Have you ever been either a part of, or even the subject of comments like the ones that appear below?
- “Boy, he sure lacks focus.”
- “I cannot get him to absorb what I’m trying to tell him!”
- “He cannot sit still or even pay attention through one meeting!”
- “You cannot trust this person to stay on task for any period of time. Give the job to someone else.”
Some adjectives that have been used for people who have prompted these comments include:
As is the case with so many other mental health challenges, we’ve come a long way towards identifying why someone may not necessarily be “flighty” or “spacy” – such a person may be suffering from adult ADHD.
October is ADHD Awareness Month, and the first step in any battle relating to mental health challenges is raising the level of awareness. Hopefully, doing so will allow people to recognize the difference between a disease and what to this point has been unfairly characterized as a character flaw.
Adult ADHD, something our team of Orange County mental health professionals at SoCal Empowered has helped people deal with since we opened our doors, most definitely falls into this unfortunate category. We’ve dedicated more than one space online to discussing the details of adult ADHD. We provide a deep dive into the specifics of adult ADHD and we’ve dealt with some of the myths attached to this condition.
We’re going to try to take advantage of the increased attention ADHD Awareness Month provides to provide a deeper perspective to people about what’s really going on with someone who is suffering from adult ADHD. Recognizing what’s happening could lead to more people getting the help they need, and the good news is that adult ADHD can be treated successfully with the proper approach.
Adult ADHD Statistics
One of the first things that we think you should be aware of as we get into ADHD Awareness Month is just how common this condition is among adults. As we mentioned in our discussion of ADHD myths, this is not a disease that solely affects children or young people. In fact, there are millions of people in the United States alone who suffer from adult ADHD.
In fact, according to WebMD, more than 8 million people across the country suffer from adult ADHD. To put that in perspective, that would be roughly equivalent to the current population of New York City, by far the largest city in the United States. That number in a population would also be larger than 37 of the 50 states in the country.
The Importance of ADHD Awareness Month
From our perspective, perhaps the biggest reason that ADHD Awareness Month is so important is because of one more statistic regarding adult ADHD: According to at least one study, fewer than 20 percent of individuals with adult ADHD in the United States are actually diagnosed and treated for it.
Adult ADHD is like many other health problems, in that the longer it goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more problems it can cause. Just a few examples of what can happen if someone has adult ADHD and is not aware of it include:
- Loss of jobs
- Financial difficulty
- Interpersonal problems
- Impulsive decisions
- Substance abuse
Finally, more research is coming out that is finding that adult ADHD often co-occurs with other mental health challenges. This not only adds to the difficulty in treating someone, but these other conditions can mask the symptoms of adult ADHD to the point where it gets missed when someone does ultimately obtain treatment.
Some examples of commonly co-occurring mental health disorders include:
It’s not yet fully known whether adult ADHD causes these other conditions to appear, whether the opposite is true or if there is some other link present. What we do know is that ADHD Awareness Month is an important opportunity for all of us to try to learn more about this condition and do something about it if we recognize it in ourselves or in loved ones.
10 Warning Signs of Adult ADHD
One of the aspects of adult ADHD that experts generally agree on is that people with adult ADHD exhibited symptoms during childhood. For many different reasons, including a lack of awareness and environmental protections, however, they were not diagnosed. That allowed the problem to persist and in many cases, worsen.
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association has published a list of 10 warning signs of adult ADHD, and there’s no better time to help put these out there than during ADHD Awareness Month. These 10 warning signs include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Misplacing items
- Constantly running late
- Risky behaviors
- Lack of listening
- Difficulty prioritizing tasks
- Relationship problems
- Nervous energy
- Memory problems
- Easy to anger
While this is far from an exhaustive list, hopefully it will help people start to recognize the potential presence of a problem going forward as opposed to just dismissing these traits as “having a bad day” or “being a little different at times.”
ADHD Awareness Month and How SoCal Empowered Can Help
ADHD Awareness Month is a great time to take that all-important first step. Adult ADHD is a serious situation for not only those who suffer from it, but for those who are close to those who suffer from it. This condition can inflict – and continue to inflict – serious damage on a person’s or a family’s life together, so those who have it need to get help. The good news is that adult ADHD is very treatable and can be managed if appropriate steps are put into place.
That all starts with contacting us to discuss the situation if you have concerns. Our Orange County mental health professionals will listen to your situation and work with you to define the best path going forward. Contact us today to get this process started.