Recognize the symptoms of adult ADHD and seek help if needed.
Many people think attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a childhood condition that you grow out of. If you’re a dreamer, slacker, hyperactive, or fidgety child, you turn into a normal, healthy adult, right? Maybe. While some kids outgrow ADHD, 6 out of 10 see symptoms continue into their adult years to some degree.
If you have adult ADHD, you also had the condition as a child. The disorder doesn’t randomly appear when you’re older. Sometimes, ADHD never gets diagnosed during childhood and the symptoms become more noticeable when the responsibilities of adulthood arrive. Making it through school was one thing, but juggling a job, family, and home life is a whole new ballgame.
An estimated four to five percent of adults have ADHD, though most have not been diagnosed. Recognizing your symptoms of ADHD and seeing them for what they are is the first step in learning how to overcome your weaknesses and harness your strengths.
People with adult ADHD have trouble remembering details, concentrating, following directions, staying organized, or completing tasks on time. Because they are impulsive and easily distracted, it’s challenging to focus on the task at hand or to be on time anywhere.
With symptoms like these, it’s not surprising the disorder contributes to a poor self-image, a lack of motivation, fatigue, boredom, and procrastination.
The symptoms of ADHD can affect every area of life. Marriage and family life may suffer. After all, it can be hard to live with someone who can’t stay on task, is moody, struggles with anger management, can’t keep up with household chores, or is always late.
The trouble doesn’t stop at the front door though. Many adults with ADHD have trouble keeping a job when they can’t follow rules, show up on time, or meet deadlines. People with ADHD have a much greater chance of having another mental disorder or learning disability in addition to ADHD such as substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or over-eating.
Then there is the inner turmoil. Someone with ADHD is likely to feel embarrassed, hopeless, frustrated, and lack confidence. While life may feel out of control, there are things the adult with ADHD can do to get life back on track.
There’s Help Available
Adult ADHD may be mild or severe. Mild cases seem to manage without outside help, while more severe symptoms may need the assistance of therapists and doctors. If your ADHD is negatively affecting your quality of life—whether in your relationships, job, or home life—make an appointment with a psychiatrist who specializes in adult ADHD.
Simple tests will help your doctor diagnose the condition and develop a plan for treatment. A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, family support, and medication can help make life easier to manage.
When life feels out of control, there are things you can do to regain control. If you’re on medication, take it exactly as directed, and have a family member keep you accountable with your medication. It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a life coach or organization expert to help you get your life and home organized. Making lists, using a calendar or daily planner, and setting alarm clocks are all great tools to stay organized.
A healthy lifestyle is an important part of managing adult ADHD. Exercise can help burn off extra energy and cope with stress. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep provide the nutrition and energy to focus and follow through. To enhance your health, consider deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises are one way to reign in your impulses. Someone with a tendency to lash out in anger, interrupt others, or speak without thinking can benefit from taking deep breaths for 10 seconds until the urge passes.