The Hidden Struggles of Adult ADHD

The Hidden Struggles of Adult ADHD

ADHD in adult

ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms may include low self-esteem, memory issues, agitation or a quick temper, reckless behavior, risk-taking, and a lack of ambition. In addition to professional challenges, these symptoms can lead to financial troubles, physical and mental health problems, and interpersonal issues. Around 2.8% of the global population lives with ADHD, reports 2018 research. From the outside, ADHD may look like it’s just fidgeting and daydreaming — but there’s a lot more to this condition than what meets the eye. Adult ADHD is widely misunderstood. Many individuals have spent years spinning their wheels in psychotherapy without having their ADD identified or treated. ADHD is a prominent neurological disorder that is typically diagnosed during childhood. Originally, it was believed that people would “outgrow” the disease as adults.

However, symptoms persist in 60–90% of adults (Barkley et al; de Graaf et al). ADHD was not previously investigated or identified as widely as it is currently in children, resulting in a large number of undiagnosed adults. Symptoms may have been there, but they were most likely ignored as undesirable behavior. Adults and children may still struggle to receive an ADHD diagnosis because there is no single medical test for this condition. A detailed clinical history and evaluation are required to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Also Read: ADHD: Diagnosis, Types and Treatment

Challenges in the Workplace

Few testimonials of individuals with ADHD:

1. Time’s Elusive Grasp

    A woman is oblivious to time. She says she really does not calculate or estimate time accurately. She’s also never learned to resist the daily desire to cram in “just one more thing.” As a result, she is constantly rushing to catch up. She’s late to get up (four snoozes), late to work, late to finish last-minute projects, late to pay bills, fill out forms, and late to doctors’ appointments. Everything is last-minute. Even when she arrives on time, there is a last-minute fumble: “where is my phone? What paperwork do I need? My sunglasses?” When she finally locks the door, her smoothie spills down her skirt, forcing her to go back and change clothes.

    2. Riding the Waves of Work

    A corporate employee working a 9-5 testifies that, his internal energy flow is unpredictable at best and damaging at worst. He can’t foresee bursts of energy or when whole-system shutdowns will occur, but does know that they usually happen one after the other. He’s either all in or all out: hyper-focused or looking at his to-do list. When energy bursts occur, he aligns to them, pushes himself as hard as he can, and then collapses when they pass. Either that, or he’s going to go down hard. He needs to learn how to surf the enormous waves that could take him under, as well as how to ride the small ones that don’t go anywhere. Some days, the flow is so low that he just doesn’t have the strength to paddle.

    Also Read: Benefits, Risks, and Controversies of ADHD Medication Management

    Challenges, Stigmas, and the Paradox of Hyperfocus

    Adult ADHD symptoms at work might manifest as a disorganized work environment, difficulty starting and finishing projects, chronic tardiness, underestimating the time required to accomplish tasks, trouble to stay focused and listen during meetings, and forgetting or missing deadlines. In addition to the classic symptoms of disengagement and impulsivity, issues with executive functioning might emerge as a decreased capacity to organize and prioritize professional obligations.

    Workers with ADHD are rated lower job performance, are more likely to be penalized by supervisors, are paid less, and generate lower-quality work (Barkley et al; Ramsay, 2010). Adult ADHD is infrequently acknowledged in the workplace, and persons with the disorder may be stigmatized as poor employees or fired, limiting career advancement or even sustaining constant employment difficult. Employees with ADHD, paradoxically, may be considered as hard workers due to a condition known as hyperfocus, which is the tendency to become extremely focused on one job. Hyperfocus, which is a coping mechanism for distraction, causes the individual to become inattentive to his or her surroundings to the point where they loses track of time and ignores other responsibilities. Hyperfocus at work may be perceived as productive, but if not controlled properly, it can lead to problems if the worker disregards other tasks.

    Also Read: Study Noises and Their Link with ADHD

    Interpersonal Relationship Struggles

    According to, undiagnosed ADHD patients may create a history of negative relationships because of latent self-mistrust. Adults with ADHD and their spouses frequently experience relationship issues. Many people are drawn to people with ADD because of their unique sense of humor, imagination, originality, charisma, and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. However, for many couples, those appealing traits can sometimes wane in the presence of untreated ADD. Unfortunately, untreated ADD is a key cause of many divorces and breakups amongst spouses.

    When couples seek therapy from someone who is unfamiliar with adult ADHD, their problems may be exacerbated, causing further damage to the relationship. When an ADHD diagnosis is established and the symptoms are recognized, counseling that is more effective and therapy may be provided to the one with ADHD, his or her spouse, and the relationship, allowing healing to occur.

    A Multifaceted Treatment Approach

    Researchers discovered that cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based techniques, psycho-education, and dialectical-focused therapies are effective non-pharmacological treatments. Researchers identified bright light therapy and neurofeedback as the most effective neurostimulatory approaches.

    According to research, SDT-based therapy techniques can help people participate in intrinsic motivation and integrate behavioral change over time. ADHD research shows that individuals excel in specific circumstances but not in others, and they can effectively manage, indicating the potential for cultivating and encouraging “strengths” in ADHD neurodiversity. A recent psychology, study suggests that fostering positive psychological characteristics and emotions can improve mental health and wellness. We will offer two projects to adults aged 18 and older who have a confirmed ADHD diagnosis. In order to find, examine and develop a theory about the variables or “natural strengths” in living experiences of ADHD that allow individuals to overcome their daily limitations, intensive one hour online interviews will take place.

    Also Read: Challenging Yet Attainable: Complete Mental Health with ADHD

    A Pilot Feasibility Study

    The pilot feasibility study of a 12-week SDT-based treatment program will incorporate these criteria. The program aims to explore the real-world consequences of ADHD and leverage its strengths. We will tailor the treatment to each participant and deliver it online. This study will include two groups of patients: one group will receive immediate treatment, while the other will be placed on a waiting list for 12 weeks to serve as a comparison group. We will assess the participants’ experience to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and efficiency of this treatment in terms of symptom improvement, as well as the presence of improved self-awareness and coping skills.


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