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ADHD, in children, teenagers and adults


21 Mar 2023

The impact of ADHD in individuals pre and post Diagnosis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common medical condition which affects the behaviour, self-control and attention of those who have the condition. The symptoms of ADHD can widely differ from person to person, as well as being different in both boys and girls.

However, in most cases the symptoms of ADHD can be noticed from a young age and can become even more noticeable whenever a child’s environment or circumstances change, such as starting school.

Many cases of ADHD are diagnosed when the children affected are between ages of 6 – 12 years of age. As children progress in their lives into early adulthood the symptoms of ADHD normally improve however many adults may still find that they have additional problems later in life due to their ADHD.

What Causes ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD still remains widely unknown, however the condition tends to run in families and can be passed down genetically. There are other contributing factors as to what can cause ADHD such as being born with a low birthweight, premature birth as well as things like smoking or abusing drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.

Whilst ADHD can be diagnosed and affect people with any intellectual ability it is much more commonly found in people who have learning difficulties.

Symptoms of ADHD are categorised into two different types of behavioural issues. These include inattentiveness, and impulsiveness and hyperactivity. The majority of people with ADHD suffer from either one or the other or both of these problems however, this isn’t always the case. Occasionally people may actually have attention deficit disorder(ADD) as opposed to ADD, whereby they only struggle with inattentiveness and do not suffer from behavioural problems. ADD can be much less obvious so often goes unnoticed.

The symptoms of ADHD are usually noticed in children before they have turned 6 however can sometimes remain unnoticed for years and in some cases into teenage years. Symptoms occur normally in one or more situations, for example at school and at home.

Symptoms of inattentiveness:

- Easily distracted/short attention span
- Careless mistakes (e.g. in homework)
- Forgetfulness
- Inability to stay focused on the task at hand
- Inability to follow instructions
- Struggle to organise tasks
- Constant switching between tasks

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness:

- Fidgeting
- Inability to sit still
- Inability to concentrate
- Excessive movement
- Excessive talking
- No sense of danger
- Can’t wait their turn
- Carrying out actions without thinking
- Interrupting people’s conversations

How ADHD Can Affect People Pre-Diagnosis
Many people can go into early adulthood without being diagnosed with ADHD. People who are undiagnosed may often struggle to pay attention to their tasks at hand or struggle to stay organised, focused and suffer from irritability and mood swings.

This can often leave them struggling to cope with life as an adult and can affect things like obtaining jobs and other social activities. They may often develop and struggle with other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression or some personality disorders.

Many of these issues can be resolved by speaking to a doctor and getting prescribed proper medication to help combat the symptoms of ADHD.

How ADHD Can Affect People Post-Diagnosis
Coping with ADHD can be challenging and often times children suffering from ADHD can experience issues such as poor organisational skills, ability to sleep and following simple instructions throughout their day to day life.

Even when diagnosed and medication is being taken to help reduce the issues of ADHD it can still have a negative impact on things such as social situations and can be easily triggered by certain environments such as school.

Adults can also struggle later in life even after diagnosis and proper prescription medication. ADHD can effect things like social interactions and relationships. Adults can also struggle with other mental health problems down the line.

However, having been diagnosed and medicated, coping with ADHD is certainly possible.

Some ways to cope with ADHD after diagnosis include:
- Planning your day
- Setting boundaries for yourself
- Stay positive
- Exercise
- Try to control impulsiveness
- Stick to a routine

By combining medication with some of the above mentioned coping mechanisms, this should hopefully help getting through day to day life with ADHD.