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ADHD in Adults vs. Children

Nearly one in 10 children has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often manifesting in difficulty focusing on simple daily tasks, in behavior problems in school, and in social awkwardness. 

In contrast, less than 5% of adults are diagnosed with ADHD. But this number may be low because many adults are undiagnosed.

At Genesis Psychiatric Solutions, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Ifeanyi Olele can help you learn how to manage ADHD symptoms and behaviors.

ADHD in children

ADHD affects the frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for governing executive function. This area of the brain is what allows you to regulate your behavior. 

Since children are still forming the ability to manage their actions, their symptoms of ADHD are often much more obvious than that of adults. 

Children with ADHD have trouble: 

There are several paths for managing ADHD. Therapy can help children recognize when their ADHD is negatively affecting their lives and help them learn coping mechanisms. ADHD medications can help regulate brain activity, and bring thoughts, emotions, and actions into better alignment.

ADHD in adults

Adults can often be undiagnosed even though they have had ADHD for years, simply because they have learned to manage the outward symptoms and think ADHD is something only kids have a problem with. 

But you are likely to have ADHD if a range of the following apply to you.

You have trouble with concentration 

This can manifest either as a complete inability to focus on something for more than a few minutes at a time, or the tendency to hyperfocus on something to the exclusion of other things that need your attention. 

Either you’re spending all day trying to accomplish tasks and never get anything done, or you get so caught up in one thing that time can slide by and you forget to eat, bathe, or sleep.

You daydream a lot or have intrusive thoughts

You may find yourself escaping into a positive fantasy world that you build to entertain yourself or imagine your life differently for hours at a time. You might also find yourself having negative thoughts and replaying uncomfortable situations or conversations over and over. 

This can make you second-guess yourself, come to the conclusion that people don’t like you, or feel unwilling to engage if there's a chance of conflict.

You are extremely disorganized in your thoughts and your surroundings

Many adults with ADHD not only feel that their minds are a constant jumble, but that their surroundings are as well. You might have spurts of energy and hyperfocus that result in a perfectly clean house or apartment, but it rarely lasts. 

Disorganization can make it extremely hard to function at work, at school, or even in your social life, but getting organized can seem like an overwhelming task. 

If you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you’re likely to still be struggling as an adult. If you didn’t receive a diagnosis in childhood, it may be time to seek help now. 

If you think that you’re struggling with adult ADHD, get in touch with us by calling our McLean, Virginia, or Washington, DC, office or requesting a consultation online.

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