Adult ADHD Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also referred to by some as attention deficit disorder (ADD), is the current term for a specific developmental disorder seen in both children and adults. This is a Neurocognitive Disorder that is comprised of deficits in behavioural inhibition, sustained attention and resistance to distraction, and the regulation of one’s activity level to the demands of a situation (hyperactivity or restlessness). The symptoms of this disorder have been described in the known medical literature for at least the past 200 years. ADHD is characterized by problems focusing, sitting still, and/or controlling impulses.
Impact of ADHD in adults
Adults affected by Adult ADHD can be regularly challenged in their ability to make and keep friends and other relationships, do well in school, at work, and/or in the community in general. Early effective treatment may help to prevent a number problems from developing during adulthood, which is quite evidence based. It is well documented that while men with this condition tend to develop substance use/abuse disorders more often than women with the condition, there is an equal rate of men and women having trouble getting and keeping jobs.
How common is ADHD in adults?
Adult ADHD is quite common. Approximately 1%-6% of adults are estimated to have ADHD worldwide, with some variations across different cultures due to ineffective recognition and screening. In adults, women are thought to suffer from ADHD at a rate that is much closer to equal compared to men.
Among school-aged children, this disorder has been found to be much more common (2%-20%), probably translating to over 4.5 million children aged between 3 to 17 years. Mostly, the age of onset is during the school-age years. There is increasing recognition that girls have a similar preponderance to this disorder, though boys seem to attract attention to them due to increasing behavioural difficulties. It is well known that up to about 50-60% of children with Adult ADHD grow into adults with continued challenges and symptoms, which indicates presence of this disorder, even when they were well managed as a child.