Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults

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Attention deficit disorder in adults

ADD (attention deficit disorder) is characterized predominantly by inattention. Although the term ‘ADD’ has been dropped from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) it is still used in common parlance.

Adults with ADD often do not succeed at work

Adults with ADD have difficulties in organizing themselves, keeping deadlines and staying with the task. They may not like to perform chores that require concentration. Because of these reasons, they find it difficult to keep jobs and succeed at work. Sometimes they attempt to start their own business, but rarely succeed. But they can be helped as there are plenty of advice and attention deficit tips for the workplace.

Multiple marriages and divorces are common

People with ADD have problems listening to and communicating with their partners. They find it difficult to fulfill their responsibilities at home, because of their disorganization. They also lose their temper easily and find it hard to deal with conflict. All these factors contribute to difficult marriages.

Training in executive functioning skills helps improve the quality of life

A lot of deficits in adults with ADD are related to their disorganization and poor time management. Training in planning and organisation as well as time management, and practicing them in daily life will help them to a great extent, as will special techniques to remember things like diaries, alarms and reminders.

Adults with ADD benefit from medication

Medication can help decrease symptoms in people with ADD. This, along with training in executive functioning skills and social skills helps people with ADD to lead successful lives, and overcome their challenges.

Inattention in Adults with ADD may not Affect all of the Person’s Activities

Attention deficit disorder in adults is not always characterized by inattention at every moment of the day. In fact ADD adults may be able to concentrate for extended periods, and do well in some tasks that interest them. However, they may still have difficulties in concentrating on a lot of other tasks.

ADD/ADHD and adults

ADHD/ADD is usually diagnosed in children. V.A .Harpin in his review on the effects of ADHD that appeared in the Archives of Disability in Children, notes that 60% of children will continue to suffer from ADD when they are adults. Many adults find out about ADD when their child has been diagnosed. ADD in adults is slightly different from ADD in children. Adults manage to mask their ADD symptoms under other behaviors, like forgetfulness, laziness or disinterest.

People with ADD can have high IQ scores

Some people with ADD have high IQ scores, some average and some low. However, they may all look disinterested, bored, and may not be successful in the tasks given to them. This is usually due to their inattention.

40-50 percent of adults with ADHD/ ADD have anxiety disorders

ADHD and ADD are often seen with other psychiatric disorders, especially anxiety. A person with ADD may experience anxiety in specific situations and they can even suffer from panic attacks. The presence of anxiety can make the ADD symptoms worse. Anxiety disorder will need to be treated with medication and psychological therapy.

Hope these facts about Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults were useful. Here are some more facts on Adult ADHD and relationships.


V A Harpin, The effect of ADHD on the life of an individual, their family, and community from preschool to adult life, Archives of Disability in Children, 2005

National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, NIH publication, 2008

National Resource Center on ADHD,ADHD predominantly Inattentive Type,