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How Could an ADHD Diagnosis Change Your Life for the Better?

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Millions of adults struggle with ADHD, often without even realizing it. If you find yourself saddled with problems related to inattentiveness, impulsivity-hyperactivity, or any number of other ADHD symptoms, you owe it to yourself to pursue a diagnosis and, if you’re diagnosed, treatment. Doing so could fundamentally change your life for the better.

But how? And what symptoms should you be on the lookout for?

The Potential of an ADHD Diagnosis

If you do have ADHD, these are just some of the ways that your life could benefit from having a formal diagnosis.

·       Access to treatment. There are many viable treatment methods available for people with ADHD. Depending on the severity of your condition, the types of symptoms you’re seeing, and your personal disposition, treatment could include medications that target neurochemical circuits in your brain, medications based on amphetamines or methylphenidates to improve the availability of neurotransmitters in ADHD circuitry, various non-stimulant medications, and both cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness therapy. In a matter of weeks, you could start to see improvements.

·       Contextual understanding. Getting an ADHD diagnosis also gives you contextual understanding for various patterns throughout your life. If you’ve always struggled to pay attention in school or at work, this could be the reason.

·       Autonomy and empowerment. This is also a pathway to greater autonomy and empowerment. If you know you have ADHD, and you understand the specific things you struggle with, you’ll be in a much better position to create environments and situations that allow you to do your best.

·       Caution and awareness of related problems. ADHD is commonly associated with other mental health issues, including depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and various personality disorders. Understanding that you have ADHD can help you remain on the lookout for these issues so you can manage them proactively.

Of course, if you’re tested for ADHD and the results come back negative, there aren’t many downsides – so there’s little reason not to pursue diagnosis. In fact, getting a negative diagnosis could clue you into the fact that your behavioral or intellectual struggles are associated with something different.

ADHD Symptoms in Adults

ADHD is a complex condition, so the symptoms can present very differently in different people. However, most symptoms belong to one of two different categories:

·       Inattentiveness. These symptoms relate to an inability to pay attention to things.

·       Hyperactivity and impulsiveness. These symptoms relate to impulsive behavior or excessive activity when not warranted.

Symptoms of ADHD manifest differently in adults than they do in children, though there are some similarities. Many adults with ADHD see some combination of the following symptoms:

·       Carelessness. Adults with ADHD often exhibit some level of carelessness, disregarding important tasks or demonstrating apathy or inattentiveness when not appropriate. This isn’t because the person is actually careless; in fact, they often feel guilty about acting careless in retrospect.

·       Constant starting of new tasks. Do you find yourself constantly starting new tasks and projects without really finishing them? This is a hallmark symptom of ADHD in adults.

·       Lack of organization or prioritization. People with ADHD also lack organizational and prioritization skills. It’s perfectly normal to struggle with disorganization from time to time, but ADHD cranks this problem up to a new level.

·       Losing things and forgetfulness. ADHD may also manifest as losing things or forgetfulness. The inattentiveness dynamic can cause you to forget where you’ve placed things or forget important tasks, objectives, or general information.

·       Restlessness and irritability. More so than children, adults with ADHD manifest their hyperactivity as restlessness and irritability. They may find it hard to be comfortable in their environment.

·       Loudness and interrupting. ADHD leads adults to raise the volume of their voice, interrupt people, and otherwise behave inappropriately in certain social situations. Again, this isn’t out of rudeness or lack of care; it’s simply a byproduct of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, or all three.

·       Mood swings. ADHD can lead to the development of mood swings, and sometimes very severe ones. You may feel perfectly happy one moment, then enraged the next.

·       Difficulty dealing with stress. Stress itself is a normal part of life, and something we all have to deal with, with some instances feeling overwhelming. Having difficulty dealing with stress is normal. But if you chronically feel overstressed, or if no stress coping strategies seem to work for you, it could be a sign of ADHD.

·       Extreme impatience. Adults with ADHD sometimes showcase extreme impatience. They may exhibit frustration, or even anger in the face of relatively mundane challenges, like waiting in line at the grocery store.

·       Risk-taking behaviors. Finally, ADHD can prompt adults to engage in more risk-taking behaviors, like gambling or consuming illicit substances.

 

If you notice half or more of these symptoms in your regular daily life, or if any of these symptoms are causing a significant problem in your personal or professional life, you owe it to yourself to visit a professional and pursue a formal diagnosis of ADHD. Even if you aren’t formally diagnosed with this condition, these steps have the potential to meaningfully improve your life.

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