Not Just Kids Dealing With ADHD, Many Adults Struggle With It Too

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You often hear about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children, but many adults struggle with it too.

But there are ways adults dealing with it can get some help.

Can’t sit still. Lack of attention. When it comes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, you may think of kids. But actually it affects adults as well.

Usually, adults with ADHD have had lifelong traits, but it’s not until adulthood that they were diagnosed.

“It’s actually pretty common. That is most of the patients I see in my office; I’d have to say four out of five people that come with ADHD are having it diagnosed as an adult,” said Dr. Alice Kaplan, of Allegheny General Hospital psychiatry. “Some patients will relate to what their kids are going through, and say, ‘My goodness, I’ve been like this my whole life and I was never treated.’”

When life’s responsibilities get overwhelming, it can bring out the symptoms like inattention, irritability, lack of focus.

“You will hear some people say they have trouble staying in meetings, that they get impatient in situations where they have to sit very long, such as traffic,” Dr. Kaplan says.

Sometimes adults with ADHD cope by taking jobs that keep them on the go. Luckily, the prognosis is good once it’s recognized and treated.

Stimulant and non-stimulant medications that work on the chemical signals in the brain, therapies to retrain thoughts and behaviors, and taking simple steps like using notes or a planner can be helpful.

Even if you think all of this sounds like you, don’t be so quick to self-diagnose. There are lots of reasons why people can’t focus.

“Sometimes people think they have ADHD, but it may not be,” Dr. Kaplan added. “It could be an underlying anxiety disorder, it may be a medical disorder, or it can be a mood disorder such as depression, even bipolar illness.”

That’s why it’s important to get a thorough evaluation if you have the symptoms, so the most appropriate treatment can be started.

Allegheny General Hospital
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One Comment

  1. Help says:

    What do we expect? These adults grew up with DVD’s, CDs, video games, electronics, and television all day long. When is the last time any of these people sat down to read a book? Their kids are the ones in school who have to have specially – designed instruction because they can’t focus in the classroom. They take time away from my kid who studies, has reasonable entertainment options and has NOT been given a cell phone or Ipod. Good luck society. We are a small part of the world’s population but consume the most medications of any nation.

    1. Karen says:

      Wow. Really? Why don’t you take your own advice and read a book, educate yourself before making ignorant comments like this one. I am an avid reader, I try to read 2-3 books per week. I didn’t have cable television until I went to college, and even then I found it so distracting and “busy” that I couldn’t watch it, when my roommate had it on I had to leave or wear earplugs. Even now, the only TV we have is the one downstairs that my husband watches.

      Fortunately I wasn’t one of those stereotypical ADHD kids you seem to think are God awful because they’re different from your special little snowflake. Why don’t you spend less time judging people who are different from you and your child and more time educating yourself on issues you are obviously uneducated on.

      I can agree on the luck that society needs. Until these holier-than-thou-cause-we-were-born-“normal” idiots get a clue, we’re stuck reading senseless garbage like “Help” has posted

      1. Icepick says:

        Sounds like your kid needs a lobotomy

  2. Baloney says:

    Just another article insinuating that you’re “sick” if you figit and are distracted. Who ISN’T overwhelmed and distracted today, considering the state of our economy and the nation? Too bad a magic pill couldn’t fix those REAL issues. I don’t buy into all this medical b.s. — doctors will diagnose anything as long as they can pull out their prescription pads and keep the pharmaceutical companies happy. Start by getting off your couch, turning off your TV and going to the park for a walk. Bets medication any day of the week.

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