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Is Adult ADHD an Epidemic?

Is Adult ADHD an EpidemicIt’s not just for children anymore 

Medical News Today reports that the United Kingdom is experiencing a surge in requests for diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. The US has also seen a rise in adult ADHD with disparities between subgroups of race and ethnicity.

The name ADHD is a bit misleading as those with the disorder do not have a lack or deficit of attention. They do possess an inability to control what they pay attention to especially if it is low stimuli, e.g. a classroom lecture or something rather disinteresting.

ADHD is commonly associated with issues of “executive function,” a term designating higher thinking skills, such as planning, reasoning, task management, impulse control, and working memory. For adults, according to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD can be linked to:

  • Poor school or work performance
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Trouble with the law
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Frequent car accidents or other accidents
  • Unstable relationships
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Poor self-image
  • Suicide attempts

Watch our webinar regarding ADHD in the Workplace.

ADHD is also commonly considered a childhood disorder as childhood is when the diagnosis is often confirmed. So why is there a rise in adult ADHD? Reports reveal adult ADHD diagnoses have nearly doubled over the last decade.

ADHD is a neurological disorder and is not transmissible like the current Covid strains. One cannot catch it through sneezing, coughing, or breathing on someone else. Could it be an epidemic? No. It’s not an epidemic.

Then, the logical question is why are we seeing the rise in so many adult cases? Both Scientific American and The New York Times have reported that pharmaceutical companies have begun substantial marketing campaigns to increase the sales of ADHD drugs. It would reasonably follow that marketing campaigns, if successful, would bring increases in the childhood ADHD diagnoses. Indeed, that is what has happened as well.

The awareness of ADHD from various sources, coupled with the anxiety of our current pandemic, the stresses associated with an unfamiliar lifestyle, and the uncertainty of one’s future or employment certainly compound the issue as many people now feel they have a “brain fog''.

In a recent interview, ADHD expert Dr. Russell Barkley doesn’t think brain fog is ADHD even though people tend to associate the two.

“That's not ADHD, that really has to do with what we think is the power of your attention, giving your level of arousal if you wanted to call it arousal or alertness,” Barkley said. “But ADHD is a disorder of sustaining attention to especially boring tasks over time. It's not so much an arousal or alertness disorder.”

Barkley also said he doesn’t think this problem will last or create a new disorder. That is good news. Barkley expects most people who are suffering from the “brain fog”problem caused by the virus will recover within 1-3 months without outside intervention, based on current studies.

Play Attention helps both children and adults develop the foundational skills that are required for strong executive function.  Read this testimonial from Diana Kaplan, Dr. in Clinical Psychology, who has gotten outstanding results with her adult clients.

Let us help you solve the ADHD puzzle!  Call 828-676-2240 or schedule your 1:1 consultation.  We will discuss your particular needs and customize an executive function training program for you.