ADD/ADHD in Adults

Adults can have ADD/ADHD and not even be aware of it. Individuals with ADD/ADHD may find it difficult to stay organized, stick with a job or remember/keep appointments. Daily tasks can be challenging for adults with ADHD. They have a history of failure at school, problems at work or difficult/failed relationships. Many get into multiple traffic accidents. Like teens, adults with ADD/ADHD seem restless and try to do several things at once, usually unsuccessfully. They prefer "quick fixes," instead of taking the steps to achieve greater rewards.

How is ADHD diagnosed in adults?

Adults who suspect they have ADD/ADHD should be seen by a licensed mental health professional. An adult must have symptoms that began in childhood and continued through adulthood. A trained professional will use diagnostic rating scales and review the person's history of childhood behavior and school experiences. They may also interview spouses, partners, parents, friends and other associates. The patient may also undergo a physical exam and various psychological tests.

For some adults, a diagnosis of ADHD allows them to understand the reasons for their problems, and treatment will help them to deal with their problems more effectively.

How is ADHD treated in adults?

Adults with ADHD are treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Medications, such as antidepressants are sometimes used in treatment, even though they are not FDA-approved for ADHD treatment. Antidepressants, or tricyclics, like stimulants, affect the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. Effexor may be prescribed for its effect on norepinephrine. And in recent studies, Wellbutrin, which affects the brain chemical dopamine, had demonstrated benefits for adults with ADD/ADHD.

Stimulants and other medications require special considerations, especially if the patient takes other medications for physical problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety or depression. Some of these medications may counteract badly. An adult with ADD/ADHD should discuss potential complication with his or her doctor.

A counselor or therapist can help an adult with ADDADHD learn organization and handle large tasks so that they are more manageable. This will provide a sense of accomplishment. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can raise one's self-image by examining the causes. The therapist encourages the adult with ADD/ADHD to adjust to treatment, have them think before they act and resist the urge to take unnecessary risks.

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