An introduction to ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder, occurring in around 5% of school-age children and 2.5% of adults, where people who are affected by ADHD typically show high levels of symptoms relating to poor concentration, disorganisation, impulsivity, hyperactivity and mood instability.
A growing recognition of adult ADHD
ADHD was originally thought to only affect some children but it is now widely recognised that it can continue into adulthood and across a persons lifespan. Research has shown that about two thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to live with it as they become adults, potentially causing significant ongoing disability. Diagnosis is not always made in childhood and, therefore, it is even less likely to be correctly diagnosed in adulthood.
Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may have a history of struggling academically, of frequent job changes or an inability to stay in employment at all. Some have higher than average difficulties in their personal lives i.e. people with ADHD are twice as likely to be divorced or have relationship issues, and are more likely to have been arrested. ADHD is also typically associated with an increase in road traffic accidents and increased drop out rates from further education.
Although some people with undiagnosed ADHD do cope well and achieve to an exceptional level, this tends to be as a result of receiving considerable support or putting in effort well above and beyond their peers. Many people who are diagnosed in later life see that, had they been diagnosed earlier, they could have achieved more.
Adult ADHD is a highly treatable condition, however it has only recently been understood and recognised by many health care professionals as a condition in its own right; and it is still commonly confused with other mental health disorders or not diagnosed at all.
Following diagnosis and the initiation of effective ADHD treatment, patients often see benefits beyond just the reduction of widely acknowledged ADHD symptoms. Studies have shown that treatment can improve general wellbeing, academic and professional attainment, productivity and mood stability. Studies demonstrate that successful treatment can reduce road traffic accidents and lead to a reduction in offending of 32% for men and 41% for women.
Typical ADHD Symptoms
ADHD presents in many different ways. It is characterized by three main groups of behavior traits and a range of typical additional behaviours within these.
The Impact of ADHD
ADHD can severely affect an individual’s education, working life, home life, relationships and social life.
Who can be affected by ADHD?
ADHD occurs in both males and females and across all ages and all levels of social status, intelligence and capability.