You can’t find your keys. Again. The matching jacket to your suit is still at the dry cleaners because you forgot to pick it up. Again. You spend 20 minutes looking for your glasses before you realize they are on your head. Finally, you dash out the door to work to find the front door of the car hanging open in the garage – you forgot to close it when you came home last night. Sound familiar? You may have adult ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Adults often brush off losing their keys or glasses to being rushed, distracted or having too much on their minds. When it happens repeatedly, however, it may be time to re-evaluate the situation. Too often, a child with ADHD grows into adulthood without anyone noticing anything more than a hyperactive child or an adult with a quirky personality, or thinking to attribute it to something more.
The main symptoms of ADHD are:
- Losing track of thoughts or focus in the middle of tasks
- Making careless mistakes
- Difficulty following instructions
- Inability to complete assignments
- Constant fidgeting such as tapping feet or a pencil or tugging at one’s hair or clothes
- Being impulsive
Being impulsive, in particular can cause trouble in anticipating the consequences of impulsive decisions and create negative results such as family disruptions, trouble at work or even car accidents.
Doctors diagnose ADHD in adults based on their family, developmental and childhood histories and current signs and symptoms. Although there is no cure, there are effective treatments for adult ADHD. Stimulant medication, such as Ritalin or Adderall, has a remarkable effect on the disorder, helping with focus in particular, which has a trickle-down effect to help improve many of the other ADHD symptoms. Behavioral therapy is also another effective treatment method.
Day-to-day activities that an individual can do to help oneself include making detailed lists of what needs to be done and keeping them nearby and in sight. Deep breathing can help calm the body in a tense situation, or completely excusing oneself from a highly charged environment can often be the best choice. Finally, getting involved in calming activities such as gardening, reading or walking can soothe a hyperactive mind as well.