ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) is often thought of as a problem of childhood – but 90 percent go on to suffer symptoms as adults, such as speaking impulsively, or not being able to make decisions.

It’s important for people to recognize that ADHD carries on into adulthood, and there will be times when a person can’t manage situations or feels less in control, said researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

It was thought that half of all children diagnosed with ADHD would still suffer from it as adults, but the Washington researchers estimate the true figure is much higher and could be as high as 90 percent of cases.

They followed the health of 558 children when they were eight and until they reached the age of 25. All the children had been diagnosed with ADHD.

The researchers aren’t sure why ADHD symptoms flare up in adulthood but suspect it could be related to stress or not following a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and sleep. Symptoms come and go, the researchers found, and many in the study group had worked out their own coping mechanisms.

Adults with ADHD are much more likely to be in a creative profession. “The key is finding a job or life passion that is compatible with ADHD. You are going to see a lit of creative people who have ADHD, whereas ADHD people who may be required to do very detail-oriented tasks at a computer will find it very difficult,” said Margaret Sibley, one of the researchers.

ADHD has two main clusters of symptoms: inattention can manifest as disorganization, forgetfulness, or having trouble focusing, while those who are more hyperactive can be verbally impulsive, indecisive, compulsive when they grow up.

(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 2021; appi.ajp.2021.2)

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