Although it is called Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, the symptoms of the disease begin early in life and advance into adulthood. In various instances, the symptoms of the disease are seldom recognized until the person is an adult. It is marked by fluctuating patterns of hyperactivity or inattention that interfere with development and functioning of an individual. Many people do not realize they have ADHD since they believe that the disorder is only associated with children. According to Watters et al., (2017) however, most adults face problems associated with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, which interfere with daily activities. Contrary to popular belief, ADHD can affect adults just as much as it can affect children and therefore proper sensitization, information, and education, as well as programs of self-management for adults suffering from the condition, must be encouraged to help them stabilize and explore their maximum potential in life.
Prevalence of ADHD Across Demographics
Several surveys have identified that ADHD is prevalent in adults across all demographics. Notably, there exists a general assumption that the disorder occurs among children only. However, despite the fact that its symptoms begin at childhood, they can proceed to adulthood affecting individuals' social and professional relationships. Geffen and Forster (2017) note that despite the diagnosis of ADHD requiring childhood evidence, the disorder may also develop during adulthood. Today, psychiatric studies have proved that the disorder can also be present during adulthood; however, its symptoms may be overlooked due to comorbidities. Comorbid disorders such as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression have often led to the misdiagnosis of ADHD in adults since they present similar symptoms.
Many adults facing ADHD often withdraw from social associations and are likely to develop suicidal thoughts. According to Maucieri & Carlson, (2014) maintenance of social relationships and spouses may be difficult for individuals with fluctuating moods increasing discomfort. On the other hand, ADHD is associated with financial constraints since people are unable to conduct basic tasks at work or maintain functional relationships. For example, aggressive and impulsive employees are more likely to be fired due to anti-social behaviors. Adults with impulsive behavior may fail to budget for their salaries leading to economic constraints.
Adults suffering from the condition may not be aware of the condition despite symptoms being obvious and they, therefore, require external help in dealing with the problem. According to Geffen and Forster (2017), about 60-70% of adults with ADHD have comorbidities that hinder the recognition of the disorder. Some of them are simply ignorant and have low affinity towards taking note of the signs and symptoms. The situation has contributed to most of them seeking interventions to manage comorbidities such as depression and substance abuse. Individuals may struggle for years with lack of attention and poor concentration in colleges or at work without acknowledging that they could be suffering from the disorder.
Adults with ADHD are incapable of undertaking basic tasks due to the distractive effect of their symptoms. This reduces the quality of their lives as well as association with others. Some of the common challenges associated with ADHD in adults include impulsiveness, disorganization, and problems in prioritizing issues, poor skills in time management, problems focusing on tasks, trouble multitasking, and poor planning. According to Watters et al. (2017), most individuals with ADHD complain about psychosocial and psychological challenges that impair their functioning, quality of life, and well-being. Additionally, these adults are at a higher risk of getting anxiety, depression, or substance abuse disorders due to stigma, work-related stress, lack of affect recognition, and discomfort associated with the complication.
According to Geffen & Forster, (2017) sensitizing people on strategies of self-care strategies can lead to positive outcomes concerning their ability to cope with ADHD (Geffen & Forster, 2017). The strategies include developing time management, organization, and prioritization skills, which can be achieved through tailored cognitive behavioral therapy. In this case, time management can aid individuals to overcome procrastination and impulsivity (Geffen & Forster, 2017). Adults can also be taught about the importance of routine physical exercises in reducing aggression and excess energy (Geffen & Forster, 2017). Other self-care strategies include development of a daily routine, enlisting in a support group, balancing various aspects in life, and understanding oneself.
Strategies of self-care may include avoidance of substance abuse such as cigarettes and alcohol, which worsens the condition. A positive correlation exists between substance abuse and the increased occurrence of ADHD symptoms. Notably, most persons with ADHD may engage in substance abuse due to frustrations caused by their inability to socialize, control their emotions, or concentrate at work (Wender & Tomb, 2017). Substance abuse numbs the emotional pain and stress associated with the disorder's adversaries. However, contrary to their expectations, drug abuse exacerbates symptoms such aggressiveness and impulsivity as opposed to curing the disorder. Through behavioral therapy, adults can learn to quit alcoholism to improve the quality of their life. The situation can be achieved through identification of alternative ways to deal with stress and stigma.
Equipping adults with ADHD with concentration skills can aid them in creating order in their life. For example, dissecting projects and tasks can help individuals increase concentration in their work. People often find it challenging to focus when they are overwhelmed by tasks, leading to frustrations (Geffen & Forster, 2017). However, adults can dissect their projects into sub-manageable units to facilitate their focus and achievement of the overall goal. Secondly, individuals can employ concentrated distractions such as background music to keep them focused on their tasks. Background noises eliminate distractions when an individual is working or studying. Thirdly, utilizing visual reminders and accountability partners can help one keep track of their goals, increasing concentration. Visual reminders such as sticky notes help one keep track of their daily activities reducing inattention among people with the disorder.
Overall, contrary to popular belief, ADHD can affect adults just as much as it can affect children and therefore proper sensitization, information, and education, as well as programs of self-management for adults suffering from the condition, must be encouraged to help them stabilize and explore their maximum potential in life. It entails a combination of issues like impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, difficulty in paying attention and solitude. Some of the adults suffering from these conditions have issues maintaining relationships and hence cannot stick to their partners for long. Erasing the stigma associated with the disease through proper education and sensitization can go a long way in ensuring that people who suffer from the condition seek the help they need. Programs of self-management can be all the adults need to make the needed changes in their lives.
Geffen, J. & Forster, K. (2017). Treatment of adult ADHD: a clinical perspective. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2045125317734977
Maucieri, L., & Carlson, J. (2014). The distracted couple: The impact of ADHD on adult relationships. Bethel: Crown House Publishing Limited,
Watters, C., Adamis, D., Mcnicholas, F. & Gavin, B. (2017). The impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood: a qualitative study. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. 35(3), pp. 1-7.
Wender, P. H., & Tomb, D. A. (2017). ADHD: A guide to understanding symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and changes over time in children, adolescents, and adults. New York: Oxford University Press.
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