ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a psychological condition that is characterised by increased restlessness and the inability to focus. The disorder should be diagnosed by a mental health professional. Children are commonly diagnosed with ADHD. Symptoms are more loosely defined when diagnosing an adult due to the comparatively small amount of scientific research conducted on adults.
Childhood ADHD symptoms
The diagnosis process can begin with an Investigation into the ADHD symptoms an adult might have experienced as a child. School behaviours, grades and information gained by talking with an adult’s parents and siblings are taken into consideration. Most symptoms of ADHD would have been noticeable prior to the age of seven and sometimes as early as infancy, according to the National Health Service (NHS) and Mayo Clinic. Childhood symptoms can include not listening when being directly spoken to, organisational problems and forgetfulness.
Adults with ADHD have a hard time focusing and being attentive. Concentrating on certain tasks as well as completing them in a timely manner is difficult. A person may continually drift off or start many small projects at one time. Projects may not be completed. Mistakes at work are common.
Hyperactivity and impulse control
Children and adults show symptoms of hyperactivity in different ways. While a child may have a great amount of energy, an adult may become easily bored, restless and irritable. Excess talking and capricious decision making are common.
Following and engaging in a conversation may be difficult. A person may interrupt conversations and answer questions before they have been asked.
Issues with symptom reporting
In a 2002 study performed by Dr. Russel Barkley and noted in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, it was determined young adults reporting information about their own ADHD symptoms may relay biased information. Adults who were diagnosed as children with ADHD were asked to rate their symptoms and how ADHD affected every day situations such as school, work and family life. To compare answers parents, peers and co-workers of the adults were asked to supply information about the ADHD symptoms. The results of the study showed that self reporting of symptoms was unreliable. Family members and peers reported ADHD symptoms at a higher rate than the adult with ADHD.