Adult ADHD (cont.)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) facts
- What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
- What are causes and risk factors for adult ADHD?
- How prevalent is adult ADHD?
- What are symptoms and signs of adult ADHD?
- How is ADHD in adults diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for adult ADHD? What medications treat adult ADHD?
- Are there any home remedies for adult ADHD?
- What are complications of adult ADHD?
- What is the prognosis of adult ADHD?
- Is it possible to prevent adult ADHD?
- Are support groups available for those with adult ADHD?
- Where can people find additional information on adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
- Adult ADHD FAQs
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
What are symptoms and signs of adult ADHD?
As a result of maturity, adults with ADHD may show little to no evidence of suffering from hyperactivity. For those who do, the symptoms and signs of hyperactivity as well as impulsivity and inattention associated with adult ADHD may be similar to those in children and adolescents. However, how those symptoms are demonstrated tends to vary with age. Symptoms of ADHD include the following:
- Often makes careless mistakes or fails to pay adequate attention to details
- Trouble paying attention during work or leisure activities
- Does not seem to be listening when spoken to directly
- Frequently fails to complete instructions or to complete work tasks or chores
- Often has trouble organizing a task or activity
- Frequently avoids, dislikes, or resists participating in tasks that require sustained focus
- Often loses things needed to complete tasks or activities
- Easily distracted by extraneous input or unrelated thoughts
- Often forgetful
- Often fidgety or taps hands or feet
- Frequently has trouble staying seated
- Often feels restless
- Has trouble engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Engages in multiple activities at once
- Talks excessively
- Frequently interrupts others talking
- Trouble waiting his or her turn
- Often intrudes on others
How is ADHD in adults diagnosed?
In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a child must demonstrate six symptoms of inattention or six symptoms of combined hyperactivity and impulsivity, while an older teen or adult need only exhibit five of each group of symptoms. The symptoms should start before 12 years of age, be present in more than one setting (for example, home and work), be severe enough to cause problems for the individual, and not be able to be better explained by another condition for the diagnosis of ADHD. There are three kinds of ADHD: predominately inattentive presentation, predominately hyperactive/impulsive presentation, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) presentation.
Many health-care professionals, including licensed mental-health therapists, primary-care providers, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers may help diagnose ADHD in adults. One of these professionals will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination as part of the assessment. As ADHD is sometimes associated with a number of other mental-health problems, such as depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other anxiety disorders, Asperger's syndrome, and other autism-spectrum disorders, the evaluator will likely screen for signs of depression, manic depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of mental illness. The symptoms of adult ADHD may also be the result of a number of medical conditions or can be a side effect of various medications. For this reason, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed. As part of this examination, the sufferer may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help establish the diagnosis. Some symptom checklists for children have been adapted and revised to effectively screen for ADHD in adults. Examples of such checklists include Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale, or CAARS, as well as the Adult Self Report Scale.
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