Over the past few weeks we looked at some of the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. Taken on their own, these symptoms perhaps do not look all that dangerous. It is, however, when you stop to consider the combined impact of these symptoms and characteristics of adult ADD/ADHD on the lives of ordinary people that the real picture emerges. It is not an overstatement to say that the condition regularly wreaks havoc on the lives of those who are affected by it. It is therefore very important to get to the place where the condition is recognized and addressed in the best way possible.
Some of the most common effects of the condition on the lives of adults include the following.
- Labeling: People who are dealing with adults with ADD/ADHD obviously do not know what is going on inside their brains! This means that they can very easily misunderstand and judge them. It is not uncommon for adults with ADD/ADHD to be labeled as lazy, unmotivated, stupid or even willfully obstinate. This kind of labeling can obviously have a devastating effect on the self-esteem of those targeted by it, even to the extent that they begin to believe some or all of it themselves! Â It is therefore not uncommon to find that adults with ADD/ADHD suffer from low self-esteem.
- Relationship Strain and Breakdown: The impulsivity, forgetfulness and even the hyper focus of adult ADD/ADHD can severely strain relationships. If the non-ADD/ADHD partner is not aware of the existence of the condition he/she will almost certainly interpret certain behaviors as insensitive, reckless or even calculated to cause harm and distress. This is obviously compounded if the adult with ADD/ADHD does not himself/herself recognize the existence of the condition and therefore does not know how to manage it within the context of a relationship. It is, in light of this, hardly surprising that many adults with ADD/ADHD struggle to maintain healthy long-term relationships.
- Professional and Financial Problems: There are certainly some jobs (which we will look at later on) in which adults with ADD/ADHD tend to thrive. There are, however, many others (most notably routine office jobs) which they find very difficult to cope with and therefore to hold down. Major contributing factors to this would be impulsivity (it is obviously a very necessary skill to know when to â€˜hold your tongueâ€˜ within an office environment), difficulty to focus on uninteresting or uninspiring tasks and general Â disorganization. Many adults with ADD/ADHD try to deal with these issues by firmly resolving at the start of each job to radically reform themselves. If, however, the underlying causes and patterns are not addressed these efforts at reform tend to be very short lived; with predictable consequences for job security. It does not take a genius to work out what the financial impact of drifting in and out of jobs (as many adults with ADD/ADHD do) can have on long-term financial security. Sadly the financial stress that many adults with ADD/ADHD suffer from is compounded even further by their lack of organizational abilities being transferred to the management of their cheque-books.
- Mental Health Problems: All of the issues mentioned above can combine to tip the adult with ADD/ADHD into serious mental health problems. Some of the most common among these are compulsive eating, substance abuse, stress and low self-esteem.
It should be clear from the above that the perception fuelled by Hollywood that adult ADD/ADHD is something to laugh at (think of how many times on television you see somebody comment that â€˜She is bit ADDâ€™) is way off the mark. This is a serious condition that deserves serious attention.
It should also be noted that what is mentioned above is only half of the picture. Adult ADD/ADHD is not and should not be seen as an unmitigated disaster. There are many positives associated with the condition including the ability to interact in innovative and creative ways with the things life throws up. (I will focus on some of the positive aspects of adult ADD/ADHD in one of the following articles).
Recognizing that they have ADD/ADHD is sometimes a massive relief for adults with the condition. They have been going through life, vaguely aware that â€˜something is wrongâ€™, but have never quite been able to put a finger on it. Giving the condition name means that they can do something to proactively address its impact on their lives. If you suspect therefore that you may have the condition I would urge you to give serious attention not only to identify its existence but also to address it in ways that will significantly enhance the quality of your life and that will allow you to fully capitalize on the positive aspects that are associated with the condition. The â€˜3 Stepsâ€™ program was engineered to help you to do exactly this. It is a natural, proven and easy to follow lifestyle that will push you beyond merely trying to survive to a place where you can thrive!