Direct from
Dr. Lowenstein

ADHD: It’s not just for kids!

Over the past few decades, much of the conversation surrounding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been in the context of young children and teens. As it turns out, however, many adults suffer with the same disorder. They just aren’t aware of it. They only know that navigating life and everyday tasks can sometimes be a challenge.

What is adult ADHD?

ADHD is defined as a mental health disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It’s fairly common, affecting about 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults. While the exact cause is not clear and there is no cure, there are several options to treat and manage this chronic condition.

The unfortunate truth is that ADHD can negatively impact your life in many ways, from poor performance in school and work to trouble with personal relationships, financial problems, alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, and more.

ADHD Symptoms

Although diagnosis may be difficult, mainly because some of the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, you may be an adult with ADHD if you experience some of the following:

  • Inability to focus: Adults with ADHD are easily distracted and struggle to listen during a conversation; they may find it difficult to complete tasks and projects
  • Tendency to hyperfocus: Because some individuals with ADHD get so immersed in what they’re doing, they may ignore the people around them; this can lead to relationship problems
  • Impulsiveness: This shows up in many different ways, from interrupting during conversations to hurrying through tasks with little or no regard for the outcome
  • Disorganization: Keeping track of daily obligations and prioritizing tasks can feel overwhelming to a person with ADHD, which often results in missed appointments and an inability to follow through
  • Poor time management: Because people with ADHD are so focused on what’s happening at the present moment, they often procrastinate on tasks that need to be completed, are frequently late for appointments and events, and may simply overlook obligations that don’t interest them
  • Low self-esteem: Adults with ADHD may have experienced years of underachievement in school, work, and relationships; as a result, they develop a negative image of themselves
  • Anxiety: Just about everyone experiences some level of anxiety from time to time, but those with ADHD can easily become frustrated and anxious, making it difficult for them to sit still or be patient
  • Substance abuse: Although not everyone with ADHD has problems with alcohol and drugs, research shows that they are more likely than others to succumb, perhaps as a way to alleviate anxiety or improve their ability to focus
  • Relationship problems: As already mentioned, adults with ADHD may find it difficult to pay attention during conversations, or they may be easily bored; others may perceive them as rude or insensitive as a result.

If these seem familiar, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional who can help you develop strategies to reduce your impulsiveness, control your temper, improve your problem-solving skills, and safeguard your relationships with friends and loved ones.

Managing Adult ADHD

In addition to psychological counseling and possible medications, here are some suggestions that could help you manage the condition:

  • Adopt a consistent, daily routine that makes it easier to overcome some of your organizational challenges
  • Establish a place to keep your important belongings so you know where to find them
  • Make daily to-do lists and stick to them
  • Maintain an appointment book so you don’t overlook important commitments and events
  • Break down large tasks and projects into smaller, more manageable steps

Image by chenspec from Pixabay

Dr. David Lowenstein is a Columbus, Ohio-based psychologist with more than 35 years of experience. He conducts individual, family, and group therapy sessions in his German Village office and also via telehealth. Dr. Lowenstein is also available for expert forensic testimony, and for educational workshops and presentations. He is frequently called upon as an expert source for print, radio, and broadcast media. Contact Dr. Lowenstein at Lowenstein & Associates, 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.