Tags: adult | adhd | attention | treatment

Do I Have Adult ADHD?

By    |   Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 10:01 AM

Question: I am 21 years old and studying in college, but am having a hard time concentrating. Is it possible that I could have ADHD? I never had this problem when I was in high school. It started about 3 years. What should I do?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Difficulty studying does not necessarily mean you suffer from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). From a practical viewpoint, most of the early adult complaints of difficulty concentrating relate more to use of alcohol and drugs (prescription or not) , erratic sleep habits, undiagnosed mental health disorders (such as bipolar disorder, depression) other than ADHD, or underlying medical conditions (diabetes, thyroid disorders).
 
ADHD is a disorder that usually shows itself much earlier in life than you have described, with the stimulant medications used to manage it are usually withdrawn by your mid- to late-teen years. Fortunately there are non-amphetamine medications that can be used for those who have a late onset ADHD or for those whose ADHD persists into adulthood, and they are very useful for people struggle with a college curriculum. Amphetamines and similar medications are generally discouraged at your age because of adverse side effects and they may very well  exclude you from various occupations or adversely affect your ability to participate in college sporting events.
 
First of all you need to be evaluated to see where the problem lies, which will help you and your doctor come up with a suitable management plan. Make a visit to your private physician, and get screened for physical disorders that are known to produce concentration complaints. You may also be candidate for a neuropsychological evaluation (usually done by a psychiatrist or psychologist) on referral from your primary physician. This will provide the information needed to guide your treatment.
 
We tend to overuse medications, especially those used for ADHD, and some medications may create more problems for you than solutions if you are not careful. Remember that even if you have a mild ADHD, medication use may not always be the best initial step. So let your doctors help you help yourself, and be sure to explore your options.

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Dr-Hibberd
Difficulty concentrating is not always due to ADHD, but testing can determine the cause.
adult, adhd, attention, treatment
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2014-01-15
Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 10:01 AM
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