Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a well-recognized childhood development disorder. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. These symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60% of children with ADHD. This means about 4% of the US adult population, or 8 million adults have the condition as adults. Few adults are ever identified or treated for adult ADHD. I am one who strongly believes he has ADHD.
In adults there are three different types of ADHD,
- Combined ADHD – includes all of the symptoms
- Inattentive ADHD – marked by impaired attention and concentration
- Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD – marked by hyperactivity without attentiveness (this I believe most closely describes my condition, although I have some of the other)
ADHD is not an adult-onset disorder. It must be verified from childhood memories or evidence to support the symptoms. School records for example can be most telling. For an old guy like me going back over childhood events and memories confirms that I very likely am ADHD. Growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s this condition had not been identified and certainly not treated. Let me assure you that it does exist, although sometimes diagnosed incorrectly. It is very real.
Common Behaviors and Problems of Adult ADHD individuals
There are many symptoms and behaviors, but here are some of the most common,
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty controlling anger
- substance abuse or addiction
- low frustration tolerance
- chronic boredom
- mood swings
- relationship problems
Any of these can be mild or severe and can vary with the situation or be present all the time. Many adults with ADHD can concentrate if what they are doing interests or excites them. Some adults look for stimulation, but others may avoid it. Adults with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial, or they can be overly social and can’t be alone.
When I reviewed my past life history with the doctor to confirm that I had ADHD, these areas were considered and I found they fit me almost to a tee.
- history of poor educational performance and underachiever
- had to repeat a grade
- no major ones identified in my case
- driving violations such as speeding
- low frustration tolerance – “no patience”
- more marital problems
- multiple marriages
- higher incidence of separation and divorce
Fortunately my mother saved all my old elementary and high school report cards. The consistency of comments is very revealing. “Intelligent, but requires more work”, “underachiever”, “fails to put forth the effort”, “lack of concentration”, or the most prevalent one, “can do much better”. Subjects I liked and found interesting I excelled at were history, geography and english. Math and sciences I found boring and had no concentration to apply to.
There is no doubt in my mind I am an adult living with ADHD. I am in treatment, but more can be done for me and others. To convince a doctor or therapist you need to have the childhood evidence to relate to the adult.
Impulsive behavior and anger are my two demons and I am working hard to drive them out or at the very least to be in total control of them. The people I love and the relationships I cherish deserve my full attention to this effort.
“Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD in Audlts”