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Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Skyrockets

by Carole Gayle

Today more and more adults are looking at their newly diagnosed ADHD children and seeing a bit of themselves in the symptoms. More and more adults are looking at the ADHD advertising aimed toward adults and putting the pieces of a distracted childhood into perspective. And today, more and more adults are flocking to the doctors office looking for help in managing their ADHD symptoms.

In fact, according to recently released data from Medco Health Solutions, one of the countries largest prescription benefit manager, adult use of ADHD medications has doubled since the year 2000. According to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical information and consulting firm, sales of ADHD drugs soared from $759 million in 2000 to $3.1 billion in 2004. As drug makers continue to make receive approval specifically to market to adults, the market for ADHD drugs could easily double.

Doctors currently treat about 1 percent of adults, which translates to nearly 1.5 million Americans aged 20 and older who take ADHD medicine. These figures, as well as other studies, dispel the earlier beliefs that children with ADHD would outgrow their ADD by adolescence. It is estimated that about 50 percent of adults still have problems with ADHD that affect their present functioning. And now, many are staying on their medication beyond adolescence.

Attention Deficit Disorder, which is more commonly diagnosed in children, has become a growing problem in the workplace. Chances are, if you work in an office setting, you've spotted a few of them. They may have symptoms that include fidgeting, difficulty staying on task and missed deadlines. The ADHD adult might seem uncomfortable at meetings that require sitting still for extended periods of time. Their desks are often in disarray and interrupting colleagues is a common annoyance.

Below is an adult symptom test with a symptom list unique to the Attention Deficit Disorder adult. Test yourself with this self symptom test, along with the Attention Deficit Disorder symptom test for children. This self symptom test is not a diagnostic test but a source of information for the adult trying to determine if Attention Deficit Disorder might be present in their adult life.

  • An internal sense of anxiety.
  • Impulsive spending habits.
  • Frequently misplace the car keys, your purse or wallet or other day-to-day items.
  • Lack of attention to detail.
  • Frequent distractions during sex.
  • Family history of ADD, learning problems, mood disorders or substance abuse problems.
  • An attitude of "read the directions when all else fails."
  • Frequent traffic violations.
  • Impulsive job changes.
  • Trouble following the proper channels or chain of commands.
  • Trouble maintaining an organized work and/or home environment.
  • Frequently overwhelmed by tasks of daily living.
  • Poor financial management and frequent late bills.
  • Procrastination.
  • Chronically late or always in a hurry.
  • Spending excessive time at work due to inefficiencies.
  • Inconsistent work performance.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships.
  • Sense of underachievement.
  • "Thin-skinned" - having quick or exaggerated responses to real or imagined slights.
  • A need to seek high stimulation activities.
  • Transposing numbers, letters, words.
  • Tendency toward being argumentative.
  • Addictive personality toward food, alcohol, drugs, work and/or gambling.
  • Tendency toward exaggerated outbursts.
  • Tendency to worry needlessly and endlessly.

According to a 2005 Harvard Medical School study, Attention Deficit can have a very significant economic impact on employees. According to this study, household income for high school graduates with ADHD is almost $11,000 less than a person without ADHD. And college graduates who suffer from ADHD have an income nearly $4,000 less than their counter parts.

Adequate treatment can greatly improve many facets of the ADHD adult's life, including relationships, parenting skills, job performance and even sex lives. That said, ADHD treatment does not always include the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Using natural approaches to treat ADHD are highly suggested for adults who have tried the ADHD drugs to little satisfaction, adults with a history of drug or alcohol abuse and adults who simply want a more healthful and less damaging way of managing their health.

The Attention Deficit Disorder adult can find help naturally without the side effects of ADHD medication by incorporate diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications. Regular and vigorous exercise can be very helpful for the Attention Deficit Disorder adult. To keep the brain functioning at top performance, an ADHD diet packed with brain boosting essential fatty acids and amino acids is a must. The ADD adult can also meet these crucial dietary requirements for Attention Deficit Disorder by taking a high-quality nutritional supplement to ensure that they are giving the brain the fuel it needs to function properly.

An adult with Attention Deficit Disorder might find it beneficial to enlist the help of a coach. A coach is a close and trusted friend, co-worker or therapist whose specific function is to help the Attention Deficit Disorder adult stay organized, on track and focused while providing encouragement. If you or someone you love experiences problems with impulsivity, disorganization, procrastination and hyperactivity and other symptoms from the following list that significantly impact daily life, seek out a safe treatment plan to alleviate the problems. You won't be sorry.

Carole Gayle is a freelance writer who focuses on health related issues.

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