How do you procrastinate?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder with symptoms including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It’s estimated that about 7% of children meet criteria for the diagnosis. Roughly two-thirds of these patients’ symptoms will continue to meet criteria as adults.
The two main clusters of symptoms within ADHD are the “Inattentive Symptoms” and “Hyperactive Symptoms.” I often tell my patients that the H does not necessarily have to be present for the diagnosis.
They’ll often ask “Well doc, doesn’t that mean I have ADD instead?” That’s a great question. The diagnosis is still referred to as ADHD, yet there are subtype specifiers: Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive, or the Combined Type.
Historically, ADHD was thought to first only occur in children. Like somehow they would magically grow out of it the day they turned 18? Over time, it has been recognized that ADHD continues into adulthood. More recently (and what most doctors are unaware of), is that ADHD can initially present in adulthood.
Some of the most recent research has shown that upwards of 65% of individuals diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood would not have met criteria for ADHD at ages younger than 12.
As we move on through the various transitions of life, the demands upon us change. For instance, being a parent is different than taking an Algebra class. Managing a project at work is requires a different skill set than writing a book report in grade school. Let’s take these examples one step further and say in each, the person excelled earlier in life.
I’ve lost count of how many physicians and psychiatrists say “If she was able to get good grades in high school (or college), why can’t she _____?” Maddening. I’ll speak more to the reasons why ADHD is not fully recognized until adulthood in a future blog post.