For adults dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, their inability to stay focused, remain attentive, and control their emotions can cause many unnecessary hardships in both their professional and personal lives. Since many people incorrectly believe ADHD only occurs in children, many adults who suffer from ADHD that were never diagnosed as a child may not ever know they suffer from the condition. Approximately eight million adults in the U.S. suffer from ADHD, but considering how significantly the diagnosis rate drops after adolescence, the real number of adults who suffer from the condition is likely much higher.
Adult ADHD Symptoms
The symptoms of ADHD in adults are similar to those in children, but they affect adults in very different ways.
- You consistently underperform at work, and experience issues staying motivated while at work
- You find yourself frequently changing jobs either from quitting or being fired
- You possesses a history of underachieving academically while in school
- When dealing with others, you often find your relationships become frequently strained because of problems dealing with procrastination, forgetting about important events and dates, completing household chores, or experience wide mood swings
- You feel chronically stressed about not meeting goals or responsibilities
- You experience feelings of guilt, frustration, or blame about your inability to stay focused
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you might want to consider consulting a mental health professional for a full diagnosis. A trained specialist can help determine if you suffer from ADHD instead of depression, lack of sleep, or a learning disability, all of which can mimic the symptoms of the condition. During the session, you can expect the specialist to ask you a variety of questions that can include:
- How long have your symptoms persisted?
- What problems have your symptoms caused you?
- Does a history of the condition run in the family?
The specialist might also administer a type of ADHD exam, such as a checklist of symptoms or a test of your attention-span. Once you receive a proper diagnosis of your condition you can begin to seek help dealing with the symptoms of ADHD.
Dealing with ADHD
Once diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, you can begin to use several forms of treatment. Prescription drugs that help restore focus are some of the most common forms of treatment, but there are more natural ways to help deal with your ADHD.
The majority of prescription drugs work by raising the levels of dopamine in the brain, which can also be accomplished naturally through exercise. Working out regularly can have the same affect on the body as many of these type of stimulant drugs, but doesn’t carry the risk of addiction that comes with medication. Recent studies have shown that adults with ADHD have been able to lower their medication doses after starting a regular workout routine, and in some cases, were able to quit taking medication all together.
Regular exercise can have several benefits when dealing with ADHD:
- Helps when dealing with stress and anxiety
- Improves your impulse control and helps to reduce compulsive behavior
- Increases your active working memory
- Improves your ability to plan, organize, and recall details
- Raises the levels of proteins in the brain that add learning and memory
In addition to these benefits, regular exercise will also help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes, while also improving your self-esteem and overall mood.
Coming to terms and dealing with ADHD can help dramatically improve your daily life, and finally give you the ability to achieve your potential. Remember, whether you decide to treat your condition with medication or exercise, you’ve already completed the first step towards overcoming ADHD by seeking help.
Timothy Lemke writes about health for the blog of Dr. Ernie Thompson, a dentist in Aloha at Thompson Family Dental.