May 16, 2021   5:23pm

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A.D.H.D. – 5% of adults have it; only 10% know

Are you (or is someone close to you) often distracted, fidgety, a procrastinator?  You may have adult A.DH.D. and not even know it.

A friend told us over the weekend about her encounter with a woman who justcouldnotstoptalkingabouteverythingthatpoppedintoherhead. Perplexed, our friend [tried] to politely ask if she’d had a lot of coffee that morning. “Oh no,” was her reply. “I just need to take my pills. I have A.D.H.D.”

It may seem odd to encounter an adult with A.D.H.D.  We tend to associate the disorder with children and teens, but a recent New York Times article, “Speed Bumps on the Way to an A.D.H.D. Diagnosis” by Lesley Alderman, points out, surprisingly, that more than 5% of adults have A.D.H.D. but only about 10% of them know it.

“Undiagnosed, A.D.H.D. can wreak havoc on relationships, finances and one’s self-esteem,” writes Alderman. “Adults with the disorder are twice as likely as those without it to be divorced, for instance, and four times as likely to have car accidents. It’s no surprise that they also tend to have poor credit ratings.”

Commonly mistaken for other disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, the signs are harder to pinpoint in adults than children as it makes them seem more distracted and disorganized rather than hyperactive.

Now, before you freak out and let your hypochondriac tendencies get the best of you, here are the symptoms of A.D.H.D. according to the article: impulsiveness, inattention, restlessness and poor self-regulation. Sure, we’re all guilty of those at times, but how frequently one or all of these impact our daily lives (and for how long this has been going on) is the issue. As the article discusses, A.D.H.D. is a “chronic and pervasive” disorder that you’re born with — not something you develop through time.

This article also tells you how to get tested and what to avoid.  We found this particularly enlightening and important to read.  For example, one point that’s made is to:

“Avoid:  An expensive neuropsychological evaluation.”

“You don’t need a costly and time-consuming neuropsychological evaluation — a series of tests that evaluate cognitive, behavioral and executive functioning and language skills.  ‘These tests were not designed to pick up A.D.H.D. deficits and are not sensitive enough … It’s also overkill. It takes far longer and costs far more, $2,000 to $5,000, than is necessary.’

‘Overtesting is a real problem” for patients seeking A.D.H.D. diagnoses … Not only are so-called neuropsychological tests inaccurate when it comes to A.D.H.D., but some unscrupulous providers may push them to reap bigger reimbursements from insurers.  A neuropsychological evaluation is useful, however, if you suspect you have learning disabilities or need accommodations in school or on tests.

Here is an 18-question self-diagnostic test (referred to in the article) to take and decide if you should be diagnosed by a clinician with experience in this arena.

Want more information? Check out the rest of the article, here.


*New York Times, The Health Consumer, “Speed Bumps on the Way to an A.D.H.D. Diagnosis,” Lesley Alderman, May 13, 2011

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