A study conducted to determine the prevalence of ADD came up with a 2.8% rate among adults. In the US, the number grows from decade to decade, with men having a higher chance of being diagnosed with the condition.
Although it is most common in children, with about 6.1 million kids suffering from this inattentive disorder, some subjects’ have the condition develop and worsen as they enter adulthood.
How do you know you have ADD, and what problems can you face when having ADD as an adult?
What Is Add, and How Does It Differ From ADHD?
You could say that ADD is a type of ADHD. According to the CDC, there are three categories of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
i. Inattention-dominant ADHD- This is what most people take to be ADD. It is characterized by a lack of attention/concentration on tasks. Patients with ADD tend to
lose focus quickly, fail to prioritize tasks and get easily distracted.
ii. Hyperactive-dominant ADHD- This type of ADHD involves a lot of movement. You can notice the patients squirming and moving about in their seats, being unable to wait
for their turn, climbing in all places, and so forth. These patients also tend to be impulsive, making decisions without thinking through the consequences.
iii. Combined type- Patients with this type of ADHD tend to be both inattentive and hyperactive.
Causes of ADD in Adults
ADD in adults occurs when there’s an imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. These chemicals help your brain communicate with other parts of the body.
However, there is no one specific reason that could result in an imbalance of these chemicals. Instead, it is a collection of conditions that prompt the development or progress of ADD in adults.
Some causes include:
● Environmental causes- These include exposure to toxins found in nature, such as lead
● Genetics-Blood relatives could pass ADD to their children
● Drug use- Use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy could result in ADD in your child, which then develops as they grow older
● Problems with the central nervous system could also result to ADD in adults
How Does ADD Affect Your Life?
Every adult goes through a hard time at some point in their life. Maybe you are dealing with the stress from work, or your relationship hit a bump. However, adults with ADD face other concerns that make their lives a little more complicated than an average adult.
Some of the problems an adult with ADD might encounter include:
Out of all people diagnosed with ADD, about 60% have co-existing conditions, and anxiety tops the list, with almost 50% prevalence in adults. As a result, adults with ADD tend to lose track of time while focusing on minor issues. This results in lateness—a primary symptom associated with ADD.
ADD adults who have a hard time controlling or managing their symptoms could end up developing depression. Similarly, ADD medication could also contribute to the development of depression among adults. Some of the side effects include eating and sleeping disorders, which then cause inattention and other ADD symptoms.
3. Anger-management problems
Anger flare-ups are common among ADD patients. Adults with ADD find it challenging to express themselves and lose their cool sometimes. This lack of self-control and the ability to express their emotions effectively could result in outbursts.
4. Problems at work
According to a PubMed study, ADD adults employed in organizations face a lot of trouble keeping up with their colleagues. Due to their low tolerance to frustration, easy irritability, and anger issues, they are more likely to cause accidents, injuries, and trauma.
5. Poor academic performance
When it comes to tasks that need a lot of concentration and focus, adults with ADD shy away after a short period. If you were studying, you may thereby find yourself distracted easily by insignificant things. IN return, you fail to complete your assignments or even revising for the exam, which then translates to poor academic performance.
6. Low self-esteem
Healthy self-esteem prompts you to try out new things, either at work, in friendships, or in your career. However, this is not simple for adults who grew up with ADD. The challenges faced during development result in self-doubt, which lowers your self-esteem, limiting your efforts to take appropriate risks.
Most adults with ADD have poor organizational skills. And one of the significant reasons they find themselves lost is due to chronic procrastination associated with ADD.
Job responsibilities given to them are only completed at the last minute, which causes financial stress on them. You find yourself paying the bills late, and when it comes to relationships, you could make them feel unimportant if you keep putting off time to meet up or go to events.
8. Drug and Substance Abuse
There exists a rather complicated relationship between ADD and drug abuse. Now, young adults with ADD are also showing symptoms of substance abuse disorder. Despite the lack of a clear outline of how one is related to the other, there’s a higher risk for ADD patients to develop substance use disorder and vice versa.
How Do You Manage These Challenges?
It’s nearly impossible to deal with ADD on your own. At the very least, you will need to speak to a licensed mental health professional for guidance on your diagnosis and treatment. Some of the treatment plans include:
● Stimulant medication
● Non-stimulant medication
● Behavioral therapy
Other helpful tips for handling ADD in adults include:
● Developing positive habits and keeping them up- such as having a list of things to do and time allocation
● Keeping track of your mess, know where everything is, especially your paperwork, which will help with disorganization
● Practice a few time management techniques, such as using a wristwatch to keep track of the time or a timer, setting up reminders, and giving yourself a time allowance
● Acquire skills in prioritizing-decide what comes first and how long you have to do it
● If it is too much, then learn to say no to avoid being overwhelmed
ADD is tough on people of all ages. And as an adult, the challenge of living with ADD could cost you your job, relationship, and sometimes, your life.
However, you can always try to deal with these challenges by visiting a life coach or a medical practitioner for prescription drugs. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist also helps ADD adults to handle life better.