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"Can childhood abuse cause attention deficit in adults?"

ZocdocAnswersCan childhood abuse cause attention deficit in adults?


My childhood was emotionally and physically abusive to an extreme, and I've been wnodering about the effects of this. I'm 25 now and I have what I would consider to be very bad symptoms of ADD. I am always dreamy and have a hard time paying attention to anything around me. Is this an effect of the abuse?


There are in fact several studies which have shown that rates of ADD in people with a history of abuse are in fact higher. As of now, we do not understand why this association exists, but it does. ADD, as you probably know, can last into adulthood and is characterized by symptoms such as problems with impulse control, mood swings, distractibility, and trouble with focus. It can be treated with a combination of behavioral techniques (which you can learn from a counselor or therapist) and stimulant medications, such as Ritalin. Another condition that is very common in survivors of childhood abuse is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is characterized by anxiety and panic attacks, mood problems, and flashbacks to the traumatic event. It also can be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medications to control the symptoms. The bottom line is that child abuse can have multiple effects that last late into life. If you feel that you are having trouble being successful, having trouble focusing, or having trouble with your work our your important relationships, then these are all symptoms that could be related to your history. It is important that you discuss these issues with your psychiatrist or with your primary care doctor.

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