About 4 percent of adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many others have never been diagnosed. A diagnosis can be important. Adults with ADHD tend to have lower incomes as well as higher rates of accidents, unplanned pregnancies and substance abuse than those without it, says Martin W. Wetzel, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha.
Here are just a few of the signs you should watch out for:
Celebrate great health! LIKE BlackDoctor.org on Facebook!
Children with ADHD can be overly energetic, but adults may just feel edgy or restless.
“Adults don’t show the more obvious signs such as running and jumping,” says Colette de Marneffe, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Silver Spring, Md. “Hyperactivity presents more subtly in the form of restlessness.”
However, you may recall a rambunctious childhood. Dr. Wetzel had a patient who recalled spending a lot of time in the school hallways because “he couldn’t sit still.” It’s a “classic story,” he says.
You Have a Child with ADHD…
ADHD appears to have a genetic component. When one member of the family has it, there’s a 25- to 35-percent chance that someone else in the family does, too, according to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, some adults, who may have had the same symptoms when they were children, realize that they may have always had the condition without realizing it.
You Have Relationship Trouble…
A newly minted relationship is often exhilarating, but the novelty can wear off in time.
“Oftentimes adults with ADHD really have a hard time with that transition,” notes de Marneffe. “When the relationship becomes more stable and predictable, conflicts tend to emerge.”
Being easily distracted or inattentive — symptoms of ADHD — can also sabotage existing relationships with family, friends, and significant others who view their loved one’s behavior as self-centered, Dr. Wetzel adds.
About 40 percent of adults with ADHD smoke, versus only 26 percent of the general population.
“Nicotine is very effective for a lot of ADHD symptoms and it’s not uncommon for me to see someone for the first time after they quit smoking,” says Dr. Wetzel. That’s because they often start to have more problems with focus and concentration, he explains.