Throughout its 240+ year history in the medical literature, ADHD was known to be associated with significant problems with impulsive emotion and poor emotional self-regulation so much so that some theorists considered it a core feature of the disorder.
ADHD goes along with other diagnoses over the life span. In childhood, oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder are e.g. frequently occurring with ADHD. In adulthood, mood and anxiety disorders, but also substance use disorders are found most often.
ADHD and sleep problems are intimately intertwined in 80% of children and adults with ADHD during lifetime. The sleep loss results in increased severity of ADHD symptoms, depression, obesity, and chronic diseases in the long term.
ADHD in adults is best managed with a combination of medication, learning about ADHD, therapy and/or coaching. We need to address both the brain wiring and also the psychological impact of living with ADHD.
ADHD is estimated to be present in 5.29% of the children worldwide. In adults, this is between 2.8 and 4.4%. These are averages: estimates vary in different countries.
Adults with ADHD have unhealthy eating habits, leading to overweight/obesity, with the odds ratio increasing with age. They are also suffering more from eating disorders.
The medications used to treat ADHD reduce the symptoms of the disorder and many functional outcomes: delinquency, substance abuse, criminality and suicidality. They can cause unwanted side effects but, for most patients, these side effects can be controlled by reducing the dose or changing medications.
In most people having the diagnosis, ADHD is likely to be the result of their genetic make-up (i.e. their DNA) and events that happen to them throughout life. Together, these may cause slight differences in the development of the brain, as we see them in people with ADHD.
The biggest concerns for adolescents and young adults with ADHD during COVID-19 are social isolation, motivation problems, and difficulties engaging in online work or schooling. These risk factors create a perfect storm for the onset of depression, school dropout, or work underperformance.
Medication, psychotherapy or coaching are often important first steps to reduce stress with ADHD by lowering core ADHD symptoms, changing unhelpful habits, and achieving goals. At the same time, a healthy lifestyle (regular daily routine, adequate sleep, healthy diet, exercise, time in nature), mindfulness practice, and effective communication create the foundation for stress resilience.