Until a few years ago it was believed ADHD would naturally disappear during the teenage years. However, recent studies have revealed that about 50% of children with ADHD will continue to exhibit a significant clinical presentation as an adult1, although their symptoms will tend to evolve as they age.
In the vast majority of individuals with ADHD, symptoms related to agitation will lessen, while those related to inattention will remain an issue.
Here is a list of symptoms frequently found in adults with ADHD:
• Difficulty paying attention (reading, paperwork)
• Forgetful or easily distracted
• Difficulty focusing
• Poor organizational skills
• Struggling to complete tasks
• Constantly losing or misplacing things
• Talks excessively
• Constantly feeling overwhelmed
• Chooses active occupations
• Irritable and prone to anger
• Impulsive career changes
• Tendency to speed while driving; accidents
• Smoking, use of caffeine and other stimulants
Many adults realize they have ADHD when their child is diagnosed with it. This realization comes as a shock, and often leads to a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts… They can finally identify the nature of what was preventing them from reaching their full potential! They eventually realize that they were not going insane, and that they are not alone in struggling with this condition.
Even if they have experienced the diagnosis process with their child, they might have to go through the stages of grief and loss for their own condition: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. At the end of the day, it is important to realize that solutions exist, and that with the proper support and approach, nothing is impossible.
Diagnosing Adults With ADHD
The diagnostic process for adults is the same as for children: consulting a physician. However, not all physicians are comfortable diagnosing ADHD in adults, especially since the criteria are not as well established as for children.
If that is the case, you could refer them to Dr. Annick Vincent. She is a psychiatrist who specializes in children and adults with ADHD, and she offers courses and coaching for physicians who want to learn more about ADHD.
The diagnostic process can be difficult, but the more adults undergo it the easier it will become to offer services that address the peculiar issues faced by adults with ADHD. Please feel free to contact us if you encounter any difficulty during this time; this will enable us to compile a list of issues that can be presented to decision makers in order to protect and defend your rights!
1. Wilens, T.E., Spencer, T.J., Postgrad Med. 2010 September; 122(5): 97–109. doi:10.3810/pgm.2010.09.2206.