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Adults who have symptoms of chronic and pervasive hyperactivity and inattention often have difficulty keeping jobs and maintaining stable relationships. Not every adult who has similar symptoms has ADHD, but it is important to identify and treat them.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is usually associated with childhood problems in development. A child who exhibits hyperactivity, lack of attention, and impulsiveness is often suspected to have ADHD, which is sometimes also referred to as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Not all of these children exhibit these characteristics during their adulthood. However, many adults who demonstrate these behaviors are often not diagnosed with the condition and may suffer from its effects due to lack of proper treatment.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a complex mental health disorder that starts in early childhood. A child who exhibits chronic restlessness, forgetfulness, talkativeness, hyperactivity, inattention, and has difficulty finishing school work and chores in a way that it impairs normal functioning may be suffering from some form of ADHD. There are three types of this disorder, in which one may be predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, or a combination of both.

It is important to remember that ADHD is not caused by head trauma, poor parenting or poor diet. However, it is strongly associated with genetic factors, biological factors that influence brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), and environmental toxins that might have affected a child before birth. These include risk factors such as maternal smoking, alcohol abuse and drug use. Premature birth and a young child's exposure to lead have also been linked to development of this condition.

About 60% of children who have ADHD continue to exhibit symptoms during adulthood.

 This means that about 5% of US adults (roughly 8-9 million) have ADHD. However, many adults are not evaluated, diagnosed, or treated for this mental health problem and they continue to suffer from it its negative effects on their lives.

Symptoms of Adult ADHD

Although many people experience occasional lapses in memory, giving in to distractions, impulsive behaviors, and restlessness, they usually do not suffer from long-lasting consequences that interfere with their lives in general. All adults with ADHD have a history of the condition in their childhood, although not all of them may have been diagnosed or treated for the problem. They could have been underachievers, with poor school performance and maybe even disciplinary problems as children.

Adults ADHD manifests as impairments in work, social, and interpersonal functioning.

They may exhibit these symptoms:

  • restlessness, impulsiveness, distractibility

  • poor performance at work, leading to frequent job changes

  • low job satisfaction, chronic boredom, and low tolerance for frustration

  • disorganized work, failure to finish tasks, trouble focusing

  • forgets important things like meetings or deadlines

  • often loses important things

  • inappropriate behavior, blurts out offensive thoughts

  • poor driving habits that may lead to frequent traffic violations or accidents

  • engages in smoking and use of illegal drugs

  • hot temper, mood swings, difficulty handling stress

  • fails to keep stable relationships

Because of these behaviors, adults with ADHD are prone to vehicular accidents, job loss, low socioeconomic status, multiple relationships and separations or divorce, and other serious problems in work and relationships.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • WebMD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD in Adults. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-adults
  • Mayo Clinic. Adult ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/basics/definition/CON-20034552
  • AAFP. Adult ADHD: Evaluation and Treatment in Family Medicine. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/1101/p2077.html
  • ADDA. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) Fact Sheet. http://www.add.org/?page=ADHD_Fact_Sheet
  • Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 by Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/7658298768
  • Photo courtesy of D Wallis by Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/dwallis/4441175500
  • www.webmd.com
  • www.mayoclinic.org
  • www.aafp.org
  • www.add.org

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