It was previously considered that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affected children only. Advanced research has indicated that ADHD can continue into adulthood.
We therefore find many adults with problems such as poor work performance, mood swings, low self-esteem and difficulty in maintaining relationships. (Ref: Dr F Korb-SADAG)
Problems that could indicate adult ADD/ADHD (Webmd.com):
Trouble getting organised.
Reckless driving and traffic accidents.
Poor listening skills.
Restlessness, trouble with relaxing.
Trouble starting a task.
Problems prioritising issues.
Diagnosis of ADHD must meet the DSM-5 criteria (Manual of mental disorders). The symptoms and signs are divided into three categories:
Inattention – difficulty concentrating and maintaining concentration over a longer period of time, increased distractibility difficulty performing tasks purposefully and efficiently.
Hyperactivity – increased motor activity, tapping feet, inability to sit still, restlessness, irritability where physical activity is required, a feeling of compulsion and an inability to be calm.
Impulsivity – rash utterances, decisions and actions.
Emotional symptoms that often accompany adult ADHD include: rapid mood swings, reduced control over emotions and reduced stress tolerance.
Typical accompanying illnesses include:
Mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder.
Anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Addictions such as drug and alcohol abuse. The substances are often used to restore a feeling of calmness.
Personality disorders like antisocial or borderline personality disorder may develop.
Insomnia or restless sleep is frequently associated with ADHD.
Adults with ADHD may score lower on academic testing than expected for their age, intelligence and education.
Treatment for adult ADHD consists of medication and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is aimed at changing behavior and developing strategies for managing the symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment is important for effective management.