Living With ADHD As An Adult
Updated: Mar 12
There are a million and one things going on in the world and if you are an adult with ADHD it probably feels like the list keeps getting longer and nothing will ever be completed! Most people have heard of or known someone, that has ADHD in today’s day and age. With the overstimulating world we live in, and the prevalence of mental health, we hear more and more people talk about it than ever before.
Due to misinformation, a common misunderstanding is that ADHD is only common in children. But if you had ADHD as a child, chances are that you still have it. In fact, while many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. I just so happen to be part of that 60%.
ADHD, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it has to do with the way the brain grows and develops. Adult ADHD is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. According to the Mayo Clinic, adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.
There are three types of ADHD:
ADHD, combined type. This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.
ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type. This, the least common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors without inattention and distractibility.
ADHD, inattentive and distractible type. This type of ADHD is characterized predominately by inattention and distractibility without hyperactivity.
People with ADHD may have trouble with:
Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
Trouble concentrating when reading
Trouble controlling anger
Problems at work
Low tolerance for frustration
Poor organization skills
Substance abuse or addiction
Keep in mind, no two people with ADHD are exactly alike. If you have ADHD, you may be able to concentrate if you’re interested in or excited about what you’re doing, but most people struggle to focus under any circumstances. Some people look for stimulation, but others avoid it.
More often than not, adults might not realize they have ADHD and just Adult ADHD symptoms may include:
Disorganization and problems prioritizing
Poor time management skills
Problems focusing on a task
Excessive activity or restlessness
Low frustration tolerance
Frequent mood swings
Problems following through and completing tasks
Trouble coping with stress
My entire life I have struggled to focus on completing tasks. But growing up in a Middle Eastern household meant mental health wasn’t talked about pretty much ever. I hadn’t even heard of ADHD until I was a junior in high school and some of my friends were being treated for it. Although my grades were good when I was a kid, the older I got, the harder it was to focus and get my work completed. Immediately after I graduated I went to see a doctor and tested for ADHD. I was then immediately medicated and instantly felt like a newer, more productive person!
As an adult who owns a business, it became more difficult on days without my prescription, to work. It's not that I can't get through the workday, it's that I struggle to focus and finish tasks. Often times it takes me double the time to finish something than it should. In addition, I can become irritable and frustrated very quickly without wanting to.
I put in an added effort to stay organized with two digital to-do lists, one hand-written one, a digital calendar, and a planner to help me get ahead and able to complete my tasks. I think one of the most frustrating parts is how quickly I can forget something. I will set out to do a task, let my team know I am doing said task, only to get to my laptop to do an entirely different task because I have forgotten what I was working on.
As a working adult, it is imperative for me to put systems in place or work on solutions to manage my ADHD if I plan to ever get any work done.
If you think you have ADHD, do NOT self-medicate. There are different solutions out there to help you manage. Prescriptions such as Vyvanse, Adderall, Ritalin, and Focalin can all be prescribed by your doctor. Consulting them will allow you to find out which one is best for you. Often times they may suggest an extended-release capsule, which works throughout the day or suggest taking two if you work longer hours.
Outside of prescription drugs, education, skills training, and psychological counseling will be your best bet - although, a combination is often the most effective treatment. Counseling can help teach you better management skills and help you understand your symptoms, while education will help you better understand yourself and why you might be doing some of the things you do. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD, but they don't cure it. It may take some time to determine what works best for you. Be patient as you navigate through it. You are not alone and there are solutions out there for you to make it better.
A lot of times, actually diagnosing the problem can be the biggest relief. After that, it just comes down to setting up your environment to best suit you. As always, consult a doctor before making any medical decisions!
Have any tips for managing ADHD? Share them with us in the comments below.