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Understanding Mental Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition commonly associated with children. ADHD generally brings to mind children who have difficulty concentrating in the classroom, and who are extremely hyperactive. While many outgrow ADHD in childhood, around 60% do not and carry at least some of the symptoms into adulthood. ADHD affects roughly 4% of adults in the UK.

Symptoms of ADHD

Do you find it difficult to concentrate or finish your work on time? Are you forgetful or constantly late? Do you have trouble following directions, organising your work or daily tasks, or relaxing? Are you easily distracted, impulsive and restless? If you experience some or all of these symptoms, or were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you may have ADHD and should seek help. It is important to note that symptoms of ADHD can be much less obvious in adulthood than in children. Many adults do not know that they have ADHD because the warning signs can be subtle. However, if you think you may have ADHD it is important to seek support as the condition can have serious impacts on your everyday life, work, and relationships.

Causes of ADHD

While the exact cause of ADHD is not known, there are a number of factors that are associated with this condition. ADHD often runs in families and so may be heritable. Lifestyle and early experiences can also play a role. Those who are born prematurely or at a low weight may be more vulnerable to developing ADHD. Substance abuse during pregnancy is also associated with incidence of ADHD. While the symptoms of ADHD can be subtle in adults, the condition can still have a serious impact on one’s life. It is often associated with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and impulsive or reckless behaviours. Poor organisation skills, trouble concentrating, and tendency to procrastinate can have negative repercussions on one’s professional career. Adults with ADHD can also struggle with relationship problems, substance abuse, or addiction. ADHD and its impact can impact people in many different ways, in various areas of life, and can vary greatly in severity.

Treating ADHD

Few adults seek support for their ADHD. Many adults do not know that they have ADHD as the symptoms can be less obvious than in childhood. Adults with ADHD often suffer from other conditions as well. Therefore, it is very important to seek treatment if any of the symptoms above resonate with you. There are a variety of options available to treat adult ADHD and make day-to-day life easier. These can include therapy, medicine, or family support. Various kinds of therapy can be very effective in treating ADHD. Cognitive and behavioural therapy, relaxation training, and stress management can help with low-self esteem, anxiety, and stress which are often associated with the condition. Life and job coaching can be helpful in managing one’s professional career, setting goals, staying organised, and improving working relationships. Family therapy can assist in educating individuals with ADHD and those close to them about the condition and its impact on everyday life, which may improve relationships. Stimulant medications can be successful in treating the symptoms of ADHD. However, there are some common side-effects associated with stimulants. They can be addictive, and individuals may have trouble remembering to take them, as they must be taken regularly throughout the day. Non-stimulant medications can also be effective if one is worried about these side-effects.

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