ADHD Side Effects in Adults
Did you get toilet trained or learn to tie your shoes later than most kids? Do you procrastinate until the last minute and find it almost impossible to pay attention to boring things? If yes, then you might have ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, but some people are not diagnosed until adulthood. In this article we talk a look at ADHD side effects in adults so you can tell if you are at risk.
What is ADHD?
When it comes to focusing, it may feel as if your perception has no filters. People without ADHD have a sort of “secretary” that filters and deletes useless thoughts before they can consciously become aware of them. Because of this, their minds are like a blank sheet of notebook paper: clean and ready to organize knowledge.
People with ADHD do not have a secretary. Everything they consciously or subconsciously perceive gets written down on their mind’s notebook paper, making it look like a bunch of illegible scribbles. When something new is perceived, something old (regardless of whether it is useless or important) is erased so the new thoughts can fit on the notebook paper. Noise, music, lights, movement, smells — anything perceivable can overwhelm someone with ADHD.
To give you an idea of what this looks like, assume you are reading an email from your boss. You look down slightly and notice a clump of dust on the ground. Suddenly, a burst of thoughts fills your mind about the dust. Before you know it, you have spent 15 minutes “reading” a note that should have taken you five minutes to read.
When you have ADHD, your mind is constantly stimulated by the things around you because you cannot filter them out.
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD in Adults?
ADHD symptoms fall under three categories: inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive.
Everyone may have symptoms similar to ADHD. The difference between people with and without ADHD is ADHD symptoms occur in all environments. For example, if you only have ADHD symptoms while at work, then you probably do not have ADHD.
- Being late
- Getting distracted during activities
- Getting distracted during conversations
- Forgetting simple things, like your car keys, phone, or purse
- Difficulty with organization
- Taking longer than others to process information
- A feeling of restlessness (the need to move or do something)
- Not able to sit still for long periods of time
- Constantly moving some part of your body
- Talking “too much”
- Lack of self-control
- Saying the first thing that comes to your mind
- Acting on a thought or desire without considering the consequences
- Risky behavior that can sometimes be illegal
- Switching from one task to another without completing the previous task
Scroll down to learn how ADHD symptoms can be a benefit or disadvantage to your work and social life.
How ADHD Affects Your Social Life
Making friends can either be easier for you or harder. Many people with ADHD say they like to meet new people, but do not expect to meet new people at a bar, night club or loud party. Your attention span and brain might be too overwhelmed by all the people and noise.
Other people with ADHD say it can be hard for them to make new friends because they might say the wrong thing when first meeting someone. For example, they will impulsively say something about someone’s appearance when they first see them. The person they are talking to could either feel flattered or offended.
When it comes to maintaining relationships you already have, you may experience difficulty. If you have impulsive or hyperactive symptoms, it is only a matter of time before you do or say something offensive towards your friends. Even if it was unintentional, they may or may not forgive you.
The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD is to provide adults and children with strategies and skills to help cope with the symptoms of ADHD.
How ADHD Affects Your Work Life
By nature, people with ADHD will over-focus on the things they find interesting and fall asleep when it comes to things they find boring. The same applies to the jobs and work they have.
If you get your dream job, you might become the greatest employee your company has ever seen and if you get a job you do not care for, you will probably quit it within six months. You might wake up one day and realize you hate your job and move on to another boring job you may also quit within six months.
Depending on the work you do, you will procrastinate and put work off until the last minute. You might arrive to work late. You could end up feeling guilty for accomplishing so little compared to your peers. If you are barely holding things together, you could be tempted to tell your supervisor or manager you have ADHD.
People with ADHD do well in careers where every day is somewhat different than the last. These careers include:
- Police officers
- Fire fighters
- Graphic designers
- The military
- Doctors and nurses
People with ADHD do well at jobs requiring:
- Dealing with high-intensity situations
- Structure and discipline
- Working at a fast pace
- Being creative
- Taking risks
How ADHD Affects Your Physical Health
People with ADHD are at increased risk for being overweight or obese. They are also more a risk for cavities and mouth or teeth injuries. People with ADHD are also more likely to have tics. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people repeatedly do involuntarily.
ADHD medication can cause insomnia, weight loss, and increased blood pressure.
How to Treat Adult ADHD
Of course you can try ADHD medication or therapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. However, you might need more than that.
Compared to non-ADHD people, someone with ADHD is more vulnerable to lack of nutrients and sleep. Drugs, like alcohol or caffeine, also have stronger effects.
Things you enjoy can become addictive, while things you dislike or find boring can become impossible to do, even if it is your job. The best thing you can do is live a healthy lifestyle. That means you need to have healthy sleep, exercise and diet habits. The eating and sleeping parts are obvious. Doing right means using a to-do list and keeping up with your personal hygiene and responsibilities.
You’ll have to avoid social media, video games and your phone in general to make sure you do what you need to do, whatever it may be. Be sure to save this guide for future reference and share it with your friends and family.