Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect individuals throughout their lifetime, although it’s typically diagnosed in childhood. However, many adults who were not diagnosed with as children are realizing certain challenges that affect daily functioning and well-being may be attributed to ADHD after all. Recognizing the signs of ADHD in adulthood and taking the step to seek a diagnosis can be transformative, offering individuals clarity, understanding, and access to strategies for managing their symptoms.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ADHD?

There are three main types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive, and combined, which is a mix of the first two types. It’s important to identify the specific type of ADHD one has in order to diagnose and manage the disorder effectively.

Adults with inattentive ADHD may struggle with persistent attention deficit, which can make it difficult to focus on tasks, remember important responsibilities, and follow through with conversations. For adults with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, impulsivity is an issue that can arise, leading to difficulties in controlling impulses, interrupting others, and acting without thinking. Restlessness and a constant desire for stimulation may also be present. In addition, managing frustration can be a challenge, which can impact relationships and self-esteem. Combined ADHD can present a mixture of all of these symptoms.

ADHD Diagnosis as Adult WFMC Health

How Is ADHD Diagnosed in Adults?

Diagnosing ADHD in adults poses unique challenges due to several factors. First, many individuals may have been overlooked or misdiagnosed during childhood, and their symptoms might not have been recognized until later in life. Women and girls are more frequently misdiagnosed than men and boys. Additionally, there is no genetic test for ADHD.

ADHD diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment that includes a thorough review of your medical history. Mental health care professionals also use various assessment tools, such as standardized ADHD-specific rating scales, to evaluate a person. A mental health provider may also use ADHD symptom checklists and collect information from family members, partners, or close friends who can provide insights into your behavior across different settings.

What Treatments Are Available for ADHD in Adults?

The approach to treating ADHD varies depending on the severity of symptoms and when they first appear in an individual. For adults with ADHD, treatment may involve counseling or therapy, skills training and education, medication, and lifestyle modifications. These treatments aim to improve time management, organizational skills, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life for adults grappling with the hurdles that ADHD can present.

Dealing with ADHD as an adult can be difficult, but it is possible to find relief and manage the symptoms. If you are seeking an ADHD diagnosis, don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider with any questions.

This article is meant for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional.

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