In this inaugural episode I’ll clear up some of the misinformation you may have about adult ADHD, as I provide brief answers to a few of the most common questions.
- ADHD is a neurological condition, meaning you are wired differently.
- Symptoms are different among adults and throughout your life time.
- Getting an accurate diagnosis is important so you can get the right treatment.
- It’s not possible to first get ADHD as an adult.
- You can’t outgrow your ADHD. But you can learn how to manage the symptoms to minimize the level of impairment.
- As an adult you have agency to decide how to best treat your ADHD.
- What You Need to Know About the Causes, Symptoms & Diagnoses of ADHD
- Treatment Options for ADHD Workbook: A Guide to Exploring and Making Decisions About Treating Your ADHD
Have you ever wondered whether adult ADHD is different than ADHD in kids or adolescents? Have you been curious as to whether adults outgrow ADHD? Maybe you’ve even thought of whether you have something else instead of ADHD, and how about treatment? Is it the same for both kids and adults? These and other questions are ones I’m sure you’ve had at a time or two. You’ve tuned into scattered focus, done re-imagining productivity with ADHD, a podcast for ADHD, adults like you who want to learn how to get your essential work done in a way that works with the way your brain is wired.
I’m Marla Cummins and I’m glad you decided to join me today on this journey to re-imagining productivity with ADHD. So you can get your important work done without trying to do it like everyone else. This is episode one and this in this inaugural episode, we’ll address the tip of the proverbial iceberg as we look at some of the questions you have about ADHD in adults and also see why it’s so important for ADHD adults to have support that as well.
Adult centric, you know, grounded in a deep understanding of the needs, strengths, challenges of ADHD, adults. So let’s get on with it. An exploration of some of these questions and others. If you’re listening to this podcast today, then I know that you probably know what ADHD is, but let’s go over it anyway just to be sure. It’s a neurological condition and it’s usually genetically transmitted and it’s characterized by distractibility, impulsivity, and restlessness or hyperactivity. It’s also believed to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the various areas of your brain, especially your frontal lobe, which controls your executive function.
Here’s the important point, and the reason I wanted to start off with what is ADHD is you’re not crazy lazy, you’re stupid. Your brain is just wired differently. It’s just the cards you are dealt, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. If you can learn to work with your ADHD in a way that leverages your strengths and minimizes the challenges, those things that get in your way to doing what is essential to you.
And along the way, the symptoms are going to be different among adults with ADHD and they’re also going to present themselves differently throughout your lifetime. So I don’t know how you decided you have ADHD. You know the symptoms could be indicative of something else like depression, anxiety, OCD, sleep deprivation, et cetera. The main point is if you’ve only relied on a diagnosis just because you think you have ADHD because you’ve, you’ve read something online, I really encourage you to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to make sure that you really know what you have.
And the reason is is because I really don’t want you to waste your time going down the wrong road. It’s a lot of time, a lot of energy, and it may be really expensive and in the meantime, you’re not any closer to meeting your goals. So if you haven’t already, I would just check in with someone and get a confirmation of what you have.
Totally up to you. Of course. I just want to make sure you get the right treatment. And if you’re one of many people that were diagnosed as an adult, you might wonder, is it possible that I first developed ADHD in adulthood? If you don’t know the answer already, the answer is no, but you may be curious. So if I didn’t just first get it as an adult, why am I just getting this diagnosis? There are a couple interesting reasons for this. One of the primary ones is maybe you weren’t hyperactive as a kid. And this is, you know, little boys, ants in your pants. Those people who are like that as a child get diagnosed pretty fast. Right? Make sense. The other reason why you may not have gotten diagnosed younger is because over time you’ve developed coping mechanisms and compensating strategies to get by.
And so you’ve flown under the radar and whenever you struggled you just worked harder. Maybe that’s what you’re doing right now. And then if you did get a diagnosis as an adult, at some point you said, okay, I’m tired of working so hard. And you went and you got the diagnosis. What are the other questions you may have at this point is, “So are the symptoms the same for adults and kids?” The answer to this is a little complicated. It’s yes and no really. You may experience the same categories of symptoms, for example, in attentiveness, distractability impulsivity.
But, if you were inattentive as a kid, you may have looked out the window in class until the teacher caught your attention. Now, as an adult, maybe you’re able to pull yourself back. That is the categories of being inattentive is the same, but it just looks a little different.
And if you were impulsive as a kid, you might be able to reign it in a little bit more now. So you know you’re not jumping off jungle gyms or throwing spitballs across the room. But maybe you blurt out, get it. It makes sense, right, that the categories of symptoms are the same, but they just don’t manifest themselves the same. The other question that people are often curious about, and you may be also is, can I outgrow my ADHD?
And the answer to that is, “Well, no, you can’t cure your ADHD and you can’t outgrow your ADHD.” But, as I pointed out just earlier, you may be able to outgrow some of your symptoms as you learn to manage them better. That is that as you learn to leverage your ADHD strengths. And manage those symptoms that get in your way, the level of impairment you experience is less so.
If you’re currently experienced a lot of stress and overwhelm because of your ADHD, I can tell you for sure it can get better. And the way it can get better is by you getting the help you need and adopting tools and strategies that work for you and work for your ADHD. Or rather with your ADHD. One of the ways that you can do this and that other successful ADHD adults do this is by crafting your environment in a way that works for you because now as an adult. You have more agency to do this than when you were a child.
As a child, you may have had to fit into a prescribed environment, whether it worked for you or not. Of course, this depends on the adults in your life. But regardless of whether this was true for you or not, you don’t have to do this anymore.
You can decide how you want your environment to work, including your work environment in your home environment, who you hang out with in a way that relies more on your strengths. And less on those characteristics of ADHD and other characteristics you may have that you find challenging. The other question I want to talk about in this first episode has to do with treatment because really when people are looking for information. And this may be true for you too about ADHD. It’s about, so what’s the treatment? What do I do to make things better?
And so is the treatment the same for all adults? Is the treatment the same for adults and kids? Well, yes and no. In the sense the goal of treatment is the same for everyone, right? The goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms. So you can take advantage of those ADHD symptoms that help you and minimize those you find challenging in order to operate better in your daily life.
That means operating better in your daily life means being able to do what is meaningful to you, whether it’s work or personal. Same with kids, right? The differences. While there are a few differences, one is your life is obviously a lot more complicated. Now I know you didn’t need me to tell you that, but it’s true. Your life is more complicated. Now what that means though is that you have a lot more bouncing balls that you need to consider when deciding the best way to work with your ADHD. When you were diagnosed with ADHD, if you were as a child, your parents along with other adults in your life, maybe even mental health professionals or teachers made the decisions about how to treat your ADHD.
And they also may have often made the decisions about what was meaningful to you. You know what I mean? So they may have used behavior modification, including rewards to get you to buy into the treatment plan and to get you to buy into whatever goals they had in mind.
So the difference is now you get to call the shots. You get to say what your goals are and how you want to treat your ADHD in order to achieve those goals. Of course, this has its upside downside. The upside is, well, you get to call the shots. The downside is, well, you have to call all the shots and it can be difficult to make these decisions. That’s why I’ve created this podcast. To provide you with information so you can make more informed decisions about best practices to working with your ADHD and in future sessions. I’ll go over those strategies, skills, and tools you can add to your toolbox as you create your best practices, those practices that help you do what’s important to you.
That’s it for now. If you’re interested in learning more about my work with adults with ADHD, check out my website, marlacummins.com. Of course, if you’ve learned a thing or two from listening to today’s podcast, please pass this link along to other people you think might also benefit. And I would be really interested in hearing your feedback, as well as your interest in future topics. Until next time. I’m Marla Cummins wishing you all the best on your journey to getting the right support and accessing the right resources to help you leverage your ADHD strengths and minimize those that get in your way. Until next time, bye bye.