Adults who experience Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often feel as though they're underachievers and that they're not living up to their potential. They end up living with feelings of disappointment and longing, have poor job performance and often find themselves in terrible relationships. Life with a disability can be difficult but living with undiagnosed ADHD can be disastrous, tumultuous and tempestuous.
Many adults struggle for years, unaware that the source of their problems is undiagnosed ADHD. Many people actually think that ADHD is a disorder that just affects children. The truth is, however, that all ages groups are equally susceptible to ADHD - from infants to grandparents - and that children just seem to get diagnosed easier and faster than adults. Since ADHD tends to run in families, adults usually learn they have the disorder when their children are diagnosed. The good news is that for children and adults, ADHD is a completely treatable disorder.
Organize Your Desk
For those with ADHD, the increased responsibilities that come along with adulthood-- paying bills, working and parenting, just to name a few of them -- can cause problems when it comes to organizing. Being unorganized is one of the biggest things that adults mention as affecting their quality of life. Constant disorganization is a warning sign of ADHD, and if your desktop looks like Keith Moon has touched it then you may want to start treating your ADHD with a simple cleaning and organization campaign. If the finished result doesn't last long then you may want to regularly schedule these cleaning and organization efforts.
Remember the old adage that "a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind" and put theory into practice. Don't give credence to the notion that cluttered desks are the signatures of genius. Just because Albert Einstein and Al Gore are documented messy desk guys doesn't mean that keeping a messy desk will lead to the next Theory of Relativity or a presidential election. People who suffer from ADHD benefit from routine, regiment and repetition, which is one reason why an organized and clean desk can help these people get their disorder under control.
Vocalize with Your Spouse
Many people who suffer from ADHD also struggle with marriage problems, and although a troubled relationship isn't directly correlated to ADHD, it does provide some interesting insights. People with ADHD generally have poorer listening, speaking and comprehension skills than people who don't have it, and to most laymen these signs can be interpreted as a lack of caring. Don't let your disorder ruin your relationship, talk to your lover and tell them what's up. Explain that your condition makes these aspects of your relationship difficult for you and that it shouldn't be thought of as intentionally apathetic. If you're constantly moving from one relationship to the next and hearing the reasons listed above as source of problems, you may want to see your doctor to get tested for ADHD.
What's in a Name?
Think about the name of condition - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attention and hyperactivity are mentioned right in the name of the condition itself. People who suffer from ADHD simply don't have the hardwire attention span of people who don't have the condition. Adults and children both can have a difficult time with attention regulation, thus becoming easily distracted. People dealing with this disorder have a harder time focusing on the task at hand, which can lead to not performing up to the expected standard of the workplace. Noisy offices, phone calls, radios, visitors, pop-ins and email all have the potential to stop workflows, slow production or offer a quick escape.
Children with ADHD are often described as being hyperactive, but this symptom shows up differently in adults. Rather than constant activity, adults find it difficult to relax. Others, when referring to you, might describe you as being on edge or tense. Adults who have ADHD often operate in one of two speeds - on or off. When they're up and functioning, they're running on an all systems go mentality with the gears constantly moving, and when they're off they're usually asleep. It may even seem like someone who has ADHD doesn't "go to bed" like the phrase implies; they tend to exhaust themselves into sleep.
Beginning, Middle and End
Adults with ADHD will have a hard time beginning tasks that need a lot of attention. They procrastinate, get distracted, change their plan and have difficulties following through. This can cause problems at work, school and in relationships. Projects will seem to have no beginning, middle or end, and they'll probably get worked on sporadically and in incomprehensible segments. Again, organization pays dividends but implementing a system of organizing projects can be difficult in its own rite. Calendars, daily planners and Post-Its are good places to start but some trial and error will reveal the best method of organization.
Late, Late, Late
Adults with ADHD are chronically late. They underestimate how much time they need in order to get to work or to an event on time. They might find that en route to an event, it would be a good idea to get the car washed or fill up the gas tank. If they have a major assignment at work, they don't give themselves enough time to complete it, causing the project to be late. There might seem to be a lack of forethought in their planning, and even though that may be the case, a lot of times their tardiness is a direct result of distraction and lack of follow through.
Emotion and Logic
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often have problems controlling their emotions. They can explode quickly over minor issues, throwing logic and reservation right out of the window. Their anger can fade as quickly as it ignited, leaving the ones offended scratching their heads and wrestling with what happened. It may seem as if the person with ADHD is bipolar - with such drastic and opposite surges - but this could be more easily identified as the person following their first reaction. Simple breathing techniques can help, as can a brisk walk, but patience and understanding is required for all people involved.
Check with Your Doctor
These are only a few of the most common symptoms of ADHD in adults. You may or may not notice these qualities in your own life in or in that of a loved one but always be sure to consult with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. There are tests that can easily be performed in the doctor's office that can confirm or deny your ADHD suspicions.
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