ZocdocAnswersWhat are the long-term efftects of adult ADD?

Question

What are the long-term efftects of adult ADD?

I'm 28 and have just been diagnosed with adult ADD. I found the diagnosis very upsetting, and I don't know what it means for the rest of my life. Does adult ADD get worse over time? How can I tell the difference between the disease and my personality?

Answer

Adult attention deficit disorder, we now understand, is a quite common problem. It is characterized by inattention, difficulty initiating and finishing tasks, mood problems, problems with impulse control, and the like. Usually adult ADD is the continuation of childhood ADD, meaning symptoms were present in childhood or adolescence and never fully resolved in childhood. If not treated, adult ADD can have very serious impact on quality of life and social functioning. People with adult ADD may have trouble with higher education, as they cannot keep themselves on task. They may also not perform as well in their job, and their relationships may suffer from the mood swings and inattentiveness that characterize the disorder. The good news, however, is that there is excellent treatment available for the condition. Often patients with adult ADD benefit from skills training, which helps them to learn to recognize their weaknesses and modify their work or learning styles to overcome them. Therapy can help to recognize how their behaviors are affecting those around them. Finally, medications are highly successful in treating the symptoms of ADD. The first line medications for adult ADD are the stimulants, such as Ritalin, which can dramatically improve focus, mood, and distractibility. The first step is to discuss all of this with your psychiatrist and to settle on a treatment plan that will work for you.

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