Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain difference. Adults don’t develop ADHD as adults. They often have not been diagnosed and have spent their lives compensating. Eventually, the increasing demands of adulthood and family life can break down compensating techniques. This can lead to secondary anxiety and under achievement. Many adults with ADHD are often misdiagnosed and unsuccessfully treated (especially women).
While it’s normal for people to become overwhelmed with obligations and occasionally distracted, people with ADHD can become paralyzed by demands. No matter how hard they try, they can’t keep all the plates spinning simultaneously. Often leading a life scurrying from one obligation after another until they are burned out, they wonder why others seem to manage life much easier and better. They are misunderstood and tired of hearing “it’s not that hard” from friends and family, which contributes to low-self esteem and masking.
As children, hyperactivity with ADHD is stereotyped and observed by certain behaviors (such as not sitting still or running/climbing). Many adults with ADHD still experience hyperactivity, however it manifests differently. Sometimes it results in internal restlessness (and anxiety) when movement is unacceptable or excessive talking and monopolizing conversations.
There are three primary characteristics of ADHD: Difficulty regulating attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity; though all three aren’t always prominent in one person.
Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with:
- Carelessness, missing details, or submitting inaccurate work
- Staying focused through meetings or conversations
- Becoming easily sidetracked, forgetting tasks
- Disorganization, messiness
- Planning and prioritzing tasks
- Motivation to do things that are not interesting, immediate consequence or reward based
- Multitasking or transitioning to new tasks
- Hyperfocusing and neglecting other duties
- Being late (or too early)
- Managing tasks and time
- Impulsive or destructive behaviors (speeding, binge eating, etc.)
- Low frustration tolerance
- Regulating emotions
- Consistency and routine
- Stimulus seeking behaviors
Skills coaching, therapy for shame and guilt, therapy for co-occurring anxiety, and understanding your ADHD brain can make a dramatic difference in your symptoms and outlook.
If you’re interested in learning more about ADHD or the above symptoms, contact me for a complimentary consultation.