Adult ADHD Symptoms and ADHD Treatment During Pregnancy

From Childhood to Adulthood

Most parents can identify a child with ADD or ADHD, and if one of their children has the disorder, they are familiar with the heartbreak that comes along with it - especially the misunderstanding that accompanies the problem. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, defined, is the condition characterized by the inability to stay focused, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. For about 60% of children with ADHD, these symptoms will follow them into adulthood. The US ADHD statistics indicate that about 8 million adults currently suffer with the effects of adult ADHD, but very few are identified or receive ADHD treatment. Statistically, ADHD affects males during childhood more frequently than females, but the ratio evens out in adulthood.

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD symptoms in adults include difficulty following directions or remembering information, trouble concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within a specific time frame. Without proper treatment and ADHD medications, these people develop associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems. Low self-esteem, anxiety, anger issues, impulsiveness, substance abuse and addictions, procrastination, chronic boredom and depression are some of the signs of adult ADHD.

ADHD Causes

The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but what is known is that ADHD causes have a strong genetic component in some cases, that is affected by the levels of neurotransmitters which seem to be different in people with ADHD. Even though there is no genetic link to ADHD in other cases, the disorder is often diagnosed in children whose mothers smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy or whose mothers had a difficult pregnancy. Additionally, low birth weight may increase the risk of ADHD and children who sustain head injuries or are exposed to environmental toxins have higher risks of being ADHD. A pregnant woman risks having her baby affected by medications and substances if she takes them during pregnancy.

Diagnosing ADHD

Today there are tests that can help diagnose this disorder, although there is not one specific test assigned to ADHD. The most important information source is talking with the person and the family members. Through these discussions the doctor can determine if there were signs and symptoms of ADHD in the person during childhood. Usually this, along with a medical examination, hearing test and blood workup is enough for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Additional documentation such as school records and developmental history are valuable indicators of ADHD in childhood which will affect an adult.

Medication, ADHD and Pregnancy

Medications used to treat ADHD in adults are often the same as used in children. However, most of them are stimulants and often adults suffering with ADHD are substance abusers of one sort or another. Since there are inherent problems with attention and memory, and since an adult has to self-medicate, using a stimulant is not always the best way to handle the disorder. Additionally, the impact on a pregnant woman either staying on or going off the medication needs to be discussed, hopefully before she becomes pregnant. Since there are times when pregnancy isn't planned, the woman may be on medications when she conceives. Little is known about the impact of ADHD medication on unborn babies, but an obstetrician will be able to advise about the impact of certain medications.

Behavioral Modifications

There are other ways of treating ADHD in adults outside of medications. Individual cognitive and behavioral therapy can be used to help self-esteem increase and relaxation techniques and stress management will help reduce anxiety and stress. Behavioral coaching to teach organization at home and at work and job coaching for work relationships are beneficial as well. An adult who is diagnosed is often willing to do whatever is necessary to bring the condition into order, helping herself and those around her to live more stress free.

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