There is no such thing as “Adult ADHD” as a stand-alone disorder. It does not exist without some symptoms of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) being present during childhood. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to go through school and advance into adulthood without being identified as having a learning disorder or ADHD. This can be especially true for women, as girls in general are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Without proper diagnosis, treatment, and intervention, advancing through life becomes much more challenging. For those with undiagnosed ADHD, it can feel like life doesn’t come as easily to you as it does for your family members, friends, and colleagues. College, work, and home responsibilities feel unnecessarily challenging. Maybe you are getting to the point where your boss or your spouse tells you that you need to “get it together.” You know that something is not right, but you are not sure what. While there may be other explanations for your struggles (such as depression, significant stress, or anxiety), you may have ADHD. If the examples below sound familiar, you may want to consider getting evaluated for ADHD.
- Difficulty in School (K-12) – It may be obvious, such as poor grades or disruptive behaviors in the classroom, or it may be more subtle like daydreaming in class, difficulty staying organized, and having trouble starting or finishing homework.
- Difficulty in College – If you “just got by,” due to procrastinating, barely passing tests, and forgetting to attend class, for example.
- Difficulty at Work – You are disorganized, have difficulty prioritizing, and fail to meet daily goals/expectations. You may forget to respond to calls/emails or have trouble following along in meetings.
- Poor Organization – You may have failed attempts to get organized (i.e., using a planner, labels, a “system”), but still find yourself easily losing keys or overlooking reminder notes.
- Difficulty in Relationships – You’ve always had difficulty making friends or missed social cues (or, on the other hand, making friends has always been your strength). Your romantic relationships have been strained because your partner feels like you do not listen or remember important occasions or even simple errands.
- Potential History of Impulsive Behaviors – Such as substance use, mischievous behavior as a child or adolescent, interest in thrill-seeking activities.
- Mental Health Issues – You may have experienced depression, low self-esteem, or anxiety because of your struggles.
- Family History of ADHD – If your siblings, parents, or even children have been diagnosed with ADHD, there is a stronger likelihood of your diagnosis.
If you can relate to these examples, it could be worthwhile to explore the possibility of ADHD, no matter your age. With proper diagnosis, you can be prescribed medication, possibly receive accommodations in school or work, and learn techniques to help improve your functioning. Contact Dr. Fox if you are interested in learning more about your options.