center on ADHD web site; http://www.help4adhd.org/en/about/myths, last accessed March 20, 2013.
âAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,â Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site, December 12, 2012; http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/adhd.htm, last accessed March 20, 2013.
Teotonio, I., âCould you have adult ADHD?â The Toronto Star February 5, 2013; http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2013/02/05/could_you_have_adult_adhd.html, last accessed March 20, 2013.