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ADHD in Adulthood: The Signs You Need to Know

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8J4wl9eUe4

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[Music] millions of adults are living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
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without education and treatment ADHD can lead to chronic fatigue anxiety disorganization and issues at work and
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at home as a triple board-certified neuropsychologist dr. Judy Howe as a
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go-to expert in this field so in this series she shares that expertise and breaks down how to reach the right
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diagnosis find sensible treatment options and realistically achieve goals at work and at home when living with
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ADHD welcome back to med circle dr. Judy always wonderful to see you so great we're talking about ADHD but
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specifically in adults let's first define what ADHD is so attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition
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where the individual might have a lot of attention symptoms where they have difficulty focusing or they might also
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at the same time have hyperactivity and impulsive it's a developmental disorder means that
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some symptoms have to be present in childhood although for a lot of people they're able to sort of manage until
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they get older and the task demands of everyday life become greater now how is this different from a dee dee so a dee
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dee was an older term where they talked about it in earlier versions of the DSM and a DD didn't contain the
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hyperactive-impulsive news features but through a lot of research they found that actually they were correlated that
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it's actually one part of the same syndrome although still there are people who have ADHD but inattentive type
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meaning that they don't really have the hyperactivity or impulsiveness symptoms then we have the individuals who are
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just hyperactive-impulsive not inattentive there's relatively fewer people that are like that and then we
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have a good number where they have the combined symptoms of both the inattention and the impulsivity and
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hyperactivity now what are some common misconceptions when it comes to adults who either believe they have ADHD or
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have received the diagnosis I feel like everybody thinks that they have ADHD and I think everybody is on the spectrum at
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some point at some time but if you just have inattentiveness occasionally but it doesn't
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actually impair your functioning and you're not that distressed about it then you're not really going to qualify for
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that diagnosis of ADHD adulthood ADHD is relatively at 50% of the prevalence rate as childhood ADHD so national studies
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have shown that ADHD in childhood is about 5% of the population in adulthood it's two and a half so roughly 50% of
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people recover from ADHD by the time they hit the age of 18 and then 50% go on to continue to suffer symptoms in
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their adulthood and I think a big misconception is that it looks the same for some reason because it doesn't in
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adulthood ADHD the hyperactive and impulsive features look very different as a child the child's running around
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the classroom getting out of their seats really being very rule not abiding you know which causes some negative
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attention and that's usually when the teachers are going to fight them and talk to the parents and it's all hood
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they may still have that restlessness but as adults we're a bit more controlled in terms of our behavior so
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we're not going to be running around when we know we're not supposed to but you might just feel really fidgety and
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so sometimes you see individuals like tapping very nervously on the desk or on the table and that may be a
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manifestation of an adulthood form of combined ADHD now we'll get into the diagnostic process and the criteria in
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the DSM for ADHD but as you alluded to earlier a lot of people think that they have ADHD because they can't sit down
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and read a book for more than an hour or they can't really focus when they're having a conversation when is it ADHD
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and when is it you're just not interested in whatever is going on exactly and I think that that is even
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more confusing because of the fact that right now our culture promotes a lot of inattentiveness there's so many things
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going to grab at our attention there's been a lot of research that shows that the more often that you're on social
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media the more you actually do start to show some signs I've been attentive this doesn't mean that social media causes
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ADHD okay but you are going to be more inattentive just the other day I was watching the news and not only are the
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newscasters talking there's a little ticker on the bottom that's rolling with more facts
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there's pop-ups in the corner and then a couple of people that I was watching the news with were
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also looking at the app for CNN at the same time that we were watching CNN and so yeah there's a lot of things pulling
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at our attention anyway so everybody experience it from time to time but when you actually have the clinical features
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of ADHD it's very different and in an adult there's a lot of emotional dysregulation going on to have a harder
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time tolerating frustration they may have a lot less patience it may be a lot harder for them to plan ahead and to
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organize themselves so they feel very disorganized and jumbled in their head all the time and again this is not just
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periodically you've got a busy day or a week this is something that's persistent that keeps coming up that actually does
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cut into your quality of life and possibly even impairs relationships and in fact one of the biggest complaints of
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adulthood ADHD is difficulty in their relationships whether it's with friends or romantic partners because if as you
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might imagine if you're not really attending to your partner you're constantly asking for repetition and
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your partner it gets very impatient with you saying you never listen to me you're ever focusing on me and so it can
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cause a lot of difficulties in terms of their relationships what are you finding as common co-occurring disorders with
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ADHD the most common co-occurring disorder with ADHD is depression so that's been something that's pretty
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well-established and in the literature that happens to people who have childhood ADHD as well as adulthood ADHD
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as a result of people underperforming in school because they're diagnosed with ADHD they start to develop anxiety as
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well so that's another common co-occurring issue and the anxiety is almost secondary to the ADHD oftentimes
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because their ADHD makes them feel incompetent and so then they start to have performance anxiety zand feelings
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of inadequacy that then add on to those anxiety symptoms that eventually become clinical there's also a subset of ADHD
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children and adults that experience substance issues and so individuals with ADHD tend to have a higher risk for
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substance use later they tend to try substances earlier than their peers and as adults they tend to have more
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difficulties with substance use I think another really important correlating factor is that adults with ADHD have a
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higher risk for suicidal ideation than the average population so they are more at risk for a number of different
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types of psychological issues and on top of that they're also oftentimes comorbid with other types of learning
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disabilities and again sometimes it's hard to tease out if the learning disability is really its own disorder or
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if the learning difficulties really come from the ADHD right it originates from the fact that they can't pay attention
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so they haven't been able to take in the kind of information they should have by a certain age or by a certain grade so
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if I'm an adult and I have been diagnosed with depression and ADHD do I treat one
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before the other or both at the same time I think it's always helpful to address both the same time because at
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that point I feel like for adults they really have seen the interplay between those two conditions you know they kind
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of reinforce each other the ADHD leads to more emotional dysregulation that could include mood dysregulation and
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that mood dysregulation makes the ADHD worse one of the symptoms of depression and not everybody has but some people do
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is that they have difficulty making decisions and problems concentrating so when somebody also has ADHD it's gonna
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be interesting to delineate where does that concentration problem come from is it part of the depression or is it part
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of the ADHD and maybe it doesn't really matter that much it's just that they obviously are
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related and probably the best way forward is to treat both at the same time know you have a private practice as
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well as the hundred other things that you do and part of that private practice I'm assuming you've seen adults come in
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with ADHD what are they struggling with with untreated ADHD so untreated HD for adults it can wreak a lot of havoc into
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their lives it's hard for them to stay motivated to accomplish to not get in trouble at work to hold the job in fact
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I have found a lot of individuals with ADHD as adults they've managed their work-life in such a way that kind of
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makes the ADHD less prominent so what I mean by this is a lot of adults with ADHD they become their own bosses
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because then no one's disciplining them they have to discipline themselves though so it could get in the way of
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their level of success but if they're running their own store or they're an entrepreneur and running their own
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company then sometimes I see adults with ADHD fielding out tasks that they're not very
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good at because of their ADHD conditions that there are people who can work on it for them and then they only focus on the
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types of tasks that they really want to do themselves but the caveat of course is that people with adulthood ADHD they
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don't love schedules and so they tend to have these more entrepreneurial type positions where they can wake up and
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start working when they want to and maybe they'll work at night too but it's kind of on their own time but that
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sometimes can make the ADHD worse because people with ADHD need structure and so maybe as a way of them trying to
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design their life around their condition sometimes they make those symptoms actually a little less easy to manage
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because they're not sleeping at the right time right they're up at all hours and then it cuts into their next day and
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the productivity and the concentration that they need yeah understood well we have a lot to talk about in this series
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and we'll start in our next session talking about the causes and different risk factors associated with adult ADHD
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subscribe below and remember this video just scratched the surface for more in depth videos on mental health topics go
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