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How common is adult ADD? Is it hard to get diagnosed? What are the signs?

Responses (20)

BrandiwineRN 15 Aug 2009

Talk to a psyc. doc if u are feeling unfocused, cant read and comprehend. Also if u never finish started projects or always starting things and never finishing them. u can have aggression, unorganised.everyone is diff. and has other symptoms. talk over concerns with doc.and ask options!hope this helps!

Votes: +3
tammydonny 21 Aug 2009

I was diagnosed as an adult, but it is a contraversial issue. The Insurance Company even questioned it when I went to fill my script. They needed a letter from my Dr.

miaquinto 14 Sep 2009

ADHD doesn't begin as an adult. If you have recently been diagnosed, it will be something you have had since childhood. The problem for most of us adults is that back when we were children, ADHD wasn't as well known or it was just 'he's hyperactive' or it was just written off. My younger brother went through it for years before being diagnosed and even afterwards. Teachers didn't care if you had ADHD, they just wanted you to sit and pay attention. But many children and young adults muddle through without being diagnosed. This is more common for girls they say, who more often have the unattentive symptoms. I was one such person. Again, growing up with a sibling who had it ... no one gave a thought that I could have it to. Because I 'coped' better. Some find ways of getting by and so they go undiagnosed.

Votes: +8
tammydonny 8 Nov 2009

I agree, as I said previousely i have been diagnosed as an adult, I have all the symptons. But this was always confusing to me cause as a child & teenager, I did not have these symptons. My biggest complaint is no focus / concentration. I NEVER had that issue until the past few years. And I have a extreme case of not being focused. I feel actually stupid.
But now I am finding out that I very likely have chronic fatigue syndrome. Just figured I'd throw that out there, I dont know your symptoms etc. But Hope we all get our answers!! Actually finally My Dr's Appt with a specialist Dr in CFS is in 2 days. I had to wait 6 months for this dr!!

uniqueblue 13 Dec 2009

I appreciate the fact that you mentioned that ADD is not something that suddenly appears in adulthood for the first time. I have had so many people say that they think they just developed ADD, when it is more likely that their forgetfulness or other symptoms are due to another cause if they did not have symptoms in childhood. Often people have a normal amount of diminished cognitive ability as they age, but do not recognize the effects of aging and try to find another explanation for their symptoms. One of the things that I notice is that people who have ADD usually have struggled with a lifetime of severe disorganization. I suspect that people who have forgetfulness that they have just noticed in adulthood, but do not have problems with organizational difficulties, most likely have something else going on other than ADD.

pip222 13 Nov 2009

The thing about adult add or adhd is that many of the complaints can actually be symptoms of other disorders or you may even have more than one it really just depends on the type of imbalance of chemicals in your brain. that being said my own story is that I was not diagnosed until i was an adult and only then because i read a book which described what adult symptoms were. many adults with adhd don't per say get up in the middle of a meeting but they lose focus or more frequently hyper focus, which means for instance to focus on one thing somebody said think about it furthur and not pay attention to what they say after that point. also foot tapping, feeling antsy or even fidgeting frequently are problems adults have. many adults with add cope well by choosing careers that are exciting ,ever changing, or very difficult, to keep us from becoming bored.

Votes: +5
Mom61 4 Apr 2010

Yeah, I know what you mean about the foot tapping, and shaking your leg all the time, I used to think that I was nervous or insecure, but that wasn't the problem, I remember as a child I would always be counting numbers in my head, and it was totally uncontrollable, Also racing thoughts kept me unfocused , it was a bummer. good response !

ib2127 28 Oct 2010

I am a 26 year old female and up until maybe a few months ago did I start to think I could possible have add. I have a 21 year old brother that was diagnosed with adhd and put on medication when he was 7 years old, but I never noticed symtoms in myself. I struggled with certain subjects (especially math) from a young age, and settled with doing just enough to get through school.I guess because add wasn't as common and I wasnt hyperactive it was overlooked. As I read other people's stories and symptoms I begin to self analyze and discover that all along I have been struggling and never got the help I needed. I react to stress unlike other people, I feel like I cannot handle it. I have a million things going through my mind and I jump from one task to another. Making me look like I can't so my job . Its to the point where I try to stop my emotion's, thoughts and actions and in some cases I feel I can't. That is how I know I need something more to help.

allenethanm 12 Dec 2009

Don't worry about how common it is. Just worry about whether you have it. Fond a Psychologist or Psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosing it. Try to stay away from one who does mostly kids. And realize it can be either with, or without the hyperactivity. The symproms therefore are not the same for everyone that has it.

Votes: +3
carefull 11 Mar 2011

I have had been misdiagnosed with many disorders since childhood I am 28 and only after seeing a child specialized psychiatrist at 23 was my life changed due to the fact that some people feel working with an MD specialiizing in child psychiatry to be less tolerant of adults who "seek" if not proven previous records are available is the upside your health is the main concern an MD in the field Said above is far more trained with symptoms of Add ADHD along with the ability to use meds along with tools where as psychiatry general practice don't specialize in the disorder due to the misconception that adult add is basically treated with meds.

Mom61 4 Apr 2010

Adult ADD does start as a child, in grade school I couldn't sit still and my mind raced thru the whole school scene I couldn't stay focused, I was bored, and uninterested in the class participation process. I don't know how common it is however there seems to be an abudnant supply of the narcotics prescribed in our community, whether or not everyone has this disorder, probaly would not be accurate, as it is pretty easy to be diagnosed,
and it seems like anyone could "appear" to be diagnosed with his disorder, But I know that my medicine helps me to stay on track!

Sideffects2 15 Apr 2010

Mom61 what medicine helps you to stay on track?

maker035 17 Apr 2010

It appears that adult ADD is pretty common; especially those of us in our 30's or older. There seem to be many symptoms that point to ADD, simply talking to your doctor about a typical day-in-the-life-of-you should help. I was diagnosed with ADD about 5 years ago when I commented to my doctor about the difficulties I was having staying on task at my (new) job.

After some detailed Q&A he prescribed me Daytrana; it is a patch that I could wear while at work or whenever I knew my full focus and attention would be needed. I found it very beneficial. I stopped taking it when I quit working about 2 years ago, but am considering getting it again so that I can stay on task with my daily household duties. It's very frustrating not being able to complete the simplest of tasks (washing dishes, folding laundry, etc.)

Votes: +3
rawboots 15 Sep 2010

In your conversation with your doctor, did he or she at all talk about strattera ?

kyalisu 15 Jun 2010

Adult ADD is just as common as childhood AD(H)D, mainly because it's what childhood AD(H)D develops into. In most of our cases, it's because it was written off as "he just daydreams" or "he's hyper"; we developed coping mechanisms to get by, and usually you don't think of it until those coping mechanisms catastropically fail.

As with the other poster, talking to the psychologist about what you experience day-to-day (and don't hold back; you aren't "lazy" or "scatterbrained", no matter what you may have been told) will result in a proper diagnosis (though the drugs they choose may require many more visits; it took 2 visits to get strattera (bleh, which they prescribed alongside trileptal(?!)), and about a month and a half to get Metadate (also bleh, but no side prescriptions).

Null 1 Aug 2010

Adult ADD does exist [fool around too much/trouble concentrating/procrastinate, etc.] but it is played out FAR MORE in the media when a new AD|HD drug comes out. I remember when Concerta came out. They basically targeted the untapped "Adult ADD" marke. The symptoms that they were listing were ludacris. "Are you bored? Have trouble staying focused at your job?" Seriously?? >Everybody does!
Most adults are bored or have trouble focusing 100% on their job because they are unsatisfied. Another 'symptom' was "While watching T.V. - Do you change channels frequently?" Once again - Seriously?? > I know I do, cause I dont wanna watch commercials... LOL!

Conversate - It does exist in maybe 18-35% of Adults, but they most likely had AD|HD when they were adolescents. Its slightly harder to diagnose than ADD in a child.

zev51104 2 Aug 2010

It seems to be more and more common from what I've been reading. I was just diagnosed with adult ADHD a little over 6 months ago. I lived until then considering myself not only normal, but more intelligent then average. I experienced a major traumatic event in 2006 resulting in the death of two friends which triggered PTSD. While getting treated for this and finding that nothing was helping I thought I was at a loss. I started receiving counseling again about a year ago and ADHD was one of the new suggestions. Did a screening for it and what do ya know! For me the signs were: failing college courses, could never keep my sh*t together, meaning tasks, finances, appts, etc. I would read into books or instruction manuals and five pages later I'd realize I was thinking about working on my car and couldn't even remember a word I had read. Things like that. The biggest hurdle for me was to get the idea out of my head that I was broken because of ADHD.

Votes: +3
sharky1010 13 Mar 2011

zev51104 What medication(s) do they have you on to treat your ADHD? I'm interested because your description sounds exactly how I feel.

zev51104 13 Mar 2011

Currently I am prescribed Adderall XR @ 30mg/day, usually taken right after I wake up. It works really well for combatting the symptoms for ADHD, but due to other issues such as PTSD, anxiety and depression, some days the only effect I feel from it is the go-fast. In my honest opinion, it would help most people having been diagnosed with ADHD solely, and not a whole lot of other stuff like myself. Don't get me wrong, though, it still helps tremendously. There are just some days that the anxiety outweighs the focus factor, but these are usually few and far between. Moreover, on the days when you refrain from taking it(which is often recommended by the doc) there's a noticeable difference in attentiveness, concentration, and motivation. I usually skip the weekends which should be days for relaxation and recooping from the work week anyway. Let me know what you think.

natty bumpo 3 Aug 2010

A survey conducted nationwide, supported by the National Institute of Health, found that the rate for adult ADHD was 4.1% (compared to 6.7% for major depressive disorder and 3.1% for PTSD).

rev: you comment that bright people can have ADD too... for sure!
Dr. Thomas Brown of Yale University did a study of adults with ADD and high intelligence (>120). Google his name and "high IQ" to find a report on his study, or check out his website. Interesting stuff...

Votes: +4
zev51104 28 Aug 2010

+1 for the exceptional reference. I googled Dr. Thomas Brown and am currently reading through one of the hits right now, very interesting stuff. Now if I can just read through one site before jumping on a link to another, lol. Good stuff, none the less!

larrygrampp 3 Nov 2010

i've been told all my life i'll grow out of it. well at almost 50 i;d better hurry. i've tried all the new meds with high cost low affect, the only drug that works for me is desoxin as it did as a child can't afford the new drugs and can't get prescribed the one that does work

concordca. 26 Nov 2010

When my husband was a child,he was diagnosed with ADD,and was on ritalin,for 10 yrs. of his life. Not,that he is an adult,he is diagnosed with bipolar,and is taking trileptal,and paxil. How do we know if he has ADD or bipolar?

jRNr73 15 Feb 2011

A good psychiatrist and a thorough history should be a solid start. Today, it seems like they are diagnosing bi-polar disorder at a much younger age. 10-20 years ago it was almost unheard of to diagnose a child under the age of 12 with bipolar disorder. Today it is much more common. Because cycling between manic and depressive episodes is so varied among individuals, with periods of equilibrium in between, it is hard to diagnose in children unless they are rapid cycling. Manic episodes can mimic ADHD in children.
On the flip side of that, he could be ADHD and have experienced a crises or trauma causing depression, facilitating a mis-diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.
More information and a good doc. That's my advice..

Cathleen186 12 Jan 2011

I had ADHD as a child but 43 years ago, i wasn't labeled with it and got no help for it. My son has it. I see myself in him. Now as an adult I take Ritalin also to maintain focus and drive and remove distractions. I take it everyday, although I have friends with ADHD that only take it when they need to extra concentration. I've heard there is no cure for this disorder, but many adults find ways of coping and living around their deficiences. Good Luck to you

djpurity 11 Feb 2011

You cannot develop ADD or ADHD as an adult. It is something that you would have had your entire life, beginning as a child. Not all children are tested for it, and some parents do not believe in medicating their children, so it does escape notice until adulthood in some cases when it interferes with work, projects, socializing, completing tasks, and paying attention.

It is not difficult to diagnose. The best person to diagnose you would be a licensed psychiatrist. There are tests that can be given to you to see whether or not you have it. If you feel easily distracted, unable to concentrate for long periods of time, start multiple projects that you rarely finish, have a hard time focusing on one thing in a crowded room or busy subway, or feel that you have your own personal reasons to getting tested, ask your psychiatrist about assessment tests for adult ADHD.

Votes: +2 free discount card

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