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.
The break-up of a marriage, often also the break-up of a family, is a difficult period even for couples who are parting amicably. For couples and individuals who will, are, or have been through a divorce, talking to a therapist can help manage feelings of loss, and create space to explore what life might look like after divorce.
Sometimes when there is conflict within families – whether open or unspoken – people might find themselves drifting away from their parents, children or siblings. Some people even make a conscious decision to ‘cut someone off’ by not talking to them, avoiding them, refusing to talk to them, or doing something else to push them away (such as withdrawing childcare or cutting them out of a will). Therapy can help people who are estranged cope with the loss of a relationship, and it can help people address problems that risk ending good relationships.
Infidelity can be painful and damaging, but it can also reveal things in relationships that felt impossible to say. Therapy can help couples recover after unfaithfulness, and it can also support people whose relationships end after their own or their partner’s affair.
Intimacy is vital in any relationship, and so when one or both partners stops feeling close to the other, it can help to talk to a therapist about what might be getting in the way.
The end of a relationship, whether it is expected or not, creates a sense of loss of what a couple had together, and what might have been if the relationship had continued. Therapy is a safe place to open up about loss, how to cope with the end of a relationship, and what this new life might be like.
Changes in our families, bodies, jobs and values are inevitable in life, but some feel harder to cope with than others. Therapists are experienced in talking to people about how milestones such as menopause, vasectomy, retirement, children leaving home, bereavement and others affect us, change us, and remind us of experiences we might have forgotten.
Abusive relationships raise questions about what happened, how, and when a person will feel ‘normal’ again. Where the abuse is current, recent, or happened a while ago, therapists are trained to make room for difficult questions, and listen without judgement.
Bereavement, violence and loss can have a huge impact on a relationship. Therapy for couples, individuals and families helps people find a way to talk about what happened, discuss methods for coping, and explore ideas around recovery.
Living with addiction is a struggle for anyone, and in a relationship it can create stress, distances and distrust. Therapists are trained to provide confidential and non-judgemental support to couples, families and individuals struggling with addiction, so that clients feel supported when times are tough.
Money is a powerful tool in couples, families and workplaces, but debt is an aspect that still carries a shameful stigma. Relationship therapists are familiar with the ways in which financial stressors affect clients, and provide a non-judgemental space for conversations about coping.
If a romantic or family relationship changes suddenly, or people stop communicating, sometimes the problem might resolve itself. But when the problem continues or gets worse, the relationship usually needs an intervention or outside help.
Whether or not there is a clear stressor, it can help to have a therapist to talk to.
There is no such thing as a normal family, and it’s normal to question. But if a person worries that their family is abusive, traumatic or exploitative, therapists can help manage how to cope.
No two relationships are the same, but if someone worries that their relationship is abusive, talking to a therapist can help explore doubts about it, and find a way to make independent decisions on what kind of relationship to aim for.
Seeing a therapist as a couple, a family or an individual, helps cope with the pain of the problems, and creates a confidential space to talk about things that might have felt too hard to discuss without help.
Relationship problems are not mental health problems, but stressful relationships – especially abusive relationships – may increase the chances of developing depression or anxiety.
A British counselling service that offers information on sex, relationships and parenting.