Living with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest in sandals.
Symptoms including forgetfulness, restlessness, and trouble concentrating are all too real, and powerful enough to impact your work, relationships, and day- to-day life. However, all too often, the traits of ADHD are overlooked because of a commonly- held belief that the disorder is a childhood affliction, or is altogether a myth.
Studies over recent years have shown that not only is ADHD a reality – there is evidence of a neurobiological discrepancy in those diagnosed – but there has also been an increase in diagnoses of ADHD in adults. This is a very real disorder over which you have limited conscious control, do not ‘grow out of’, and when overlooked, can disrupt every area of your life.
Many adults presenting with traits of ADHD delay seeking help because they are made to feel shame about their situation. People who do not understand the disorder are usually quick to suggest that it’s something that can be controlled – simply deciding to focus, for instance – and this attitude discourages those struggling with symptoms to be honest about what they’re going through.
They feel alone, left to struggle through their hardships without any support or guidance. Meanwhile, symptoms of ADHD that are not addressed have a very good chance of getting worse over time, causing problems in all areas of life.
Some of the symptoms related to ADHD include difficulty concentrating, disorganization, retaining information, and trouble remembering basic things. People with this disorder are prone to mood swings, anxiety, substance abuse, low self-esteem, depression, and lack of motivation.
These symptoms differ in each person according to their severity and whether they’re present all or only some of the time, depending on the situation. So is every forgetful person with a lack of organization a possible candidate for ADHD? Perhaps, but there are more factors to look out for.
Someone with ADHD is easily distracted, sometimes showing hyper focus on one thing while ignoring everything else – including the passage of time. Because of this, they might be found to be randomly ‘zoned out’ at times, and will have difficulty completing tasks. Organization at home and work is a chore, and the adult with ADHD struggles with schedules, and keeping track of things like their wallet and car keys.
The hyperactivity aspect presents as feelings of agitation, constant boredom, fidgeting, and restlessness. Irritability and a short temper forms part of the emotional instability common to those with ADHD, as is constantly feeling stressed out. The signs of hyperactivity are not always as plain as in children, where it can quite easily be pinpointed.
When you’re asked to think of a hyperactive child, there is a universally common image that pops into heads. With adults, this aspect of ADHD is more subtle and for the most part, internalized due to some awareness of ‘how to properly behave’ that people learn as they grow older.
At the low end of the scale, people with ADHD claim to have some semblance of control over their symptoms and they are not particularly bothersome. Others find every facet of their daily lives impacted by the severity of their ADHD traits. It’s important to remember that when left untreated, manageable ADHD will deteriorate to impair every area of your life and it’s best to seek the help you need no matter the end of the scale on which you find yourself.
Studies have revealed that consequences of untreated ADHD include substance abuse, depression, chronic pain, and almost half of adults diagnosed with the disorder failed to complete high school. Some people forego treatment because of the belief that medication for ADHD might trigger addiction. However, there is no research to support this view, but many studies that show what happens with there is no treatment.
People with ADHD don’t have to become part of this statistic. Support and guidance is available to assist in developing healthy tools and strategies that could save someone’s job, relationship, and family.
There is no shame in living with ADHD as an adult, and the most courageous thing you can do is take the first steps to regaining control of your situation. Help for depression, anxiety, dealing with the disruptions caused by ADHD can only come when you ask for it.
At ZwavelStream Clinic, our team of mental health specialists is dedicated to providing the best care and support for those dealing with ADHD. Please contact us should you have any questions or need further information.