Many people with ADHD aren't aware they have it. They will be aware however that everyday tasks seem more difficult for them than for others. Typical symptoms are finding it hard to focus, missing deadlines and trouble controlling impulses, ranging from impatience to mood swings and outbursts of anger. Other symptoms include:
The above list may be familiar to most people at different times in their lives. If these symptoms occur only occasionally, they probably don't have ADHD. A doctor usually diagnoses when someone’s symptoms cause problems that stop a person working, finding stable housing, or living normally and safely.
Diagnosis of ADHD in adults is often trickier because the same symptoms also occur in mental health conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. Many adults with ADHD also have at least one other mental health condition (depression and anxiety are the most common).
Symptoms usually start before the age of 12 and continue into adulthood.
ADHD is a lifelong condition, though it often becomes less marked in adulthood. But it can be effectively managed. The first step is to see a doctor and start seeking a diagnosis.
In the UK, the incidence of ADHD in school-aged children is thought to be between 3 and 5%. In adults it is between 3 and 4%.
We still don’t know for sure. An enormous amount of research is focused on finding the causes of ADHD. Factors that may be involved include:
The risk of a person developing ADHD may increase if:
ADHD has been linked to:
Making the diagnosis normally includes:
ADHD is normally treated through a two-pronged approach:
Doctors might prescribe stimulants for ADHD – which might seem counterintuitive, but has a strong evidence basis for regulating brain activity.
Some ADHD patients might also benefit from antidepressants or other medication, but in every case a doctor is best placed to advise on what to take.
Psychotherapy is indicated for people with ADHD but behavioural therapies can also help manage traits that make people with ADHD disorganised, and teach useful skills as well.
NHS Choices provides information about the signs, symptoms and treatment for depression.
For people with an ADHD diagnoses, this charity provides resources and advocacy.
Aimed at young people, this profile of ADHD explains what it is, how to seek treatment and mental health concerns for people with ADHD in a clear and straightforward way.
Personality disorder (PD) is described by the Royal College of Psychiatrists as a condition which impacts the ability of those suffering from it to learn from things that happen to them or have difficulties changing the parts of their personality that cause them problems.
Typical symptoms include difficulties:
Life is more difficult for people with a personality disorder (whether diagnosed or undiagnosed). They are therefore more likely to have other mental health problems such as depression, or abuse drugs or alcohol.
The above list may be familiar to most people at different times in their lives. If these symptoms occur only occasionally or during specific periods of stress, you probably don't have a personality disorder. Personality disorder is diagnosed only when symptoms are severe enough to cause ongoing problems in more than one area of a person’s life – for example, if a person often has trouble with the police, finds it hard to keep a job, or has difficulty maintaining meaningful relationships.
Yes, there are, according to the World Health Organisation. These can be split into three different groups:
People suffering from personality disorders may often show “traits” associated with different groups.
Others may notice signs of personality disorder when they are in their childhood or early teen years.
There is evidence that personality disorders improve slowly as people get older. Antisocial behaviour and impulsiveness, in particular, tend to become less frequent as people move through their 30s and 40s.
As much as 5% of the UK population may have a personality disorder – around 3 million people.
As with most mental health conditions, there is no one single cause. That is why it is often easier to think about these things as having risk factors associated with their development.
Therapists recommend using behavioural approaches for PD:
Antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood-stabilising drugs are all used in the treatment of personality disorders.
A site for resources for people with PD and their families, commissioned by the Personality Disorder development team from the Department of Health.
The leading UK mental health charity has information about specific personality disorder diagnoses, such as BPD, and how to manage them.