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What is Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Like?

Home/neuropsychologist, neuropsychologist in Charlotte/What is Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Like?

 

Adults with ADHD may continue to have difficulty tolerating routine types of work, may shift jobs more frequently, and may have difficulty attending to details and organizing.  Trouble with organization, planning, and meeting increased productivity requirements are common.  Children with the disorder may have been described as immature, impulsive, and frequently acting before thinking.  They may suffer frequent reprimands from parents and teachers, who often serve increasingly as “surrogate frontal lobes” in the life of the individual with ADHD (frontal lobes are responsible for planning, organization, and sustaining goal-directed activity).  Self-esteem may be negatively impacted, and peer rejection can occur.  ADHD is characterized by Russell Barkley, PhD, a foremost ADHD expert, as a disorder of planning.  While not unique to ADHD, here are some problems that can commonly be seen in adults with ADHD, which can persist in a number of cases:

  • Difficulty persisting toward completing daily goal-oriented stuff
  • Always needing to move/be active – an inner and mental restlessness
  • The filter is off! You may say what comes to mind.
  • Trouble resisting distractions
  • Trouble re-engaging with tasks if you’re interrupted
  • Trouble keeping things in mind short-term “on the mental blackboard” until they can be sorted to go into the longer-term memory file drawer; trouble holding information in mind
  • Daydreaming, space, staring off
  • Mentally “foggy”; “sluggish cognitive tempo”
  • You don’t use internal speech / talking to yourself to keep on track as much as you could
The Best Setup for You The Worst Setup for you
Fun Boring
Immediate Consequences or Rewards Delayed Consequences or Rewards (long term goals can have less motivating factor)
Frequent feedback (this can mean talking to yourself more) Infrequent feedback
High meaningfulness of what you’re working on Low meaningfulness/personal relevance of what you’re working on
Early in the day Late in the day
Supervised Unsupervised
One-to-One Group Settings –  you can get distracted easily with everything going on
Novelty/newness keeps your attention Familiarity can get boring

 

ADHD/ADD in adulthood is a brain-based problem that began in childhood.  While adults with ADHD may show less motor activity than they once did in childhood, they may have difficulty meeting the increased demands of work and college.   It is important to note that other conditions such as anxiety and depression may also lead to similar difficulty paying attention.  A neuropsychological evaluation may sort out what is the cause of the attention problems.  ADHD is common, yet is often misunderstood.  Accurate diagnosis and treatment is the foundation for improving the person’s quality of life.

By | 2017-05-25T13:35:32+00:00 October 15th, 2015|neuropsychologist, neuropsychologist in Charlotte|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Messler is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist who has provided thousands of evaluations where the question of traumatic brain injury was raised. She has also served as expert consultant and witness. She believes it is critical to provide an objective, scientifically defensible opinion, and to help the jury and court understand the implications of the neuropsychological aspects of cases before them. As a prior active duty neuropsychologist, she has extensive experience in the area of military forensic neuropsychology.