Identification is complicated by the fact that, in addition to adhd, many other factors may also cause concentration problems.
Activity and attention deficit disorder, or adhd, is often diagnosed only in adulthood. This is despite the fact that ADHD is a congenital developmental disorder.
– The milder adhd of many children goes unrecognized, and the symptoms start to cause problems more clearly only as an adult, for example in studies, work or interpersonal relationships, says the leading psychologist at the National Institute of Occupational Health and a specialist psychologist in neuropsychology. Teemu Paajanen.
According to Paajanen, the incidence of adult ADHD has not increased, but it is now better known, which has resulted in an increase in diagnoses. Identifying Adhd is complicated by the fact that many other factors can also cause concentration problems.
The core symptoms of Adhd – inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity – can occur in different ways in different people. Many adults still consider hyperactivity to be a hallmark of ADHD, although in adults the disorder may not be associated with symptoms of hyperactivity at all.
According to Paajanen, the disorder is slightly lower in adults than in children.
– This is probably due to the fact that as the brain develops, the symptoms are often slightly alleviated and better learned to compensate. As an adult, identifying the disorder is also easily left to your own risk: you may not be able to pay special attention to the symptoms, because “things have always been that way”.
Terveystalo psychiatrist Mika Määtän According to the report, about 2.5–3.4 per cent of Finnish adults have ADHD, which means about 80,000–110,000 people of working age.
– Still, in 2018, only 14,000 adults received basic reimbursement for ADHD drugs. This is a good illustration of how underdiagnosed adhd is still.
More and more people wake up to their symptoms only in middle age
I say most adult ADHD diagnoses are made in young adults. As a new phenomenon, the number of diagnoses among people aged 40-60 has also increased in recent years.
– Many middle-aged people have coped well with their symptoms, but living has taken a lot of energy. As a result, episodes of exhaustion or depression easily begin. A recurrent tendency to become exhausted, depressed, or anxious is often associated with the disorder.
In adults, adhd most often manifests as difficulties in alertness, concentration, and ERP. Hyperactivity can manifest as inner restlessness: the mind wanders, and it is really difficult to relax and calm down.
Adhd often makes life intermittent: many have had numerous jobs, several missed studies, and relationships have ended for a short time. Many thrive on challenging, self-interest work tasks, but routine tasks as well as planning and organization seem difficult. Things can be tricky to get started and are easily missed.
Everyday life is also difficult to take care of. For example, paying bills can be delayed, it is difficult to make appointments on time and the home cannot be kept clean. Impulsivity can manifest as sensitive irritation, frustration, or boredom.
When I talk about adhd, I easily forget that there are often positive aspects to the disorder.
– Adhd adults can be very creative, energetic, inspiring and spontaneous and know how to read their environment. Thus, there may not be a reason to diagnose everyone, and not everyone may need treatment for the disorder.
According to I say, adult adhd is most often treated with medication.
There are many reasons why adhd goes unrecognized as a child
There may be several factors involved in childhood and adolescence that make symptoms unproblematic and easily unrecognized.
– For example, a school may have really good teachers who know how to motivate, encourage and make teaching interesting, so that the interest of a child with ADHD also remains. Many children have parents who help them do their homework and make sure that the child gets to school on time and has the goods with them, Määttä describes.
A person’s personality traits can also have an effect: if a child or young person is very Conscientious or demanding of themselves, despite their difficulty concentrating, he or she strives to perform his or her duties carefully, even if it takes a long time.
– Even children and young people who are very intelligent and well-remembered often do well in primary school. They learn things quickly, so learning does not require long-term focus. In some cases, the high school is still running smoothly, and the problems may not be revealed until college.
According to Määt, adhd diagnoses are more common in boys than in girls, which may be due in part to the fact that in boys the symptom is more susceptible to hyperactivity and in girls to inattention. Girls’ adhd can therefore be more easily left unrecognized. A child who does not listen but sits kindly in class and does moderately at school may not attract attention. It may be that no one comes to think that he could have some kind of difficulty.