Adult ADD Symptoms and Myths Debunked

Updated on November 25, 2020

Once considered a pediatric disorder, current studies have shown that some children outgrow the symptoms of ADD (Attention DeficitDisorder) while others don’t. Factually, approximately 80 percent of children diagnosed with ADD in their childhood stages show symptoms through adulthood, and 75 percent of them still have it as adults. Impulsive and hyperactivity symptoms might improve in adolescence, but the inattention persists or worsen.

Unfortunately, most adults adapt to the feelings of being defective, selfish, disorganized, and lazy, while undiagnosed ADD is the problem. Like other conditions, overlapping symptoms, stigma, and endless myths make it difficult to diagnose and seek ADD treatment for adults. That said, below are common ADD symptoms and persistent myths.

Common ADD Symptoms

There are two broad symptoms of ADD. They include;

  • Inattention

While it might be difficult to note inattention in children, adults with ADHD show these symptoms in social situations or work. Affected persons often like procrastinating tasks, don’t complete chores, cannot stay on one topic, and moves from one unfinished activity to another. They also show serious disorganization, lack focus, forget about the daily activities, don’t follow social rules, and are easily distracted by noise.

  • Impulsivity

Adults with ADD are overly impatient. They cannot wait for their turn to talk when conversing with others, blurt answers, start conversations inappropriately, and interrupt or intrude on others. This may cause serious problems at work or during social events.

Adult ADHD Myths

Some of the common myths surrounding ADHD in adults include;

  • Only children have ADD

Contrary to many people’s beliefs that only children have ADD, some individuals remain undiagnosed until adulthood. However, most adults can learn their ADD traits and behaviors. As mentioned, even children with diagnosed ADD can show symptoms in their late teens and adulthood. Adults with this condition often face difficulties maintaining relationships and at work. In the worst-case scenario, untreated ADD can lead to anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.

  • ADD is not a Real Medical Disorder

Nearly all professional psychiatric, medical, psychological, and educational organizations recognize ADD as a serious mental disorder. The associations include the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Institute of Health.

Despite these institutions’ recognition, the lack of specific tests to definitively diagnose the condition contributes to a serious misunderstanding of ADD. Unlike other known medical conditions, doctors cannot confirm ADD using laboratory or imaging tests. However, even without confirmatory medical tests, psychiatrists use several specific criteria to make a reliable diagnosis.

Another factor that contributes to this is the lack of clearly defined ADD symptoms. The condition occurs in a continuum of characteristics. Nearly every person can experience problems with focus and attention once a time, but individuals with ADD experience these symptoms in severity that it affects normal daily functioning. That aside, ADHD symptoms can resemble other conditions.

  • Hyperactivity is a must symptom

While hyperactivity is commonly associated with ADHD, patients with ADD rarely show this symptom. To mention, ADD, a predominantly inattentive disorder, is one of the three types of ADHD. Other types include the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive and combined. That said, hyperactivity occurs in patients with the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type and combined disorders.

  • Medication can cure ADD

Like any other mental condition, drugs cannot cure ADD but helps relieve its symptoms. ADD is a chronic and life-long condition that requires medication throughout life. If an adult with ADD had been diagnosed during childhood, physicians might adjust the dosage to an adult dose. Fortunately, adults with ADD easily develop coping mechanisms and organizational strategies that help them live with the condition.

Fortunately, patients can incorporate other therapies to better their condition. Among them include;

  • Manage diet – you should increase the intake of foods that boost brain function, such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and fish oil.
  • Enough sleep – tired brains cannot function properly. As such, adults with ADD should rest for 7 to 9 hours at night.
  • Exercise routines – basic exercises, such as walking for 30 minutes daily, can improve the symptoms.
  • Mindful exercises – stress-relieving exercises, such as yoga, can help individuals pay close attention to their thoughts and feelings, easing anxiety.
  • ADD medications are addictive

Stimulants are the common medications prescribed by psychotherapists and medical personnel to relieve ADD symptoms. However, several studies show no connection between ADD medications and addiction or drug abuse, provided they are taken as per the doctor’s recommendations.

Bottom Line

Most people confuse ADD with ADHD and use the terms interchangeably. However, as mentioned, ADD is a colloquial term for one of the types of ADHD. Symptoms of ADD do not present the same way as other types of ADHD. That said, myths and misconceptions about ADD are harmful in various ways. For instance, the myth that there is no distinctive diagnosis and addictive medications can prevent affected persons from seeking early diagnosis and ADD treatment.

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