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What are the Effects of Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults?

written by: BettyHolt • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 5/11/2011

The effects of attention deficit disorder in adults reach into every aspect of their lives, from work and relationships to mental and physical health issues. Many with ADHD are intelligent and creative and can manage these effects and have successful lives through following their passions.

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    Effects in Adults

    In past years ADHD was often unrecognized in childhood, due to lack of knowledge about the disorder. Therefore, there are many adults today with ADHD who fell through the cracks of diagnosis when they were in school. It's possible that some people were able to compensate for their symptoms until their responsibilities increased and there was more need for them to be organized, focused and centered. Others may have discovered they have the condition because a child of theirs was diagnosed and they began to realize they had some of the same symptoms. Attention deficit disorder effects in adults are difficult to ignore once you know what to look for.

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    ADHD Symptoms

    Trouble concentrating and staying focused: Often they are easily distracted by irrelevant sounds and sights, bounce from one activity to another, and quickly become bored.

    The ability to hyperfocus: This is actually a way to cope with distraction by becoming oblivious to other things going on around them.

    Disorganization and Forgetfulness: They often procrastinate, lose or misplace things and are disorganized.

    Impulsivity: That is, acting before thinking, blurting out unscreened comments, and rushing through tasks without being prepared.

    Emotional Difficulties: Trouble managing feelings, hypersensitive to criticism, easily frustrated or stressed out, and low self-esteem.

    Hyperactivity of restlessness: Feelings of inner restlessness, trouble sitting still, craving excitement.

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    Categories of Effects

    Attention deficit disorder effects in adults can be far-reaching, affecting every aspect of life. Helpguide.org classifies these effects into 1) physical and mental health problems 2) work and financial difficulties, and 3) relationship problems.

    Physical and Mental Health Problems: Problems may show up in the areas of neglecting crucial checkups, not paying attention to medical instructions or forgetting to take necessary medications. Anxiety, chronic stress and low self-esteem are often experienced. Impulsivity can cause addictions to substances, gambling or shopping.

    Work and Financial Difficulties: Adults with ADHD often have trouble with the structure of a 9 to 5 job, following rules and meeting deadlines. They can suffer with underachievement as a result of career difficulties. They may forget to pay their bills or incur debts because of impulsive spending.

    Relationship Problems: Those close to an ADHD adult may feel slighted over the perception of "insensitivity" or "irresponsibility." The ADHD person may feel frustrated or angry over repeated nagging for them to get organized or to listen more attentively. ADHD can cause embarrassment, frustration, and lost confidence. A diagnosis of ADHD can be a relief to find that the person does not have a character flaw or is morally weak.

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    Help and Hope

    According to prominent physicians Edward Hallowell, MD, and John Ratey, MD, the most important thing to help counter attention deficit disorder effects in adults is to instill hope in an ADHD person. They believe that people with ADHD have forgotten what's good about themselves because of repeated failures.

    More than most people, Hallowell and Ratey say ADHD patients dream big dreams. They thrive on dreams but need organizing methods to help them become reality. Creativity abounds in those affected by ADHD, and many are very intelligent. Given the right tools, they can become very successful in something they feel passionate about.

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    References

    Adult ADHD, http://www.adultadhd.net

    Helpguide.org, http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_symptoms.htm

    Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, http://www.addresources.org/?q=node/253

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