Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that globally affects 5% – 7.2% of youth and 2.5% – 6.7% of adults. It has been conceptualized as a disorder of childhood for a very long time, but up to 90% of children with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood.
Moreover, adults are also being diagnosed with ADHD. A study shows that 75% of adults with ADHD were not previously diagnosed in childhood. ADHD is also not specific to gender; the male-to-female ratio in children is 4:1, whereas the ratio is approximately 1:1 in adults.
ADHD symptoms can significantly interfere with an individual’s daily activities and relationships, which is why not only the individual but also their friends and family members need to understand the symptoms and ways to manage them. Raising awareness of ADHD helps create welcoming and accessible environments in the personal and professional spaces.
How to understand common ADHD symptoms?
To summarize, here’s how a person with ADHD feels:
“It’s the near impossibility and irritability of not being able to control and regulate what I feel or what I want to say at that moment and the guilt and regrets it causes when it’s come out in rage or tears or some other completely inappropriate behavior because I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut or think for a second before blurting something out.” ~
People with ADHD showcase 3 most common symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity:
Some symptoms of inattention can look like an inability to pay close attention to details, often overlooking crucial details that others notice effortlessly. This can affect their work quality and accuracy in various activities. They might also face challenges with sustaining attention for long tasks. Lengthy tasks can be particularly daunting for individuals with ADHD. They might have difficulty sustaining attention over extended periods, leading to incomplete projects or assignments.
Additionally, adults with ADHD tend to make seemingly careless mistakes at work or other tasks due to their difficulty in focusing. It can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or inefficiencies. They also keep losing things and being forgetful in daily activities, leading to misplacing important items or missing appointments.
These memory lapses can cause frustration and stress in their personal and professional lives. Being easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli in the middle of tasks or conversations leads to struggles with organizing tasks, managing time, and structuring daily activities, leading to missed deadlines.
People with ADHD often have too much energy, which can wear out others with one’s activity and can be challenging to channel productively, leading to extreme restlessness.
They also experience such extreme levels of restlessness that they have difficulty sitting still for extended periods and keep fidgeting with or tapping hands or feet or squirming in their seats.
They also tend to talk too much, often jumping from one topic to another rapidly. This kind of rapid speech can sometimes make it hard for others to follow their conversation.
Hyperactivity in ADHD also means that these individuals have difficulty waiting for one’s turn, such as when waiting in line. They might struggle to stay patient and might appear impulsive or agitated during these times.
Impulsivity is when an individual keeps Interrupting or intruding on others and blurting out thoughts or responses before others have finished speaking. This impulsivity can
lead to misunderstandings and frustration during interactions. Some people also answer questions before they are asked completely, often misinterpreting the context or providing incomplete responses, thereby impacting their day-to-day conversations.
ADHD Symptoms in Adult Women
ADHD symptoms in adult women are similar to those mentioned above, like difficulty
with time management, disorganization, history of anxiety and depression, difficulty with money management, feeling overwhelmed, etc. Additionally, they may be having other
issues such as compulsive overeating, drinking too much alcohol, or chronic lack of sleep.
Reese Brinkley, an adult woman with ADHD, writes on Quora, “I want to push myself to be successful, but I can’t because I have to wait for my meds to kick in and for the light to go from red to green and then I can keep going until I hit the next tollbooth and repeat the same process only now this time I have less chance to use to pay the toll. I want to do things. I do. But I can’t, and I’m frustrated at myself and knocking down my desire to do better because I feel like it’ll take forever to get to where I want. I say I’ll do stuff to get better, but I only get there halfway before I need to stop by an atm and get a new refill on meds.”
ADHD symptoms in adult women tend to be more severe than in men due to hormones that might worsen the symptoms. While men are more likely to have external patterns of comorbidity, like antisocial personality disorders or substance misuse, women are more likely to have internalizing disorders like somatic symptom disorders or anxiety.
How can you manage common ADHD Symptoms?
Though psychotherapy and medication are the most effective ADHD treatments, some other strategies may help manage symptoms. Managing ADHD symptoms can be a game-changer, and it’s all about finding what works best. Let’s dive into some strategies that can help tackle those challenges with a smile! 🙂
Healthy Lifestyle, Happy Mind
- Exercise regularly, especially when feeling high levels of energy
- Have 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. It is a natural anxiety reducer
- Turn off screens at least 1 hour before bedtime
- Eat regular, healthy meals. Taking care of the body does wonders for the mind
- Take medications as directed, and avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
Organize the Oasis
- Take one thing at a time, focus on completing it, relish that victory, and then move on to the next task. Spoiler alert: Multitasking is overrated!
- Prioritize time-sensitive tasks. Deal with tasks like emails and phone calls as soon as possible to feel less overwhelmed
- Declutter the home and office to create an appealing work environment and keep important items easily accessible. A clutter-free environment is a happy environment!
- Reduce distractions as much as possible. It might mean changing workstations or just silencing smartphone notifications and email alerts. Make those noise-cancellation headphones your new best friend!
- Write down assignments, appointments, messages, and important thoughts. Jot down the million-dollar ideas to come back to them once more critical tasks are completed
- Take breaks to stand up and walk around to hit the reset button in the brain and get rejuvenated for the next task
Socialize and Smile
- Connect with people and maintain relationships.
- Schedule activities with friends, especially supportive people who understand ADHD challenges. Those cheerleaders will help you feel less lonely and can help you get through the toughest days
Managing ADHD symptoms is all about finding a unique rhythm. Embrace these strategies, and watch how they transform days, weeks, and everything else!
How can loved ones support someone with ADHD?
Psychotherapy and family counseling can be helpful to a great extent in providing better support to adults with ADHD. Here are a few more steps that friends, spouses, and family can take:
- Open Communication: Encouraging open discussions about ADHD without judgment would allow the individual to express their feelings and experiences. You just need to be a compassionate listener. Validate their emotions and thoughts, creating a safe space for them to share their struggles and triumphs. Put yourself in their shoes. Understand the challenges they face daily and empathize with their experiences.
- Understanding ADHD: Learn about ADHD together. Understanding the condition as a group can promote empathy and diminish misconceptions. Help the individual understand that ADHD is a part of who they are, not a character Normalize their experiences and emotions related to ADHD.
- Building Self-Esteem: Focus on their unique strengths. Emphasize qualities like creativity, enthusiasm, and resilience. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Assist them in recognizing their accomplishments. Help them acknowledge their efforts, reinforcing their self-worth and boosting
- Practical Support: Aid in creating and maintaining structured daily routines. Assist in setting up calendars, reminders, and to-do lists to manage tasks and appointments. Help break down overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Guide them through the process to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Follow-ups and Check-ins: Frequent, gentle check-ins show that you care. These conversations can help identify their challenges and offer the opportunity to provide support. If they’re hesitant to seek help, gently encourage them to consider therapy, counseling, or ADHD coaching and offer to help them find suitable professionals.
- Psychotherapy and Family Therapy: Encourage participation in psychotherapy or family counseling. Therapy provides coping strategies and emotional support, benefiting both the individual and their loved ones. If appropriate, attend therapy sessions together. This involvement demonstrates solidarity and helps in better understanding their experiences.
- Patience and Compassion: Understand that progress might be slow, and setbacks are natural. Patience is key; avoid expressing frustration or disappointment. Show love and understanding during difficult. Compassion can make a significant difference in their emotional well-being.
- Encourage Self-care: Encourage regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep. Physical well-being can significantly impact mental health. Help them explore stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or hobbies Managing stress contributes to better overall focus and emotional stability.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some early signs of ADHD in adults?
Finding yourself trapped in a cycle of half-finished tasks, unable to concentrate on mundane or repetitive tasks, manifesting impulsive verbal behaviors, and experiencing intense emotions and mood swings are some of the direct signs of ADHD in adults. Frustration stemming from the inability to focus or complete tasks can quickly escalate to irritability and anger. These mood swings can strain personal and professional relationships, as others might struggle to understand the abrupt shifts in demeanor.
Impulsivity, a core feature of ADHD, can lead to risky behaviors. This might
include reckless driving, excessive spending, or engaging in dangerous physical activities without adequate consideration of the potential consequences.
2. Is it possible to have ADHD symptoms in adult women?
Yes, anyone can have ADHD symptoms, although more boys than girls, and more kids than adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. This is because females with ADHD are more likely to have the “inattentive” symptoms, rather than the hyperactive ones which are less disruptive, less obvious, and sometimes can even be misinterpreted. Thus, it may go undiagnosed until a later stage.
3. Can ADHD be 100% cured?
No, ADHD is a condition that lasts for a lifetime. ADHD symptoms look different for different individuals over different phases of life. However, there are treatments and methods used to reduce the symptoms and help an individual with ADHD live a better quality of life.
4. What are the other conditions that can occur with ADHD?
More than two-thirds of people with ADHD also have at least another coexisting condition, like disruptive behavior disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, learning disorders, sleep disorders, substance abuse, etc.
5. How is ADHD diagnosed?
ADHD cannot be diagnosed by a single test. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted by a mental health professional to rule out any other possible disorder and understand the case better.
ADHD is not a mere childhood phase but a lifelong condition that demands understanding, compassion, and effective management. Hence, managing ADHD involves a multifaceted approach.
Psychotherapy and medication have proven to be effective treatments, but there are additional strategies that individuals can incorporate into their daily lives. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and mindful screen time management contribute significantly to symptom management. Through awareness, education, and an inclusive support network, we can create environments that empower individuals with ADHD to thrive in their lives.
By fostering a culture of acceptance and assistance, we can transform the lives of those affected by ADHD, enabling them to harness their unique strengths and achieve their full potential.
We at Relevance Recovery are dedicated to creating multifaceted treatment plans for people suffering from ADHD which begins with identifying the symptoms and eventually working on them in detail through a personalized approach. If you or someone you know is likely to be suffering from ADHD, add in your details at Mental Health ADHD and request a call back from our experts.