ADHD: still often misunderstood | – Guide

Status: 05/03/2022 5:44 p.m.

Problems concentrating, inner turmoil, and emotional turmoil are some of the other symptoms of ADHD. Sometimes the disease is only recognized after decades. It is, however, easily treatable.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) usually begins in childhood or adolescence. But adults can also be affected: in 30 to 50% of children and adolescents with ADHD, problems with attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity persist into adulthood. ADHD occurs in about five percent of all children and adolescents worldwide, and according to the RKI, the number has remained stable over the past few decades.

symptoms of attention deficit disorderg in adulthood

ADHD was unrecognized in childhood for many adults. If there are abnormalities in adulthood, the people involved cannot explain them. Many only turn to a doctor when there are conflicts in the family or at work, or when co-occurring illnesses such as depression or substance abuse issues arise. The following signs could indicate ADHD:

  • Difficulty concentrating, easily distracted
  • unable to prioritize, gets bogged down
  • inner restlessness, feels pushed
  • Constantly moving (for example, tapping feet, rocking chair, drumming fingers), often changing posture
  • very quickly and violently emotionally agitated
  • acts without thinking of the consequences (e.g. risky driving/cycling)
  • feels attacked quickly
  • quickly feels bored and apathetic
  • Feelings and moods fluctuate rapidly and severely
  • depressive mood swings, feelings of inferiority, hopelessness and resignation
  • the emotional demarcation of others works poorly
  • their own moods, feelings and needs are misunderstood
  • Feelings are perceived en masse and cannot be differentiated
  • forgets to eat/eats irregularly
  • missed the train/bus, forgot the stop
  • makes reckless/spontaneous purchases without having an overview of the account balance

Is it in the genes?

The causes of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are not yet fully understood. Genes seem to play a big role. ADHD is probably due to a metabolic and functional disorder of the brain – according to the latest scientific studies. Dopamine, the messenger substance responsible for controlling activity, motivation and drive, is probably being broken down too quickly. Result: the signals are no longer transmitted correctly and the stimuli are not sufficiently filtered. In people with ADHD, the processing of information between certain sections of the brain does not work properly. This concerns the sections responsible for concentration, perception and impulse control.

The cause: With ADHD, the balance of messenger substances in the brain is altered. Above all, dopamine and norepinephrine play a role here – the so-called neurotransmitters. They affect the way we feel and behave. They ensure the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another.

Stimuli are poorly filtered

Science assumes that there is not enough dopamine available in the space between nerve cells, the so-called synaptic cleft. The reason: part of the dopamine migrates to the presynapse, where it comes from, and is broken down there. It therefore never arrives at its destination. The signal transmission therefore remains weak.

Result: the stimuli are poorly filtered. There is constant sensory overload. Thoughts cannot be thought through, affected people find it difficult to concentrate.

ADHD is treatable

For a long time ADHD was not known to exist in adults. There is now special centers. Once ADHD is identified, affected individuals are treated individually. For some, the diagnosis alone is enough to explain the difficulties of living without further treatment. For others, psychotherapy, medication or endurance sports help – usually a combination of all of these.

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