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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Can Adults Have ADD?

02/15/2000

Question:

Is it possible that adults could have ADD. I am 34 years old and started back to school full-time and I have problems concentrating in school. I have to come home and go over things by myself before I can understand it. My son is currently taking medication for this. But, I don`t have the hyperactivity like he does. Even before I started school I knew that I had a hard time concentrating on what people are saying. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Although the exact percentage is unknown, it appears that most children with ADD still fit the official criteria for a diagnosis as adults. However, the normal developmental changes that take place with aging often alter the specific signs and symptoms. Although adults can have very problematic hyperactivity, many persons with the hyperactive-type of ADD "grow out of" the extreme hyperactivity they had as a child. And many children as well as adults with ADD never have hyperactivity. What appears to be less likely to change with aging are ADD-related problems such as poor short term memory, slow thought processing speed, and difficulty with auditory-specific or visual-specific learning. I have many adult patients with ADD, most of whom are on medication for it. You might get some insight reading (if you are better at visual learning) or listening to a book-on-tape version (if you are better at auditory learning) of a book about adults with ADD. BOOKS ON ADD IN ADULTS ADD and Creativity; Lynn Weiss ADD Gordon Serfontein ADD in Adults; Help for Adults Who Suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder; Gordon Serfontein Adult A.D.D. : A Reader Friendly Guide to Identifying, Understanding, and Treating Adult Attention Deficit Disorder; Tom Whiteman, et al Adventures in Fast Forward : Life, Love, and Work for the Add Adult; Kathleen G. Nadeau The Added Dimension; Everyday Advice for Adults with Add; Kate Kelly, Tom Hartman You Mean I`m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! : A Self-Help Book for Adults With Attention Deficit Disorder; Kate Kelly, et al You can also get a lot of information on the website listed below.

Related Resources:

Children and Adults with ADD

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati