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ADHD: Over diagnosed in children, under diagnosed in adults

Posted on 05-04-15 in Behavioral Health, Mental Health

ADHD: Over diagnosed in children, under diagnosed in adults

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is an illness that is often associated with children. However, it is significant to note that while ADHD is often over diagnosed in children, it is simultaneously under diagnosed in adults. An adult may not realize that a number of complications in their life may actually be a result of such symptoms. It should be noted that these signs will first appear in childhood meaning a patient may often have not been diagnosed when they were younger but is instead diagnosed later in life.

There are different factors that may lead to an increased likelihood for adult ADHD such as through genetic predisposition or through other complication. Premature birth or one’s mother abusing substances during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of ADHD.

However ADHD is caused, those adults with ADHD would do well to find help. Those with ADHD also have an increased likelihood of experiencing personality disorders, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.

ADHD is both adults and children can be identified by a number of symptoms which are exhibited in different environments. Symptoms to watch for in adults can include:

  • Dangerous driving and a higher rate of accidents.
  • Difficulties in one’s professional life or money problems.
  • Those in a relationship may have trouble keeping promises or being able to properly listen to their partner.
  • The adult with ADHD may also face conflicts as a result of their inability to arrange their responsibilities in a logical matter.
  • Inability to unwind.
  • Episodes of exceptional agitation, uncontrollable outbursts.
  • Putting off commitments that require much concentration, leading to further personal or professional troubles.
  • Substance abuse struggles.
  • Low self perception.
  • Depression
  • Becoming bored easily.


Adults need treatment and help just as much as a child with ADHD might, maybe even more so. An adult should always obtain a proper diagnosis first and go from there. A mental health professional will need a history of the patient, including their behavior in childhood. He or she will need a physical exam to rule out the possibility of other illnesses. Psychological evaluations and blood tests may also be required.

Those who experience signs of adult ADHD may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Another option is therapy that focuses on stress management so that the sufferer can build better life skills. Family therapy may also be a focus so that those close to the patient may be able to better help and understand. In addition, they may be prescribed a number of different ADHD suppressing medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall.

If an adult with ADHD seems to have restlessness that they are unsure of how to deal with, then a constructive hobby may help. Perhaps taking up a sport or another form of exercise may help as a form of release. The practice of limiting distractions and receiving help from others as necessary is also wise as is practicing breathing techniques to reduce impulsive behavior. Also writing down daily tasks as a means of training oneself to be more responsible.

There are also alternative therapies that a patient may choose to discuss with a professional, though these have not been scientifically proven. One option is to modify a diet so that it does not include sugar or caffeine, which may increase the odds of hyperactivity. Meditation or yoga may help a sufferer learn discipline, as well as relaxation techniques. Another alternative form of therapy often used for ADHD is neurofeedback. This self-regulation training tool allows a patient the ability to view their brain waves electronically and perhaps better manage them in the process through visual stimuli.

By involving those close to oneself while in treatment, they can allow for the opportunity to begin the healing process within relationships. An individual can choose to involve his or herself in a support group which is intended specifically for treatment of ADHD. There will be opportunities to share what each participant has experienced and helpful coping mechanisms. One should also not hesitate to reach out at school or work if he or she is seeking further understanding for their condition.

If you or a family member exhibits symptoms of ADHD or any other disorder disrupting your quality of life, an assessment at Sovereign Health can determine the appropriate treatment for overcoming such an illness. A health disorder is debilitating, but can be treated. If you would like further information call 888-530-4614.

Written by  Ryan McMaster, Sovereign Health Group Writer