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What is ADHD in Adults and How to Manage it?

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder affecting almost the majority of school-going children and teens. While symptoms continue into adulthood in more than three-quarters of these cases. ADHD in adults can be characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity observed in an individual. 

History of ADHD

Medical science first documented children exhibiting inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in the early 20th century. Since then, this disorder has been given various names, including minimal brain dysfunction, hyperkinetic reaction of childhood, and attention-deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity. With the help of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classification system, the disorder has been finally renamed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD

Children with ADHD are always at risk for potentially serious problems in adolescence and adulthood. They may face problems like academic failure, driving problems, difficulties getting along with peers and social situations, risky sexual behavior, and substance abuse. Adolescent girls with ADHD are usually more prone to eating disorders than boys. As noted above, ADHD persists from childhood to adolescence in the vast majority of cases, although the hyperactivity may lessen over time.

Adults diagnosed with ADHD may also have difficulties with maintaining attention, executive function, and working memory. Recently, deficits in the executive function of an individual have emerged as key factors affecting academic and career success. Executive function is the brain’s ability to prioritize and manage thoughts and various actions. This ability permits individuals to consider the long-term consequences of their actions and guide their behavior over time. Individuals who have issues with executive functioning may have difficulties while completing tasks or may forget important things often.

ADHD Symptoms 

Typically, ADHD symptoms are commonly observed in early childhood stages. While diagnosing, the children should have 6 or more symptoms of the disorder present to confirm it is the case of ADHD. Whereas adolescents aged above 16 years and older adults should have at least five of the symptoms present. The DSM-5 has classified 3 different presentations of ADHD in adults namely: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined ADHD.

Inattentive ADHD 

  • Unable to give attention to details  
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Getting difficulty while sustaining attention
  • Diverted attention
  • Struggling to follow instructions
  • Difficulty while organizing
  • Disliking or avoiding tasks that require mental effort
  • Frequently loses things
  • Easily getting distracted

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

  • Fidgets with hands or feet 
  • Difficulty in remaining seated for a longer time
  • Extreme restlessness in both children and adults
  • Facing difficulty while engaging in activities quietly
  • Excessive talkativeness 
  • Difficulty in waiting for the turn
  • Interrupting others

Combined ADHD 

The individual fulfilling the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations can be considered as combined ADHD.

Causes of ADHD in Adults

The exact reasons causing ADHD are unknown. However, studies from trusted sources  suggest the possible causes of ADHD may include:

  • Exposure to drugs
  • Nicotine
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Nutritional factors

Management of ADHD in Adults

Treatment for ADHD in adults generally includes medication and behavioral therapies. Parents of children with inattentive ADHD symptoms can use intervention strategies as a remedy. These can greatly help children learn organizational skills and stay on a predictable schedule. 

Medication

Stimulants are the most commonly used drugs used to treat inattentive type ADHD. These stimulants help your brain focus on a certain task if you have inattentive symptoms. Medications are unable to cure ADHD in adults. However, they can help manage and reduce symptoms along with ADHD treatment and therapy. Most people prefer Adderall (an amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salt) or buy Ritalin (methylphenidate), for their child to improve focus. 

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies are also termed behavioral interventions. It helps people with inattentive type ADHD. Getting rid of distractions and unpredictability is a key factor in leading a successful life with ADHD.

Here are some tricks to help you do this for yourself or your child:

  • Create a routine and stick to it.
  • Turn off televisions, radios, and other electronic devices when doing work or homework to cut down any distractions.
  • Be brief and clear when giving instructions to someone with ADHD.
  • Start a behavior chart to help your child work toward an incentive or reward for good behavior.

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