ADHD in Adults
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not just a condition affecting children.
The symptoms of adult ADHD affect everything from a person’s relationships to their career. Adult ADHD is often not recognized during childhood. Young individuals are frequently categorized as poor students, daydreamers, class clowns, slackers, or troublemakers. When you were younger, you may have compensated for the symptoms of ADHD, only to encounter difficulties as an adult as your responsibilities grew.
There is good news despite the overwhelming challenges. Counseling, education, and support can help you manage symptoms better and turn potential weaknesses into strengths.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD in Adults
Adults who have attention deficit disorder often exhibit quite different symptoms than children. Symptoms are experienced differently by each individual.
Trouble concentrating and staying focused
The term “attention deficit” may be misleading. Adults with ADHD can focus on stimulating or engaging tasks but find it difficult to pay attention to mundane ones.
Hyperfocus is a tendency toward absorbing oneself in stimulating and rewarding tasks. Hyperfocus can act both as a coping mechanism and as a distraction, as it makes you lose track of what is going on around you. When directed towards productive activities, hyperfocus can be an asset, but it can lead to work and relationship problems if left unchecked.
Forgetfulness and Disorganization
It can often seem that things are out of control and chaotic when you have adult ADHD. It can be challenging to stay organized, prioritize your workload, keep track of tasks and responsibilities, and manage your time.
The following symptoms often accompany disorganization and forgetfulness:
- Poor organizational skills – home, office, desk, and car are excessively cluttered
- Inability to start or finish projects
- Chronic tardiness
- Frequently forgetting deadlines, appointments, and commitments
- Always misplacing or losing things (keys, wallet, phone, bills)
- Poor time management
ADHD adults may have difficulty controlling their actions, comments, and responses. They may act without thinking or react without considering the consequences. Interrupting others, blurting out words, or hastily rushing through tasks are all signs of impulsivity. For adults with ADHD who experience impulsivity, it can be challenging to remain patient in certain situations.
Difficulty with Emotions
ADHD in adults also comes with emotional challenges. Often, people have difficulty managing their emotions, particularly when angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Adult ADHD exhibits emotional symptoms such as:
- Easily irritable and stressed out
- Agitation or an explosive temperament
- Feelings of insecurity and a sense of low self-esteem
- Having difficulty remaining motivated
- Hypersensitive to criticism
- Restlessness or Hyperactivity
Adults with ADHD are far less likely to exhibit hyperactivity than their younger counterparts. Only a small percentage of adults with ADHD experience hyperactivity. Adults with ADHD typically show high levels of energy and a constant feeling of being “on the go.” However, hyperactivity symptoms often diminish with age. Hyperactivity in adults can be characterized by:
- Easily bored, needing excitement, prone to taking risks
- Excessive talking and simultaneous multitasking
- Fidgety, incapable of sitting still
- Feelings of inner restlessness, racing thoughts, and agitation
ADHD Symptoms Can Lead to Many Health Problems
Health problems may include substance use disorders, compulsive eating, anxiety, chronic stress and tension, and low self-esteem. ADHD symptoms can affect your career, your relationships, and your family.
Those with Adult ADHD may self-medicate, using drugs or alcohol to dull the symptoms experience, not realizing that it often worsens their symptoms and lead to a substance use disorder.
Integrated Treatment Is Critical for Complex Co-occurring Disorders
Integrated treatment provides all of the therapeutic resources necessary to heal an individual physically, psychologically, and spiritually. It is unknown what causes addiction, but co-occurring mental health disorders can increase the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Each person is different. Sometimes it is not until after addiction sets in that mental health issues are apparent; at that point, mental health disorders are exacerbated by substance use. Sometimes, a mental health disorder precedes the onset of substance use.
A comprehensive treatment plan for people with co-occurring disorders should include:
- Psychiatric services and ongoing care
- Medical care (including medication, when appropriate)
- Evidence-based therapies
- Case management
- Family programming and education
- Life skills training
- Continuing care planning
Every patient deserves to receive an individualized treatment plan. At Origins, treatment plans consider the individual’s overall well-being: body, mind, and spirit. Origins provides comprehensive behavioral health assessments to each patient in order to identify and treat co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorders. The sessions with their primary therapists and the clinical interviews lay the foundation for an individual treatment plan that meets each patient’s specific needs.
Co-occurring disorders must be treated simultaneously, in the same location, and by the same treatment team to be effective. In our multidisciplinary, medically intensive program, we offer treatment for co-occurring disorders by highly trained professionals. Our treatment teams assess and treat our patients in terms of their physical and mental well-being, as well as their spiritual and psychological needs. Our highly trained staff — including medical professionals, licensed therapists, and psychiatrists — meet daily to discuss each patient’s case and develop solutions. This integrated, specialized treatment model has been shown to improve ADHD in adults and quality of life.
Co-occurring disorders may exacerbate each other, making treatment challenging. Our health psychology department, Origins Center for Brain Recovery, provides specialized, evidence-based therapy interventions for brain health in Florida. CBR addresses addiction and mental health disorders by providing treatment for both conditions simultaneously, giving our patients a greater chance of lasting recovery.
At the Center for Brain Recovery, we provide intensive psychological testing such as:
- Personality Inventory for DSM-5—Brief Form (PID-5-BF)
- CNS VS (Central Nervous System Vital Signs)
- MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2)
- MCMI (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory)
Learn more about Origins Center for Brain Recovery here.
People Can and Do Recover
There is no cure for any mental health disorder, including addiction and ADHD in adults, but many people succeed in living amazing lives filled with hope and courage. Several therapies and treatment interventions based on research have proven effective in treating individuals with co-occurring disorders. The key is individualized, integrated, intensive treatment. With long-term support and therapeutic interventions, individuals with co-occurring disorders can recover.
Origins recognizes that co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are inter-related and require simultaneous treatment. Recovery consists of psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being. Start your journey to freedom and fulfillment by calling Origins Behavioral HealthCare at 844-843-8935.