ADHD is a complex disorder with a combination of symptoms such as inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity which begins during childhood.
More than half of children suffering from ADHD still suffer from the condition in adulthood. An estimated 4 to 5% of the adult population is believed to have ADHD, most being neither diagnosed nor treated.
ADHD in adults, the diagnostic criteria for which were recently included in the DSM 5, currently remains under diagnosed as the picture is often hidden in adulthood.
Adult ADHD is very often related to other conditions such as:
- Mood disorders;
- Substance misuse;
- Behavioural disorders.
Symptoms suggesting ADHD include:
- Impulsiveness (irritability/anger, impulsive change of work, driving at high speed, excessive smoking/coffee consumption),
- Hyperactivity (inner nervousness, talking too much, overworked, tendency to choose busy jobs)
- Inattention (easily distracted, frequent forgetting, difficulties concentrating, poor time management, difficulty finishing a task that has already been started, often losing things).
The symptoms become chronic.
Diagnosing adult ADHD is a complex task which requires a specialist opinion.
The diagnostic assessment involves an initial consultation (1h 30mins) with exhaustive investigation into the various areas of life, collection of personal and family history (psychiatric and medical) and standard questionnaires (hetero assessment, self-assessment, with or without evaluation by a family member or friend). It is preferable that a family member or friend attend one of the two diagnostic consultations.
Further tests such as a neuropsychological assessment, a cardiologist’s opinion or sleep testing may be necessary.
Pharmacological treatment and psychotherapy are often combined. Psychostimulant treatment remains the gold standard but other substances (non-psychostimulant) are available today and are adapted to each situation (related condition).