In either circumstance, as I mentioned last week, remember that not all individuals with difficulty paying attention, organizing or hyperactivity actually have ADHD. ADHD is a medically diagnosed disorder. However, if you are seeing certain symptoms, there is nothing wrong with looking at ways to make improvements!
ADHD is not something that can be cured. It can however be successfully managed. As we learned last week, there are a number of ways that we can help our children if they are diagnosed with ADHD or show signs and symptoms.
So, we discussed what ADHD looks like in children. Does it look the same in adults? Although you may see some similar behaviors, there are a few other things to consider.
So what does ADHD look like in a young adult? Firstly, it depends if the individual in question exhibits more of one behavior than the other. Let’s look first at young adults that fall under the predominantly inattentive type. They may often be seen as very dreamy and often not paying attention but just in their own world. Overall they have difficulty keeping their mind focused which affects their concentration in conversation and when executing tasks. These individuals often are easily bored. This sometimes has them constantly looking for attention.
The predominantly hyperactive type is the adult that just always seems on the go. They never seem to stop. Individuals in this category are often restless and have trouble sitting still. On the up side, they are often capable of fitting more into a day than the average person because of their need to be constantly doing something.
Individuals that are predominantly impulsive often have a hard time controlling their immediate reactions. This can lead to difficulties controlling verbal outbursts and problems with addictions to gambling, shopping, substance abuse, etc.
Individuals that have ADHD often have difficulty filtering the information that comes into their brain. So this makes it very easy for them to get distracted, to be impulsive and act before they consider situations properly and often not knowing when to stop. As you can imagine, these symptoms can have an effect on a young adult that is starting a new job, or continuing their studies or even raising a family. Our society can often be complex and stressful to a young adult and its adults with ADHD have an extra hurdle that is constantly following them that they need to learn how to cope with.
As you can imagine from what has been mentioned so far, adults with ADHD can have trouble with organization and routine. Our society is on a schedule, and if you are unable to find yourself following one, it can be difficult to fit into our society.
All this being said, adults with ADHD, like children, have certain talents that can emerge from having ADHD. For example, an adult with ADHD that is hyper may not be able to leave a task unfinished, and be extremely productive because of their desire to be constantly doing something. Although some young adults with ADHD may have difficulty with the typical 9-5 job, they may thrive from running their own business and working from home. Many adults with ADHD ooze creativity and it is often extremely important for them to find an outlet to satisfy this creativity. This may be anything from the arts such as painting or being a spoken word poet to playing an extreme sport.
ADHD may affect how one learns but does not actually affect intelligence. Actually, individuals with ADHD are often very quick minded and intelligent. The key to being successful for such individuals often lies in finding something that they are passionate about.
So how can one successfully deal with ADHD as an adult? The first step is recognizing the issues of strength and weakness. Start by writing a list of strengths and weaknesses. Common weaknesses that may arise on a list of a young adult with ADHD may be difficulty focusing, not thinking before they speak, difficulty being on time, poor organizational skills, lack of focus in life, etc. Start by choosing one area to deal with. Then…educate yourself. The internet is a great resource. A quick google search of organizational strategies will deliver a plethora of strategies to try.
Here are a few general types to get you started:
1. Develop Structures: Creates systems that will help you be successful. Give everything its place. Use a planner or organizational app to help you keep track of your appointments and to do lists. Create filing systems for important information. Make lists of things that you want to stay on top of. Color code if that is helpful for you.
2. Be mindful of time: Most adults seem to walk around with multiple devices other than their watches that tell time. Whether it’s your watch, phone, tablet or whatever, use one of these devices as a timer and to set reminders. Also, give yourself a little extra time for tasks that you know you often need extra time for. Be realistic.
3. Prioritize. Whether it be at the beginning of the day when writing out a to do list, or when thinking of the projects that you want to work on, clearly prioritize and make it visual.
4. Budgeting and bill payment: If you forget to pay your bills, become an online banker. Move towards automatic payments. Use systems to help you stay on top of your money management.
5. Be mindful of distractions: Keep your workplace as distraction free as possible. Turn off non-essential notifications on your devices and set times for apps that you want to surf such as social media.
6. Take care of your mind, body and soul. Take some time to evaluate the amount of sleep you are getting, your exercise and your diet. Look as well at your spiritual practice. Put routines in place that help you follow through on the ways you keep a healthy mind, body and soul.