Could your disorganization at work and home actually be adult ADHD?
Do you find that you have trouble staying focused in every work meeting or when organizing your calendar? Perhaps it seems that these same issues follow you home. Having difficulty listening to your friends, family, or spouse? Or a general feeling of restlessness no matter what you are doing? If any of these situations sound similar to a child with ADHD, then you may be closer to the truth than you think.
According to CDC data , 11% of children (or 6.4 million) between ages 4 to 17 had an ADHD diagnosis as of 2011. However, what is often overlooked in the ADHD narrative is that around 60% of these children do not “outgrow it.” ADHD actually affects approximately 4.1% of the U.S. adult population. A further 41.3 % of those cases are considered “severe.”
Considering how relatively few of these cases are formally diagnosed, the true numbers out there may be even higher. With the ability to affect your career, your relationships, and nearly every other facet of your life, it’s important to know how ADHD can affect you as an adult, and what you can do to mitigate its symptoms.u
What To Look For in Adult ADHD
ADHD manifests itself in many different ways, often at the same time. This can make them hard to isolate and identify — compounded by the fact that they may be a bit more subtle in adults than in children.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms, and how you can identify them.
Lack of Focus
Note that this is a degree above simply having trouble paying attention. ADHD focus issues include frequent distractions, missing details, being unable to complete tasks or projects, or not being able to follow a conversation.
On the other end of the spectrum is hyperfocus, where someone with ADHD becomes so enraptured by something that they are unable to pay attention to anything around them. This can include tasks at work or home and even the people around you.
Impulsiveness takes many forms for those with ADHD. Keep an eye out for rushing through tasks, or making quick decisions with little forethought. Other examples of impulsiveness include social issues like being inappropriate or interrupting conversations.
Sometimes, even in downtime, those with ADHD feel that they can’t relax or settle down. Instead, you have the feeling of wanting to keep moving. This sensation can be difficult to calm, leading to intense frustration and anxiety.
Life with ADHD as an adult can be quite difficult, having to manage emotions in flux as well as the responsibilities of daily life, made even more challenging by the symptoms mentioned above. When you are on edge like this, small issues may trigger major mood swings. This can be exhausting and frustrating for you as well as for those around you.
The added stress, disorganization, and impulsivity that many people with ADHD have, can lead them to neglect their health. This includes bad habits like poor eating, failing to exercise, or forgetting to take medication for other conditions.
Now, of course, all of us have experienced some of these symptoms at some point in our lives. However, if you realize that one or more of them has become a regular pattern and is having a negative impact on your quality of life, there may be a larger issue at hand. In this case, you may want to consider taking action.
Potential Ways To Cope With Adult ADHD
While there is no one single way to deal with the diverse symptoms of ADHD, much research has gone into trying to help children cope. Many of these methods can also be used by adults.
One of the most common and powerful tools for both children and adults is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of mental health treatment helps you focus on the thoughts and behaviors occurring in the present, rather than those in the past. This is especially valuable for adult ADHD — in fact, several programs are specifically designed to help ADHD sufferers. A cognitive behavioral therapist can help you:
- manage time,
- plan in the short-term,
- control impulses,
- and manage stress.
Along with using the techniques that you learn from a therapist or other professional, certain lifestyle changes can help adult ADHD. Many have experienced great relief from their symptoms by making certain dietary choices. While the optimal diet can look different for each person, the general rules of thumb are to avoid overly processed or sugary foods.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule is also very important, as many adults with ADHD also have sleep issues. This can lead to or exacerbate impaired memory, stress, and trouble concentrating. Try to avoid highly stimulating activities before bed like watching movies or TV. Instead, focus on routine tasks like housework or putting out clothes or food for the next day.
Certain nutritional deficiencies, like Vitamin D, can also potentially increase the symptoms of adult ADHD. As a result, dietary supplements have become an important tool for many ADHD sufferers in relieving their symptoms. All-natural supplements designed to support brain function can be a great place to start.
One example of this is Focusene, which brings together ingredients like dandelion extract, grape seed extract, and ginkgo biloba, to provide dopamine and acetylcholine. These brain chemicals are helpful for focus, short-term memory, and brain signal processing. Of course, it’s always a good idea to get the opinion of a medical professional before integrating supplements into your diet.
Adult ADHD In Review
Let’s take a moment to review some of the major facts and tips surrounding adult ADHD.
- Approximately 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD carry their symptoms into adulthood. The true number may actually be even higher due to the fact that adult ADHD is often more subtle and thus may be under reported.
- Symptoms of adult ADHD are varied, ranging from lack of focus to the other extreme, hyperfocus. Other symptoms include impulsiveness, frequent forgetfulness, and restlessness.
- These can lead to a variety of different issues, ranging from emotional problems, to issues in the workplace, to struggles with personal relationships.
- Every person and case is different. Therefore, there is no one “magic bullet” for adult ADHD. However, one of the best ways to begin is with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy. Ensuring a proper diet, sleep cycle, and using supplements to fill nutritional gaps, are all also helpful.
Do you suspect that you may have ADHD? Are you currently living with adult ADHD and want to share your story? Join the conversation by leaving a comment in the field below!