Millions of children are affected by the chronic condition labeled attention deficit disorder, often called ADD or ADHD. Attention deficit disorder symptoms may persist into adulthood, causing a lifetime of difficulties. Understanding symptoms in adults and children makes early diagnosis and treatment possible so patients can live relatively normal lives.
Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
Children suffering from attention deficit disorder typically have difficulty sustaining attention for a reasonable period. Frequent daydreaming, appearing not to listen, and becoming distracted quite easily are common symptoms. Children with ADD lose items, find it difficult to follow through on instructions, and often have problems organizing activities or tasks. They may perform poorly in school, experience troubled relationships, and have low self-esteem.
These attention deficit disorder symptoms may appear as early as age two or three. Though it is normal for very young children to have short attention spans and even for teenagers to limit attention to tasks and activities of interest, adults should identify whether lack of attention and other behaviors are unusual for a child of that age and developmental level. Parents who are concerned that their children may have ADD should consult with their pediatricians.
Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms
Childhood ADD symptoms may lessen over time but some people never outgrow these. In adulthood, symptoms of attention deficit disorder manifest in similar ways including trouble focusing, difficulty concentrating, disorganization, and difficulty completing tasks. Adults with ADD tend to develop unstable relationships and have trouble dealing with stress. All adults suffering from ADD had this disorder as children even if they were not diagnosed at that time.
Many adults are not aware that they have ADD. They simply believe that daily tasks are more challenging than they are for other people. Adult ADD sufferers may have difficulty prioritizing, which causes them to forget plans or miss deadlines. If they are married or have children, the family members can be affected, causing familial relationships to suffer. Many adults with ADD have one or more additional mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, yet another reason for them to get treatment.
Treatment for attention deficit disorder symptoms in adults usually involves prescription drugs and psychotherapy. Educational and occupational therapy can also those with ADHD approach academic and work-related tasks more effectively and develop better time management skills. Lifestyle changes such as making task lists, keeping an appointment book, and following a regular routine usually prove beneficial.
Article content, © Kira Stein, MD, APC. | West Coast Life Center