Many adults are surprised to learn that they have ADHD, since they were never hyperactive as children, or because they were able to attain college degrees.
Others are relieved to have a real answer as to why they experience some of the symptoms listed below. For the first time, they hear that the answer is not to simply “try harder.”
Some say that having ADHD is the best part of their personality, has made them who they are, and is the source of their professional success. They wouldn’t change anything about their ADHD.
Others will say that having ADHD has caused painful and frustrating struggles their whole life. It has been a barrier to moving forward in life academically and professionally, or has negatively impacted their interpersonal relationships.
If you have been experiencing the downside of ADHD, and life has felt like a race with weights around your ankles, or you have experienced negative consequences from what you think may be ADHD, then you may be looking for information on how to manage ADHD. Or, you are reading this because there is someone you care for who you think may have ADHD.
1. Know the signs of ADHD in Adults
There is a common misconception that all kids outgrow ADHD. Recent studies indicate that 60 to 80 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have symptoms into adulthood. Symptoms are subtler in adults but can create significant challenges in daily life.
There are many adults with ADHD who are successful adults. They are teachers, doctors, and business owners. It may never have occurred to them that they may have ADHD, since they successfully completed degrees and have jobs. Many of these people have been successful because they have learned how to leverage the positive side of ADHD.
An entrepreneur is a good example of this. Yet, many of these successful professionals struggle to keep up with daily tasks, or their personal life is in chaos due to feeling overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of “boring” everyday tasks.
ADHD is a neurobehavioral condition that affects the way an individual functions in different settings. A person with ADHD may face lifelong challenges in school, work, and personal relationships. Adults often develop strategies to cope with their ADHD. Each day of an adult’s life brings new responsibilities, duties, and challenges, which may eventually overwhelm these coping strategies.
In addition to noting the above symptoms, you can download the AMEN ADHD checklist screening here.
Identifying this condition and finding the best treatment is very important. Whether you choose a natural alternative approach to medication or use a medication, with proper treatment and ADHD coaching, many people with ADHD can and do lead successful lives.
2. Know how ADHD is diagnosed and treated at NPS
What is ADHD? The medical field has spent decades attempting to answer that very question. Doctors and researchers will tell you there is no single marker or ADHD test that can assess for ADHD signs in adults. The closest thing we have to a marker is the 15 to 20 minute computer test that Dr. Neal uses, called the Qb ADHD test. Dr. Neal has invested over 35 years in answering the question, “What is ADHD?” as well as investigating how to measure the signs of ADHD in adults, teens, and children.
Dr. Neal developed an ADHD intake assessment designed specifically for ADHD. It is not a typical neuropsychological battery, which studies show cannot fully measure the symptoms of ADHD because it only has a 5% correlation to the diagnosis for ADHD. Dr. Neal knows he must ask the right questions that reflect a person over their whole lifespan, in different settings, with different types of people, to get at the heart of ADHD behaviors and mindsets. His assessment includes a comprehensive intake and rating scales, which takes one to two hours to fill out prior to your first session. It takes two to four sessions to adequately review this intake.
If ADHD is diagnosed, then the next step is to discuss the various options for treatment for what is causing the ADHD. While medication can be a valuable tool for managing the core symptoms of ADHD, it is not the only treatment option available. Diet, sleep habits, exercise, and lifestyle changes can sometimes make a significant difference in decreasing the symptoms of ADHD. We also know professionals in the Chicagoland area that tap into technology to train the brain to be more focused and less impulsive. Dr. Neal is dedicated to offering the best of alternative approaches to ADHD.
For many, the best treatment plan includes several approaches, because they each fortify one another, helping the body and brain self-regulate. There is no way to predict in advance if any particular approach, including medication, will be beneficial. Dr. Neal will help you take the next informed step and make a plan that works in a balanced and realistic fashion, based on your time, resources, and life circumstances.
3. Make an appointment with a qualified professional
Having some of the symptoms of ADHD does not necessarily mean you have ADHD. It is important to see a qualified healthcare professional such as a clinical psychologist, who can properly assess you for ADHD.
“I have talked with many spouses who, after years of frustration, suspect their mate may have ADHD. They have come to the conclusion that while they love many things about their husband or wife, something is not working in how their mate manages their life. They need the relationship to change and the chaos to end.”
– Dr. Douglas Neal