The diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is common amongst children. However, many adults do not realize they may have it too.
There are two subtypes -- hyperactive-impulsive, and inattentive -- but, just as with children, adults can have symptoms of both.
Diagnosis can be difficult. This is especially true if the adult has learned coping skills over the years to handle their attention/focus issues. It can also be true if the adult has other conditions such as sleep problems, depression/anxiety disorder, substance abuse, or high stress in their life distracting them.
There is no laboratory test that can be performed. Many health care providers rely on experience, the interaction with the patient (and family members if they attend the visit) and questionnaires designed for ADD/ADHD.
According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of ADD/ADHD include:
- Inability to focus
- Inability to follow through on a task
- Starting several tasks and not completing them
- Forgetting tasks
- Forgetting directions
- Distracted easily
- Distracted during conversations
- Excessively talkative
- Often interrupts during conversations
- Impulsive in activities
- Inability to keep a job or switching jobs frequently
- Multiple relationships
- Multiple driving violations
- Write-ups at work or warnings
- Easily feeling overwhelmed
Living with someone who has ADD or ADHD can be frustrating and entertaining at the same time. There is an excellent documentary called, “ADD and Loving It?!” where comedian Patrick McKenna (who has ADHD) learns more about this condition with the help of various health care experts and researchers.
At one point he and his wife are going through a common ADHD questionnaire and the symptom of impulsivity comes up. He states that he is not impulsive until she reminds him of the time she sent him to the grocery store and he came home with a new truck.
A recent patient summed up his ADHD in the way that he cooks.