ADHD is normally associated with children and adolescents, but it can follow you into adulthood if it is left undiagnosed and untreated. More and more people are beginning to realize that they’ve had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) all their lives without knowing what it was. Suffering with untreated ADD can take a serious toll on the life of the individual, causing low self-esteem and affecting school or work performance, sometimes to such a degree that it makes it hard to function. If you suspect that you have adult ADD, there are some important things to keep in mind when seeking a diagnosis.
While it’s commonly referred to as “adult ADD,” this doesn’t mean that the disorder began in adulthood. There is no such thing as adult-onset ADD; the disorder always begins in childhood. “Adult ADD” simply refers to ADD that is diagnosed in adulthood or a set of ADD symptoms that still affect the individual as an adult.
If you’re seeking a diagnosis of adult attention deficit disorder, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis. Because ADD always begins in childhood, they are going to want to know about your history. These are some questions a doctor might ask to determine whether you experienced ADHD symptoms in childhood:
- Do you have a history of short attention span, impulsive behavior, and feelings of restlessness?
- Did you have a tendency to get in trouble a lot in school?
- Did you often hear that you were “not living up to your potential?”
- Did you daydream or drift off a lot when you were a child, even during activities that required your attention?
Before meeting with your healthcare practitioner, it is a good idea to sit down and think about your childhood behavior. You might also want to speak with your parents to get an idea of exactly how you behaved. This information is very important for discerning whether what you’re experiencing now is ADD or some other form of emotional disorder.
The doctor will also want to know about your current problems. He or she might ask some of these questions to determine whether you meet the criteria for ADD:
- Do you often begin tasks but rarely finish them?
- Do you feel as if you’re easily distracted?
- Do you have trouble sitting still, such as difficulty sitting through an entire movie?
- Do you have trouble controlling your impulses?
- Are you easily frustrated?
- Do you feel as though you have to be moving to think?
- Do you have trouble staying on task?
- Do you find that your thinking or behavior has an effect on your ability to work effectively?
- Do you have trouble paying attention to detail?
- Do you have difficulty getting organized?
In order to receive a diagnosis of adult ADD, it is important that you get screened for other emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is also important that your doctor rule out certain medical conditions that might mimic ADD.
Ultimately, only a doctor can diagnose your ADD and provide appropriate treatment. If you do receive a diagnosis of ADD, there are now medications available, developed specifically to treat adults. There are also other, non-drug ADD treatments available.