When it comes to ADHD, people tend to think of it as an illness that affects children almost exclusively, and the picture in many people’s minds is influenced most by the “H” part of the abbreviation. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; that’s the thing that makes kids run around out of control, right?
In truth, ADHD is a condition that affects a far wider group of people than is often understood. Let’s bear in mind that it’s only been routinely diagnosed in children since the 1990s, which means that a lot of people who were kids throughout previous decades will have been missed for diagnosis. If you sometimes look back at how you were as a kid, and think “I probably had ADHD”, then the chances are that you did, and still do.
Can people grow out of ADHD?
No, there is absolutely no evidence that this happens. The way that ADHD affects neural pathways in the brain remains the same in adults as it does in children. People with a childhood diagnosis of the condition may learn workarounds that help them to function more efficiently, and these habits may help them live a completely normal life in adulthood – but ADHD has not gone away, they’ve just learned to deal with it.
What if you weren’t diagnosed as a child?
Therein lies the concern; if you had the symptoms of ADHD but were never diagnosed – and as we’ve said, that only became routine recently – then you may never have had the assistance to learn those workarounds. If you continued to experience disorganisation throughout your teens and into adulthood, then ADHD is still influencing your life; the good news is that you can still get online counseling and treatment that will help you live with the condition.
Is ADHD more serious if left undiagnosed and untreated?
In truth, the symptoms of ADHD can affect different people in different ways, and it’s rare for two people to experience it in an identical way. However, if you have been living with it “untamed”, as it were, for a long time, then it can affect your life in more depth. The severity of the condition will rarely change, but its impacts can become more pronounced.
Does ADHD require medication?
Technically, no, it doesn’t absolutely require medication. That is to say, without medication the condition will not get worse on its own. However, the symptoms of ADHD are hard to control without some pharmaceutical treatment. This is usually stimulant-based, but as some people cannot safely take stimulants, there are other options, which usually work by boosting the levels of norepinephrine, a chemical which reduces stress.
Is it harder for adults to be diagnosed?
Historically, adults presenting with symptoms of ADHD have on occasion been told by doctors that they are unlikely to have the condition. However, understanding of the condition has improved significantly even in the last few years, so if you have been unsuccessful in getting a diagnosis before, it may be worth trying again. ADHD is diagnosed clinically, and the process may take time, but it is worth it.