Children are often quickly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. Usually, symptoms are straightforward to spot and are treated just as quickly. However, if ADHD goes undiagnosed, it can become a problem later in life. It may rear its head during high school, college, or even further into the adult years.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 4% of the population suffers from adult ADHD. This condition in children is often expressed by their inability to stay focused, their lack of impulse control, and their huge bursts of energy. Adult symptoms, on the other hand, are generally not so easy to spot and can cause a wide variety of troubles in adults if not treated. But how do you know if you have ADHD?
What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurological condition that begins in childhood, and this may continue as the child ages. According to the CDC, it is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in kids today.
What Causes ADHD?
Doctors do not know for sure what causes ADHD; however, scientists are already currently looking into the factors which may affect, trigger, or enhance the condition. They believe that genetics, or how certain characteristics can be passed onto generations, play a large role in whether you currently have ADHD. Some other factors they are looking into are:
- Brain injuries.
- Environmental or in-vitro toxins acquired at a young age.
- Tobacco and alcohol use of the pregnant mother.
- Premature birth deliveries.
- Low birth weight.
Despite having unclear sources of ADHD, scientists do not believe that factors such as diet choices or family relationships cause the condition.
What Are the Top Signs of Adult ADHD?
Since adults are more difficult to diagnose with ADHD, neuropsychologists look for an entirely different set of symptoms than those usually seen in children. Adult males often exhibit subtle signs that manifest in their daily activities. Below you will find the top symptoms to look for if you believe you may have adult ADHD:
- You cannot maintain the proper organization of items and thoughts.
- You are more likely to speed when driving vehicles and may cause accidents.
- You have trouble listening and focusing on the conversation.
- You have difficulties building and maintaining relationships.
- You are often restless.
- You tend to be a master procrastinator.
- You are rarely on time.
- You are not in control of your emotions.
- You found school to be hard as a child.
Many of these adult male symptoms are extensions of what children experience. Since the condition has gone untreated for so long, the body has become used to these behaviors.
Less Common Signs of Male ADHD
The typical adult male ADHD symptoms are more exaggerated versions of the signs you see in young boys. Since these symptoms are frequently attached to an ADHD diagnosis, they are easier to spot, making an official diagnosis more likely. However, there are a few signs of adult male ADHD that are less known, some of which may include:
- Taking frequent bathroom breaks. Taking multiple trips to the bathroom within a short period can be a less common manifestation of adult ADHD. While you may not have to go, it is the movement that your body craves. Sitting through long meetings or movies denies your body of its need to move. As a result, you get up more often to visit the bathroom or to get water.
- Always interjecting into conversations. If you find yourself in an unbearable discussion where it seems like eons have gone by before the person you are speaking with finishes their thought, you may tend to finish the sentence for them. Maybe you keep interjecting thoughts into theirs. Many adult males who have ADHD may exhibit this behavior, and it may have to do more with memory than pure impatience. If you don’t blurt out your words, you think you may lose them.
- A hobby of starting hobbies. Do you continuously look for something new and exciting? Do you look for games, sports, or hobbies that will hold your attention? Constantly seeking a new thrill is a sign of adult male ADHD. The downside of this is many only start the hobby and lack any follow-through.
- Always being on the phone. Adult males with ADHD are constantly distracted. Because of that, they have a void to fill, and constant phone use makes for an easy solution. Phone use gives males with ADHD a break from boring daily routines. It also removes any feelings of delayed gratification.
How Do I Know If I Have Adult ADHD?
If you have any of the above symptoms and feel like you do not have your best quality of life, it is advisable that you consult with a doctor. Your doctor will assess you and your symptoms to get a clearer picture of what may be going on. You will need to:
- Undergo a physical exam to ensure there is nothing else causing or adding to your symptoms
- Answer questionnaires about your personal medical history, family medical history, and how long you have had your symptoms.
- Take a psychological test and the ADHD rating scales to assess your symptoms further.
These steps will provide you and your doctor with a clearer picture of your health and decide what the next course of action will be. It will also determine how you or your child’s ADHD will be treated.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
There are a few different medications that can be given to keep adult ADHD under control. Different options may include:
- Stimulants such as methylphenidate or amphetamine. These are used to balance the brain environment and level out your mood. It allows all your neurotransmitters to fire appropriately.
- Non-stimulants like atomoxetine and bupropion. These medications are antidepressants, and these can be helpful if you have had an adverse reaction to the stimulants.
Of course, treatment is a discussion between you and your doctor. If you have any concerns or questions, your doctor will be able to answer them for you. Therapy is another ADHD treatment option, and behavioral therapists can help teach methods for controlling emotions and properly channeling energy.