Adult ADHD

Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

Introduction

Adult Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity disorder, as a general rule, starts in early childhood but symptoms are most often unnoticed until later in life. This disorder is specific for the destructive impact it has a person’s personal and professional life manifesting in poor performance, unstable relationships and low self-esteem.

Overview and Facts

ADHD occurs in around 5% of all children and adolescents below 18 years of age. However, ADHD persists in adulthood in 50-70% of the cases.
The lifetime prevalence in Lebanon according to the Lebanon Study by IDRAAC is 1.5%.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD are divided into inattention symptoms and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms where the person has the below characteristics:

Inattention: where the person:
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks
  • Often doesn't seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often doesn't follow through on instructions and fails to finish tasks
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Is often easily distracted
  • Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses items necessary for tasks or activities

Hyperactivity and impulsivity: where the person:
  • Often is physically active or restless in situations when it's inappropriate
  • Often has difficulty quietly engaging in leisure activities
  • Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
  • Often talks too much

Causes and Risk Factors

Although research continues to be conducted on the topic, the cause of this particular disorder is not of known. Several theories evolved from the research such as genetic/family inheritance. It has also shown that the likeliness of developing ADHD is enhanced if with:
  • Family history of ADHD
  • Smoking, drinking or drug use during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental poisons such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pregnancy
  • Premature birth

Tests and Diagnosis

To diagnose ADHD, a person should consult a mental health professional who will rely on scientific criteria to check whether he/she has that disorder. The doctor will perform a full examination including a mental health assessment. Also, lab tests can be ordered to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Treatment

ADHD is treated by a combination of:
  • Therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral therapy.
  • Medication such as stimulants.

Sources and Links


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