Question for Betty.
 
For a person diagnosed with ADHD can they grow out of the hyperactive portion but still have focusing and memory problems?  Also, is there a way to help with those problems?
 
Betty's Answer.
 

These are great questions!  The answers are not clear cut, so let's start with some background information.

ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as a "developmental disorder with neuro and psycho-biological correlates on affective, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions, characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that is associated with social and academic impairment" (Simon, p.5, 2013).  It is a disorder that usually starts in childhood and usually persists through adulthood (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).  The World Health Organization, World Mental Health Survey initiative found that the an average of half of all children continued to meet criteria of ADHA as adults (Lara, 2009).

The next question is what does ADHD looks like as an adult?  Inattentiveness in adults is better described as "distractibility, disorganization, being late, being bored, lack or overview, and difficulty making decisions" (Simon, p.5, 2013).  The impulsivity of ADHD as an adult is often "expressed as impatience, acting without thinking, spending money recklessly, and/or starting or ending new jobs and relationships on impulse" (Simon, p.5, 2013).  Hyperactivity of ADHD may manifest as "adult inner restlessness, feeling on the go, or inability to relax" (Simon, 2013).  So, you can have all the symptoms of ADHD but how the symptoms express themselves may alter.

What can you do to help with those problems?  It is important to understand that ADHD crosses all aspects of your life from academics to work to social to mental health, which means it is important to look at treating it in a holistic fashion. 

 First, there is a strong correlation between ADHD and alcohol and/or recreational drug abuse (Quinn, 2012), so avoid recreational drug use and limit alcohol intake.  Low risk consumption of alcohol is defined for men as 4 or less standard drinks per day AND max of 14 drinks per week; and for women, it is 3 or less standard drinks per day AND max of 7 drinks per week (Buddy, 2012). 

 Second, it is imperative to take care of your overall physical health, such as restful, adequate sleep, proper nutrition, proper hydration, and exercise.

Third, medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both is the direct method of treating ADHD and the National Institute of Mental Health (2009) describes both of these therapies (link is below).  However, I can't emphasize enough that medications and psychotherapy can treat the ADHD, but, unless you are also taking care of your physical health, you will not be maximizing your ability to function.  Lastly, I encourage you to become an expert in your mental and physical health, so that they can become active participants in their healthcare.

In conclusion, thank you for great questions.  There are links to most of the resources below for you to do your own research and become an active participant in your healthcare!

 

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision (4th ed.).  Washington, D.C. American Psychiatric Association.

Buddy, T. (2012).  Alcohol: How much is too much?  Retrieved from:

 http://alcoholism.about.com/od/effect/a/too much.htm

Lara, C., Fayyad, J., de Graaf, R., Kessler, R. C., aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Angermeyers, Ml, . . . Sampson, N. (2009).  Childhood predictors of adult ADHD: results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative. Biological psychiatry, 65(1), 46-54.  Retrieved from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2629074/pdf/nihms83060.pdf/?tool=pmcentrez

National Institute of Mental Health. (2009). Can adults have ADHD?  Retrieved from:

 http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/can-adults-have-adhd.shtml

Quinn, P. (2012). WebMd: ADHD and substance Abuse. retrieved from:

 http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhg-and-substance-abuse-is-there-a-link

Simon,A.B. (2013). Cases in Adult Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Annals, 43(1), 5-8.