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ADHD in Adults: Symptom Aggravators, Treatment Hurdles, and Medical Legitimacy

What are Cognitive and Behavioral variables, and how do they affect ADHD?

Cognitive components (thoughts and beliefs) can negatively affect ADHD symptoms. For example, a person who's going through something significant in their life may shift their attention elsewhere, or think things like "I don't want to do this" or "I'll finish this later".

Behavioral components are things people do that make things ADHD symptoms worse. These behaviors can be avoiding responsibilities or not keeping workplaces organized.

Certain neuropsychiatric impairments (such as ADHD), starting at childhood, prevent effective coping. Adults with ADHD have usually been suffering from this disorder since childhood, symptoms being difficulty concentrating, difficulty following through with tasks and impulsivity. These symptoms may prevent people with ADHD from learning effectively or using effective coping skills.

Due to these symptoms, some people with this disorder have sustained underachievement, or have had experiences that might result in labelling themselves as "failures". These negative beliefs can cause avoidance and distractibility, causing attention shifts when doing boring or difficult tasks, and behavioral symptoms may worsen.


Can't ADHD be treated with medication?

Yeah! Medications are the first line treatment approach for adult ADHD, and are also the most studied treatment. Medication include antidepressants, stimulants and many more. However, around 20% - 50% of of individuals who take antidepressants are nonresponders: either someone who isn't too affected by medication or someone who cannot tolerate the medications. Plus. adults who do respond only see a 50% or less reduction of core ADHD symptoms

So, although ADHD medication is effective, having a treatment program combined with medication is a more thorough way of treating ADHD. In combination, those with ADHD tend to develop coping strategies and deal with disruptions such as underachievement and relationship difficulties.


ADHD in adulthood: a Valid Medical Condition

Adult ADHD is present in 5% of the adults (that's about 16 million adults) in the United States. Although not able to be diagnosed using methods such as x rays or blood tests, doctors are able to diagnose ADHD based on the patients self-report of symptoms, the doctors own observations, or the observations of the patient from others.

Certain symptoms for ADHD include:

  • Poor school + work performance (For example, challenges such as struggles with organization or planning, quick boredom, limited sustained attention to reading and paperwork, procrastination, ineffective time management, and impulsive decision-making are common in individuals with ADHD.)

  • Difficulties with interpersonal skills, such as struggles in forming friendships, inconsistency in following through on commitments, poor listening abilities, and challenges in maintaining intimate relationships, are frequently observed in individuals with ADHD.

  • Behavioral issues, such as individuals with ADHD achieving lower educational attainment than expected given their abilities, challenges in managing finances, difficulty in organizing their living spaces, and maintaining chaotic routines, are common manifestations of the disorder.


Children with ADHD do Grow Up

ADHD may not simply go away when you get older. The prevalence of ADHD in adults is estimated to range from 1% to 5%, which aligns with the rates observed in school-age children, estimated to be between 2% and 9%. Follow-up studies on children diagnosed with ADHD indicate that impairing symptoms persist into adulthood for 30% to 80% of those diagnosed, extending beyond adolescence.

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