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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