Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common learning disabilities, and it can present a real challenge. Although it’s most often noticed in childhood, it can be diagnosed in adulthood, as well.
Undiagnosed or untreated ADHD can cause a worsening of symptoms and even lead to substance abuse problems. In honor of ADHD Awareness Month, the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the facts about ADHD.
How common is ADHD?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9.5 % of children have been diagnosed with ADHD, with boys receiving the diagnosis 2-3 times more often than girls. Among adults, 4.4% have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Different types of ADHD
One of the challenges of diagnosing ADHD, especially among adults and women, is that there are different types of the disorder.
One type is the person who has difficulty sitting still. They may not be good at following directions and may get easily distracted. It’s often associated with young boys, in particular. This type of ADHD is referred to as the hyperactive or impulsive type, and it’s what the average person thinks of when it comes to ADHD.
A second type of ADHD is the inattentive type. More often diagnosed among females and adults, this type of ADHD creates problems staying on task, paying attention to details, or staying organized.
One of the biggest challenges of ADHD is that you’re also more likely to have at least one other coexisting, or comorbid, condition. Common comorbid disorders include:
- Anxiety disorder
- Sleep disorders
ADHD is challenging in itself, but having other disorders in addition can make life even more difficult, especially when ADHD remains undiagnosed and untreated. Some of the issues that undiagnosed and untreated ADHD present include:
- Inability to maintain employment
- Difficulties with personal relationships
- Problems succeeding in school
- Increased number of driving citations and accidents
- Increased problems with the law
- Problems with overeating or obesity
The causes of ADHD
No one really knows what causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, although we do have some theories. One theory is there’s a genetic component, as the disease tends to run in families and is even seen in twins.
Other possible causes may include:
- Low birth weight
- Brain injury
- Maternal alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy
- Premature delivery
- Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy (e.g. lead) or early in life
How to diagnose ADHD
If you’re concerned that you might have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, your best option is to seek a professional diagnosis. This isn’t a situation where you want to try to diagnose yourself.
To get an official diagnosis of ADHD, we examine all your symptoms and how they’re impacting your life. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with ADHD before, we assess whether you’re still experiencing the symptoms.
In many cases, ADHD in adulthood looks very different from ADHD in children. You may or may not have been diagnosed with it before. If you’re newly diagnosed as an adult, you may feel very surprised, but also relieved, since it likely explains many of your challenges.
How we treat ADHD depends on the individual. Some people are helped by stimulant medications, but these drugs are highly addictive. Our providers also offer therapies to help you manage your ADHD, including some of the following:
Healthy diet choices
Your diet plays a major role in managing ADHD symptoms and maintaining proper mental health.
Getting enough exercise
Getting the right amount of physical activity can also help to manage your ADHD symptoms and improve your overall mental health.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
Proper sleep hygiene is essential for managing ADHD, but it’s something many people with ADHD struggle to do. We’ll show you how to stick to better sleep habits.
Other types of relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation, can be enormously beneficial. We’ll teach you how to incorporate these techniques into your daily life.
We’ll teach you how to organize your thoughts and develop coping strategies and systems to work through challenges. Behavioral therapy, which may include cognitive behavioral therapy, can help you learn to recognize your own thought patterns and deal with them in a healthy way.
If you think you might have ADHD, call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center at any of our locations today, or request an appointment online.