There was a time when attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) was a condition that was associated primarily with children, especially boys.
However, over the past decade or so, new research has painted a completely different picture and it is changing everything we thought we knew about ADHD.
One of the discoveries is that the number of girls who are ADHD is equal or may even be higher than boys. Girls present with symptoms that are different than ADHD symptoms in boys, so it went largely unrecognized for a long time.
Another fairly recent discovery is that adults can also have ADHD. It isn’t just for kids.
So, if you have noticed that you have trouble concentrating when doing certain tasks, are impulsive, have problems with procrastination, and have difficulty with organization, then you could have adult ADHD.
Adult ADHD by the Numbers
Around 9% of children in the U.S., ages 2 to 17 years old, have been diagnosed with ADHD. Experts estimate that the number is likely higher because of misdiagnosis, undiagnosed ADHD, and parents who don’t seek a diagnosis and treatment.
What is remarkable is that the number of adults with ADHD is not only emerging but growing. A study in 2019 found that around 0.96% of adults in the United States have adult ADHD. In 2009 that number was 0.43% indicating that the number has not only increased but more than doubled in a decade.
Another study showed that adult ADHD in the U.S. is somewhere between 2.5% and 4.4% and 5.4% of those diagnosed are men while 3.2% are women.
Several other conditions often accompany ADHD. In fact, almost two-thirds of children with ADHD also have one or more of these conditions:
- Conduct or behavioral problems
- Are on the autism spectrum
- Tourette syndrome
- Learning disorder
- Loss of Control Eating Syndrome
Many adults with ADHD also often have these conditions with anxiety and depression being common comorbidities. However, the conditions are a little different and can include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
Research also shows that somewhere between 25% and 40% of adults who have substance abuse disorder also have ADHD. Adults and adolescents with ADHD are also more than 1.5 times more likely to develop one or more substance abuse disorders to substances such as cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine.
Do You Have Adult ADHD?
Getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult is now a little easier than it once was, but it can still be rather tedious. There are tests and questionnaires that must be completed, and the doctor or psychiatrist reviews the information then makes their determination.
There is no blood test or x-ray that will tell a person that they have ADHD. It is diagnosed by observing the person’s behavior and asking questions about behavior.
If you suspect you might have ADHD but aren’t sure, see if you experience any of these classic symptoms of adult ADHD.
1. Difficulty Concentrating
This is a classic ADHD symptom that affects all ages of people with the condition. Problems with concentration typically occur with quiet activities like reading or doing paperwork.
If you notice that your thoughts are constantly racing or you have trouble tracking a conversation or reading is difficult because you can’t focus on what you are reading, it could be ADHD.
2. Difficulty Following Directions
Problems with directions are usually due to difficulty concentrating and trouble with organization.
You may be able to follow one, two, or even three steps in a set of instructions, but after that, it gets lost. Verbal directions can be particularly troublesome and written directions may appeal to you more.
3. Difficulty Finishing Work on Time
Time management is a significant problem with ADHD and adults with the condition often find themselves struggling at work with deadlines or even arriving at work on time.
At home, they may have difficulty with schedules or being able to complete things on time, keep kids on a schedule, or get to appointments on time.
Part of this is due to organization, but a big part is concentration and focus.
4. Difficulty Remembering Information
This is another concentration issue and goes hand in hand with struggling to follow directions.
Many adults with ADHD complain that when they are given information to memorize or learn that it just doesn’t “stick.” They may have to hear it many times or read it over and over to absorb and remember the information.
5. Difficulty Organizing Tasks
When given a list of tasks to complete, the adult with ADHD is likely to struggle and will often abandon the task.
This makes it difficult to create a schedule or even organize your day, leading to frequent job changes and a lack of success at work. They may forget tasks or have trouble seeing how the tasks can be logically organized.
Treatment Options for Adult ADHD
Traditional ADHD treatment typically consists of medication, therapy, and educating the patient on their ADHD while teaching important life skills. Often this involves more than just the patient but includes family support as well.
In recent years, doctors have come to understand a lot more about how to treat ADHD and have found other treatments that work well for ADHD and some of the comorbidities at the same time.
Some of the comorbidities like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can actually make your ADHD worse.
Most of the medications prescribed to adults with ADHD are stimulants. These drugs do have a good track record for being very effective.
However, they do often have troublesome side effects, so they aren’t always the answer for everyone. The biggest issue with ADHD medication is remembering to take it.
When you have a condition that already causes concentration and memory issues, trying to remember to take daily medication can be quite challenging.
There are also a few non-stimulants that are sometimes prescribed, but some can cause drowsiness and in rare cases affect the heart.
Cognitive and behavioral therapy is very good for helping to boost self-esteem and teach problem solving as well as life skills and decision making. Life coaching is also a good option for teaching goal setting and organization.
Esketamine Nasal Spray For Adult ADHD
One treatment that is gaining popularity is Esketamine. Taken as a nasal spray, Esketamine is FDA approved to treat depression when the patient has tried two or more antidepressants and they were not effective.
The treatment must be administered by a specially trained medical professional in a certified clinic like Mindful Health Solutions. When using Esketamine for ADHD and depression, it can help with symptoms of each condition, improving both.
TMS For Adult ADHD
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive therapeutic solution that has minimal side effects and a good success rate for adults with ADHD and is an effective ADHD treatment.
The treatment is conducted using targeted electromagnet pulses aimed at specific areas of the prefrontal cortex.
This is the area of the brain that regulates mood and can help with depression. Using TMS for ADHD and depression can help patients with both conditions so that they can function more effectively and efficiently.
If you have adult ADHD or suspect that you do and you are looking for treatments that work, don’t do a broad internet search of “psychiatrist near me” and get overwhelmed with largely irrelevant responses, call Mindful Health Solutions.
We have several mental health clinics across the United States – and we’re ready to help you.
You can function better. You can feel better. All it takes is one phone call. Call and make your appointment today.