Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that leads to difficulties like impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention. Many people associate ADHD with children, but adults can also have this disorder. About 4.4% of US adults have ADHD, and many are not diagnosed or treated for the condition.
ADHD in adults can cause poor performance at work, low self-esteem, unstable relationships, and other social or emotional problems. Adult ADHD starts in childhood, and while some kids outgrow the condition, it continues for many others into adulthood. Many people are not diagnosed with the disorder until they become adults.
The exact cause of ADHD is unclear, but researchers believe it to be a combination of genes, environmental factors, and developmental problems. Adult ADHD could also coexist with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, and learning disabilities.
Symptoms of Adult ADHD
Symptoms of adult ADHD include:
Adults with ADHD could be impulsive, socially inappropriate, and prone to acting without thinking about consequences.
Inability to keep things in order or manage their day-to-day affairs. They also experience frequent bouts of forgetfulness, leading to further disorganization.
People with adult ADHD easily miss details, get distracted, and find it difficult to finish tasks.
Some adults with ADHD can become so fixated on something or a project that it is difficult to perceive anything else around them.
Time Management Problems
Adults with ADHD tend to struggle with time management. They tend to procrastinate, be late to events and ignore tasks they find uninteresting.
The difficulties associated with adult ADHD can make people with the condition see themselves as failures or underachievers, negatively affecting their sense of self-worth.
Physical and Emotional Health Challenges
The manifestations of adult ADHD can cause an individual to neglect their physical health. They may eat impulsively, forgot to exercise, and adopt other unhealthy behavior. They may also get bored quickly, making them seek thrills or become irritated and frustrated when they do not have their way.
People with adult ADHD are more likely to abuse hard substances, often in an attempt to find a solution to some symptoms associated with the condition.
Treatment of Adult ADHD
Treatment of adult ADHD involves medications, psychotherapy, and learning coping strategies to deal with the condition.
Drugs for treating ADHD include stimulants that contain amphetamine or methylphenidate, including Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Other medicine classes like antidepressants and cannabinoids have been used to treat adult ADHD with varying degrees of effectiveness [Source: StuffThatWorks ].
Psychotherapy for adult ADHD provides education on the ailment and how best to manage their symptoms. It seeks to improve self-esteem, lower anxiety, help patients build and manage relationships, and be more productive, among other benefits.
Strategies for Managing Adult ADHD
The following are tips and strategies to help people with ADHD manage their symptoms:
Tips to Get Organized
Inattentiveness is common among adults with ADHD, and this affects their ability to stay organized and keep up with situations around them. Adult ADHD patients can reduce the clutter around them by following these tips:
Using Day Planners
Several day planner apps help people remember their events and stay organized. People with ADHD can also use these apps to keep up with their schedules without getting disordered or losing control of their daily timetables.
Creating Space for Important Objects
Making space for specific items like keys, receipts, cash, and other objects that can be misplaced easily can help adults with ADHD stay organized. Getting unneeded stuff out of sight or bringing it out only when needed can also help remove some of the clutter.
Dealing With Tasks Immediately
Another way people with ADHD can stay organized is by addressing tasks as they arise, whether it’s filing a document, returning calls, or cleaning up a spill. Taking care of simple tasks immediately prevents a backlog of responsibilities, leading to avoidable disorganization.
Tips to Manage Time
People with adult ADHD can easily lose track of time, affecting their ability to keep up with their assignments. Some tips to help adults with ADHD manage time include:
Using Clocks and Timers
Placing a readily visible clock can help patients know how much time they’ve spent. Setting a timer to beep at regular intervals can also indicate how much time a task takes.
Breaking Down Large Tasks
Splitting large assignments into smaller chunks can help people with adult ADHD effectively utilize time, as each small project is more manageable and takes up less time.
Allotting More Time to Tasks
Adults with ADHD often have poor time perception, so it may be helpful to assign more time than required to tasks for efficiency. So if a project should ordinarily take an hour, the individual should consider adding 20 minutes or more to the time.
Tips to Be More Productive
The symptoms of adult ADHD can affect productivity as people with the condition may struggle to stay focused and complete their tasks. Some productivity strategies for adult ADHD include:
Set a Daily Time to Get Organized
Picking a time to get organized each day can help eliminate the previous day’s clutter that may impede productivity.
Using Lists and Colors
Making to-do lists and color-coding daily tasks can help adults with ADHD handle forgetfulness, reducing their productivity.
Putting the most important or challenging tasks first can improve productivity. It would also help to set deadlines that place a healthy pressure to accomplish daily tasks.
It is easy for people with adult ADHD to get distracted from their tasks, so working in a distraction-free environment is essential. Avoiding workspace clutter, switching off unimportant emails, and working in a closed environment can help reduce distractions.
Having ADHD in adulthood can be challenging. Many people remain undiagnosed, which poses several problems in their relationships and general life. However, with the right diagnosis and a combination of treatment approaches, adults with ADHD can significantly reduce their symptoms and improve the quality of their life.