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Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity may seem like signs of a bad day, but when these symptoms interfere with daily functioning, they may signal attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD actually may have physical differences in their brains. Left untreated, ADHD poses serious risks.
Myth: Info overload causes adult ADHD
There is no such thing as adult-onset ADHD. It typically develops between ages 3 and 6, and it may continue into adulthood. Busyness doesn’t lead to the disorder either. Scientists are looking at genes that may increase the likelihood of ADHD. If you suspect ADHD, visit a licensed mental health professional for an evaluation.
Myth: Kids outgrow ADHD
ADHD persists into adulthood for two-thirds of people. According to NAMI, behavioral therapy can help a child cope: Set house rules; create a specific routine; praise desired behaviors and ignore minor, unwanted ones. Use daily charts to aid organization; give rewards and consequences. Be consistent and understanding, and work with teachers.
Myth: You don’t really need treatment
For most, medication makes life a lot easier. Incorporate behavioral and lifestyle interventions too. Consider joining a support group and getting individual counseling to learn better planning and organization skills and to manage your life and relationships.
Myth: ADHD meds are dangerous & addictive
All meds have the potential for side effects. Stimulants, including methylphenidate (Concerta, Focalin XR) and amphetamines (Vyvanse, Adderall XR) are the most frequently prescribed drugs for adults with ADHD. These meds, paradoxically, have a calming and focusing effect. Newer time-released formulations are less likely to be abused.
Myth: I just can't work
Many adults seek ADHD evaluation when they encounter significant problems at home or at work. A health care professional can help you determine if the problems are due to ADHD, another cause or a combo. Requesting job accommodations can help: a private work space to avoid distraction, flex time or telecommuting, frequent task changes and short-term deadlines.
Myth: ADHD + money = double trouble
Some people with ADHD have difficulties managing their personal finances or with impulsive spending. Consider letting another family member track income and spending. Review everything, and gradually develop a concrete sense of your finances. To curb impulsive spending, keep credit cards in a safe deposit box.