Are you ever fidgety when you must sit for long periods of time?. Do you consider yourself disorganized?. Are you easily bored?. Do you crave carbohydrates or caffeine? Have you had many different jobs, or have you experienced performance difficulties at work or disorganization at home (is your clutter out of control)? Do you frequently catch yourself finishing other people's sentences, or answering their questions before they have finished asking them?. These symptoms are frequently associated with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - disorders that are not just a childhood problem..
ADD/ADHD occurs in adults as well and can lead to difficulties with attention, organization, impulse control, and management of time and money.. Familial and social relationships can be affected.
Actually, the term "deficit" is not entirely accurate.. Those with an attention deficit disorder often disregard information they consider uninteresting, but can hyper-focus on what they do find interesting.. Some very creative people, past and present, have been thought to suffer from ADD/ADHD.
Researchers believe that ADD/ADHD affects approximately 4 percent of the adult population. People who have this disorder may have less of a chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine in their brains..A deficiency in fatty acids, which help to build structures that act as neurotransmission receptors, as well as synapses, which, simply put, allow nerve cells to communicate (by converting electrical impulses into the chemical signals that control various body systems) has also been associated with ADD/ADHD..
If you suspect that you may have ADD/ADHD, there are several screening tools available online at these sites: www.amenclinic.com/ac/tests/add_test1.php, and psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm.. Neither should be considered diagnostic on their own.. But, if you think your score is indicative of a problem, they are useful in beginning a conversation with your health care provider..
It's important to realize that if you lose your keys occasionally, you may not have ADD/ADHD, but if you have a constellation of symptoms that perhaps appeared in childhood, or has been persistent or worsening throughout your adult life, it may be worth considering ADD/ADHD as a possibility once other conditions such as vision problems, hearing problems, or thyroid dysfunction, are ruled out..
It's important to realize that if you were not "hyperactive" as a child or even as an adult, having ADD/ADHD is still possible..There is a so-called "inattentive type" of the disorder that rarely causes a person to come to the attention of schools, or other authorities, but can still impact their day-to-day life.
Most people diagnosed in adulthood are glad to be told that their difficulties have an organic origin, and that there is treatment available.. Anti-depressant or stimulant medications are often a treatment of choice for ADD/ADHD, but for those who eschew medication, behavioral therapies are also available, as are dietary changes (some doctors believe that a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is beneficial)..
It's important to mention the naysayers who believe that there is no such thing as ADD/ADHD - that people who exhibit the symptoms associated with that diagnosis are just exhibiting behavior that is part of a normal continuum of human behavior.. That may or may not be true, but in many cases, it is behavior that people seem to have little control over, and which causes them difficulties in their day-to-day functioning.. However, the naysayers' caveat is that we should not be calling this a "disorder," or treating it, until we fully understand what it is, and that it is not ethical for practitioners to simply make life easier for schools, employers, physicians, or drug companies, to the detriment of the individuals who are presenting these characteristics..
Anne Springer is public relations director for SeniorCare Inc., which provides and coordinates services to elders, enabling them to live independently at home and remain part of their community. It serves elders in Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Rockport, Topsfield and Wenham and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.