Is ADHD real? Can Adults have ADHD?

Photograph courtesy of Queensland State Library-Thank you

So many of my clients that I see in part of my work are presenting for coaching or to get an ADHD assessment in their adulthood. They have so many questions because the notion of having ADHD as an adult comes as such a shock.

Often an adult will present to the clinic for assessment because:

  • they are struggling at work, study or at home and they or their loved ones have just had enough.
  • they have sought some help and the medications prescribed by the GP have not helped, often medications for anxiety or depression.
  • Their impulsive behaviours get them into lots of trouble, with friends (speaking before thinking and unintentionally insulting or offending someone) or financially (typically overspending or making bad financial decisions) or with their self-esteem (over eating).
  • They just can’t get things done, they procrastinate and struggle to activate
  • They get caught up in a lot of emotional behaviours -fighting with others, feelings being hurt more easily than others.
  • They are tired of saying “Sorry” – for being late, for being disorganised, for forgetting the needs of others (or themselves), paying bills late regularly, not making plans.
  • Sometimes they tell fibs- but not from a character flaw, but in a self-protective response (more of this in my next post).

Most of these things don’t sound like the ADHD that the general public think of as “ADHD”

If fact in the USA, the fastest demographic for ADHD diagnosis at the moment is for adult women.

Dr Ari Tuckman, a Psychologist in the US talks about four pillars of treatment for ADHD.  They are education, medication, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour therapy) and Coaching.

Our coaching clients find enormous benefits in the “designed pause” that coaching gives them.  Combined with our knowledge of ADHD we can help our clients find the right strategies for their situation. I firmly believe that coaching is a form of Mindfulness. Coaching is objective and non-judgmental. It gives us the opportunity to look at the current moment with curiosity and a new focus that is not tainted with a heavy emotional story- we just look at the facts, and the we look at where the ADHD traits are in the story.  We can then create a new story, one that is realistic, accountable and positive, based on the things that are great (such as the character strengths) of our clients.

You are the most important person in your life. Without you, you have nothing. If you are newly diagnosed or an adult with a history of ADHD (and told you had grown out of it) then heed this message.  The world of ADHD is a different world now.  You don’t have to hide, be ashamed or be shy about it.  There is help there, but better than that, understanding now. There are “Nay- sayers “about ADHD, their problem is their ignorance. Yep, I said it.  People that have a problem with the existence of ADHD are ignorant of the neuroscience that is available. They probably also have problems with being judgmental too.  And who are they to judge?

Be proud of your strengths, people with ADHD are frequently highly creative, fun to be with, often stand out from the crowd (think, Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Emma Watson, Michael Phelps, Lisa Ling (U.S. reporter)  well known to be ADHD and public about it.

But it doesn’t matter who else is ADHD.  The most important thing is that if you are ADHD, then you have an opportunity to work with the “glorious strengths” – as described by one of my clients; but also take into account where supports might be needed for the challenges (I never, ever, never say weaknesses).

ADHD or not, to be aware and be grateful for the moment that we are in, is what makes a great life even better. We can help you find that moment.