Many associate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder with childhood and, in fact, most cases of ADHD are diagnosed in early to mid-childhood. Often, ADHD symptoms for children can get better over time or they can learn to cope reasonably well after seeking counseling services, but a small number of children living with a form of ADHD will suffer from these symptoms as adults. Current estimates show that around 4% of U.S. adults over age 18 are living with active ADHD.
Adult symptoms can differ a bit from childhood symptoms. Adults typically have poor short-term memory such as forgetting appointments and constantly misplacing objects like their keys or phone. They may have difficulties at their job like focusing and keeping up with quotas and deadlines. They may be especially impulsive or ‘space out’ a lot. Many of these adults have lived (diagnosed or not) with their symptoms from the time they were children, so they may have developed some coping mechanisms that help them through their daily lives. However, what if daily life is too difficult because of these symptoms?
Adult ADHD can cause some life-halting symptoms if unchecked. These include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Harmful impulsive actions
- Straining of relationships
- Lack of job security
- Inability to enjoy hobbies
- Financial disarray
Now, let’s make something clear. ADHD is not something wrong with you. What happens with an ADHD brain is that a few small parts of your brain naturally get less hormonal stimulation than non-ADHD brains. This lack of stimulation causes the brain to react a bit differently to your environment, resulting in ADHD symptoms. Unfortunately, most ADHD symptoms are difficult to deal with in modern work and life culture. Most adults’ day to day lives just require an amount of attention and organization that ADHD brains struggle with providing. That’s where the depression and anxiety come in — when a person with ADHD believes that they are not doing enough to combat their symptoms and thrive.
If you have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in your life, or even just think you might have undiagnosed adult ADHD, consider this: Are you thriving? Having troubles in life is normal, but if you believe you’re not reaching your full potential or you’re majorly struggling because of depression, anxiety, or ADHD-like symptoms, you should seek help.
Professional counseling services can diagnose your particular case and work with you on a safe, appropriate combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and/or stress management. A therapist or psychiatrist can provide that extra support you need to cope with and soften your worst symptoms. You’re not crazy or broken, your brain just needs that little push. Seeking out counseling services is the first step.