Many people understand ADHD as a disorder which affects how children learn in the classroom.
However, ADHD doesn’t affect only children, it affects adults, too.
If you’re impulsive, have difficulty managing your time, or become easily frustrated and overwhelmed, these are all signs you may have ADHD which went undiagnosed through your childhood.
Here at New Horizons Wellness Services, our adult occupational therapists near me can help you manage your ADHD symptoms and lead a more organized, less frustrating life.
If this sounds like you, read on to discover what ADHD is, how it can affect you, and what you can do to manage your adult ADHD symptoms.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder.
It’s commonly associated with children, since it’s typically diagnosed then, but it often persists into adulthood.
In fact, about 40% of children with ADHD seem to grow out of their symptoms.
Despite that, however, there are 10 million American adults living with ADHD – each of these was once a child with ADHD.
If left untreated, adult ADHD can lead to difficulty maintaining relationships, as well as poor performance at work or at school.
If you have ADHD, you may have trouble focusing on tasks or sitting still for a long period of time.
This can lead you to experiencing difficulties in your work and home life.
There are three categories of ADHD that you can be diagnosed with.
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly hyperactive impulsive
- Combined hyperactive impulsive and inattentive
Symptoms Of ADHD In Adults
There are a wide range of symptoms associated with ADHD.
If you are an adult, your symptoms probably appear different than a child’s symptoms.
Usually, hyperactivity symptoms decrease with age, but inattentiveness and impulsivity can continue in adulthood.
There are some key symptoms of ADHD in adulthood – let’s take a closer look at what they look like.
It’s worth noting that some of these symptoms overlap with both autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing disorder.
So if you relate to the symptoms below, your occupational therapist may recommend an evaluation to be sure which, if any, of the above is affecting you.
RELATED: Occupational Therapy Treatments For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Lack Of Focus
This may mean you struggle to pay attention, but it can also mean that you:
- Are easily distracted
- Struggle to follow along in conversations
- Overlook fine details
- Have trouble completing tasks
- Difficulty multitasking
This is the opposite to lack of focus.
With hyperfocus, you may become so involved in a task or project that you lose awareness of anything around you.
This can include the passage of time, and other people around you.
You may have a harder time than others staying organized.
This includes your physical ability to organize items and your mental ability to keep track of tasks and prioritize.
Adults with ADHD often struggle with time management.
In particular, you may find that you:
- Find it challenging to organize your time
- Are prone to procrastination
- Are often late for events
- Avoid boring or tedious tasks
You may be more forgetful than other people.
This can include things like:
- Frequently misplacing items
- Forgetting important calendar events
- Forgetting conversations you’ve had
- Forgetting about commitments or responsibilities
When you have ADHD, you can be impulsive in different ways.
This can include things like:
- Interrupting others during conversations
- Rushing through tasks
- Acting without considering the consequences
With adulthood ADHD, your emotions may seem like they fluctuate more than others’.
This can result in things like:
- Difficulty coping with stress
- Heightened anxiety
- Being easily bored
- Frequent rumination on negative experiences
- Mood swings
Social Skills Issues
The above symptoms can cause difficulty navigating social situations.
This can lead to:
- Difficulty keeping a job
- Low self esteem
- Financial problems
- Trouble with the law
- Substance abuse
What Causes ADHD?
Even though ADHD is fairly common – the CDC suggests that about 10% of children are diagnosed with ADHD (that doesn’t include those who aren’t diagnosed) – we aren’t actually sure what causes it.
There may be a genetic reason for ADHD, but research also shows that reduction in dopamine might play a role.
Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that helps send signals about emotional responses and movement.
Some research suggests that people with ADHD might have a structural difference in their brain that decreases gray matter volume.
Gray matter is responsible for helping with speech, self control, decision making, and muscle control.
It may also be related to substance abuse while you were still in utero, or environmental factors.
How Can Adult Occupational Therapy For ADHD Help?
Everyone with ADHD has different symptoms and expresses their ADHD in different ways.
This is what can make occupational therapy an effective option for ADHD.
Occupational therapists are able to tailor a treatment program based on your individual needs and struggles in your day to day life.
Read on to find out some of the ways occupational therapy can help you manage your ADHD symptoms.
Or, if you suspect your child has ADHD, read about how occupational therapy can help children with ADHD here.
1. Improving Organizational Skills
You may find you struggle with your organizational skills when you have adulthood ADHD.
Your occupational therapist will help you break down daily activities into steps and skills that you need to successfully organize your time, address complex tasks, and keep up with your schedule.
An occupational therapist can help you break down a project into steps and then help you create easy systems and visual cues to be able to track and follow through on a project in a step by step manner.
You can apply this in all sorts of scenarios, whether it’s tackling the clutter in your house or keeping up with a big deadline for work.
2. Improving Social Skills
You may struggle with your social skills if you’re an adult who has ADHD.
This might be because you act impulsively, interrupt others, or simply get bored and frustrated in some social environments.
An occupational therapist can help you identify the “why” behind your behaviors.
Perhaps you struggle to socialize at work because you get frustrated by the amount of time you spend sitting, or you’re overstimulated by your work environment.
Once you uncover the reason, your occupational therapist can help you develop strategies to overcome these challenges.
3. Improving Time Management Skills
Time management can be challenging when you’re an adult with ADHD.
You might experience challenges in executing plans for completing tasks, finishing tasks in the correct order, completing work on time, or setting aside the right amount of time for a task.
Your occupational therapist will help you build your awareness of time and how to manage your tasks with lasting and tested intervention strategies.
4. Addressing Executive Function Issues
Your executive function includes your working memory, planning skills, shifting your attention, setting priorities, and controlling your impulses.
These are all things that many adults with ADHD struggle with.
Your occupational therapist will help you develop a plan that lets you practice and improve your executive functioning skills so you have fewer difficulties in your day to day life.
5. Addressing Any Sensory Processing Issues
Many adults with ADHD will also struggle with processing sensory input.
If you have sensory processing issues, it means that your brain struggles to organize the information that comes to it from your five senses, which can affect your behavior.
You might notice that you are overly sensitive to some stimuli such as sounds or bright lights, you may dislike physical contact, have trouble dealing with stress, or feel that you become overstimulated very easily.
Your occupational therapist can help you understand what kinds of sensory input are challenging for your brain and work on coping mechanisms to improve your quality of life.
Book Your Appointment With New Horizons Wellness Services Today
ADHD can lead to many challenges in adult life – it’s not just a kids’ disorder.
At New Horizons Wellness Services, our experienced occupational therapists can help you manage your symptoms of ADHD and improve your quality of life.
Book your appointment with New Horizons Wellness Services today.
Yours in Health,New Horizons Wellness Services
13333 SW 68th Pkwy,
Tigard, OR 97223
New Horizons Wellness Services provides a true multidisciplinary approach to mental & physical health treatments for children, adults and families.