ADHD in Adults

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ADHD Symptom Snapshot

There are 3 core symptoms of ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The following are examples of how ADHD symptoms may appear in adults.

Only a doctor or other health care professional can diagnose ADHD.

ONLY A DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL CAN DIAGNOSE ADHD

Symptoms of Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details
    (Examples: overlooking or missing details or handing in work that is inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks
    (Example: difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy readings)
  • Often seems to not listen when spoken to directly
    (Example: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction)
  • Often fails to follow through on instructions, chores, or duties in the workplace
    (Example: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    (Examples: messy, disorganized work; poor time management; fails to meet deadlines)
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort, like preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers 
  • Often loses things like tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and mobile phones
  • Often easily distracted by other things, including unrelated thoughts
  • Often forgetful in daily activities, such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands and feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
    (Example: leaves their place in the office or other workplace setting or in other situations that require remaining seated)
  • Often runs or climbs where it is inappropriate or feels restless (in adults, may be limited to feeling restless)
  • Often unable to participate in leisure activities quietly
  • Often acts as if “on the go” or “driven by a motor”
    (Example: is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for an extended time, as in meetings or restaurants)
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been fully asked
    (Examples: completes people’s sentences; cannot wait for next turn in conversation)
  • Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn, for example, while waiting in line
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others
    (Examples: butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission; may intrude into or take over what others are doing)

Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?

Vaccines offer protection from infectious diseases. Find out how to stay on top of the vaccines recommended for adults.

You’re not a kid anymore, so you don’t have to worry about shots, right? Wrong. Find out how to stay on top of your vaccines.

What vaccines do adults need?

Vaccines for adults are recommended based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations.

The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations. To determine exactly which vaccines you need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

What factors might affect my vaccine recommendations?

Several factors can affect whether you need certain vaccines. Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are planning to travel abroad
  • Have had your spleen removed
  • Work in certain occupations where exposures could occur
  • Are or might be pregnant
  • Are breast-feeding
  • Are moderately or severely ill or have a chronic illness
  • Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
  • Have had a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant
  • Have recently had another vaccine
  • Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
  • Have a personal or family history of seizures

Your doctor might also recommend certain vaccines based on your sexual activity. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is recommended for men up to age 21 and women up to age 26.

Why are some vaccines particularly important for adults?

Adults of any age can benefit from vaccines. However, certain diseases, such as the flu, can be particularly serious for older adults or those living with certain chronic illnesses.

How can I keep track of my vaccines?

To gather information about your vaccination status, talk to your parents or other caregivers. Check with your doctor’s office, as well as any previous doctors’ offices, schools and employers. Some states also have registries that include adult immunizations. To check, contact your state health department.

If you can’t find your records, talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to do blood tests to see if you are immune to certain diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. You might need to get some vaccines again.

To stay on top of your vaccines, ask your doctor for an immunization record form. Bring the form with you to all of your doctor visits and ask your provider to sign and date the form for each vaccine you receive.

Student Creates Comic Series to Explain Her Life With Asperger’s

By Elisabeth Brentano

Siara Hughes studies graphic design and visual communications at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington, and for one of her final projects last quarter, she decided to produce a comic strip focused on her life with Asperger’s syndrome.

“I really wanted to tell a story that would help me explain myself, what autism means for me, what my struggles are, and how I’ve had to work through them,” she told The Mighty.

“This comic is the culmination of dozens of hours of work, lots of frustration, a couple of tears, and an earnest desire to explain myself to other people,” she added on her DeviantArt page.

Hughes, 21, told The Daily Dot she diagnosed herself with Asperger’s after identifying with an autistic character in a book and then doing research. When her younger brother was diagnosed with autism, she noticed a number of similarities between the two of them, and found an explanation for how she’d been feeling.

“Watching him go through the daily challenges of school while having them compounded by ASD reminded me of my own childhood struggles and became a sort of inspiration for the project,” she told The Mighty.

Editor’s note: These comics are based on one person’s experience.

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

comic about autistic spectrum disorder

Hughes is sensitive to light, heat and touch, and she finds eye contact difficult. Hughes said she’s known she was different for quite some time, but it wasn’t until she learned more about Asperger’s that she began to feel understood.

“If I’m going to understand someone else and befriend them and interact in a positive way, I need to get inside their psyche and understand what’s going on under there,” she told The Daily Dot. “I want to be able to communicate, I want to be able to understand people, and it means I have to learn how to do it.”

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

So far, Hughes has received a very positive response to the project. “When I turned in the story board, my teachers got really excited about it and asked me if I’d make a poster version for Student Services on campus,” she told The Mighty. “I then decided to adopt the eight-panel story board into a 12-panel webcomic that more completely told the story. I first posted the comic about two weeks ago on DeviantArt and it’s gotten more feedback than just about anything I’ve every posted.”

 

comic on ASD

Hughes also opens up about meltdowns, and how stressful they can be for her.

“The meltdowns don’t happen on cue,” she told The Daily Dot. “I don’t will them to happen; I will them not to happen. I don’t like falling apart in public.”
comic of Meltdown

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

comic after meltdown

Siara Hughes Asperger's comic

“My goal in all of this is just to help people understand,” she told The Mighty. “To understand me, my little brother, and all the other high functioning autistic people out there like us. And maybe to help us better understand and explain ourselves.”

Opposition Defiant Disorder — Non-Conformity & Anti-Authoritarianism Now Considered an Illness

By Carolanne Wright

The Brave New World of “Mental Health Disorders”.

Non-Conformity and Anti-Authoritarianism Now Considered an IllnessIf Albert Einstein was a youth today, there’s a good chance he would be saddled with an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, possibly even Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD) as well. He ignored his teachers, failed college entrance examinations several times and was hard-pressed in holding down a job.

In Einstein: The Life and Times, biographer Ronald Clark argues that Einstein’s problem wasn’t attention deficits at all, but rather a hatred of authoritarian, Prussian influences in school. “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants,” Einstein once remarked. The fact that he read Kant’s difficult Critique of Pure Reason for pleasure is quite revealing. He also refused to prepare for college admissions out of rebellion to his father’s “unbearable” path of “practical profession.” When he did gain entrance to college, one of his professors chided Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics that troubled authorities, were exactly the ones which helped him to excel.

Considering Einstein’s life history, it makes one wonder about the rampant use of ADHD and ODD diagnosis that are plaguing our children and teenagers today. According to the statistical research by Russell Barkley, Ph.D., on average for every 30 children, 1-3 have ADHD. Of these children, 65% have issues with defiance, non-compliance and problems with authority figures, which can manifest as verbal hostility and temper tantrums. It’s estimated that between 1-16% of all American children have ODD. The real question, however, is not how many diagnosis there have been, but rather should we be looking at ADHD and ODD as a mental illness in the first place?

The age of excessive diagnosis, conformity and over-medication.

No other time in history has the public had such access to pharmaceuticals for alleged mental illness. Once reserved for extreme cases of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mania and suicidal depression, today we have a veritable free-for-all in diagnosis — and subsequent drugging — of any mental state we find the least bit inconvenient.

Take ADHD. For these children, sitting still in a classroom — under fluorescent lighting and being bombarded with EMFs from cell phones and wi-fi — completely removed from the natural world and pumped full of preservatives, artificial additives, GMOs, pesticides and sugar, is simply impossible. Their sensitive bodies and minds cannot take the onslaught. Instead of extending outdoor time and cleaning up the diet, recess has been slashed and poor quality food remains the norm. Worse, they are drugged into submission with the likes of Evekeo, Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin — several of which are amphetamines. (For more on this topic, please see: The Fictions Surrounding ADHD and the “Chemical Imbalance” Theory of Mental Illness.)

Writes Bruce Levine, Ph.D., in Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill:

A 2009 Psychiatric Times article titled ADHD & ODD: Confronting the Challenges of Disruptive Behavior reports that “disruptive disorders,” which include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and opposition defiant disorder (ODD), are the most common mental health problem of children and teenagers. ADHD is defined by poor attention and distractibility, poor self-control and impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ODD is defined as a “a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior without the more serious violations of the basic rights of others that are seen in conduct disorder”; and ODD symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.”

Non-Conformity and Anti-Authoritarianism Now Considered an Illness

One of the leading mainstream mental health’s authorities on ADHD, psychologist Russell Barkley believes that those afflicted with ADHD are deficient in what he classifies as “rule-governed behavior,” since they are less open to established authorities and not as responsive to positive or negative consequences. Those with ODD also have these so-called deficits. Because of this, it’s exceptionally common for young people to be diagnosed with both ADHD and ODD.

But as Levine rightly observes, “Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?

Some of our greatest freethinkers throughout history were non-conformists and challenged authority. At what point do we simply become a nation of zombies, drugged out on pharmaceuticals, unable to think for ourselves? Americans have become increasingly socialized to associate inattention, anger, anxiety and paralyzing despair with a medical condition, and subsequently rely on medical intervention instead of political remedies. “What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society,” said Levine. He believes Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, test and oppose illegitimate authorities and regain trust in their own common sense.

And yet, we’re moving into deeper authoritarian waters by the day. A good example is the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). ODD is actually a new label in the manual, defined as “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” where symptoms include negativity, questioning authority, argumentativeness and irritability. ODD joins the ranks of other, newly created mental illnesses —‘disorders’ like arrogance, narcissism, exceptional creativity, cynicism and antisocial tendencies. Keep in mind that over the last 50 years, the manual has been prolific in creating new afflictions, with the total number of ‘mental illness’ classifications rising from 130 to 357.

Opposition Defiant Disorder - Non-Conformity Anti-Authoritarianism Considered Illness

Also remember that each ‘mental illness’ has a pharmaceutical counterpart used in ‘treatment.’ But at what cost to the soul of humanity?

George F. Will provides a possible answer in an article for Washington Post, Handbook suggests that deviations from ‘normality’ are disorders‘:

Another danger is that childhood eccentricities, sometimes inextricable from creativity, might be labeled “disorders” to be “cured.” If 7-year-old Mozart tried composing his concertos today, he might be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated into barren normality.

In the face of such bizarre and chilling authoritarian mental illness classifications, the famous quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti comes to mind:

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Article sources:

What is it like to have a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder A Mum’s Heartbreaking Story

My son’s out-of-control, unpredictable behavior caused my husband and me to re-examine how we dish out discipline.

“DON’T TOUCH ME, YOU STUPID HEAD!” my 4-year-old son shrieked as I reached for him. We were about halfway through the service at a church we were visiting for the first time, and Wyatt was lying in the middle of the center aisle. “I HATE YOU!” he continued as he scrambled across the floor to get away, with me in hot pursuit. “YOU’RE THE WORST MOMMY IN THE WHOLE WORLD! I WISH YOU WEREN’T MY MOMMY!” he screamed as I caught him and proceeded to carry him up the aisle to the back of the church, nearly dropping him in the process.

Suddenly, a flying arm caught me across the face. He slapped me. I have no idea whether the faces that watched us were sympathetic or judgmental, because I was too humiliated to look up. All I knew was that I had made the mistake of trying to get my son to sit down, and this was the result.

I wish I could say that was the first — or the last — time that I’ve had to deal with one of Wyatt’s very public meltdowns, but that would be an outright lie. In fact, five years later we’re still dealing with the meltdowns, although we’re getting better at anticipating and managing them.

What is ODD?

Over the last five or six years Wyatt has been diagnosed with various behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders — everything from ADHD to ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). The diagnoses continue to change as he’s grows into new stages of development. While the names have changed, what hasn’t changed is the need for my husband and I to adjust and prepare for Wyatt’s encounters with new situations.

I have to admit that this parenting thing has been a lot harder than I anticipated. When I say a lot harder, I mean ridiculously so.

My husband and I had both been brought up in happy homes filled with love and laughter. Our parents had been strict but fair, and we had both been taught from a very young age to respect our elders. Our older siblings were raising their children using the same approach, and they didn’t seem to be running into any major problems. Unlike us.

Something as simple as not liking what I had made for supper could set Wyatt off, transforming him in seconds from my sweet little boy with the shy smile and twinkling eyes to an out-of-control terror who I barely recognized. It wasn’t uncommon for me to cry myself to sleep at night, physically and emotionally exhausted from dealing with a meltdown so violent that I needed to physically restrain him so that he couldn’t hurt himself, or me.

I would sit on the floor with Wyatt between my legs, my arms strategically wrapped around him so he couldn’t bite me or scratch me, one leg over his so he couldn’t kick me, the other leg braced against something so that he couldn’t knock me over as he struggled to get away. I’d talk quietly to him the entire time, telling him that he was safe and loved as he screamed how much he hated me and how he wished I weren’t his mother.

Eventually his rage would pass, and he’d go limp in my arms. His screams would turn to sobs that shook his tiny body, and his struggles to get away would turn to struggles to get closer. I’d sit there and rock him, smoothing his hair and kissing his forehead, reassuring him that I loved him and that everything was going to be OK, all the while holding back the tears of hopelessness and helplessness that threatened to overwhelm me.

Parenting techniques that didn’t work

Don’t get me wrong. I never figured being a parent would be easy, and I fully anticipated that there would be times when I would want to tear my hair out (can you say “teenage years”?), but nothing prepared me for a child who didn’t play by the rules. Even as a toddler, the traditional parenting strategies didn’t work.

If other people were having success with the same parenting strategies we were using then, I concluded, the problem had to reside with us. We had to be doing something wrong. So I read article after article after article on parenting and discipline in an attempt to figure out what we were doing wrong. But everything I read said the same thing: if we used the techniques properly and were consistent and loving in their application, our son would learn what was expected of him.

What I have come to realize is that parenting articles are all written from the standpoint that the prescribed techniques will eventually work. Because of this, they don’t tell you when to give up and move on to something else, so certainly not what that something else would look like. So how long do you keep distracting and redirecting a toddler from the same thing before you give up? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months?

When Wyatt was just learning to walk, he became fascinated by an antique cabinet with glass doors that we had in our living room, where he spent the most time. He paid no attention to the books and CDs that filled the cabinet, only to the pretty doors that made a fun sound when he banged on them. At first we patiently told him “no” and redirected his attention to a favorite toy or book, but he would head straight back to the cabinet the first chance he got. As the days passed we became sterner with our “no,” moving from patient to scolding. Still nothing changed.

“Slap his hand!” our parents told us when we asked for their advice. Scared that he would break the glass and get seriously hurt, we started accompanying our “no” with a light slap on the hand, just hard enough to startle him, but that didn’t deter him either. We placed a cedar chest in front of the cabinet so that he couldn’t get to the doors, but it didn’t stop him from trying. After a few weeks we gave up and moved the cabinet into one of the bedrooms, but we had to remember to keep the door to the room closed or he would be right back at it. Once the cabinet was gone, Wyatt moved on to pulling all the books out of a little bookcase in the hall, and the bookcase soon joined the cabinet in the bedroom.

When Wyatt got a little older we started removing privileges, but he didn’t care. I remember one particular incident, when he was about 3 years old. I was vacuuming not too far from where he was watching TV when he came over and dumped a bunch of toys on the floor in front of me. I scolded him and told him to pick the toys up. He stood there silent, not moving. I told him that he needed to pick them up or he would lose the TV until he did. Without saying a word he walked over to the TV, turned it off, and then went to his room, closing his door behind him.

I stood there for a few minutes, trying to figure out how to respond to the fact that my 3-year-old had just removed all control of the situation from my hands. I left the toys where they were, figuring Wyatt would come back out in a few minutes and ask to watch TV. I anticipated an angry response and mentally braced myself. Except, the anger never came. Instead, when Wyatt reappeared about an hour later, he casually wandered over to the toys, picked them all up, and then proceeded to turn on the TV. As much as I wanted to get mad at him, I couldn’t. I had established the consequence — you lose the TV until you pick up your toys — and that’s what he had done. Being bested by a 3-year-old didn’t exactly build my confidence in my parenting abilities.

We certainly didn’t have any more luck with timeout, which is a little more involved than removing privileges — but still not rocket science. According to the experts, follow the formula and you’re good to go. Have a designated timeout spot? Check. Limit time to one minute for each year of the child’s age? Check. Ensure child understands what is expected of him and the consequences for not cooperating? Check. Return child to designated spot if he moves, and reset timer? Check. I would reset the timer until the sweat was pouring off my face. I returned my 4-year-old to his timeout spot for the 10th, 20th, and 30th time.

We tried just as many positive reinforcement strategies to encourage good behavior. I spent hours creating charts and a small fortune on stickers and rewards. We looked for any opportunity to praise him for doing something well, and we rewarded his behavior with stickers. But nothing worked for more than a day or two, not even a sleepover at Grandma’s, a movie with Mommy, or a bike ride with Daddy.

When desperation leads to re-examination

When Wyatt started kindergarten, we were desperate. Nothing we tried worked, and the school’s experience mirrored our own. Smart, sweet, and wickedly funny, everyone wanted to be Wyatt’s friend. Kids ran to greet him as soon as he walked into school in the morning. Teachers and staff members ruffled his hair as they passed him in the hall and went out of their way to share stories with me about something funny he had done or said to them.

At the same time, his behavior was so problematic that he spent more time out of class than in it. One minute he’d be playing nicely with a friend, the next minute his friend was crying because Wyatt had hit him. He adored his teacher but often flat-out refused to do anything he said. His lack of respect for authority knew no limits, to the point that one day he stood on the principal’s desk and refused to get down. He was so wildly hyper and unpredictable that the school had to send an extra staff member on class trips just to keep an eye on him. If no one was available, he couldn’t go.

I switched from reading parenting articles to parenting books. I consumed Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic and then quickly moved on to Ross Greene’s The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. Both books were instrumental in prompting us to re-examine our views on parenting and discipline. But Greene said something that really struck home.

Ross Greene who is a well-respected child psychologist has a theory that “kids do well if they can.” This theory made us totally rethink Wyatt’s misbehavior. According to Green, most children want to be good and to please the adults in their lives. After all, being in trouble all the time is no fun.

We knew that Wyatt understood the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. He could tell you what was expected of him in any given situation and seemed to have every intention of doing exactly that, but for whatever reason he often ended up doing the opposite. In the throes of a meltdown, his defiance and aggression overshadowed his true nature, which was all sweetness and light. Once his anger was gone, however, he was genuinely heartbroken at the things he’d done and said in the heat of the moment. We realized that for him, it wasn’t a matter of “won’t” but of “can’t.”

Some of our reactions were essentially punishing him for not being able to do something that he lacked the skills to do. This caused him to respond to situations in the same way a child much younger than him would because that was the level where his skills stopped developing. It’s like handing a book to a child who has never been taught to read and then punishing her for not being able to read the book. Just like some kids need help with reading or math, Wyatt needed help. We’ve learned that Wyatt needs to be taught how to deal with situations that upset him and cause him to act out.

New discipline strategy from the experts

So we tried a new way of disciplining our son. It meant changing how we as parents react to Wyatt’s behavior. This nontraditional style of parenting doesn’t come naturally to most people, and it didn’t come naturally to us. It required us to abandon the age-old notion that children who misbehave need to be “punished” — with timeout and consequences — in order for them to learn. My husband and I made a conscious decision to shift our focus from disciplining Wyatt for his behavior to figuring out what was causing it.

Because he was still so young and was rarely able to explain what was upsetting him, we worked closely with his school to identify what kinds of situations seemed to trigger his behavior and what skills he was missing to be able to manage those situations and the intense feelings they created in him.

We discovered, for example, that Wyatt became frustrated extremely easily. If the situation wasn’t resolved immediately, his frustration would fester until it erupted in anger, sometimes hours later. Wyatt didn’t hit a friend seemingly out of the blue because he was mean; he hit because he didn’t know how to deal with his escalated frustration in a productive way.

With this new knowledge in hand, our goal became to help Wyatt develop the skills he needed to respond appropriately in any given situation. In the interim we moved from trying to control his behavior with rewards and consequences to trying to reduce the likelihood of unwanted behavior by evaluating every situation for its potential to cause problems for him.

That’s not to say that Wyatt is free to do whatever he likes without fear of repercussions until then. Believe me, this approach is no get-out-of-jail-free card. If, for example, he at his little brother and calls him names, he needs to apologize to him. If he throws things all around the living room, the mess stays there until he’s calm enough to clean it up. While Wyatt doesn’t get in trouble for these things, he still has to take responsibility for his actions and make amends for anything he has said or done.

We had a veritable laundry list of things we needed to consider, everything from Christmas dinner at my parents’ house to school trips. We asked ourselves: had he been there before? Would the activity be structured or unstructured? How many people would there be?

We could be counted on to arrive late, leave early, or call with our regrets at the last minute because Wyatt was having a bad day, and we often turned down invitations that we felt would be too much for him to handle. The word spontaneity ceased to exist in our vocabulary.

Nontraditional, not lazy

The nontraditional style of parenting made us look to others like lazy or negligent parents who couldn’t be bothered to discipline our child. That wasn’t much of a change, though, since many people already assumed we were ineffectual parents. We dealt with the inevitable comments from friends and family members who didn’t understand our response to Wyatt’s behavior, especially in the beginning.

Grandparents informed us that they had no problems with him when he was with them, so he must be able to control himself. His aunts and uncles said things like “So, tell me again why you’re not punishing him right now?” And elderly relatives watched disapprovingly as we comforted Wyatt after an incident instead of punishing him.

A few weeks ago, on the way to a doctor’s appointment, Wyatt started yelling, screaming, calling me names, and throwing things around the van. Because we were on the highway, it was difficult for me to pull over. I tried to calm him, but the closer we got to our destination, the more upset he got. When he threw a shoe and hit the back of my headrest, I yelled at him to stop before he caused an accident. My calming words hadn’t been able to reach him, but my yell managed to jolt him out of his meltdown. “Mommy,” he began to sob from the back of the van, “I need you. I need you, Mommy!”

As luck would have it, there was a rest stop ahead where I could pull off the highway. I climbed in beside him and held him until he stopped crying. Once he was calm enough, I started to ask him questions to see if I could figure out what had set him off. What initially appeared to be frustration at not being able to play with a friend turned out to be anxiety about the doctor’s appointment. Together we came up with a plan that addressed his worries, and suddenly the crisis was over. By the time I pulled back out onto the highway, he was laughing and telling me a joke.

While Wyatt’s behavior has improved over the years, he still has a long way to go. Truth be told, the biggest change has been in our relationship with him.

Under the old approach, we constantly raged at Wyatt and punished him for his behavior. As a result, he turned into a sad little boy who felt he could never do anything right and who had no one on his side. His laughter and his smiles became increasingly rare. That’s no longer the case. Gradually he stopped worrying about us getting mad at him and instead began to see us as a safe place to go for help when he starts to spiral out of control.

If I’ve learned anything from our struggles over the years it’s that being a parent is just as much about learning lessons as it is about teaching them. Looking back at how far we’ve come as a family, I’m pretty sure we’re not failing; I think we’re going to pass this test.

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10 Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder – What to Look Out For

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is commonly misunderstood and tends to be misdiagnosed as either autism or ADHD. And yet the reality is that SPD is believed to affect anywhere between 5% to 15% of school going children.

What makes this condition particularly challenging to identity is that many children with autism also have sensory processing difficulties. In fact some of the earliest academic studies on autism, including a 1943 study by Leo Kanner entitled Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, identified sensory hypersensitivity as a key symptom. While there may be similarities, children with SPD experience the world in unique ways, and require their own set of tools to cope with everyday life.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

SPD is a condition where sensory stimuli aren’t interpreted properly by the brain and nervous system. Children with this condition tend to be either hypersensitive (oversensitive) or hyposensitive (under-responsive) to stimuli. This can make the most common everyday experience like flushing a toilet or wearing certain types of clothing overwhelming and unbearable.

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Unfortunately, many psychiatrists fail to recognize SPD as a distinct condition as the symptoms tend to be quite diverse. This means it isn’t seen as an official medical condition by many in the medical community, and hasn’t been included as part of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). Consequently, many children who present symptoms of SPD often fail to get the specialized treatment they desperately require.

Is there a difference between autism and SPD?

The Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder describes SPD as a disorder which affects how the nervous system receives and responds to sensory stimuli. Because the brain doesn’t understand how to respond to stimuli, a child is likely to over or under-react. Many of these children have sensory processing difficulties without exhibiting any signs of autism. Autism, on the other hand, is seen to be a developmental disorder which impairs a child’s ability to communicate, interact and behave appropriately.

Interestingly, children with autism and SPD have been found to have measurable brain differences. Studies suggest that the brains of children with SPD have decreased connectivity in regions responsible for sensory processing. While the brains of children with autism functioned differently in regions related to emotional development and memory.

therapist-with-child

Other noteworthy differences include the fact children with SPD have more issues with touchthan children with autism. Research has also found that children with autism process sound differently to those with SPD which could help explain why many struggle with language.

Concerned your child may have SPD? Here’s what you need to look out for

While SPD can be difficult to diagnose, there are distinctive behaviors to be on the lookout for. We’ve put together 10 of the most common indicators of SPD, but recommend you use this as a guide only. If you’re concerned that your child may have SPD, it’s best to consult with a doctor or occupational therapist.

1. Hyper-acute hearing

Some children with SPD have the ability to hear even the faintest sounds. For these children auditory stimuli can seem overwhelming or distracting. You may notice that your child seems to be bothered by sounds that others simply don’t notice.

2. Hypersensitive hearing

Certain everyday sounds are intolerable for children with SPD. This could include everything from the clanking of silverware at the dinner table to traffic. Children with SPD who are hypersensitive to these sounds will react with fear and may even have a meltdown.

child-at-beach

3. Exhibit touch aversion

It’s not uncommon for a child with SPD to reject any form of physical contact whether it’s a hug or a handshake. These children tend to be fearful or surprised by touch, and are likely to avoid contact with people even if they know them. In addition, they with may have an aversion to various forms of tactile input. For instance they may not be able to tolerate being barefoot on sand or grass, certain clothing textures, the wind blowing on their bare skin and more.

4. Poor motor coordination

Children with SPD often have poor motor coordination, making them clumsy, awkward and more likely to lose their balance. These children often struggle learning fine motor tasks such as holding a pencil.

5. No sense of boundaries

Your child may lack a sense of personal space when interacting with others. Not only are these children more likely to be in someone else’s space, but they tend to touch everything around them. It’s not uncommon to see a child with SPD touching strangers.

6. High tolerance for pain

Children with SPD may not notice or be indifferent when they hurt themselves. Often these children have a delayed response when they do get hurt.

7. Overly aggressive

Special needs boy who is angry

You may notice that your child tends to be overly aggressive when playing with others. Oftentimes these children aren’t aware of their own strength and that they may be hurting someone else. As a result, these children have a hard time making friends.

8. Easily distracted

Due to heightened sensory perception, these children are often easily distracted. Most will struggle to focus in classroom situations where they’ll be fidgety and unable to sit still for long periods of time. These children tend to prefer activities which involve movement such as jumping or running.

9. Impaired language development

Some children with SPD may struggle to understand instructions and questions. They may confuse similar sounding words and tend to struggle enunciating clearly. Many also have difficulty reading aloud.

10. Difficulty learning new things

Children with SPD tend to struggle learning new activities, and often take longer than other children to master the same activity. This can lead to mild developmental delays.

The signs of SPD vary greatly, and aren’t always easy to diagnose. There are, however, certain behaviors which require attention and treatment. By diagnosing SPD early you can ensure your child gets the necessary tools to lead a fulfilling life.

5 Personality Traits of Kids with ADHD that Rock

By:Betsy Hnath

Raising a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD is no easy feat. According to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 11% of children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011 so know that you are not alone.

At times you will find yourself feeling frustrated and exhausted but if you take the time to see how your child’s ADHD positively affects their personality, you’ll be able to enjoy the quirks and unique abilities your child possesses.   Kids with ADHD have a different way of viewing the world and you should step inside to gain a deeper appreciation for their perspective.

In this post, a Wisdo community member, Betsy Hnath, shares what she loves most about her son with ADHD and how he keeps her on her toes with his sharp wit and sense of humor.

Passion

Children with ADHD can struggle with impulse control, and that extends to displays of emotion. Whatever the feeling, my son has never been the Easter Bunny at hiding it. That’s not always fun if he’s grumpy; but, when he’s happy or affectionate, it’s hard to find a more uplifting spirit in the room.

Compassion

Having been both coddled or criticized for his ADHD most of his life, my boy knows what it means to feel like an oddball. But, as is common among many children with ADHD, instead of making him angry, it’s made him extra sympathetic to others.

He plays soccer at a highly competitive level, which means things can get rough, but if a player goes down, my son’s the first to offer a hand to help him up. (Even from an opposing team.)

Humor

My son’s brain works at a lightning-fast pace. Add that with a perceptive nature and you get a keen sense of humor, common among lots of kids with ADHD.

This kid makes me belly laugh on a regular basis. Not the polite, “that’s sweet honey” kind of laugh. Like, grownup laugh. And he’s nine. His quick, sarcastic wit nearly always catches me off guard and manages to find and tickle my funny bone even when it’s buried under layers of bad days, stress, or distraction. Saturday Night Live – look out.

Outgoing Personality

Like many children with ADHD, my son’s curiosity about people and things is endless, and he wants to know as much as he can as quickly as possible. He’s chatty, confident, and has no trouble walking up to a group of kids he doesn’t know, asking questions, and finding a way to get involved in what they’re playing, regardless of their age. In fact, his older brother and sister sometimes rely on him to break the ice on their behalf.

If SNL doesn’t work out, Mayor might be a good fallback.

Spontaneity

Not to say that children without ADHD are boring, but kids with it rarely are. They never run out of energy and don’t overthink things.

I never know what words will tumble out of his mouth or where his little body will launch itself next because rarely does either stop moving. At times that can get exhausting but most of the time, I’m glad. He keeps our house energized, spontaneous, and full of laughter. And I wouldn’t have him any other way.

The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction – Term Life

By

Drug education is the only part of the middle school curriculum I remember — perhaps because it backfired so spectacularly. Before reaching today’s legal drinking age, I was shooting cocaine and heroin.

I’ve since recovered from my addiction, and researchers now are trying to develop innovative prevention programs to help children at risk take a different road than I did.

Developing a public antidrug program that really works has not been easy. Many of us grew up with antidrug programs like D.A.R.E. or the Nancy Reagan-inspired antidrug campaign “Just Say No.” But research shows those programs and others like them that depend on education and scare tactics were largely ineffective and did little to curb drug use by children at highest risk.

But now a new antidrug program tested in Europe, Australia and Canada is showing promise. Called Preventure, the program, developed by Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, recognizes how a child’s temperament drives his or her risk for drug use — and that different traits create different pathways to addiction. Early trials show that personality testing can identify 90 percent of the highest risk children, targeting risky traits before they cause problems.

Recognizing that most teenagers who try alcohol, cocaine, opioids or methamphetamine do not become addicted, they focus on what’s different about the minority who do.

The traits that put kids at the highest risk for addiction aren’t all what you might expect. In my case, I seemed an unlikely candidate for addiction. I excelled academically, behaved well in class and participated in numerous extracurricular activities.

Inside, though, I was suffering from loneliness, anxiety and sensory overload. The same traits that made me “gifted” in academics left me clueless with people.

That’s why, when my health teacher said that peer pressure could push you to take drugs, what I heard instead was: “Drugs will make you cool.” As someone who felt like an outcast, this made psychoactive substances catnip.

Preventure’s personality testing programs go deeper.

They focus on four risky traits: sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness.

Importantly, most at-risk kids can be spotted early. For example, in preschool I was given a diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.), which increases illegal drug addiction risk by a factor of three. My difficulty regulating emotions and oversensitivity attracted bullies. Then, isolation led to despair.

A child who begins using drugs out of a sense of hopelessness — like me, for instance — has a quite different goal than one who seeks thrills.

Three of the four personality traits identified by Preventure are linked to mental health issues, a critical risk factor for addiction. Impulsiveness, for instance, is common among people with A.D.H.D., while hopelessness is often a precursor to depression. Anxiety sensitivity, which means being overly aware and frightened of physical signs of anxiety, is linked to panic disorder.

While sensation-seeking is not connected to other diagnoses, it raises addiction risk for the obvious reason that people drawn to intense experience will probably like drugs.

Preventure starts with an intensive two- to three-day training for teachers, who are given a crash course in therapy techniques proven to fight psychological problems. The idea is to prevent people with outlying personalities from becoming entrenched in disordered thinking that can lead to a diagnosis, or, in the case of sensation-seeking, to dangerous behavior.

When the school year starts, middle schoolers take a personality test to identify the outliers. Months later, two 90-minute workshops — framed as a way to channel your personality toward success — are offered to the whole school, with only a limited number of slots. Overwhelmingly, most students sign up, Dr. Conrod says.

Although selection appears random, only those with extreme scores on the test — which has been shown to pick up 90 percent of those at risk — actually get to attend. They are given the workshop targeted to their most troublesome trait.

But the reason for selection is not initially disclosed. If students ask, they are given honest information; however, most do not and they typically report finding the workshops relevant and useful.

“There’s no labeling,” Dr. Conrod explains. This reduces the chances that kids will make a label like “high risk” into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The workshops teach students cognitive behavioral techniques to address specific emotional and behavioral problems and encourage them to use these tools.

Preventure has been tested in eight randomized trials in Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada, which found reductions in binge drinking, frequent drug use and alcohol-related problems.

A 2013 study published in JAMA Psychiatry included over 2,600 13- and 14-year-olds in 21 British schools, half of whom were randomized to the program. Overall, Preventure cut drinking in selected schools by 29 percent — even among those who didn’t attend workshops. Among the high-risk kids who did attend, binge drinking fell by 43 percent.

Dr. Conrod says that Preventure probably affected non-participants by reducing peer pressure from high-risk students. She also suspects that the teacher training made instructors more empathetic to high-risk students, which can increase school connection, a known factor in cutting drug use.

Studies in 2009 and in 2013 also showed that Preventure reduced symptoms of depression, panic attacks and impulsive behavior.

For kids with personality traits that put them at risk, learning how to manage traits that make us different and often difficult could change a trajectory that can lead to tragedy.

Almost No Children In France Are Medicated For ADHD: Here’s How They Define & Treat It – Term Life

By:KALEE BROWN

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11% of American children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as of 2011. However, if you ask the American Psychiatric Association (APA), they maintain that even though only 5% of American children suffer from the disorder, the diagnosis is actually given to around 15% of American children. This number has been steadily rising, jumping from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007.

Big Pharma has played a significant role in manufacturing the ADHD epidemic in the U.S., convincing parents and doctors that ADHD is a common problem amongst children and one that should be medicated. However, many countries disagree with the American stance on ADHD, so much so that they have entirely different structures for defining, diagnosing, and treating it. For example, the percentage of children in France that have been diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than 0.5%. This is largely because French doctors don’t consider ADHD a biological disorder with biological causes, but rather a medical condition caused by psycho-social and situational factors.

Why France Defines ADHD Differently

French child psychiatrists use a different system than American psychiatrists to classify emotional problems in childhood. Instead of using the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the French use an alternative classification system produced by the French Federation of Psychiatry called Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L’Enfant et de L’Adolescent(CFTMEA). Not only does this significantly differ from the APA’s system, but it was actually created with the intention to “offer French child psychiatrists an alternative to DSM-III” because it didn’t complement French psychiatric practices. The CFTMEA encourages psychiatrists to identify the underlying issues that cause a child’s symptoms and to address them using a psychopathological approach.

France defines ADHD as a sociological disorder that’s caused by a set of social situations, whereas the U.S. sees ADHD as a neurological disorder whose symptoms are the result of biological disfunction or a chemical imbalance in the brain. France’s definition of ADHD drastically differs from that of the U.S., which is in part because the pharmaceutical industry helped define ADHD in the U.S. (you can read more about that here). France’s treatment methods, therefore, also greatly differ from those practiced in the U.S.

Treatment Methods for ADHD Used in France

Once a French psychiatrist diagnoses their patient with ADHD, they hone in on the behavioural problems by searching for the underlying causes. Psychiatrists will study the child’s distress and compare it to their social situations. France views ADHD as a social context problem; therefore, ADHD is often treated with psychotherapy or even family counselling. Very rarely do French psychiatrists prescribe medications to treat ADHD, as it’s usually rendered unnecessary after taking a more holistic approach.

It’s important to note that French psychiatrists also consider a patient’s diet when searching for the causes of behavioural symptoms associated with ADHD. Poor eating habits such as consuming foods with artificial colours or flavourings, preservatives, sugars, and/or allergens may worsen a child’s behaviour. This isn’t difficult to imagine; even as adults we can feel the effects certain foods have on our mood, energy levels, and thought processes.

Why There Are Fewer ADHD Cases in France Than the U.S.

A study conducted in 2011 stated that the amount of youth in France with ADHD may be as low as 3.5% — a far cry from the 11 to 15% estimate in the United States. Family therapist and author of A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic Dr. Marilyn Wedge suggests that this may be as a result of the cultural differences between the U.S. and France in regards to raising children. According to Wedge, French parents will often impose more structured lifestyles onto their children, such as enforcing strict meal times and using the “cry it out” method with babies and toddlers. Children are taught self-discipline at a young age, which is why Wedge feels they don’t need to be medicated for behavioural issues.

Unfortunately, spanking is not considered child abuse in France, so this practice is used fairly often to encourage discipline. In March 2015, the Council of Europe, an international human rights organization, faulted France over the country’s lack of legislation regarding corporal punishment of children. As The New York Times explained, “Child abuse is illegal in France and is punished with long prison sentences, but it is not uncommon for French parents to slap or spank children, or for the French courts to view such actions as acceptable under a customary ‘right to discipline.’ “

As Dr. Wedge points out (although neither she nor Collective Evolution support spanking or any other form of child abuse), this simply adds to the discipline they’re encouraged to practice throughout their childhood (source).While Wedge makes some interesting points regarding discipline, I don’t think that’s the underlying reason why most French children don’t need to be medicated for ADHD. Rather, because ADHD is largely a behavioural issue, it rarely requires pharmacological intervention. I believe that these treatment methods are successful in France not because of their parenting culture, but rather as a result of their holistic approach in considering diet and behavioural and social context.

I believe France does not have an issue with over-diagnosing ADHD in the same way the U.S. does because pharmaceutical companies have not targeted them as heavily. Pharmaceutical companies play a substantial role in defining ADHD and deciding treatment methods in the U.S. For example, doctors and researchers in the U.S. have been paid to overstate the dangers of ADHD and the benefits of taking their drugs and understate the negative side effects.

It’s easy for people to believe this misguided information when it’s affiliated with well-known universities like Harvard and Johns Hopkins. Many people don’t even realize that these studies are funded by the very companies that profit from the drugs’ sale because that relationship is hidden in small print (source). These drugs can have significant side effects and are actually considered to be within the same class as morphine and oxycodone due to their high risk of abuse and addiction. You can’t just blame all doctors, either; many of them genuinely believe they’re helping these children because of the information they’ve been given in these studies and by Big Pharma.

Another reason the U.S. has substantially higher rates of ADHD amongst children than France is because of the ADHD drug advertisements that run in the U.S. Big Pharma creates ads for ADHD drugs sold in the U.S. that are specifically targeted at parents, describing how these drugs can improve test scores and behaviour at home, among other false claims.

One of the most controversial ones was a 2009 ad for Intuniv, Shire’s A.D.H.D. treatment, which included a child in a monster costume taking off his terrifying mask to reveal his calm, smiling self with a text reading, “There’s a great kid in there.” The FDA has stepped in multiple times, sending pharmaceutical companies warning letters or even forcing them to take down their ads because they are false, misleading, and/or exaggerate the effects of their drugs (source). This type of propaganda doesn’t take place in France, at least not on the same scale as the in U.S., largely because it doesn’t coincide with their ADHD diagnosis framework. You can read more about this topic in another article I wrote here.

How to Use This Information to More Effectively Treat ADHD

France’s CFTMEA, definition for ADHD, and holistic approach to treating this disorder provide an excellent example of how we should be addressing ADHD patients, especially children. Instead of getting to the root of these children’s “attention deficits” like French psychiatrists do, American health practitioners typically assume ADHD is a medical condition that can only be fixed with medication. This is not only unethical, but also clearly damaging to a child’s self esteem. Many of these kids could simply be uninterested in the subject matter, suffering from some sort of emotional trauma, or even have heightened creativity and energy! You can’t just blame all doctors in the U.S., either; many of them genuinely believe they’re helping these children because of the information they’ve been given in these studies and by Big Pharma.

However, many scientists in the U.S. have suggested alternatives to medicine to treat ADHD and many of them don’t even recognize ADHD as a disorder (read our article on why ADHD may not be real here). Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report Daniel J. Carlat, M.D, criticized the DSM, stating, “In psychiatry, many diseases are treated equally well with medication or therapy, but the guidelines tend to be biased toward medication.”

Holistic Mental Health Practitioner Dr. Tyler Woods further explains:

The DSM tends to pathologize normal behaviors. For instance, the label “Anxiety Disorder” can be given as a result of some kinds of normal and rather healthy anxieties but the DSM will have experts view it and treat it as mental illness. In addition simple shyness can be seen and treated as “Social Phobia”, while spirited and strong willed children as “Oppositional Disorder”. Consequently, many psychotherapists, regardless of their theoretical orientations, tend to follow the DSM as instructed. (source)

Neurologist Richard Saul spent his career examining patients who struggle with short attention spans and difficulty focusing. His extensive experience has led him to believe that ADHD isn’t actually a disorder, but rather an umbrella of symptoms that shouldn’t be considered a disease. Thus, Saul believes it shouldn’t be listed as a separate disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual. You can read more about his opinion in our article here.

Leading integrative pediatrician and author of ADHD without Drugs: A Guide to the Natural Care of Children with ADHD Dr. Sanford Newmark, M.D. has spent more than 15 years studying and successfully treating ADHD naturally. Some of his recommendations include improved nutrition, increased sleep, iron, zinc, and Omega-3 supplementation, family counselling, making positive social and behavioural changes, and pursing alternative modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy. Dr. Newmark considers conventional medication a “last resort,” given the fact that ADHD drugs only work about 70% of the time and have potential negative side effects (source).

It is clear that many doctors are starting to recognize the importance of treating ADHD outside conventional methods. Misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis of ADHD is a serious issue in the U.S., one that is heavily fuelled by the pharmaceutical industry. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ADHD, I strongly suggest you research this subject more and explore alternatives to medication with the help of a healthcare practitioner!

“The very vocabulary of psychiatry is now defined at all levels by the pharmaceutical industry.”

Dr. Irwin Savodnik, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California in Los Angeles

Early Warning Signs of ADHD That Most People Miss

ADHD is not just a condition that affects children. Approximately 4% of the adult population suffers from attention deficit disorder and its wide variety of symptoms, and this rate could be even higher, since a large portion of adults who suffer from the condition are never properly diagnosed.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) are disorders that cause a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is one of the most common childhood brain disorders.

If you have been struggling at work, in your relationships, or with your ability to stay focused or organized, it may be more than just stress or absentmindedness. You could possibly be experiencing signs of ADHD. This just means you might want to look at behavioral strategies or therapy to help bring your focus back in to lead a happier and more productive life. Here are some of the signs to be aware of:

1. Inattentiveness

You may have been labeled a “dreamer” or accused of not paying attention to the things and people around you.

  • Inability to pay close attention to details
  • Constantly making careless mistakes at work or school
  • Doesn’t seem to listen or follow through when told to do something
  • “Zoning out,” even in the middle of a conversation
  • Easily distracted

2. Disorganization

Are you a forgetful person? Or is there more behind your inability to prioritize and keep track of important tasks and responsibilities?

  • Unable to manage time
  • Cluttered, disorganized home, work, or personal spaces
  • Tendency to procrastinate
  • Unable to finish projects
  • Chronic lateness
  • Forgetting appointments and commitments
  • Missing deadlines
  • Constantly losing important items

3. Impulsive Behavior

You may have a “wild streak” and trouble inhibiting your behavior, words, and responses to others.

  • Constantly acting without thinking
  • Rushing through tasks
  • Poor self control
  • Interrupting and talking over other people
  • Lack of patience
  • Blurting out thoughts even if inappropriate or rude
  • Addictive behavior or substance abuse

4. Restlessness

The hyperactivity in adult ADHD doesn’t always reveal itself in the same manner as with children. Instead, you may call it a feeling of “restlessness.”

  • Feeling agitated
  • Getting bored easily
  • Racing thoughts
  • Speaking excessively
  • Fidgeting and trouble sitting still
  • Doing too many things at once

5. Hyperfocus

On the other end of the spectrum, some adults with ADHD experience a hyperfocus instead of an inability to focus.

  • Becoming absorbed in rewarding tasks
  • Losing track of time while engaged in an activity
  • Neglecting responsibilities while completing a task
  • Oblivious to surroundings

6. Emotional Difficulties

Adult ADHD can make it harder to manage feelings, and can lead to anger and frustration.

  • Low self-esteem and insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Inability to deal with frustration
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Hypersensitive to criticism
  • Sense of underachievement
  • Trouble staying motivated

The causes of ADHD are still unclear, although researchers are exploring how genetics, possible environmental factors, brain injuries, social environments, and nutrition can contribute to this complicated and widespread disorder.

Left untreated, ADD and ADHD can lead to physical health problems, relationship difficulties, and problems at work. ADHD can also lead to other mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and addiction. There are many treatment options available for adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD, ranging from self-help options such as exercise, eating a healthy diet, creating a supportive work environment, and practicing better time management; to medical treatments such as coaching, therapy, and medication.

If the signs and symptoms of ADHD sound familiar to you, and your life feels out of control, then talking to a medical professional can get you the diagnosis, and help, that you need.