Attention deficit disorder in adults is sometimes called attention deficit disorder with impulsivity, but in this case, the word ADD applies to both ADHD. To make the diagnoses there has to be: six or more of the symptoms listed above for inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactive/impulsive behavior, and evidence that symptoms consistently have been present for over six months. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to adult attention problems, so it is hard to say what all the symptoms are. Impulsivity, however, is one of the most common conditions, affecting nearly half of people with ADHD.
The most severe symptoms of ADHD include lack of concentration, difficulty paying attention, fidgeting and hyperactive, inability to wait patiently for a turn, and acting without thinking. In addition, symptoms can include problems with learning, losing or cutting oneself off in social situations, and difficulties with memory and impulse control. ADHD affects both boys and girls equally, but the symptoms vary with age and sex. Not all children diagnosed with ADHD possess all of the symptoms; some only have a few of them, while others may have dozens.
Adults with attention deficit disorder tend to have more problems with substance abuse and depression than do their peers. These individuals often withdraw from society, become isolated, and exhibit criminal activities like theft and violence. They also commonly experience other symptoms like panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and bipolar disorder. Some adults with ADHD may even have psychotic disorders. Fortunately, attention deficit disorder in adults is not usually a long term condition, but can turn chronic if left untreated.
There are many treatments available for attention deficit disorders in adults. A relatively new treatment method called neuroplasticity claims to enhance plasticity within the brain. Neuroplasticity is the ability of nerve cells to rapidly change their form. This is achieved by increasing the amount of dopamine, a chemical in the brain, or by training the nerve cells to fire in different patterns.
Many people with ADHD are given neuroplasticity treatment along with psychostimulant medications such as Vyvanse and Concerta. While these medications have helped many ADHD sufferers improve their attention span and reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness, they do little to address the cause of the disorder. Unfortunately, because the frontal cortex controls the reward system, any increase in the amount of dopamine that floods the frontal cortex during periods of rewards (such as completing a task) will only have a beneficial short-term effect on someone who lacks self-esteem and confidence, but high self-esteem and motivation.
Fortunately, there are other ways to treat attention deficit disorder in adults. Some sufferers can successfully teach themselves to pay attention by using a visual device such as a video recorder. Others can gain relief from ADHD symptoms by learning proper concentration and organization techniques. Still others may find distraction from other sources such as television, exercise machines, or TV programs to be distracting and annoying. In order to combat the symptoms of ADHD without the use of stimulants, one must be willing to focus and use proper organization and concentration techniques.
By helping patients to focus better and less on objects, such as a game on a computer, many therapists have seen an improvement in the behavior of ADHD children and ADHD adults. In addition, neurofeedback provides a method of reducing hyperactivity and impulsiveness while helping to control attention span and attention deficit. By teaching the patient how to control his own brain waves and alter his brainwaves when it is necessary, neurofeedback may well provide the sort of symptomatic control that so many adults with ADHD need.
While individuals with ADHD often feel inferior to their peers, most often their self-esteem is not suffering. A therapist trained in ADHD treatment can help to change the self-image and improve overall self-esteem of adults with ADHD. Because the condition often affects an individual’s self-image, helping them feel better about themselves may help reduce the number of symptoms they have and make them feel better about themselves.