“ADHD is not just an excuse”
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults is a complex illness. ADHD is often times considered an illness that only effects children. However, it sometimes continues into adulthood. In some rare cases ADHD is not diagnosed or treated until adulthood. However, a person does not develop ADHD as an adult. Instead, a person who is first diagnosed as an adult with ADHD has likely lived with ADHD since childhood. Some reasons for not being diagnosed with ADHD as a child may include the parents’ resistance to their child being diagnosed or treated for ADHD, or perhaps the signs and symptoms were missed or believed to be normal for the child’s age.
Adults with ADHD have difficulty within their lives and they experience a sense of criticism from both themselves and from others. Persons with ADHD are often told or they perceive that it’s not real, that it’s a form of laziness, that they don't care or that ADHD is just an excuse to be reckless, selfish, to not remember, or to not be more responsible. When in fact ADHD is due to a disease of the brain that makes it difficult for an adult to function, and as a result it’s difficult for a person with ADHD to function well with their responsibilities of their job, education or social life.
Life in general is challenging, stressful, and it can be difficult to balance and organize tasks related to a persons daily life. Adults who have difficulty with responsibilities might be suffering from the effects of ADHD which may lead to problems with the legal system, addiction, employment, education, relationships, procrastination, boredom, irritability, anger, depression, attention/focus, or being criticized for having personality problems.
One factor that complicates the diagnosis of ADHD is the fact that many of the signs, symptoms and effects of ADHD overlap and mimic other illnesses such as medical conditions, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders personality disorders and depressive disorders.
As an adult with ADHD, it’s never too late to obtain treatment. There are several different methods used by a psychiatrist to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, including acquiring a thorough life history and family history, collecting information from family members or friends, or administration of questionnaires and rating scales.
Some of the types of treatment used to treat ADHD include medication management, behavioral therapy, lifestyle modification, exercise, and psychotherapy.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association. 2013
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) —The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) supports people with mental illness and their families and friends.
Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association, is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit organization for mental health and mental illness.
The American Psychiatric Association’s online resource for anyone seeking support or facts about mental illnesses.
1-866-615-6464 (toll free) —The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers information on mental illnesses and treatment options.
Nationally recognized authority on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD ).