Does ADHD Last into Adulthood?

Learning that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any sort of physical or mental health condition can be frightening. It can be even more unsettling when you don’t know what to expect from the years to come. Fortunately, you have a team of mental health experts ready to answer your questions and address your concerns. 

At Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, Dr. Ronald Winfield and his partners specialize in not only treating mental health conditions like ADHD, but preparing, equipping, and educating you so you’re ready to handle what’s next.

All about ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that affects your ability to focus, to make decisions, and to stay organized among other functions. While an exact cause of ADHD has yet to be discovered, it’s believed that genetics play a larger role in your chances of developing this condition. Premature birth, brain injury, and being exposed to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in the while in the womb are also common risk factors for ADHD. 

The warning signs of ADHD are typically noticed and diagnosed early on in school-aged children, but they can be left untreated or not assessed until later in life. 

There are a few categories of symptoms of ADHD: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. You may exhibit all three or you might notice you identify more with one type of symptom. 

Inattention may look like forgetting details, avoiding challenging tasks, disregarding instructions, and lack of focus. Hyperactivity can cause you to fidget uncontrollably, be unable to sit still, or be unable to relax. ADHD can also cause impulsive behavior meaning you might talk out of turn, blurt out responses, and finish others’ sentences. 

ADHD is commonly diagnosed with an evaluation and information gathered from parents, teachers, and relatives. Once a diagnosis is reached, Dr. Winfield begins constructing a treatment plan that will work best for you and giving you his expert advice on how to move forward. 

ADHD and adulthood

If you’re wondering if ADHD can linger into adulthood the answer is most certainly yes. ADHD is the most common mental health condition affecting children, and 80% of those children will still struggle with ADHD long after they’ve matured and come into adulthood. 

Before the 1990s it was decided that ADHD was an age-limited condition. It’s now clear that while symptoms might change over time, the vast majority of people diagnosed with ADHD as children will still fit the clinical description as they age. 

This is all because of how ADHD affects the brain. Your brain looks slightly different under a microscope if you have ADHD. A study showed that these structural differences don’t change even if you show fewer symptoms or even stop showing symptoms as you get older. 

The 20% of those with ADHD who are no longer determined to have ADHD likely developed coping strategies, responded well to treatment, had mild symptoms, or were misdiagnosed from the start and their underlying condition has resolved itself. 

Simply outgrowing ADHD is extremely unlikely and nearly impossible. It’s more likely that your symptoms have changed rather than disappeared. 

You may have been predominantly inattentive when you were a child and may have mastered your ability to focus and pay attention to detail as you’ve aged, especially if your symptoms were mild, but you might still deal with lingering impulsivity or hyperactivity. 

Treating your ADHD

If you’ve been living with ADHD your whole life or have only recently been diagnosed, it’s important that you seek treatment from our professionals and stay in close contact with our providers to adjust your treatment as you age and your condition changes. 

Dr. Winfild and his team offer a comprehensive list of treatment options including:

Depending on your goals and needs, we customize a treatment plan that fits into your life. 

ADHD doesn’t have to feel like a life sentence. We’re here to support you from the first diagnosis all the way through your adult years. 

If you have more questions or feel you or a loved one should be evaluated, call our office or schedule an appointment online today. 

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