Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (also referred to as Adult ADHD, Adult ADD) is the common term used to describe the neuropsychiatric condition attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when it is present in adults. Up to 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD in early childhood continue to demonstrate notable ADHD symptoms as adults. Current convention refers to this condition as adult ADHD, according to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), 2000 revision. It has been estimated that 15% of the global population has ADHD (including cases not yet diagnosed).
Causes and Symptoms
Individuals with ADHD have deficiencies with self-regulation and self-motivation, that cause problems with distractibility, procrastination, organization, and prioritization. The learning potential and overall intelligence of an adult with ADHD, however, are no different from the potential and intelligence of adults who do not have the disorder. ADHD is a chronic condition, beginning in early childhood and persisting throughout a person's lifetime. It is estimated that up to 60% of children with ADHD will continue to have significant ADHD-related symptoms persisting into adulthood, resulting in a significant impact on education, employment, and interpersonal relationships.
Whereas teachers and caregivers responsible for children are often attuned to the symptoms of ADHD, employers and others who interact with adults are far less likely to regard such behaviors as a symptom. In part, this is because symptoms do change with maturity; adults who have ADHD are less likely to exhibit obvious hyperactive behaviors. Research shows that adults with ADHD are more likely than their non-ADHD counterparts to experience automobile accidents and less likely to complete their education. ADHD adults have significantly lower rates of professional employment, even controlling for confounding psychiatric problems.
Adults with ADHD are often perceived by others as chaotic and disorganized, with a tendency to need high stimulation to be less distracted and function effectively. As their coping mechanisms become overwhelmed, some individuals may turn to smoking, alcohol, or illicit drugs. As a result, many adults suffer from associated or "co-morbid" psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Many with ADHD also have associated learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, which contributes to their difficulties.
Successful treatment of ADHD is usually based on a combination of medication, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and skills training.
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