Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder amongst many adults. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that can also be categorized as a mental health condition. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty focusing, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. In the past ADHD has been a disorder, which has been frowned upon. It has said to have a lot of negative impacts on a person’s life, such as; lead to unhealthy relationships, poor performance in school and or career, low-self esteem and various implications. However, an adult can learn to live with it, and still thrive to achieve a great life.
Previously it was believed that children outgrew their ADHD symptoms in their adolescence, but now new research has shown that over sixty percent of adults retain their impairing core symptoms into their adult life. Some adults with ADHD may have been diagnosed with ADHD in their childhood in addition some may have received the proper treatment and attention early on. Many adults are actually unaware that their difficulties are caused by ADHD until they are diagnosed. Treatment for adults diagnosed with ADHD is comparable for children with ADHD. Adults with ADHD may receive treatments with medications, psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and treatment for any mental health conditions that transpire with ADHD.
What are the symptoms?
Some adults with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, although some adults continue to have severe symptoms that might interfere with their daily lives. Symptoms include hyper-focusing with the inability to break focus, difficulty with prioritizing focus, being incapable to focus on a task for any length of time, impulsiveness, poor planning, mood swings and restlessness.
Many adults living with ADHD are not aware of their disorder, they maybe just aware of the challenges they face during their daily tasks. Several adults have reported that they have learned how to cope their restlessness and impulsive behaviour into more appropriate channels. It is proven that impulsivity may decrease in adulthood or slightly change the way an adult may react. However, many adults with ADHD feel their verbal impulsivity, impulsive reactions and impulsive spending habits can be quite dangerous and may result in complicated uneasy situations. Impairments such as struggling with working memory, organizational skills, time management, prioritizing are also quite common amongst adults with ADHD.
What causes Adult ADHD?
ADHD is believed to be a disorder with a strong genetic component. Although the exact cause of ADHD is still unclear. Some factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD may be caused by the consumption of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, obstetrical complication or brain trauma from lead and other toxins.
How to overcome and learn to thrive as an adult living with ADHD
The first thing that comes to mind when you think about treatment for ADHD is medication such as resorting to Ritalin. Many adults equate ADHD treatment with medication. It is vital to understand that medication for ADHD works differently for everyone, and it will not solve all your woes or completely eliminate symptoms.
Although, medication for ADHD may very well improve attention and concentration, however, it does not necessarily help with the symptoms of disorganization, time management, memory and procrastination – these are the major issues that cause problems for many adults with ADHD.
Exercising regularly is essential and one of the most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in adults, which has proven to improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Research has shown consistent physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels – which all affect attention and focus.
Knowing your strengths and limits is vital for improving your ADHD. You have an important task, which might be boring and very easy to forget or postpone. However you are an adult and there is no escaping. Learn to structure your day, perhaps alternating tasks such as your important boring task with a fun task. That way, you can retain your attention and focus throughout the day and be productive.
Manage your distractions and periods of hyper-focus. We all get distracted, and distracted days are difficult to predict. You don’t have to work straight, take light breaks, eat snacks, or go for a walk. There may be days where you are in full hyper-focus mode. You might be neglecting meals; bathroom breaks which will result in overworking. Time your tasks, schedule and organize it throughout the day so you are not sitting at your desk looking like a zombie.
Manage your mental hyperactivity. As an adult with ADHD, sometimes you feel like your brain never stops, even when you are asleep. Take a moment to stop, completely shut down your brain, put away your laptop, notebook or phone if you have to. Read a book, paint, or meditate. Meditation is a form of focused contemplation that relaxes the mind and the body and centers your thoughts. Researchers say that in the long run, meditation increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for attention, planning, and impulse control.
In a way, meditation is the opposite of ADHD. The goal of meditation is to train yourself to focus your attention with the goal of achieving insight. So it’s a workout for your attention span that also might help you understand and work out problems.