ADD and ADHD Symptoms and Warning Signs

ADHD Symptoms

In a study cited by ADHD Adulthood, approximately 10.5 million US adults are estimated to have ADHD and that number doesn’t even include the number of people who remain undiagnosed. ADD and ADHD symptoms affect a huge population in the United States with varying degrees of severity and visible effects.

For those who are living with either ADD and/or ADHD, there are multiple challenges that affect their daily life and if their condition is not treated, it can do irrefutable damage to their social, personal, and professional life.

We’re focused on exposing the warning signs and symptoms of ADD and ADHD so that you can recognize the symptoms in your loved ones and get them the help they deserve.

What is ADD and ADHD?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are two disorders that are commonly symbiotic in the way they affect their victims.

ADD.org describes ADHD as, “a highly genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors.

ADD and ADHD are disorders which disallow the person who is affected to be able to keep a high attention span. They are often fidgety, can’t sit still, and jump from one subject or task to the other, unable to continually focus on any one thing.

Children and adults alike are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.

Children with either of these conditions are unable to focus and therefore, they have trouble learning in a conventional school environment. The only difference in ADD and ADHD in children is that if the child is also hyper, they have ADHD.

This can cause children to act out and appear to be misbehaved, when really, their actions stem from their disorder, not their intelligence, or want to behave.

Adults with ADD and ADHD are far more prone to being unable to keep a job, having trouble in their relationships, and are often looking forward, before they’ve even completed what they’re working on.

While these disorders do not affect intelligence, it can be difficult for the adult to express their knowledge, because their focus is always shifting.

Looking for signs of ADHD in loved ones

Fortunately, there are signs and symptoms that loved ones can notice to help people affected by these disorders get the help they need.

Here are the main things to look for in different age groups:

  • The child might have trouble staying focused.
  • The child appears not to listen when they are spoken to.
  • The child has difficulty remembering details and following even simple instructions.
  • The child struggles with staying organized, planning, and finishing projects on time, or at all.
  • The child frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items.
  • They may be predominantly inattentive, even when doing activities they enjoy.
  • They may be extremely hyperactive/impulsive or act immature for their age.
  • Having the combination of hyperactivity and being inattentive is a clear sign that there is something going on that needs to be addressed.
  • They are often late for important family or social gatherings.
  • They find it difficult to follow directions and stay on task, regardless of how hard they try.
  • They always seem to be talking, interrupting, and losing track of the conversation.
  • They might have a severe lack of overall organization.

Why do ADHD Symptoms lead to self-medication?

ADD is a difficult disorder to live with, especially if it is untreated. Many times, people with ADD are belittled for their shortcomings, like being late, having to be told directions repeatedly, and being unable to finish tasks. This can cause a person’s self-esteem to plummet, which leads to self-medicating, to fill the void created by their inability to please those around them.

According to an article by The Establishment, people who have undiagnosed ADD tend to turn to available drugs, most commonly, caffeine and alcohol, but sometimes other drugs, to self-medicate. However, they aren’t usually trying to help their ADD, since many aren’t even aware they have it.

Rather, they are simply trying to make themselves feel better, although alcohol and caffeine are only adding insult to injury.

What are the risks of resulting drug abuse?

Drug and alcohol abuse, especially in the case of those suffering from ADD and ADHD symptoms are only compounding the problem.

According to a study cited by ADDitude Magazine, “Five percent of adults with the disorder had abused or were dependent upon alcohol or drugs during the previous year. That’s nearly triple the rate for adults without ADHD.”

Most of the substances abused are marijuana and alcohol, but considering both are depressants, these drugs alone only make the symptoms worse.

How are co-occurring issues with ADD treated?

While co-occurring issues, such as substance abuse compounded by ADD or ADHD symptoms can be difficult to treat, considering all medication is not an option because they can become habit-forming, other methods need to be applied.

DualDiagnosis.org suggests implementing therapeutic methods and holistic remedies that help the person afflicted battle the disorder in a healthy, long-lasting, and positive manner.

Here are a few of the things that are covered in therapy using a Dual Diagnosis method:

  • The therapist works with the patient to identify destructive thoughts and behaviors that promote substance abuse, which is a vital step in helping the patient reclaim their sense of self.
  • Once that is established, the therapist works on rebuilding the patient’s self-esteem.
  • Simultaneously the therapist helps the patient control the symptoms of ADHD through behavioral modification.
  • Much of that is helping the patient identify substance abuse triggers and learning how to manage impulses, in place of trying to masque them with drugs and alcohol.
  • Another vital portion of this method is educating partners and family members about ADHD. This should include modifying the loved one’s behavior so that they are more productive when the patient is having an episode.

In summation, the sooner ADD and ADHD is diagnosed and treated, with the support of family and friends, the affected person will be able to get the help they need and live the life they deserve.

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one are struggling with ADD, ADHD, or a co-occurring substance abuse issue, please contact our admissions team today for a free and confidential assessment.