Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects about 9 million adults. It is a mental health condition that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work/school performance, low self-esteem and is responsible for reduced productivity in the work place and household chores.
An increasing number of adults are showing similar symptoms to ADD/ADHD because they are simply overstimulated. This mimics ADHD, but is really a situation in which adults are overworked, overtired, and overstimulated by technology and various demands and can't sustain focus.
You should see a doctor when the inattention, hyperactivity or impulsive behavior continually disrupts your life. Half of adults who have ADHD also have at least one other diagnosable mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Here are some clues, or symptoms of ADHD in adults:
1. You have a child with ADHD: ADHD runs in some families, with one or both parents having it. If your child was diagnosed with ADHD, chances are you or your partner may have adult ADHD.
2. You cannot complete most, if any, household chores: People with untreated adult ADHD often aren’t productive with chores. The person without ADHD will have to take on more of these chores, including cooking, cleaning and parenting. This inequity can cause resentment without proper diagnosis or treatment.
3. You have trouble at work: Adults with ADHD typically have difficulty at work because they cannot pay attention to details and they make careless mistakes. They cannot complete tasks because they’re not good at following through.
What to do if you have ADHD?
Seek a professional counselor who can help you with a diagnosis and treatment. You can also downsize your distractions: check emails at pre-determined times, turn off instant messaging programs, create an environment with minimal audible, visual and mental distractions. Ask for explicit instructions on a project and break up big projects into smaller, manageable chunks, and use a timer to remind you when to change tasks or get to an appointment.
Exercise may improve ADD/ADHD symptoms because the increased blood flow to your brain improves attention. Exercise can enhance your mood and make medication more effective. Make sure to allow enough time for sleep. Many adults with ADD/ADHD suffer from insomnia which only exacerbates their attention problems. Furthermore, ask for help. You can use specialized coaches, organizational systems, medications or therapists.