ADHD in Adults: Finding Hope in the Chaos

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are not limited to children and adolescents. ADHD affects adults and has similarities and differences with younger populations. It is common for individuals diagnosed with ADHD as children, to have symptoms persist well into adulthood. Currently ADHD affects an estimated 4.4% of the adult population in the U.S. It is common for ADHD to co-exist alongside other mental health conditions like Substance Use Disorder, Anxiety and Depression, Mood Disorders, and PTSD.

Chaos With Adhd Adhd Treatment Ottawa Adhd Therapy Scottsdale

The Impact of ADHD and Functioning

ADHD impacts functioning and wellbeing in many ways. ADHD symptoms in adults can present as, but are not limited to, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity, persistent patterns of inattention, difficulty with emotion regulation, poor time management. Additionally, ADHD can impact a person’s ability to form and maintain secure and satisfying relationships with others. Adults struggling with ADHD can have difficulty meeting and keeping up with work and/or school demands. Adults with ADHD often exhibit poor time management skills, difficulty concentrating, poor comprehension, procrastination, and forgetful behavior. Adults with ADHD also have little ability to engage in active attention which leads to difficulty organizing tasks. These symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to gain and maintain employment as ADHD affects performance in the workplace or academic settings.

Adhd Effects Limbic Add Treatment

The Impact of ADHD on Relationships and Sense of Self

Adults with ADHD can experience interpersonal relationship problems. This is due to symptoms associated with ADHD; poor listening and attending skills, difficulty regulating emotion, difficulty with trust, impulsive behavior and difficulty following through with tasks. Adults with ADHD often struggle with self-esteem and confidence due to the confusing and at times debilitating symptoms associated with ADHD. Self-esteem is impacted as daily life activities are difficult for adults with ADHD. People with ADHD typically find coordination and fine motor control difficult and find themselves dropping things and bumping into objects regularly. This makes spatial and visual awareness difficult.

ADHD and Neuroscience

Neuroscience also helps understand the presentation of ADHD symptoms. Research shows the relationship within the brain and nervous system of both children and adults with ADHD. ADHD involves a brain deficiency in norepinephrine; a neurotransmitter involved in cognition, arousal, attention and stress responses. Norepinephrine is built from molecules in the brain known as dopa which converts into dopamine and then into norepinephrine. Research on ADHD brains show neurotransmitter functioning is impacted in the frontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia and reticular activating system. These brain regions are responsible for executive functioning, emotion regulation, impulse control and attention.

Living With Adhd In Adults

ADHD and Labeling

While adults with ADHD may struggle with certain facets of life, ADHD should not be used to describe or label the whole person. The term ADHD rather serves as a way to distinguish and put language to the set of symptoms most commonly seen with this disorder.

ADHD and Therapy

The current knowledge and research on ADHD in adults helps mental health professionals better assess and treat individuals. There is hope and many interventions have been shown to be effective in treating ADHD. Therapy for ADHD helps individuals to re-engage in satisfying lives, careers and relationships. Types of ADHD therapy which successfully treat ADHD; Somatic therapies that foster a mind-body connection and mindfulness, EMDR to address traumatic memory and negative beliefs about self, and CBT or ACT which aim to change distorted thought patterns associated with ADHD. Medications; both stimulants and non-stimulants help treat symptoms of ADHD in children and adults. If medication is prescribed, ADHD is often best treated in conjunction with ADHD therapy. The importance of finding an ADHD therapist with whom one can feel safe, seen, heard and accepted is key in healing while living with ADHD.

Signs Of Adhd

Your Questions Answered

Adults with ADHD commonly exhibit symptoms such as hyperactivity and/or impulsivity, persistent inattention, difficulty with emotion regulation, and poor time management. These symptoms can significantly affect their functioning, often causing difficulties in meeting work or school demands, forming and maintaining relationships, and maintaining employment due to performance issues.

Adults with ADHD often experience issues in interpersonal relationships due to associated symptoms such as poor listening skills, difficulty regulating emotion, impulsive behavior, and difficulty following through with tasks. They may also struggle with self-esteem and confidence as the confusing and often debilitating symptoms of ADHD can make daily life activities and coordination tasks challenging.

Research shows that ADHD involves a deficiency in norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter involved in cognition, arousal, attention, and stress responses. This neurotransmitter is produced from dopa molecules in the brain, which convert into dopamine and then into norepinephrine. Certain brain regions, including the frontal cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, and reticular activating system, which are responsible for executive functioning, emotion regulation, impulse control, and attention, show impacted neurotransmitter functioning in individuals with ADHD.

While adults with ADHD may experience certain difficulties in life, it’s essential not to use ADHD to label or define the entire person. Instead, ADHD should be used as a term to distinguish and put language to the set of symptoms most commonly associated with this disorder.

Many interventions have been found effective in treating ADHD. Therapy options include somatic therapies, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to address traumatic memory and negative self-beliefs, and cognitive therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which aim to change distorted thought patterns. Medications, both stimulants and non-stimulants, can also help treat ADHD symptoms. Ideally, medication is combined with therapy, emphasizing the importance of finding an ADHD therapist who can provide a safe and accepting therapeutic environment.

Behavior therapy is pivotal in managing ADHD as it helps individuals develop coping strategies for disruptive symptoms, enhancing daily functioning and interpersonal relationships.

Untreated ADHD can lead to a host of challenges, including heightened risk for substance abuse, encounters with the legal system, academic and career setbacks, and strained personal relationships.

We’re Here To Help

About The Author

Mandy Higginbotham Owner

Mandy Higginbotham

Owner/Clinical Director

Mandy Higginbotham, owner of Ezra Counseling, has a Masters from Phoenix Seminary. She uses a mind-body approach to assist clients with various mental health issues. Formerly a college athlete and mentor, she cherishes her role as a therapist.

mandy
Use Shift+Tab to go back
[elfsight_instagram_feed id="1"]
Unable to retrieve Instagram User ID