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Uncovering the Truth: Navigating ADHD in Adulthood


 

What is ADHD?


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric, medical, valid disorder. ADHD is most commonly developed during childhood, and many children with ADHD have the disorder when they become adults as well. There are three major types of symptoms that can identify ADHD: poor attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


Symptoms of Impulsivity include:

  • Acting before thinking

  • Difficulty waiting

  • Interrupting others often, and many more


Symptoms of Hyperactivity include:

  • Feeling restless

  • Being unable to sit still

  • Being fidgety, and many more


Symptoms of Poor Attention include:

  • Easily getting bored

  • Constantly switching from one task to another

  • Difficulty concentrating, and many more


A common term that comes up when talking about ADHD is disinhibition (lack of inhibition). It's used to describe the impulsivity and hyperactivity symptoms that are present with ADHD. Many people with ADHD tend to have a mix of all 3. but many people also have symptoms that only show 1 category.


The term attention deficit disorder (ADD) is occasionally used when someone seems to show the "poor attention" symptoms, but don't show the hyperactivity ones.


 

ADHD Does Not Correlate with Intelligence or Laziness


Most people with ADHD are able to develop coping skills to manage their difficulties. It's important to not that ADHD is a neurobiological disorder. What this means is that ADHD is unrelated to intelligence, laziness, IQ, or being crazy. There are a plethora of treatment plans available for ADHD patients. Some begin with taking medication, then actively learning and practicing skills, which usually see's great improvements.



 

What are the Specific Criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD?


Most ADHD diagnosis's are done by a mental health professional. The mental health professional goes by the DSM-5: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, which lists the symptoms, requirements and criteria to have an individual diagnosed by ADHD.



To meet this criteria of adult ADHD, the patient must have at least 5/9 possible inattention symptoms, and/or 5/9 hyperactivity symptoms. If you have 5/9 inattention symptoms but not for hyperactivity, you would be considered to have "predominantly inattentive presentation". For hyperactivity, you would be considered to have "predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation". If you fit both, then you have "combined presentation".


Inattentive symptoms include behaviors such as overlooking details, struggling to maintain focus on tasks, appearing out of focus when directly addressed, failing to carry out instructions, avoiding tasks requiring constant mental effort, frequently misplacing items, being easily distracted, and exhibiting forgetfulness.


Hyperactive/impulsive symptoms involve behaviors like restlessness, frequent seat leaving, difficulty engaging in quiet activities, a constant need to be active, excessive talking, impulsively blurting out answers, struggling with waiting, and constantly interrupting.


Additionally, for a diagnosis of ADHD, (1) symptoms typically be seen before age 12, (2) symptoms must be seen in at least two different environments, (3) symptoms significantly bother daily life, and (4) symptoms are not better explained by another mental health condition.


 

What's the difference between ADHD as a diagnosis compared to daily life?


You may have looked over that list and thought that you've done those things a couple of times, or the fact that those things can and will probably happen to anyone at some point. However, this is actually common with many psychiatric disorders. An example would be the fact that everyone occasionally feels angry, but that doesn't mean they are bipolar.


To qualify for a diagnosis, you must have difficulties with parts of your life that you could see ADHD taking a part of, such as at work or at school, and have that stress not be caused from another disorder.


 

Key Takeaways:


  • ADHD doesn't correlate to adults being stupid or crazy, as it is a neurobiological disorder.

  • Adults with ADHD are able to develop coping mechanisms for everyday life.

  • To qualify for an ADHD diagnosis, you must fulfill the criteria in the DSM-5.









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