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LAtest Wellness News
November 15, 2023
Robert Simms

Discovering and Navigating ADHD in Adulthood

Understanding Adult ADHD has been a puzzle for many, despite the common occurrence of the condition. It affects various facets of life, such as staying organized, completing tasks on time, and maintaining attention. Children with ADHD often exhibit symptoms of distraction and inattentiveness in class or during sports activities. However, ADHD is not confined to childhood, and its manifestation in adults often comes with many misconceptions.

ADHD, a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder, arises due to the brain functioning differently from a neurotypical brain. It affects people across all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Importantly, ADHD is not indicative of a character flaw, lack of discipline, bad parenting, or a poor environment.

Adults diagnosed with ADHD later in life often wonder how such a prevalent aspect of their identity could remain unnoticed for so long. This is primarily due to the complex nature of ADHD, making it challenging to diagnose accurately. The symptoms of ADHD, although seemingly apparent, can often be mistaken for other conditions such as anxiety, depression, burnout, or other mental health disorders, leading to delayed or overlooked diagnosis.

Interestingly, there exist three primary subtypes of ADHD: Impulsive/Hyperactive, Inattentive/Distractible, and Combined. Each presents unique challenges and symptoms, highlighting the multifaceted nature of this disorder.

Contrary to popular belief, ADHD is not a recent phenomenon. Symptoms akin to ADHD have been observed as early as the 1700s. For instance, Dr. Samuel Johnson, a renowned English author and playwright of the 18th century, demonstrated several ADHD symptoms, such as scatterbrained and fidgety tendencies. However, it was not until the 1960s that ADHD gained recognition as an actual disorder.

Despite the changing social views and increasing understanding of ADHD, numerous myths persist. A common misunderstanding is that ADHD is a learning disability. On the contrary, ADHD fundamentally affects executive function, and its symptoms related to learning issues are more common in children.

Another widespread myth is that people with ADHD cannot excel as parents, teachers, or employees. Many adults diagnosed with ADHD have reported success in their jobs and only realized their condition when they sought help for other issues, such as depression.

The symptoms of adult ADHD span various areas:

  • Inattention: Difficulties in paying attention, being easily distracted, and forgetting things.
  • Distractibility: Problems concentrating on one thing for a long duration, short attention span, and inability to focus on what is wanted or needed.
  • Disorganization: Struggles with planning, organizing, and managing time effectively; misplacing items, and forgetfulness about appointments or tasks at hand.
  • Forgetfulness: Trouble remembering facts, details, or recent conversations.
  • Issues with task completion: Difficulty finishing assignments before deadlines or arriving on time.
  • Emotional dysregulation: Impaired ability to control emotional responses, leading to extreme or out-of-proportion reactions.

Diagnosing ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting executive function, can be a challenging endeavor, especially in adults. This is often due to the stigma surrounding the condition and misconceptions about its manifestation in adults. However, as research progresses, professionals are gaining deeper insights into the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of ADHD.

Research indicates that ADHD often presents itself differently in children and adults. However, there are some key symptoms common to both groups, such as impulsivity, poor time management skills, restlessness, disorganization, and forgetfulness. ADHD does not mean that an individual will experience all these symptoms, underscoring the need for proper diagnosis.

ADHD is not a mental illness, a character flaw, a moral failing, or a choice—it’s a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder. In some cases, the issues with executive functioning can lead to problems with planning and organization as well as social difficulties, potentially leading to negative self-esteem or depression.

Fortunately, there is hope for adults with ADHD. A variety of effective treatment options can help manage symptoms and enhance the quality of life. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle modification are among the many ways to manage ADHD in adulthood.

If you’re navigating the complexities of ADHD, remember that help is available. Reach out to professionals for guidance and support, and take the first step towards understanding and managing your ADHD effectively.

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Our practice focuses on 4 distinct areas: navigating the journey of adult-diagnosed ADHD, fostering healthier communication between couples, unraveling the complexities of people-pleasing to establish firm boundaries, and addressing Indigenous issues alongside the intricate challenges of complex PTSD. What sets our clinic apart from others is that all of our practitioner’s have lived experience in the area of service that they are providing.

We understand what you are experiencing BECAUSE we have experienced it ourselves, and are still living/dealing with it. This practice was started and has grown on the idea of authenticity, transparency and connection. These values are the bedrock of our practice and the guiding principles in our interactions with you. We invite you to join us on this journey of growth and self-discovery, as we collectively strive towards realizing the fullest potential of our lives. Let's all work together towards building our best life.

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